By Madi Jobarteh
I’ve come across this video shared widely on social media, indicating popular outrage. But are we really outraged by the issues raised in the video? I don’t think Gambians are really outraged.
It’s only in The Gambia that citizens sit by to watch their lives and country bastardized by public officials without doing anything about it at the right time. It is an incontrovertible fact that so long as public officials face no risk or consequences for their misconduct, corruption and abuse of office, then they do not change and do the right thing.
If we were truly outraged, we would have not just shared this video here on social media! We would have acted to address the outrage. Well before this video, we have known about the appalling conditions in our public health facilities? We know of the hard work of our health workers and the poor conditions in which they work.
Didn’t we know when our doctors and nurses were denied necessary gears to protect themselves from COVID, not to mention the failure to pay their allowances? Didn’t our young Gambian doctors protested since 2018 against the poor working conditions they face? But, were we outraged?
How many times did we hear that just because of lack of electricity or a faulty generator, a woman died in childbirth in one health centre after another. Who among us have not visited EFSTH or Kanifing or Bansang hospital to see the poverty of the place? The lack of basic equipment and tools and drugs? We all know this!
So this video is not a surprise at all, and indeed we are not outraged at all. If we were truly outraged, we would have acted like normal people who are truly outraged. So why are we sharing this video, pretending to be outraged? Come on!
Away from healthcare, what thing is in this country that does not warrant immediate outrage? Look at the traffic within the greater Banjul area to Brikama simply because there are no roads. Look at our streets, filled with muddy lakes and potholes as if the country is in a war! Look at water and electricity supply? In 2021, most of our neighborhoods are without streetlights and potable water.
As if that is not enough, look at the high cost of living and the poor delivery of social services which remain erratic and expensive at the same time. How about the filth around town? Litter everywhere as if there is no central or local government in this country! Everywhere and everything in this country is a source of outrage!! Go to public schools to see the deplorable conditions of classrooms in which our children learn.
Then you look at the sheer abuse of office and corruption which are the heart of the matter. It’s already five years and still no one is held accountable for corruption or abuse of office! Yet the incidence of corruption and abuse of office are the most glaring features of public institutions and officials!! The blatant disregard of due process and the shameful failure to ensure effective delivery of quality public services is all too clear like noonday sun!
Rather, what we see are public funds being wasted on foreign travels, buying big fat expensive vehicles, massive country tours only to waste public money. We see how the county is forced into loans upon loans only to grant dubious contracts to phoney companies that deliver poor quality products such as the terrible Banjul road project and many others within Serre Kunda!!! Indeed there’s no shortage of outrage in this country!!! So why are we outraged by this video? Why?
Meantime, our people and their properties are not safe in their homes even after the police and the military launch their so-called ‘operation this and that’. High unemployment and lack of opportunities characterize the lot of our youth and women such that crime and prostitution have became inevitable alternatives. Yet the Government has enough money to provide these opportunities ampagai! But it won’t and we are not outraged by that!
What all of this point to is the gross violation of human rights. Because of the corruption and lack of accountability, the necessary resources are not put into healthcare or education or utilities, etc or severely mismanaged! Consequently Gambian mothers die in labour while children die from preventable diseases. Because of corruption, the Government has refused to equip each and every public health facility from Banjul to Fatoto. Even though the money is there already.
If the Government can bring supplementary appropriation bills every year to build roads and buy vehicles and travel, why cannot it transform health facilities? How can the Government justify that a health center could lack adequate electricity supply yet State House and the airport always have uninterrupted electricity? Don’t tell me because that’s the State House and the airport!
I am neither surprised nor outraged by his video! I’ve been outraged by The Gambia Government since the time of the Tinpot Dictator until today! The outrage continues…
For The Gambia Our Homeland