#Opinion

Used, Abused and Dumped : the New Gambia Project is disaster for Youths

Apr 28, 2020, 2:04 PM

When I started the series with the above title (on my blog, Sabally Public Square)  a fortnight ago; I thought I would just be dwelling on the past sins of the Barrow Administration and linking them to current realities. But, lo, and behold, this government that never fails to amaze us with their perennial malfeasance, availed me with more points to validate my thesis last night.

I had been offline for the whole day only to log on by dinner time to see that Facebook was afloat with some eerie images of our current Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray. Clad with a poorly worn face mask, our VP was spewing some condescending vitriolic remarks on Gambian youths as she presided over a ceremony unveiling donated rice intended to alleviate food constraints in this COVID-19 era.

A visibly angry Isatou Touray had no kind words for the disillusioned and disappointed youths that strove to elect her, and her colleagues of the current government, into power. The Vice President stated her anger at the fact that they were to unable to get enough hands to unload the rice and offload it from the trucks moving them and she therefore pilloried Gambian youths who complain about unemployment when there is enough avenues for our youths to become labourers.

The reaction from the public was not kind at all. One comment on the post I made on my public figure page on Facebook was quite poignant and worth sharing:

“Madam VP, what happened to the members of the President Barrow Youths for National Development (BYM)? Why didn’t you engage them as labourers to carry your Coronavirus rice???”

The foregoing comment was occasioned by my own reaction to the Vice President’s condescending remarks, and here is my take:

So the Barrow Administration has lowered the bar again today by trash-talking the very people who voted them into power.

Therefore we must congratulate the Vice President, Isatou Touray (her PhD has a question mark attached to it henceforth)...

This woman and her boss, Adama Barrow, want our youths to become labourers and that is all they can offer as they hand over a few bags of rice to the suffering masses...

Chei Aduna!

When a Banjul Politician, Dodou Taal, made similar remarks in the 80s by telling the city people that their children should become firewood sellers, the city residents taught him a bitter lesson and booted him out of his seat in the National Assembly...

Barrow and his #sleeping government are sure to suffer a similar fate in 2021 inshaa Allah...

#GameOver #KanaSong

Dear reader, is this the New Gambia that our young people hoped and voted for? While you ponder about this question, let me reproduce hereunder my initial thoughts about this series that I never thought would be further ignited by the Barrow Administration’s with such malfeasance:

I had a candid chat with my nephew in the early days of the change of government. He was once exiled under the Jammeh regime and after all the trouble to boot Jammeh out of power, the young people were hopeful that things would be better under the new Barrow administration.

I cautioned him against excessive optimism because I had a fair idea about some of the characters that made up the leadership of the new dispensation.He would not need my sermon because he was very cosy with the top brass of the new government including a particular cabinet minister they used to hang out with in Dakar and cook up protest and other subterfuges to scare the then shaky Jammeh administration.

I guess my nephew got a glimpse of my admonition when he joined a group that wanted to stage a peaceful protest for the government’s evident failures in such mundane matters like maintaining regular electricity supply. The very government they helped to assume the reigns of power with the intention of replacing Yahya Jammeh’s draconian regime with a democratic dispensation where freedom of assembly and expression are guaranteed, turned down their request for a permit to protest.  Things continued to go downhill until my nephew’s own friend ended up in Yahya Jammeh’s dreaded Mile 2 prison for no just cause.

I have not discussed politics with my nephew for many months but I can feel his sense of disappointed and disdain for the status quo. I am sure he would say in his heart that my uncle was right.

But it did not have to take 3 years for my nephew to see the signs because the writing was on the wall on the very day of the inauguration of their new President, Adama Barrow...

A friend of mine who claimed to have raised millions in support of the coalition government’s campaign to get rid of Jammeh told me that when she met the current  Vice President at the inauguration ground at the Independence Stadium in 2017, she greeted her with excitement only to be given the cold shoulder. She thought the new Minister (then) of Trade, did not recognise her. She reintroduced herself only for the lady to tell her “yes, I recognise you...”

Fast forward to April 2020 and the same woman who is now our Vice President has forgotten that she rose to power on the bruised backs of our young people whose socio-economic conditions have worsened under her watch.

With these realities on the ground, our Vice President should get ready for more complaints about unemployment or else she needs to order some earplugs to avert the noise because Gambian youths have every right to complain about unemployment.

If only the current VP had used her good offices as Trade Minister to properly craft the 11 million Euro Youth Empower Project (YEP), to make sure Gambian youths are actually empowered,  then she would have been hearing less noise about unemployment today. But after 3 years of implementation of this heist of a project, there is no tangible result to show for it but branded multi-million Dalasis Nissan SUV cars and endless workshops.

Meanwhile, the  struggle for a better Gambia continues, a Gambia that provides her youths with real opportunities and treats them with the honour and dignity they deserve.

Momodou Sabally

The Gambia’s Pen