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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 10 May 2022 : 18:44:04
H.E President Adama Barrow Remarks At The Swearing-in Ceremony of New Cabinet Members May 2022
Your Excellency, the Vice President,
Honourable Cabinet Members,
Senior Government Officials present,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,
With the administration of the relevant oaths of office, the country now has a new team of Cabinet Ministers to take up the responsibilities of running the nation's affairs, as defined in the Constitution and other relevant legal documents.
As one would expect, the appointment of these Ministers signifies the trust I have in them and their ability to guide the policy direction of their various Ministries, in close collaboration with their Permanent Secretaries and technical teams.
Honourable members, on behalf of the entire nation, I congratulate you all on your new positions, and I thank you for willingly accepting to serve the nation at this level in Government.
I must warn you that, while it is an honour to hold such high positions, the challenges you will confront could be as many and complicated as the tasks and roles you will have to perform both in and out of office.
You have been identified and appointed at a time when our national institutions require strong leadership, responsive policies, transformative programmes, and better results that can positively and effectively impact on national development and the quality of life in the country.
Cabinet Ministers are generally considered to be political appointments, but it must be realised that you will have to ensure that your Ministries are run by competent staff, with the right professional, administrative, and management structures in place to function efficiently.
The leadership in Government institutions sets the tone, pace, discipline and efficiency levels for the personnel. I challenge you to develop in your Ministries a culture of high-level performance, productivity and results within agreed timeframes. This goes way beyond party politics.
There are lessons to learn from the last five-year transition phase. Although we registered resounding successes, the need to brace up for greater achievements and a sharper approach to nation-building is too evident to require emphasis.
Your appointments to Cabinet have come at a time when Gambians want Government to be held accountable. This is an era in which the citizens are better informed and politically more active.
They now enjoy uncensored freedom of expression, association and participation in national issues, and are determined to fight corruption. As a result, public figures must think, act, and behave differently in the national interest.
Our rate of development as a nation has not been fast enough over the past fifty-seven years of nationhood. We have to re-double our efforts to deliver on providing better living conditions and a conducive environment that sustains improved livelihoods.
We will never catch up with other nations if we continue to focus on individual growth, instead of re-orienting ourselves collectively for the general welfare of all citizens. Because we cannot shy away from party politics in a democracy, my philosophy hinges on politics for development, and development for the people. Let our focus and emphasis be on the best interest of the nation.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the past five years, attempts to implement robust reform programmes and unite the people for justice and reconciliation were slowed down by both global and national factors.
In various ways, individual interests and political party loyalty have compromised performance and progress in the public service. Attitude and commitment to work have been questioned in many instances, and there are moments when personal gain appears to outweigh output. The result is that, often, performance levels fall below expectations.
Now that we have transitioned into a new political phase, this state of affairs has to change. Competence, timely delivery of service, and output must prevail over everything else in all Government institutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Expectations are high, as expressed by the electorate recently. This Cabinet is expected, therefore, to generate and guide policy initiatives, and move our institutions forward to fulfil the people’s development aspirations.
The lingering effects of the pandemic, declining economies globally, price hikes all over the world, conflicts, and unrest in every corner of the globe make it an obligation for us to re-design our strategies and take bold innovative steps to combat all these challenges and trends.
I expect and encourage all Ministries to build genuine and fruitful partnerships, and work with all sincere stakeholders to yield results for the people. We are in a world shaken by instability as well as economic and political crises. Our response must be bold, appropriate and decisive.
We have to engage our citizens to participate fully in the economic and productive sectors, and take charge of their destiny. Our policies must also support the youths, the women, and all other segments of society to draw on their energies and talent.
In other words, we must maintain an inclusive government, and public policies should create a conducive environment for equal access to services and enough space for popular participation.
Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have earned the trust of Gambians to continue with the excellent development work started in the last few years. Despite all the challenges that confronted us, we made giants strides in key development areas. The lesson is that, if we remain focussed and committed, we can develop this country much faster.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am obliged to express profound gratitude to the outgoing Cabinet members. I sincerely appreciate their laudable contributions to the welfare and development of the nation during their tenure of office. We have built close relationships, and I will remember each of them for their worth as patriots, professionals, and Gambian citizens of honour. I wish them the best of luck in their next journey outside the Cabinet, hoping that they will continue to contribute to our dear nation's peace, stability, and development.
I assure the in-coming Cabinet of my support, but we must take a zero-tolerance stance on corruption. We are responsible for the state resources in our custody, and should not be found wanting. Strict measures will be taken to implement the anti-corruption law; therefore, it is best we work towards making The Gambia a model country for public service delivery.
I encourage you to work in harmony, with sincerity and wisdom, while promoting peace, stability, and respect for the rule of law.
I wish you well, and pray that God bless our efforts.
Thank you for your attention.
|1 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 11 May 2022 : 18:06:08
We need a Cabinet with Integrity!
By Madi Jobarteh
In the swearing ceremony of the new Cabinet members both the President and Vice President made very good speeches. They condemned corruption and malfeasance and re-echoed the very purpose of public office as they called for strong leadership, responsive policies, performance, and accountability that will impact on the quality of life in the country.
By default, they publicly acknowledged and vindicated the efforts and voices of unrelenting activists, investigative journalists, fact-checkers and vocal citizens! Barrow and Joof have both confirmed that public office is not to seek privileges and self-aggrandizement and vowed that the corrupt state of affairs has to change.
This was the sweetest part delivered by none other than the President himself.
“Your appointments to Cabinet have come at a time when Gambians want Government to be held accountable. This is an era in which the citizens are better informed and politically more active. They now enjoy uncensored freedom of expression, association and participation in national issues, and are determined to fight corruption. As a result, public figures must think, act, and behave differently in the national interest.”
I wish President Adama Barrow had said these words in January 2017 and made sure he took frantic actions to back those words! If he had done so, or listened to those conscientious voices of activists, today in 2022 he would not have said these words which are clearly lamenting that corruption, inefficiency, and negligence are the order of the day in his Government, shamefully.
But words are meaningless if they are not backed by actions. I hope the President and Vice will make sure that their words will be matched by the right actions! That’s called integrity!
Integrity is words matching with actions. This is not a western idea, but that integrity as a virtue can be found in our cultures and religions as well as in our families. Integrity is what distinguishes a good person from a villain. Integrity is what makes a person trustworthy, consistent, honest, and dependable.
As we welcome the new Executive team, I have no congratulatory messages for any of them. Rather I remind them of integrity. I remind them that public office is sacred. Public officials carry life and death by the decisions and actions they take. Literally, people live or die depending on the actions of public servants! Therefore, no public official is small, especially if you hold the highest position as President, Vice President, or Minister and so on.
It is to remind the Cabinet that to hold public office is the highest honour a citizen has. Public office is the sole property of the entire people. The power, authority, and legitimacy of public office are derived directly from the people. Hence when a citizen is elected or appointed into public office, you carry the collective power, authority and will of the people. It’s a trust in which citizens surrender their rights to enable public officials to serve them. Therefore no one has a right or excuse to betray that public trust!
To serve in public office is not a favour. Public officials do not give any charity. Rather the citizens pay them abundantly with incredible privileges, incentives and benefits that serve them a lifetime. Ironically and insultingly, most of the citizens who pay these public officials only receive back poverty, deprivation, high cost of living, unemployment, lack of opportunities with poor, erratic, and expensive services! This is true simply because public officials would neglect their duties, abuse their office, plunder public wealth, underperform and abuse the rights of their citizens. Shamelessly.
Therefore, let us put it to President Adama Barrow and his entire Cabinet that citizens owe them nothing. They owe citizens everything. We should not be kind to them, nor will we undermine them. Rather, we will mercilessly, uncompromisingly, and vigorously hold them accountable. We will scrutinize every word, decision, action and even their appearance! If they don’t like that, so be it! Get out of public office!
The past five years have been a disaster for the country which was presided over by none other than most of the ministers in this Cabinet. If they had performed well between 2017 and 2022, we should not have been in these dire straits. But they failed. No reforms; no system change of any significance. Poverty of the people is as widespread as corruption and inefficiency of public officials from top to down! There is widespread suffering and frustration thanks to the underperformance and recklessness, and negligence of public officials.
The time has come for Barrow to match words with actions! I did not expect that any of the ministers in his first Cabinet would be maintained because they failed the country in their first five years. So, if he maintains these same people, one wonders how he will succeed this time around. Therefore, good words are not enough. Let the right actions be taken to show us that he is true to what he says. As citizens, we should record their words to hold against them every day.
On my part, it is neither my job nor do I have any inclinations to congratulate public officials. My job is to check them. So, I want to tell Pres. Adama Barrow and Vice President Alieu Badara Joof let their nice words be backed by real and meaningful actions. Citizens want action to change their lives for the better! Let them show the country that they are men of integrity who are leading a Cabinet with Integrity. Let them prove that they are not fake, corrupt, and hypocritical! Let them show Gambians that they are leaders the people deserve!
For The Gambia Our Homeland
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