By Musa Bah
It’s been nine months since you took office. You inherited a broken economy, a traumatized people, an angry population and a corrupt and damaged public service. I, for one, do not envy you! You were – and still are – supposed to fix all of the above, purportedly in three/five years. Of course, every reasonable person knows that this will not be easy, that you can’t raise a magic wand and solve the problems; but equally, every reasonable Gambian expected that it will have to be done through a systematic and concerted effort.
When faced with complex problems, people usually should attack the problem systematically. This means there should be laid down plans and guidelines following which will gradually ease the difficulties. In this way, we will remove/solve the most difficult ones and gradually change them for the better. The beauty of that would have been that it would not be left in the hands of few (government functionaries), but everyone in the country will take part and take ownership of the development.
But, Mr President, after nine months, we still have no blueprint or roadmap. We are groping in the dark, as it were. The announcement of certain multi-million dollar projects every now and then is great, but just won’t cut it, Mr President. This is not how we should solve the perennial problems the former regime caused. The youth feel marginalized, NAWEC is worse than it ever was, cost of living has not improved etc.
Mr President, your Coalition government promised during the campaign that you are going to make youths a priority (this would have been the right thing to do), but with the youth having a 0.48 slice of the budget, I doubt anyone will see youth as being made a priority. The youth are the backbone of the country, and indeed every country. If they are given the necessary support, the country will be transformed shortly. We have an opportunity in the enthusiasm of the youth and their willingness to work for a better tomorrow. This is evinced by the fact that they will even risk their lives in the Mediterranean Sea.
The empowerment of women, in my opinion, has ever remained a haphazard attempt to window dress from the time of first republic, the second and now your government. Appointing a few women ministers and a few other key positions is not enough. For me, the women who are in the trade sector, who are working every day for a living, who risk their lives for the survival of their kids, the Njenda Njaays’ are the ones who should be empowered. Give them the support they need and we will observe a massive transformation. With that, in the near future, we will have more women in the top jobs because they will even be more competent than the ‘men’.
Pay particular attention to the youth and women! Let us have a BLUEPRINT Mr President.
Have a good day Mr President.