As the body representing the voice of young people in The Gambia, we are deeply concerned and disturbed by allegations of endemic bribery and corruption in the public sector. Corruption has unimaginable ramifications on the lives of people especially women and young people. This evil wreckshavoc on the economy; hence, disrupting effective public service delivery.
Corruption allegations in the public sector is rife and the culture of impunity still exists. Top public officials at the Ministry of Fisheries who are accused of receiving payments of bribery from a Chinese-owned fish meal company is a case in point. The blockbuster report published by Malagen in October, 2020, detailing the extent of alleged corruption in that ministry is worrying at the same time disturbing yet the action taken so far by the government is not sufficient..
To our knowledge, this is not the first time that top public officials are alleged of involving in high level corruption. The latest which is still fresh on our minds is the Minister of Health’s allegation against his staff regarding deliberate attempts to mismanage Covid-19 funds. To date, no proper investigation has been launched to probe into those allegations to the surprise of many Gambians; thus, setting a dangerous precedent.
Corruption slows economic development in all ways since resources that are meant for the public, in most cases, end up in the pockets of few corrupt officials. Public officials must work only in the interest of the people. We cannot continue giving smooth and free ride to corrupt public officials. Public officials who betray the trust of the people from whom they derive their mandates and for whose interest they are to serve must be held accountable for their actions and inactions.
Corruption is a result of weak public institutions. We thereforecall on the government to expedite the process of setting up an Anti-Corruption Commission to reduce the high level of corruption in our public institutions.
In the service of nation building, we remain.
Fatou M. Jawo
Outgoing Deputy Speaker, National Youth Parliament – The Gambia