The time has come to review the value and the manner of the conduct of the ‘Meet the People Tour’ in order to stop the fraudulent misuse of public resources and abuse of office under the cover of the Constitution.
The idea of this tour in the Constitution is purely meant for a fact finding mission in which the President intereacts with and hears from the people directly. This way he will be in a better position to appreciate the impact of his policies and know the state of affairs in the country. It is a mechanism that should enhance good governance and promote national development. Therefore, this tour is not meant for partisan politics and abuse of public resources and institutions.
Therefore to coincide this current tour with the political campaign period for the National Assembly means turning this constitutionally mandated tour into a partisan affair. It was in September 2021 that a similar tour was conducted at the height of the presidential elections only to turn it into a political jamboreee!
From September 2021 to date, the President made several visits to various parts of The Gambia, the last being in February 2022 when he went to open Basse market! Therefore why should there be another countrywide tour covering more than 2 weeks? For what?
This tour should not take place at this time simply because it risks being politicized which is highly likely judging from history!
Furthermore, the amount of public resources to be used in this tour is totally unreasonable, unjustified and illegal. The practice of confiscating Government vehicles for these tours should have ended with that evil regime of the Tinpot Dictator!
Millions of dalasi are used in these tours yet the Office of the President does not produce even a tour report to tell the public what he saw and felt and what measures he will take. No assessment has ever been done to determine the usefulness or uselessness of these tours. In a nutshell, these countrywide presidential tours are like a bottomless basket that consumes everything but produces nothing!
The vast majority of public officials as well as non-public officials on this tour are unjustified. It is obvious that majority of the people in the tour are there only for partisan purposes and to consume public resources for nothing. They serve no purpose whatsoever on the tour other than to defraud the nation!
Therefore this tour should be cancelled until after the parliamentary elections. It should be held just at the eve of the summer season so that the President can hear from the farmers and communities in preparation of the farming season. In that case, only relevant technocrats and essential staffs should accompany the President. No more. No less.
It is so shameful that even our political parties have continuously failed to hold the President accountable for this your. But every year, their members in the National Assembly would approve millions of dalasi for a tour that only serves to impoverish their own people. I hope this year we will see at least one political party or leader raise his or her voice against this your!
Therefore, as citizens let’s raise our voice for ‘No to meet the People Tour at this time’.
For The Gambia 🇬🇲 Our Homeland