Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stemming abuse of public property?

Last Thursday, November 5 2009, another minister took oath of office to serve ‘‘without fear or favour, ill will or affection.’’ Dr Abubakar Gaye became part of the rank of Gambian ministers as the new minister of Health, replacing recently sacked Dr Mariatou Jallow in the most unpredictable government on planet earth. A ‘‘difficult task,’’ Yahya Jammeh himself admitted, when presiding over the swearing ceremony at State House.
A very important thing about this development is that quite a number of important issues were raised at the cabinet room, interestingly by the president himself as when it comes to talking, he dominates such gatherings. Corruption, mismanagement of public properties, drug theft, etcetera, are frankly regular happenings in today’s Gambia.
However, even before he would officially assume his duty, Dr Gaye naively suggested the obvious; that is, that the oath of office doesn’t actually matter as far as serving Yahya Jammeh is concerned. The president himself has become the greatest desecrator of the Holly Qur’an which he swore by as president, violating the rules on a constant basis.
As part of his acceptance speech, the newly sworn-in minister said: ‘‘I will thank our dynamic leader in whose heart God has placed me and has accepted God’s will to appoint me as the minister of Health. I am grateful and do hope that I will never disappoint you and you will never be disappointed.’’
While there is absolutely no problem thanking the president for bestowing hope on you, it is important to realize that you have been hired to serve the Gambian people. It is therefore worth noting that the concern here is the Gambian people, not the president. Yahya Jammeh barely knows it when things have gone wrong, when the people do not get proper medical attention, when negligent officials abandon their responsibilities. Corrupt officials, from the minister right on top, have put down measures to ensure that no such information goes out. All the talk of failure to meet responsibilities is nothing but cover-ups. The only explanation to all these endless sackings is that rogue elements and state-paid liars report people for demonstrating some anti-Yahya Jammeh or anti-APRC feelings. That is all! The quickest way to get sacked these days is by denying anything to anything relating with Yahya Jammeh or anybody related to him. That is why Kanilai has become a place of abuse of public properties.
The mention of God’s name as having influenced Yahya Jammeh’s decision is a very important factor that will guide Dr Gaye’s running of the ministry. Just like it has always been, the interest of the person of the president is the number one priority. As a matter of fact, unfortunately, things are only considered public properties, and their abuse condemned only when they involve all other people other than Yahya Jammeh, his immediate family and a select group of people in his best list.
This leaves me wondering if he (the president) really means it when he challenged the new minister to tackle the corrupt practice of using public health properties for individual purposes. The whole Gambia knows that Yahya Jammeh is the master in that today.
Nonetheless, probably all this is supposed to end as from now on. Dr Gaye though would certainly render a great service to Gambians if he begins by clearing the new Serrekunda Hospital complex of those so-called HIV/AIDS patients whose time is being wasted as they wait for the cure of an incurable disease. Nurses that have been trained and employed by state coffers are being used by Yahya Jammeh as theatrical objects in his shows of HIV/AIDS and other fantasy cures.
To the minister, at the end of the day what matters is what satisfaction you will derive from looking back after been sacked and say I have done this, this and that for the people, not for the president.
And I am just weary that we are set to lose yet another of our well trained doctors who will soon abandon his ethical principle to embrace the ridiculous claim of HIV and other diseases cure.

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