country representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Madi Jobarteh
said for the past 18 months, Gambia has witnessed instances of high level of
corruption, patronage and ineffectiveness of government.
He said citizens have to be mindful of accountability by asking questions like where President Barrow got the 57 vehicles that were distributed to National Assembly members from.
Speaking at the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) Gambia Chapter and the Network of Freelance Journalists (NFJ) and The Gambia Democracy Dialogue Forum on Saturday, Mr. Jobarteh said, “We can claim to have democracy and enjoy all the free speech, free media, freedom of association and movement but that does not necessary mean it would translate into tangible, durable, social and economic wellbeing for our people and for these to happen, the key word is accountability,” he said.
The dialogue was organised on the theme: Re-imagining Democracy - How Should Democracy Work for Gambia. It was intended to encourage all participants (speakers and audience) to engage in direct and frank discussions on the state of democracy in The Gambia.
Mr. Jobarteh, who was speaking on a topic “The Gambia We Want”, further said that accountability is the only difference between progress and failure, noting that accountability determines whether authorities are moving backward or staying at one point.
According to him, Senegal enjoys all the elements of civic and political rights but when that is translated into social and economic wellbeing, it will be realised that Senegal and The Gambia are practically at the same level because the number of Gambians going through the Mediterranean Sea is the same number for Senegal and Ghana.
“What was happening in Senegal and Ghana was corruption, political patronage and government ineffectiveness,” he said, calling on every Gambian to understand accountability by holding their people to account.
“We pay our taxes to the government and that must be utilised to avoid having bad roads like in the past 50 years which is utterly unacceptable.”
Mr. Jobarteh observed that any society that encounters such problems simply lacks accountability, saying Gambia has law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes effectively, noting that they also elect representatives to manage their taxes to access better services.