Reforms to end ‘political interference’ in Gambia`s Civil Service

Mr. Dawda Fadera, Secretary General and Head of Gambia`s Civil Service said there will be an end to ‘political interference’ in the operation of the country`s ‘civil and public sector’ under the new political dispensation.

Fadera made this announcement today Monday, 27th February at the Kairaba Beach Hotel following a meeting with public sector heads of departments. And, said the new government is committed to an ‘open, transparency and accountability.’

This is the first time, the government`s senior management team met, since Fadera`s appointment as the Head of the Civil Service to discuss policy matters geared towards enhancing the new government`s vision.

Fadera said:

“I reminded them that President Barrow is committed to open, transparency and accountability. This key pillar should be applied in all our interactions within the public service.

“And more importantly, he (the President) wants us to adopt a system where bureaucracy will be considerably reduced so that the implementation of our key programmes will be fast tracked.

“We want qualitative service delivery for the public. He (the President) has asked us at the technical level to work together and come out with an orderly process that will genuinely empower all these sectors.

“Each sector will now be fully empowered to be given the space and the authority so that they can execute their mandates without any political interference.

“He does not want us to micro manage the sectors from the office of the president.”

According to Fadera, oversight institutions such as the National Audit Office, Internal Audit Systems, Management Board of Enterprises, Public Service Commission and Personal Management Office must be strengthen. And, added these institutions will regulate public institutions to ‘play by the book in terms of due process.’

SG Fadera said there will be regular auditing that will ensure ‘no excuses for any person’. And, all queries and reports will be properly applied using avenues within the laws of the Gambia.

However, he cautioned that in as much as the civil and public institutions will not be micro manage from the Office of the President, “no person must used that as a license to malpractices, misconducts and indiscipline in the public service, that is not going to be “condone”

He added:

“And, all avenues will be taken to make sure anyone who is found wanting in that area the law will take its full course.”

“Another important area we discussed was discipline in the public service, about people coming on time at work.”

According to Fadera, in the past, everybody writes to the Office of the President in terms of taking decisions whether to dismiss, demote or do whatever. He said that will be “no more.” And, added “Now we want sectors to take charge of their institutions.”

He advised government Managing Directors, Director Generals and Permanent Secretaries to use government’s legal instruments at their disposal to ensure that “order and decorum” exists in their offices.”

Fadera said they have agreed that even in the previous Jammeh administration, they do not lack the “standard regulatory environment”, as they have the books, general orders, the Public Service Commission Act and other relevant laws. He said the problem had always been their inability to adhere to those rules, which should now ‘stop.’

Responding to media queries

When asked about information accessibility to journalists at the various government departments and institutions, to hold them accountable to the public, Mr. Fadera said President Barrow is committed to “transparency and accountability”, which will be the “corner stone of the new dispensation.”

The former Permanent Secretary at the Personnel Management Office (PMO) went on to add that:

“We are ready for that, in the past, I am aware that sectors cannot talk to the media, without permission from the Head of Service.

“There were a lot of hostile environment relating to dealing with the media, but this is going to change.

“We have to get the experts to come and look at the media bill, when they are reviewing it we make sure it is contemporal, media friendly and is responsive to our current situation.” 

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