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President Jammeh and civil servants

Feb 21, 2011, 11:38 AM

It was not known for a very long time why senior government officials, especially those in cabinet, get booted out of office.

Most of them only get to know of their dismissal through a dismissal letter, without the public knowing the reason or reasons for their dismissal.

This lack of official explanation has always fueled all sorts of rumours - some derogatory some compassionate.

As the rumour spreads with excitement, in the wake of a dismissal, it is always difficult to know which version to believe, because those who are thrown out with the right hand are usually recalled with the left one, either to the same post or to something less glamorous.

Almost three years ago, while swearing in Dr Malick Njie, former minister of Health and Social Welfare, President Jammeh gave an insight into why cabinet members lose their jobs now and again.

He identified lack of initiative as the undoing of most top civil servants.

"The fact that you have been appointed as secretaries of state, you are supposed to use your initiative. You have the authority to take care of your departments of state and, if you have a problem, then you contact the President's Office," President Jammeh said during that swearing-in ceremony.

Specifically, the President then cited apathy and negligence as the reasons some people might have lost their jobs. In disclosing this information, the President was indirectly warning the rest of the Cabinet to guard against the twin evils of indolence and indifference.

Interestingly, in swearing in Fatim Badjie as the new minister of Health and Social Welfare last Tuesday, President Jammeh again identified negligence and malpractices as the undoing of most public servants, notably in the health sector.

"Now, when all what you are interested in is salary and making money, and nothing else, what do you expect me to do? If I know, and if you were President, what will you do - leave the person there? If anybody is not interested in the services for which you are paid, you are going home," President Jammeh declared.

Another point raised by President Jammeh, that needs serious attention, is the issue of camps or clubs in the health sector. This will only retard development, and bring more harm than good to the development of not only the sector, but also the country in particular.

However, this does not only apply to the health sector, as the same might be happening in other ministries.

It is in this light that we urge the authorities to put in place every measure to discourage these so-called camps or clubs, as it brings more division among civil servants.

Civil servants must work hand in hand with each other for the development of their respective ministries.

It is, therefore, up to Cabinet members and other senior public officials to do at all times what they think is right.

Honestly, governance at any level is a demanding business. It requires integrity, energy and resourcefulness.

Anyone who does not feel up to the job should have the good sense to refuse it, when it is offered to him or her.

To give the impression of competence, when you do not have what it takes to deliver good results, is to court disgrace and stigma.

"Anybody can be good in the country"

Wilde Oscar