By Nelson Manneh
‘BarrowMeter’ a newly formed civil society organisation aimed at raising citizen’s awareness and holding the government accountable, was launched on Wednesday, 14th February 2018, at a local hotel in Senegambia.
According to the stakeholders, government resources belong to the people because they are the taxes paid either directly or indirectly into the national coffers.
Politicians and Government officials are employed to run and control the activities and resources of Government and to make policies and laws to regulate government activities, they stated.
In his remarks Mr. Ali Cham aka killer Ace, who is also a member of the organisation, said the organisation is meant to weigh and measure the performance of Government, compared to the promises they have made during the campaigns.
“The Gambia is a Constitutional Democracy. Government of the people, by the people and for the people, operating under a Constitution as the Supreme Law of the land. Laws consistent with the Constitution, set out authority, rights and obligations,” he said.
Killer Ace added that in the Gambia, civic education is lacking when compared to other countries; that citizens need to be aware of all the activities that Government is embarking on, in order for them to be able to make good choices when it comes to elections.
“With this movement, we are going to embark on a nationwide tour in six regions in order to reach every citizen especially the youth,” he said.
He said the interest of the citizens include security, good livelihood, good health care, quality education, development, justice, fair play and others.
Mr. Daouda Diawm, a member of ‘Mackymeter’ in Senegal said, they have formed a similar organisation in Dakar Senegal, to compare the promises made by the Government during their campaign and their achievements; that such organisations help the citizens to hold their Government’s accountable and to make informed decisions when it comes to elections.
“It is also important for you to put this at the back of your mind that when you are making comments on Government achievements, you make them with good manners. You are not here to insult the authorities or mock at them,” he said
He said when such organisations are formed, politicians tend to judge them in a negative way, either in favour of or against the ruling party.
Mr. Samsudeen Yusuf also a representative of ‘Buharimeter’ in Nigeria, said for the ‘Barrowmeter’ to achieve its aim, they need to have access to information and spread it out accurately.
Mr. Yusuf added that for such organisations to function, they need to know the promises that politicians make during their campaigns and also watch for their achievements.
“You should also start from the ground in order for you to reach every citizen especially the youths”, he noted.