By Omar Bah
The African Union (AU) team of multi- disciplinary experts, who were in Banjul on a fact-finding mission, has expressed satisfaction over government’s commitment in healing the nation.
The team had come to find out how the AU can assist the country to confront its challenges on peace and security among other relevant areas.
The team which comprises business, security, gender and economic experts Friday completed their engagement with Government authorities and other stakeholders to map out ways on how best they can guide the country in these trying times.
“The AU mission is very convince that this government is committed towards building a better Gambia that the all world will be proud of, but they will need patient from Gambians because the task is difficult,” said Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, AU Crisis Management & Post-Conflict Reconstruction Division.
He said the mission was quite privilege that they meet all the critical players in all the priority sectors and they have given them a clear picture of what is on the ground.
“I think on behalf of the African Union one of the key messages that we will really like to pass on to the people of the Gambia is that this government is committed to healing and moving the nation forward and the AU is ready to stand by them,” he said.
He said the government has identified security not only physical security but social security, electricity and direct financial support as their main immediate priorities.
“During our engagements we have also come to realise that a lot of the issues that require attention will take time. So we want to call on the people to exercise patience with the new government,” he added.
He said the mission is in no doubt that the government is fully committed to ensure that no stone is left unturned in getting the economy back on track and to deal with lots of other outstanding issues.
“Reconciliation we all know will take time because is a very difficult process but the alternative to it is something that no one will want to contemplate. It is also important to note that for the country to heal it requires a lot of resources of both finance and human capital which cannot come over night,” he said.
“Whiles it may be difficult for the average Gambian to understand or appreciate what the government talk about being patient, but the indication is that the country is moving in the right direction and that for us is extremely important,” he added.
He said the AU is committed to working with Gambia’s other international partners, most notable the ECOWAS, UN and EU to ensure that their support to the Gambia government is delivered in a well coordinated fashion in order to ensure that they maximise the impact of the support they are providing.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of our assessment and when we get to Addis Ababa we are going to report to the Peace and Security Council of the AU and our report subsequent to that will be made available to the government of the Gambia,” he stressed.
He said their objective on the document will be to come with a clear roadmap on how to support the reconciliation efforts, “Defence and security and revitalisation of the economy will be key on the agenda.”