Africa-Press – Gambia. MadiJobarteh, a human rights activist, has vowed to continue holding the President Barrow-led government to account as his civic duty, after a purported State House apology.
“I wish to put it to Press. (President) Adama Barrow that as a conscious and sovereign citizen armed with the Constitution, I shall not refrain from exercising my rights in holding him and his government accountable at all times. I did not ask him to seek public office hence if he chose to occupy public office then he shall receive the opinions – pleasant or unpleasant – of citizens including Madi Jobarteh. He has a choice to vacate public office if he cannot handle that,” he said.
“I do not owe him and his government any gratitude whatsoever nor do I seek any charity from him. Rather he has to serve and protect me and all citizens of the Gambia for which he is handsomely paid a whopping D331,500 untaxed, every month! Anyone who receives this kind of money from the people should be ready and willing to listen and accept the opinions of citizens no matter whether he or she agrees or disagrees with that citizen,” he added.
Meanwhile, he continued: “coming out of a brutal autocratic rule, all Gambians must be seriously interested in and concerned at the words, attitudes, decisions, and actions of elected and appointed public officials.”
“It is when we allow public officials to violate the law, abuse their powers and disregard human rights and the rule of law that dictatorship and impunity prevail in society. No one needs to remind Gambians what it means to have public officials deliberately flout the law and their powers. We have all witnessed in this country not long ago how uncountable lives were lost, properties damaged, and futures killed because of unchecked power and arrogance of public officials.”
According to him, public office is the property of the people, and it is an honour for a citizen to occupy that office, which is meant to only serve the people.
“Hence public officials must always exhibit humility, respect, and honesty when they deal with citizens. Just as they appreciate when citizens praise and commend them for their work, so also must public officials be willing to receive criticisms from citizens about their work. Therefore, if a public official should attack citizens on account of divergent and dissenting opinion then the Republic is under threat and all citizens must be alert,” he said.