Editorial – Of The Government And Its Spree Of Super Spreader Events…
Apparently, just a few people in The Gambia seem now to worry about the surge in contamination of the Coronavirus. From all indications, both President Adama Barrow and the Chief Justice, Hassan Jallow, will go ahead with the Sunday planned gathering marking the official “Opening of the legal year” 2021, at the courtyard complex in Banjul. Willfully ignoring the danger posed by the risk of contaminating people attending the Sunday event is reckless and uncalled for.
Of recent, the signs and the message transmitted to citizens of this country by the Executive, especially the President and his ministers, is appalling. The President, the Attorney General, cabinet ministers, the Judiciary, the Bar and other dignitaries are expected to grace this event, with over 300 people expected to attend. Some of these attendees would have already been in an early super spreader mass gathering a day before, with the President’s National Peoples’ Party launching Saturday, at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
While the deadly virus is in the air, threatening lives and indiscriminately spreading illness and death, the government continues to organize super propagator political events. These dangerous gatherings are disguised as laying foundation stones, meetings in the Yahya Jammeh inherited tent of the Banjul State House or rallies shelled in a “Meet the people’s tour“.
Risking the lives of Gambians in a quest to raking electoral votes is the worst form of deception a careless leadership can lead this country to. Leadership is not the display of a flashy lifestyle in the shelter of the cozy nest of power. Shifting the risk assumptions on attendees of these perilous events that the President and his government continue to organize, is a crime.
Clearly, there is an increasing number of Covid19 cases in the country. From the very warnings of the Ministry of Health, the rapidly contagious new variant of the Coronavirus is already here, in The Gambia. Meanwhile, the early form of the virus continues to gain territory as clearly established in the very graphs of the Ministry of Health, below.
Arguing that the attendees engage their personal responsibility is a mockery. Equally, the government’s laissez-faire attitude in letting super spreader events be organized by everyone to escape criticism from political opponents of the ruling regime is immoral.
Even the Gambia Red Cross Society has temporarily suspended its participation in large public gatherings. Therefore, what is so important about holding an official Opening of the legal year to risk the lives of Gambians? The Chief Justice as the third in line, an erudite jurist of international repute, is expected to know better. What about the Bar, the Judges? We really expect people in these bodies to lead by example and not jump on the bandwagon like the career politicians.
By the powers vested on him, since the outbreak of the pandemic in The Gambia, the Minister of Health can restrict or prohibit mass gatherings of persons subject to any exceptions. Yet, his ministry seems to be looking elsewhere, as if everything is alright. The Covid19 expert committee has suddenly turned mute. Yes, citizens cannot be absolved in that everyone must adopt some attitude of responsibility and protect each other. But this obligation begins with the leadership of the country and the people in the Public sphere.
The crude truth is that until this government takes its responsibility, nothing will be alright to the great joy of the Coronavirus. Neither the reactionary and irrelevant press releases from the government, nor the political rat race towards December presidential election can make the situation look otherwise. For once, be patriotic and demonstrate some love to the Gambia and its people.