CASUALTY#3 Henry Gomez, Minister of Youths and Sports
Minister of Youths Henry Gomez’s elevation to his position in the aftermath of the improbable coalition triumph over Jammeh was a study in political compromise and tolerance. Poorly educated and hobbled by stinging dearth of relevant experience and training for the job, he struggled to assert himself in his role. He simply didn’t possess sufficient command of his brief as minister of Youths and Sports and his theatrics and regular bungling of local and international media interviews were a source of enormous embarrassment to the government.
Gomez’s alleged involvement in a plot to extort money from departments under his ministry and prior conviction for drugs offences in Germany was no aid to his already low public approval rating. What he lacked in competence, he made up for with staunch loyalty to the president. But even that, in the wake of protests and killing of three unarmed civilians during a protest in Faraba could not save his job as Adama Barrow cleans house with electric broom.
CASUALTY#4: Demba Ali Jawo Minister of Information and Information Infrastructure
He was the president of The Gambia Press Union who later moved to Dakar to work for Africa Press Agency. He was tapped to serve as minister of Information based on his reputation as a man of principles respected across the breadth and length of the country. Having no formal education in Communication, Jawo didn’t know the difference between journalism, PR, propaganda and political communication. DA Jawo didn’t know he was a mouth piece and effectively a Chief salesman for the government. He struggled to effectively sell the nascent government to the people, despite his desperate and best efforts. He was dedicated to his job, but his lack of experience in PR made the sale of government propaganda on the public mind a failed effort.
His press releases and interviews came across as bland and unconvincing. Recently, a leaked letter attributed to him which he later confirmed criticizing the award of the telecommunications gate way contract without following the procurement process was a source of immense embarrassment for the government. And to make matters worse, his announcement of the appointment of Ebrima Sankareh as spokesman for the government was denied by the president’s press officer Amie Bojang-Sissoho laying bare the dysfunctional state of Barrow’s cabinet.