When President Adama Barrow last Monday admitted to West African leaders in the Nigerien capital, Niamey that his country’s march towards democracy and sustained stability hinges largely on the perpetuated presence of the sub-regional troops in The Gambia, many had thought the president’s action was not entirely out-of-place.
While some understandably hauled this administration over the coals for its ‘inability’ to deal with the conditions conducive to the perpetuation of the stay of the foreign troops on the country’s soil and others okaying it, it should be worth bearing in mind that Ecomig’s presence in our territorial confines could not be a durable fix to our national security concerns.
Indeed, considering the precariousness of our security situation, fragility of our democracy and the many hitherto unknown bloody, at times, fatal land and caste tensions in the country Ecomig’s protracted stay may not be enjoyed but must certainly be endured.
With no visible exhibition of lust for power, at least, for three or so years now after being highly-politicised by Jammeh, the threat to our national security may not come from the military. We are the threat to ourselves! The Gambia is now sadly and deeply fragmented on ethnic and political lines and now, even religion can threaten to drive a wedge between us as evinced in the public discourse on the absence of ‘secularism’ in the draft constitution.
Unless we see each other as Gambians and not Fulas or Balantas, government came to the realization that the plethora of land disputes, despondent citizens, makeshift security arrangements, inter alia, are conducive enough to create veritable hotbeds for insecurity, we had better braced up for many ignominious requests such as the one President Barrow made on Monday for foreign troops to assert the viability of our nation, at least, for now and in security term.
We need to embrace each other, see our diversity as strength, imbue in ourselves proud sense of patriotism, nurture work ethics, show respect to one another and for time, radiate love, unite purposes and indeed, all must be spurred on by a visionary leadership.
Leaders with mission and focus to make things happen for their people! By so doing, are we not creating a nation-state where there is limitless development and hope for the citizens and all those who may choose to reside with us here?
Ecomig is, indeed, not the answer. It is GAF. It always has been.