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Why Accomplished Gambians Crave for “Mansa-Kunda” Employment? | OPINION | Mamos Media LTD

Why Accomplished Gambians Crave for “Mansa-Kunda” Employment?

Mamos Media

Alagi Yorro JallowFatoumatta: In Gambian life, there is no creativity, no ambition, no innovation, no imagination, no ingenuity, aspiration, no vision, no mission, no genius, and a dream beyond aspiring or joining Mansa-Kunda civil service or the foreign service or political appointments without any particular attachment to a public service ethos. There are two types of Gambians: those in government employment and those awaiting their turn in government appointments. Forget all the talk about the size and potential of the Gambia’s economy. Forget all the conversation about business, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the rise of a vibrant new demographic of creators defying the odds to crystallize into a 21st-century transnational elite.That is all puff and powder. There is only one business in The Gambia, and it is called “The Gambia Government Civil Service.” So everybody is just really waiting for and on government appointments. Every other sector and sphere of Gambian life and all the players in those private spheres and other sectors are merely waiting on their turn in government employment.The total of national life is nothing but an endless footsy playing between those in government and those outside, hoping to cajole them into being let in or scheming to shove them out and take their place. As a result, either by political patronage, election, or appointment, some Gambians have no more excellent definition of success and life fulfillment than a government appointment or political office, no matter how paltry and insignificant.Fatoumatta: This atrocious national sociology, of course, depending and relying on government appointments has consequences. It is at the center of the Gambian tragedy. At the personal and national levels, it stifles growth, creativity, initiative, and development because the citizens and their nation are defined exclusively by prebend. The citizen destroys all regenerative and innovative possibilities because their creative energy has only one purpose: profit from government prebend (if they are already in government) or aspire to profit from government prebend (if they are awaiting their “turn to eat” or our “turn to eat” in government).The Gambia is the only place where the path to building a global business brand, powered by genius, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and drive, can be abandoned midway to serving as a Cabinet Minister, Special Adviser, Ambassador-at-large, Permanent Secretary, or Special Adviser on Miscellaneous Matters in the Presidency. The owner of a flourishing innovation hub or a growing e-commerce outlet will drop all that creative energy and suddenly become a Diplomat, Protocol officer, Permanent Secretary, Special Adviser to the President, or a Cabinet Minister.Fatoumatta: Sarcastically, only in the Gambia, do not be surprised to wake up to the news that Gambian business tycoon Mr. Muhammed Jah CEO of Quell and Quantum Net, is abandoning the Quell Group to run to become Special Adviser to the President. Likewise, instead of joining HE Hamad Buamin, Aliko Dangote, Elton Musk, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos on a panel on a global business forum at an Expo in Dubai, do not be surprised to hear that the CEO Mustapha Njie of TAF Africa Homes Construction has accepted an appointment as Special Advisor to the President on mega infrastructural projects implementation coordinator or Statehouse Infrastructure adviser.In essence, any great Gambian news on the innovation front is only great until a government appointment happens because every other sphere of agency in the Gambia is tentative and aspirational in a move towards government and mediocrity and corruption.Many of the Gambia’s most accomplished indeed abandon potential global brands for life in government because of the belief that they will loot with impunity and divert public funds and government patronage to their businesses. They forget that all their stealing and looting has never taken any of their companies to a truly global dimension. No genuinely global brand can be built on a foundation of such brazen rottenness. The money they steal and infuse into their businesses is only a Pyrrhic victory.Of course, there is the story of businesses, private enterprises innovative business brands that government offices happened to destroy. However, unfortunately, the business people are not the only class affected by this Gambian disease.Generations of the country’s brightest minds go to the government employment; when they leave government, they do not return to any worthwhile ventures and activities that could uplift the country because they understand that life in the Gambia is divided into two strict phases: life in government and life spent awaiting life in government.Fatoumatta: I live in a part of the world where people have time for short spells in government appointments before returning to other spheres of nation-building. Academia is a trendy destination for people after government office. They come and join us in training the next generation. Look at journalism and mass communication schools in the United States of America and Canada. People often quit influential government spokesperson positions to become Deans or Chairs of such schools or programs. They do not have to be academics. Universities negotiate with them based on their profile and experience.You come to the Gambia, and you get intelligent people (names withheld), brilliant first-class minds that any school of journalism or mass communication in the country or abroad should be privileged to engage as Dean or Chair. What are they doing? They are roaming social media to maintain relevance in preparation for any possibility of returning to government anytime. One of the Gambia’s best minds now understands that there is only life in government and life spent awaiting a return to government.Fatoumatta: Some accomplished Gambian scholars fall into this category. Before they discovered the tragic duality of Gambian life, they were bright minds on the rise in Europe and the United States. They are roaming social media, carefully curating their nuisance value to maintain visibility ahead of the possibility of a return to government at the time given chances, or branding themselves for recognition and a possible government appointment accompanied by their fellow vermin.Think of Boybairay; think of Yadicone in some innovative new program at the University of the Gambia. No matter what you think of them, they would serve Gambia’s future youths excellently in such stations. However, sadly, they are like fish out of water, unable to conceptualize agency and nation-building outside of the sphere of government crumbs.Fatoumatta: I have used Boybairaay and Yadicone to illustrate the crematorium of talent and innovation in the Gambia and the Diaspora Gambia community. Once they leave the government, they are useless to the Gambia because their brain is colonized by the singular desire to return to government. They cannot even sustain a business afterlife in government. Look at Boybairaay and Yadicone, thrashing around like somebody high on Vicodin because there is no life for them outside of government. They are desperate to return and take up Mansa Kunda’s employment. We need to revamp civics to achieve this mental rewiring.

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