Tuesday, June 7, 2011

UDP Leader: Government's Resource Control ‘Weak’

Darboe, UDP Candidate
In part 2 of an interview with our Judicial Correspondent Sulayman Ceesay, Mr. Ousainou Darboe; the United Democratic Party (UDP) leader stressed that the physical control of Government’s resources in The Gambia is weak and there is so much wastage.
“No attention is paid to areas that will maximize the economic growth of the country,” he argues. 
“Everyday we are doing things that are making our economy to decline and it is unforgivable that in a poverty stricken country like Gambia we are engaging in vanity. It is extremely unforgivable to see government resources been utilized for self and personal matters. Look at all these festivals, how many festival have you heard in the last twelve months,” Darboe said.
Speaking at his residence at Kotu on May 28, he reiterated that “no attention have been paid to areas that will maximize the economic growth of the country, just holding workshops and seminars on how to keep the economy moving without doing anything to ensure that the economy keep moving.
“Root, Buginga, Kanali and all type of festival are taking place and the amount of money spent in all these festivals is so monumental, for the roots-home-coming-festival, I have no problem with that because it is supposed to boost the tourism sector of the country but am not sure whether it is meant for that purpose, and where is the center? Juffureh! why divided to Kanali, after all Alex Hailey’s root is from Juffureh not from Kanali,” he argues.        
Asked what should be done, Mr Darboe noted that Government should sit down and seriously look into the affairs of the country rather than engaging in the organisation of festivals and birthday celebrations.
He argued that even though the money used in all these events is coming from private sources, it could have been better utilized in the mist of poverty and hunger. He stated that Gambians need to register and vote in a government that will be responsive to the problems of the country.
“I heard some uninformed people saying Banjul is beautiful, is that going to be permanent? It’s not and does it improve the living conditions of the people of Banjul, has it added anything to their earning capacity or create job opportunities for them,” Darboe asked.
“The job was done by outsiders and not by Banjulians, what is the social impact on the pile of the people of Banjul and people just standout there saying the city is beautiful and there is development, but development has to have some positive impact in the lives of the people,” he stressed.
“Where ever you have increase in prices of basic commodity and fuel it most have an impact on the cost of living and what is more is that the increase takes place without any budgetary cover which should be part of the budget proposal.”
After the budget proposal many increases has taken place, administrative orders that can show Gambians that there is a total “breakdown” of the governance system of the country. Any responsible government will do things in the right way by coming with a mini-budget proposal to cover-up any incoming increase, but this is some of the economic mal-governance happening in the country, he argued.

“Weak judiciary”    
Darboe disagree that Gambia’s judicial is weak. He argued that the rise and fall of some judicial officers does not mean that the institution itself is weak or bad; however, he said in any institution, you have one or two people who are not doing well but that should not be translated to reflect the institution as a whole.
“In a broader perspective, I believe that there are situations that people raise eye-brows in the justice delivery services. Even I find it difficult to understand how a Magistrate or Judge can impose a bail condition of a million dalasis for an offence that does not carry even five years imprisonment, I did not considered it appropriate,” Darboe said.
“These are some of the areas where the public frown at the justice system of the country.”

Darboe’s eligibility to stand in this year’s presidential elections was questioned sometime last year; however, he debunked the claims and reiterated that he is eligible to contest for the presidency on November 24.
“There is no legal or constitution impediment that will prevent me from contesting the 2011 elections, people who are going round saying I am not qualified to contest are misleading,” he argued.

On preparations, he said the UDP is doing a lot of grassroots work that are unreported as GRTS is beyond their reach and people know it only through interviews with some of the print media and rallies. He said their interaction at the grass-root is positive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             On a possible alliance, Mr. Darboe said the process is being slowed by a political landscape, noting that he have personally met with Sidia Jatta and Omar Jallow (O.J) and that he have no doubt that all opposition parties do talk about the need for a possible alliance.
This, he said is an ongoing process and even a formal alliance have not come up yet, it does not mean that nothing is not being done behind the scenes.

Mr. Darboe revealed that Gambia Radio and Television Services, GRTS refused to announce their rallies on the radio for which they paid for. I asked the minority leader to see the Minister for Communication about the issue but nothing came out of it. Someone who refuses to air an announcement of a rally will not cover your meetings where the mal-administration of the APRC government will be exposed.
Mr. Darboe challenges the Director General of GRTS to re-think and know that the institution belongs to the public and not to an individual. Public servants should put themselves in a position where they will not favor either side. Source – The Voice

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