Arguably, the most important achievement in President Barrow’s first 100 days in office are the restoration of freedom, ending of oppression, wanton arrest, torture and murder of Gambians. Our prison system is decongested with the pardoning and release of hundreds of prisoners. These are monumental accomplishments given what we have endured for 22 years under dictator Jammeh.
Barrow did not benefit from normal transition and has inherited fiscally deficient system with dictatorship-sustaining structures.
However, the little or no progress registered in other vital areas so far such as energy, cost of living and youth employment also points to lack of governing preparation on the part of the Coalition government. NAWEC, for example, is at its lowest productivity level in years, if ever and prices for basic commodities remain high.
We have seen the ominous sign of this non-preparation during the impasse when the then President-elect Barrow was busy taking photos with daily stream of visitors and the Coalition members relishing the surprised election victory.
No major activity was taking place (to the extent we could believe or see) such as forming the cabinet or drawing up of the comprehensive blueprint that would set the stage and guide the new government. Nothing is heard about the Agency for Sustainable Socioeconomic Development (ASSED) since it was announced sometime in late December or early January.
Now that elections are behind us, we hope the Barrow Administration will, as a matter of urgency, outline plans that will put practical steps in motion to tackle, reverse or mitigate some of the problems faced by Gambians back home. Our government needs to open up more and share its limitations or constraints with citizens on key sectors for collaborative assistance.
Although our expectations are still high with eroding patience, the last thing our new government needs is a disenchanted citizenry or frustrated youth population.
Looking forward to more positive strides in the next 100 days with grades of A+ or B.
Zakaria Kemo Conteh
A busy couple of years for UK politics
Theresa May announces a snap general election for June the 8th. Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”
I cannot think of peace time politics stranger than this.
Anyway, anytime a leader goes to the people for a vote, there are risks, as David Cameron learned to his peril when he lost the vote on the EU just over a year after winning re-election. Former Gambian ruler Yaya Jammeh can bitterly relate to this as well.
However, bookmakers consider May’s Conservatives strong favorites to win. Opinion polls released last weekend showed the Conservatives with a double-digit lead over the opposition Labour Party, which has been weakened by a split between moderates and left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Obviously, Theresa May shows a political opportunity for the Conservatives party to win an absolute majority in the parliament against the very ineffective opposition parties.
Realistically, this is clearly about crushing any opposition to hard BrExit in the parliament in the event there is a failure of agreement with the EU when it comes to free trade and free movement of people.
Now it’s a matter of choosing between Theresa May’s Britain and Jeremy Corbyn’s Britain. Very frustrating times particularly for labour voters who are caught between an unelectable leader and the realities of withdrawing from the EU.