President Adama Barrow is facing a huge challenge to run the affairs of the country, which urgently needs a new direction. It does not require dithering and spasms of indecision if he want a second term in office as the Gambia’s chief executive beyond 2021.

Some two years ago, Adama Barrow missed the golden opportunity of choosing a good team and perhaps some of the very best the country could produce for a concerned populace waited and imagined that there was wisdom in the president’s bidding of his time to get it right for new Gambia in the throes of mis-governance and decades of Yahya Jammeh’s kleptocractic rule.

I think the cabinet that President Barrow has worked with so far is the worst that the Gambia has had since independence and I am just being charitable, saying this. Not even under Yahya Jammeh did we have such a terrible mix. In a country of extremely talented and resourceful persons, the Barrow cabinet, 2017 -2019 is a scandal.

Obviously, after the 2016 elections, President Barrow was under pressure to settle IOUs and give jobs to boys and girls who helped him to fulfil his dream. So, from every part of the country and the Diaspora community, they gave him the boys and girls to do the job and he too pick some prominent hangers-on and long-time loyalists of his godfather and godmother.

This is the appropriate time to hit the ground running. President Adama Barrow got it wrong. Nothing good came out, after all from that procrastination. His cabinet ministers, an aggregation of political partisans, without corresponding portfolios. As it turned, they were by and large, square pegs in round holes; some stood out by sheer expertise and even by sterling performance in the past.

Many exhibited outright ignorance of the bureaucracy of the state they were hired to run. Other categories of appointments, such as the service chiefs were parochial and ethnically tainted in a multicultural country. The consequence was public charge of nepotism on the part of the president and his people.

Almost three years after, it is hard to find a distinguished achiever in the government. Corruption, the central agendum of the government, became farcical with the purchase of indulgence by corrupt politicians.

You can’t run a good government by recruiting family members, ethnic bigots, party financiers and a bunch of clueless politicians. President Barrow must not repeat that mistake, whatever the pressure. He should ask for resumes, conduct interviews by himself alone, and he must reverse this trend of appointing without approval from the Public Service Commission, Judicial Council or to consult with National Assembly (the executive has unlimited executive powers) and avoid the error of appointing dead persons.

Whoever is going to be Ministerial nominee must also have a portfolio attached to his name. It is a bad thing to have a Minister presiding over a portfolio over which he is ill-suited.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow

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