After a Safari-style vacation in his home village of Makamang Kunda, followed by a “successful” trip to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, President Barrow could be said to have had one of most eventful summer holidays of his presidency.

Now that the president has embarked on his constitutionally mandated “meet the people’s tour”, he will be coming face to face with the numerous challenges that must have been overflowing in his inbox at the State House.

These challenges include, and not limited to 1) National security threats that have become urgent since the unexplained callous murders of two members of the security services.

2) Threats posed to our democracy by multiple drug syndicates that seem to see our country as a safe operating space.

3) Unbridled official corruption, real and perceived, that is causing damage to our cherished institutions.

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4) Youth unemployment and despair, threatening the viability of our future development aspirations.

GFA believes that these critical issues need to be discussed within the framework of national unity, in order to provide viable and lasting solutions. Partisan bluster, and threatening public servants, as seen in the president’s tour will be counterproductive.

As a concerned and responsible political party, GFA would like the administration to know that Gambians are experiencing unbearable economic hardship. Indeed, the high cost of living is taking Gambian families to the brink.

“Meet the people’s tour” offers an opportunity to level up with the masses and express sympathy and understanding of their problems. Instead, the president has focused on announcing a series of unexpected increases in levies on all public services provided by the government; including the critical, though substandard healthcare system that stands accused of causing multiple fatalities of children and an unknown number of adults. In addition, farmers are being threatened by officials with arrest and detention for selling their produce to the highest buyer.

The Gambia For All (GFA) party would like to express sympathy and solidarity with the majority of Gambians who have seen their livelihoods destroyed by administrative decisions that seem indifferent to their plight.

We have seen how members of the three arms of government, the executive, legislature and judiciary have been insulated against the high cost of living! By allocating themselves unconscionable increases in salaries, pensions, and benefits; including food, clothing, housekeeping and other miscellaneous allowances; while allowing the majority of Gambians to suffer in a downward spiral of escalating inflationary misery.

GFA has always advocated for prudent and sustainable fiscal responsibility. Policies that foster economic stability should include measures that are proportionate and equally applied to all Gambians. It cannot be right that the less well-of members of society are being made to pay for the extravagant lifestyle of the executive and other high officials.

Source: The Standard

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