By Abdoulie John

The Gambia’s Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) Chairman, Cherno Sulayman Jallow, revealed Wednesday the growing level of distrust in public institutions as the CRC has completed its nationwide consultations on the  reform of the country’s fundamental law.

“It is an understatement to say that Gambians generally have lost faith in government,” Justice Jallow said during a press conference held at CRC headquarter in Kotu, about 8 km away from Banjul.

The tiny West African country has embarked on a transition from dictatorship to democracy and rule of law. The mismanagement of public funds by those entrusted with state power has caused the decline of the levels of trust in public institutions.

Justice Jallow said the CRR consultations provided many people with the “opportunity to vent their frustrations at how government is administered.”

Far more disturbing, he went on to indicate that the consultations highlighted a deepening rural-urban divide.

“They do not trust the educated class that they seem to view as untrustworthy, greedy, unreliable, and without conscience,” he remarked.

The CRC team conducted consultations in 104 communities across the country and described the level of participation as “extremely high and impressive.”

Justice Jallow further cited the illustrative case of a farmer who did not hesitate to confide to them that “he does trust his educated sons” as he castigates the way they were able to enrich themselves.

“Some amongst them have called for farmers to lead this country,” he emphasized while outlining that participants were able to turn away from partisan politics during the consultative process.

Reiterating the CRC’s commitment to bring out to the  floor what people have been saying, Justice Jallow then added: “What we need to be aware is that when rural Gambia indicates they have lost confidence in gov’t, they are not joking. They are part and parcel of this country.”

For her part, Commissioner Janet Sallah Njie seized the opportunity to emphasize that the CRC spared no efforts to cover the full spectrum of the Gambian society.

She reechoed concerns raised during the consultations that gov’t should do its utmost best to assure citizens’ basic needs.

Meanwhile, a Conflict and Development Analysis (CDA) report released in June 2018 by UN Peace and Advisory Team in The Gambia suggest that “Gambians recognize the benefits inherent to their existing systems, and have grown disillusioned with their mismanagement, politisation and exclusionary control.”

The said report was also endorsed by Gambia gov’t and civil society groups represented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)…

Ends

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