A major bombshell has been dropped at Gambia’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Program, as the National Coordinator of the country’s COVID-19 program has resigned with immediate effect, Freedom Newspaper can authoritatively report. Alasan Senghore resigned on Monday, highly placed sources in the HEART of The Gambian government have confirmed. He handed his resignation letter to the Vice President Isatou Touray, who happens to be the Chairperson of the government constituted COVID-19 National Committee.
Senghore resignation followed what sources called his apparent “frustration and lack of support” from the authorities in Banjul to execute his assigned job. Since his appointment in May of this year, to help coordinate Gambia’s COVID-19 program, sources said Senghore couldn’t meet with the Health Minister Amadou Lamin Samateh. He has made numerous request and appointments to meet with Samateh, but without much success. The Minister would give him an appointment, but he wouldn’t show up, sources said.
According to sources, Senghore, couldn’t also have a face to face meeting with Health Minister Samateh’s Permanent Secretary Muhammed Jaiteh. He couldn’t meet both Samateh and Jaiteh, sources siad. Text messages he sent to some officials were hardly responded to. He was somehow ignored and isolated.
A frustrated Alasan Senghore felt that he was completely sidelined. It was on Monday, that he decided to quit his job.
“He has no information about anything. He was kept out of the loop. They hardly heed to his advises on issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said one source.
When Banjul received information that the Belgian airline, SN Brussels flight was destined to arrive in The Gambia, Senghore advised that the flight shouldn’t be allowed to come to Banjul. His reason was that Banjul should improve its airport screening process before allowing a flight of 140 people to land. His advice was ignored.
Four passengers from that flight had escaped from quarantine control. The government resorted to pursuing them.
“He advised that the SN Brussels flight shouldn’t be allowed to come, unless we are ready with our airport. That advise was given to the Vice President Isatou Touray, the Chairperson of the COVID-19 response program. But they never heeded to Senghore’s advice,” said one of our trusted sources at the seat of power in Banjul.
Senghore is the Secretary General of The Gambia Red Cross Society. He took a leave of absence from Red Cross to accept a post of National Coordinator of Gambia’s COVID-19 response program.
Gambia’s Health Ministry has been gripped with corruption allegations. Health Minister Amadou Lamin Samateh, blew the whistle during a recent appearance before the National Assembly, where he accused some workers at his Ministry, of allegedly trying to steal money from the COVID-19 funds.
Contacted for comment, Abubcarr Sankanu, an official of Gambia’s COVID-19 program said: “I am not aware of any official literature, because I am officially the focal person for strategic communication and external public relations, and we have a plan that every week achieved. The last time we spoke, he gave me an assignment, which I am working on. I am not aware of any official communication to that effect.”
“I cannot confirm anything. The last time he gave me an assignment, which I am working on. I am yet to receive any communication from any entity concerning your question,” he added.
When asked if he could help us with Mr. Senghore’s phone number, Sankanu said he was on the wheel driving. He was caught up in the busy traffic.
“Hello Mr. Mbye. Am in traffic and cannot browse through my contacts as it is rush hour and traffic is slow and tense. To save time you may contact The Gambia Red Cross Society for the number. Thank you very much,” Sankanu said in a Facebook messenger message he sent us.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]