MANKAMANG KUNDA, UPPER RIVER REGION—Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow has inaugurated his new multimillion dalasi home during his two weeks vacation. The Presidential villa is situated at his home village of Mankamangkunda, in the Upper River Region of the Gambia. The rookie president, in a span of one and half year, into his presidency, has managed to transform his onetime hamlet village as a modern city.
Access to clean drinking water, good road network, street lights and good sanitation were rare things to come by in Mankamangkunda prior to Mr. Barrow ascended into the presidency. But that’s history now. Mr.Barrow has built a new presidential villa in Mankamangkunda.
There is no word as to the source of his new property and the developmental structures he invested in Mankamangkunda. Mr. Barrow’s monthly salary is two hundred thousand dalasis (D200,0000.00), which is about $4,500.00 United States dollars. His investments in Mankamangkunda, has been estimated to be over one million dollars.
Mr. Barrow is a former “small real estate” operator. He has in the past accepted handsome gifts—ranging from cars, and other valuables from “philanthropists” his State House wouldn’t name.
Our findings have revealed that the company contracted to construct the developmental structures at Mr. Barrow’s home village, was the Gigo Construction Limited. Site workers and laborers interviewed said the president recently moved to his newly built multimillion home with his family.
Constructing recreational amenities, and a magnificent house in Mankamangkunda, were among Mr. Barrow’s topmost priorities when he assumed the presidency, critics say. His critics also jokingly teased him for having accomplished his first dreamt project for the presidency—that’s to transform his village as a modern city.
Mr. Barrow is not alone in this new presidential phenomenon of developing his home village. His predecessor dictator Yahya Jammeh had also invested heavily at his native village of Kanilai. Kanilai, has now been transformed as a military base by the new Barrow led Coalition government.
Over 48 percent of the Gambian population are living below the national poverty line. The average Gambian survives below one United States dollar per day. The country’s per capita income is below $400 dollars.
Gambia must refrain from new government borrowing, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday, after its debt stock reached around 130 percent of gross domestic product at the end of last year, according to Reuters. More than half of the debt is owed to external creditors, IMF said.
“Maintaining debt sustainability will necessitate refraining from contracting new government debt or contingent liabilities before additional fiscal and borrowing space has been achieved, and leveraging more private investment,” the IMF said.
While on his recent vacation at his new villa in Mankamangkunda, Mr. Barrow received guests at his home. Though some of the visitors to his home, weren’t happy with the reception accorded to them by the president’s staff. For example, they said the president, never offered them breakfast upon arrival at the provincial village. They had a chat with Mr. Barrow amid a long journey from Banjul to Mankamangkunda.
On lunch time, Mr. Barrow called his closest associates to join him for lunch. The visitors couldn’t join him since their names were not mentioned when Barrow made the announcement for lunch. They were also not given water and food throughout their visit to the new presidential villa.
Mr. Barrow returned to Banjul on Friday after ending his two weeks vacation. Mr. Barrow is expected to leave Banjul during the weekend for Belgium, where he is expected to take part in a donor’s funding conference.
WRITTEN BY A STAFF WRITER
From: Freedom Newspaper