Public opinion seems to be divided online over Barrow’s decision to appoint as Ambassador to South Africa, the erstwhile Speaker of The Gambia’s National Assembly, Abdoulie Bojang. The protest in the opposing camp is anchored on the fact that Abdoulie Bojang presided over sessions that extended the life of the legislature and the subsequent declaration of the unconstitutional state of emergency.
Thus, the argument is that he aided and abetted the decision to extend the unconstitutional stay in office of the disgraced head of state. The view that Bojang had no choice as the referee of the game but to uphold the majority vote was also viewed as no excuse since he also had the chance to resign in strong protest against the APRC lawmakers’ decision.
Those who welcome the decision to appoint Bojang as Gambia’s chief diplomat to South Africa see it as a critical step. Personally, I support the later view for many reasons, but will state just two. It is a step towards governance based on inclusiveness and national healing.
Appointing a man who was the second most senior citizen of the Jammeh era couldn’t have been a better pick. Handing him a Foreign Service portfolio will do a better job projecting the country’s image on the international arena. This will earn The Gambia a lot of credibility in terms of its commitment to political inclusion. Hitherto, this was far-fetch as Jammeh appoints his staff based on strong loyalty and party considerations. Above all, it shows the new governors’ commitment to a system of governance based on inclusiveness regardless of our backgrounds.
The call to national service should go beyond affiliations and other considerations because that’s healthy to our socio-economic development.
Secondly, this appointment is a milestone towards the process of healing a broken nation that was once not at peace with itself. I have read in some quarters that the appointment is a sign of bringing back the same system that Jammeh created.
I beg to differ with this viewpoint. What happened before was a dictatorship presided over by a man who used Gambians only for his personal gains. What’s happening now is the complete opposite. Prevailing now is a strong democracy where every Gambian is a player in the affairs of the country. I am confident that the now political consciousness and maturity of Gambians will never allow us to bring a system that will create another 22 years.
Bojang might have conspired to help Jammeh prolong his stay, but he was a humble, considerate and respectful public officer managing the affairs of the legislature. I believe this appointment would touch his heart and to redeem him that never again must he support a person against the collective interest of the nation.
In a nutshell, this decision will undoubtedly foster national cohesion, reconciliation and tolerance among Gambians.
Barrow needs to focus
Barrow and his government have to stay focused and not pay any attention to the unnecessary noise coming from the diaspora.
Even before Barrow took office, the first group of people he has always praised has been the diaspora Gambians for their unflinching support in ushering in a new Gambia.
But it appears these ‘unnecessary’ praises have sung into some heads… to a point that they believe they should – from thousand miles away – dictate the govt’s agenda, including a take on who should be appointed, and when and where.
Watching from the sidelines in the past weeks and months, I’ve seen so many saints. Saints who don’t see any interest – be it personal or sub-group – but Gambia as a nation. But, won’t you rather put your beliefs in a person who openly admits his fallibility as a human with tendency of unconscious bias than a person who pretends to be an infallible saint?
In campaigning against the Jammeh rule, I had an interest. Both national and personal. Nationally, I wanted to see an end to the culture of impunity that’d characterized Jammeh’s rule.
And personally, I wanted to be able to visit Gambia someday, not to get a job, but to visit my mom, who on the night of my departure for exile, shed tears uncontrollably out of worry that she might not set eyes on me again.
So if I claim that all I saw was Gambia and only Gambia during the struggle to see Jammeh out, I should be unbelievable. Only that my personal interest wasn’t to see a dad, uncle, brother, myself, or a particular sub-group that I may be part of, profit from a political favor.
We’ve the new Gambia we’ve always longed for, and unless Barrow breaks it with a Jammeh-style impunity, we don’t and shouldn’t have a reason to fix anything. Unless if you’ve your own unfulfilled agenda.