Popular human rights activist Mr Madi Jorbateh highlighted that one of these populist activities, in the case of the Gambia, is what we call ‘set-settal’. This he said was a practice that Tinpot Dictator Yaya Jammeh’s regime introduced as if they truly care about cleanliness and the environment. He further said after so many years of set-settal the Gambia only became dirtier while the environment continues to be massively damaged beyond imagination.
Mr Jorbateh asserted on his social media platform that the management of a country is not child’s play; It is a serious business which is why laws are created and institutions are constituted and endowed with powers and resources to perform their functions. These functions, he added are geared towards only one objective which is to protect and fulfil the fundamental rights of citizens. This he stressed is a legal and political obligation that the Government has and must fulfil.
“Throughout history, when governments fail or wish to legitimize themselves, they engage in populist activities just to cover up their incapability and/or unwillingness to perform their functions based on the law. In such societies, uninformed and/or sycophantic citizens quickly rush to embrace such gimmicks as genuine national endeavours. But these populist activities never bear any fruit because they are not conceived with genuineness nor are they intended for what is proclaimed,” he argued
“Therefore, after seven years only to have this new Government to also announce another series of monthly national cleansing exercises indicates that this country is yet to have a serious government that understands and is committed to national development. The very idea of national cleansing exercise is simply ridiculous because it gives the impression that this country has no laws and institutions to protect and keep the environment clean. Above all, this set-settal announcement is a woeful indication that indeed both the Government and the National Assembly have failed to create the necessary legal and institutional reforms envisaged since 2017,” mr Jorbateh pointed out.
The out-spoken activist lamented that With the advent of the new Government in 2017, the least one would expect from it is to return to the illegalities and populist politics of the past.
“Rather the expectation is to take a complete turnaround by ensuring that bad laws are reformed, new and better laws based on human rights are created, and institutions are reformed to ensure that they perform their job according to the law, i.e., to protect rights and deliver quality public goods and services, effectively and efficiently. Since 2017, this has not happened.”
He, therefore, advises citizens not to allow the Government to once again fail in its duties but then hide behind populist activities just to appear to be serious. For that matter,
“let us remind the Government of its constitutional and legal obligations in relation to the environment. The laws of the Gambia clearly place the obligation for environmental management, protection and preservation on the Gambia Government, and it is failing in that job.”