By Omar Bah
Imam Baba Leigh of the Kanifing Estate Mosque, has urged Gambian Muslim and Christian leaders to immediately initiate a strong mediation between President Adama Barrow and former Vice President Ousainu Darboe to avoid any climate of uncertainty in December.
Imam Leigh who recently voiced his support for President Barrow to rule The Gambia for at least a decade said the mediation should include all political parties.
The Imam further said a strong and constructive dialogue headed by religious leaders and good citizens should take place between President Barrow and the UDP leader Mr Darboe.
“I believe the kind of a relation that continues to persist between President Barrow and Ousainu Darboe should not be watched by religious leaders and good people of this country. Politics is all about the selling of ideas and not enmity that can result to fights or throwing stones to each other,” he said in a Standard exclusive yesterday.
He said the relation between Mr Darboe and President Barrow which has not been fruitful for over a year now should not have reached the level it has “if religious leaders had intervene when the whole wrangling started”.
“I believe the fragile relationship between Darboe and President Barrow is a national concern that should be addressed immediately for the interest of national cohesion,” he added.
Imam Leigh said religious leaders should avoid being seen as siding with one political party to the detriment of another.
“As religious leaders people have great respect for us and we should not be seen allying with one political party to the detriment of another especially during difficult moments. We maybe political but we should not be partisan,” he said.
He called on Gambians to be genuine in the way they support their various political parties and avoid being sycophants and always put national interest as priority.
“My stand from day one is that our political leaders should engage in dialogue because the issue of numbers doesn’t matter; what matters here is quality because being minority doesn’t deny you your right as a citizen…They should sit and discuss and find a way out,” he added.
He called on the young to join various civil society organisations because most of those who were running Civil Society Organisations are gradually being taken by government, noting the importance of CSOs in holding government accountable to the people.
“I think the current government is doing all it can to put the country on the right footing and it is only correct that we give them our full support. What is important today for us to work together and build a country where the respect for human rights will be the order of the day,” he asserted.
He said the opposition should also remember that being in the opposition should not make one an enemy to the government, saying a good politician should be able to support government with ideas and suggestions that could effect a change.
Meanwhile, Imam Leigh also took time to condemn the recent caste clash in Koina. He said the issue of caste has no space in modern civilization.
“The Sarahule clan in its entirety doesn’t deserve that kind of negative coverage…They are very good people and one of the wisest people investing in all development sectors in this country. It is shameful that people from that clan are engaged in such an unacceptable undertaking,” he observed.