By Lamin Cham
President Adama Barrow has said the country’s national day should be a moment to unite and deliberate on national issues, and not on partisan conflicts and interests.
Addressing the ceremony marking the Gambia’s 55th independence yesterday, the president added that having emerged from decades of under-development, slowed progress, retarded growth and dictatorship, the time has come for Gambians to reflect objectively and selflessly on what needs to be done differently for better results. “Thus, we should ask ourselves: What does putting the national interest first really imply? How can we work together to address all the development deficits that continue to affect every Gambian, directly or indirectly?” the president asked.
Mr Barrow said as the last independence anniversary of the decade, it is an opportunity for the country to turn a new leaf by beginning the next decade much better, with renewed patriotic zeal in the Third Republic.
“Let us demonstrate that we are capable of managing our affairs by accommodating our differences, celebrating our successes, providing feedback with discipline, and expressing our opinions with respect and dignity,” he said.
“Therefore, we must be aware of all divisive speeches, actions, sentiments and concepts that may lead to social divisions in our communities. Whilst ethnicity contributes significantly to our richly blended culture, and stands out as a diverse source of strength, if weaponised for selfish reasons, it has devastating consequences as it has plunged many nations into protracted unrest, destruction and great instability,” Mr Barrow stated.
He went on: “Party politics, which is often at the root of most deadly ethnic clashes, must not be based on ethnicity but instead politics should b driven by a sound vision, appropriate programmes and dedicated service in the best interest of one’s nation.
The electorate should affiliate with the party that represents the national interest, and ensure that we continue to live in peace and harmony in a cohesive, democratic society where our collective development aspirations can be fulfilled”.