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Barrow preaches peace @58 independence anniversary celebrations

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By Tabora Bojang

In his 58th Independence anniversary speech, President Adama Barrow urged Gambians to demonstrate the true meaning of why Gambia is called the Smiling Coast of West Africa and a democratic nation of peace, especially during the forthcoming local government elections.

Addressing the 58th independence parade at the McCarthy Square on Saturday, President Barrow said his government is determined to unite the people to work together for peace and development and leave behind durable achievements.

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“Our governance approach and development initiatives illustrate our commitment to democracy and how we have successfully used it as a development model,” he added.

Commenting on this year’s independence anniversary on the theme, ‘Democracy – A Recipe for Peace and Development’, President Barrow said democracy allows “us to consult, dialogue, negotiate, compromise and accommodate dissent. It is a system that rejects injustice, inequality, suppression, dictatorship and autocracy. In addition, it promotes rights, freedoms, procedures, and regulations.”

In The Gambia, he added, as democrats, “we maintain the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law, with due regard accorded to our diversity”.

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“My government is duly committed to good governance entrenched in the principles of democracy. We believe in democracy for peace and development, as well as democracy for self-determination, economic growth and protection of human dignity. In brief, we believe in inclusive democracy for inclusive development and stability,” he stated.

Military coups

President Barrow also criticised the rising military coups in Africa, saying citizens must rise against the horrors of wars, conflicts, and unrest, beginning with the gallant citizens in uniform.

“We have noted that, in recent years, the elite in African armies have stayed away from unconstitutional actions. This should now filter down to all ranks within every army on the continent. As we did in 2016, there are legal, democratic, and constitutional ways of removing unpopular governments; so, there is no wisdom in choosing paths that lead to unrest and destruction,” he added.

He also condemned recent reports of armed robbery, stabbing and unfamiliar brutal acts of cowardice in society that threatens national security and called on the general public to step up neighbourhood watch networks and be more vigilant. He thanked the security services, school children and all organisations and individuals who turned up to make the event a success.

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