By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow has urged Gambians to reject all forms of divisive politics as he presided over the 12th convocation ceremony of the University of The Gambia last Friday.
“As a law-abiding citizens, it is obligatory for all of us to reject divisive politics, and put the interest of The Gambia first. No citizen should allow our political or religious differences to corrupt our judgement, and derail the march to prosperity and a better and peaceful Gambia,” he said.
The president’s comments came weeks after his government’s clamp down on Three Years Jotna protesters calling on him to step down. The Barrow-administration also closed down two radio stations.
“In the quest to nurture and sustain peace in the New Gambia, we have adopted measures to strengthen the rule of law, social cohesion, respect for human rights, good governance, dialogue and mediation, justice, sustainable development and national reconciliation.
The Gambian leader said, “It is mandatory upon all peace-loving citizens to be civil and disciplined, and to exhibit peaceful dispositions both in their relationships with other citizens and the state.”
“I must remind you that, although government is expected to manage the affairs of the nation, without peace and stability, there cannot be any sustainable development. Sustaining peace is both a goal and a process of building a common vision for a united community,” he added.
Turning on to the convocation, Barrow said the UTG “since its inception, has been training and graduating Gambians, who have proceeded to contribute towards shaping the destiny of the country.”
The Gambian leader said his government is aware of the opportunities and strengths that must be harnessed to realise all its development goals and objectives, primarily as set out in the NDP.
“The government is committed to supporting and strengthening the UTG in order to augment their contribution towards establishing a viable and flourishing nation built on a new model of democracy and good governance. We will continue to support and strengthen the UTG, as well as other institutions of learning, in the areas of research, teaching and community service,” he added. To be patriotic, Barrow said, “citizens must have the spirit of nationalism and good citizenship, love their country, defend their country, sacrifice personal interests, where necessary, and contribute to the greater good.”
On the issues of human rights, good governance and transparency, Barrow said his government will continue to allow other institutions on human rights, such as the Office of the Ombudsman, the National Human Rights Commission, the labour unions, the courts and litigation offices to perform their duties according to their mandates.
“As a fundamental priority of my government, Gambians will increasingly enjoy the rights and freedom that enhance development across all spheres,” he added.