The leader of Gambia’s opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said President Yahya Jammeh’s constant hiring and firing of cabinet ministers is not the right way to fight graft.
Omar Jallow said Mr. Jammeh has not been effective in dealing with Gambia’s “endemic” corruption.
“These are all white-washing policies because I didn’t see any effective means that he (President Jammeh) is using to eradicate corruption because if he wants to eradicate corruption, the ministers who are sacked have to be investigated and taken before the court of law,” he said.
President Jammeh fired four ministers in his latest cabinet reshuffle. Some political observers believe the reshuffle was part of an apparent anti-graft move although the government gave no reasons.
The president has held as many as five different portfolios simultaneously because of the constant firing of cabinet ministers.
He still holds the portfolios of defense, energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
But opposition leader Jallow said Mr. Jammeh deliberately fires ministers to avoid the formation of any rival power base.
“I think Gambia has become the country that will go in the Guinness book of records as the country that has sacked more ministers in 15 years than any country in the world. Sacking of ministers has been a policy of this government since 1994 and I think if he is determined to eradicate corruption what he should do is if he suspects anybody he should not only sack you, but…investigate you and if possible take you before the court of law,” Jallow said.
President Jammeh said a recent broadcast that he was fed up with hiring and firing ministers, urging them to "deliver or get kicked out".
Jallow said the constant reshuffling is not the solution to the ongoing graft or ineffective ministers.
“He has already sacked over 120 ministers in 15 years and he has never given reasons for sacking ministers,” Jallow said.
The international community has often criticized President Jammeh’s administration for stifling freedom of expression after several journalists have either been jailed or made to flee the country.
Jallow said the government has created an “uncomfortable” political environment for the opposition.
“The good step of good governance is to allow the opposition parties to take their rightful places in Gambia. But this is not happening. The independent press should be given its place as the fourth estate. Gambia has seen the most hostile environment for the independent press, I think in the whole of Africa for the last 15 years,” Jallow said.