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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Gambia at 58; what are our expectations going to be 60?

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By Mamsait Ceesay

The Gambia, referred to as the Smiling Coast of Africa, has come a long way and now inches close to the end of a working era called the ‘retirement age’.

If Gambia were to be a person, it should at this point be prepared to take a heavy break from the toils and sweats of the past years.

That persona of Gambia should be prepared to enjoy the fruits of all the labour it has endured over the youthful years. The Gambia ought to be prepared for a period of rest.

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But can the country take a rest? If it has to, what kind of rest would it be taking? Rest from what?

 Realistically, Gambia, if it were human, would be retiring two years from now, but how will such a retirement take place when a whole lot of developmental issues remain outstanding?

Indiscipline stands tall in the numbering of the issues that confront our nation.

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One hallmark that helped our country to accelerate the pace of development was discipline, which was evident in the Civil Service and in the way teachers in the days would even deal strictly with children who were late to school.

This created some level of consciousness regarding the timeliness of events and the need to stay ahead of scheduled plans.

Besides, it also imbued children with a sense of purpose and an undiluted sense of patriotism for the national cause.

But today, the flame of national passion has died and even though the President lighted the symbolic flame recently with the appointment of a minister for the Civil Service that spearheaded national development, that symbolic gesture was probably a futile attempt to re-ignite a passion that no longer exists.

The focus on the national interest in all dealings has given place to selfish, personal, sectorial and political considerations that have placed what used to be national, and for the betterment of all, in grave danger.

Presently, it has become difficult for national issues to be considered without the use of the political lens.

Even issues that border on survival have been so politicised that ordinary persons who do not flow with the political aura find it hard accepting issues that may border on their own dealings and survival.

I believe that if The Gambia were to take its place as a leader within the comity of nations, then there is the need to crack the whip when it matters most.

Quite often, people have committed blunders that should have been punished either through the justice system or by those who matter.

But for most of the time, those who should take such actions turn a blind eye to these blunders and therefore those deserving punishment go unpunished.

When this happens, innocent ones who should have taken a cue from the administration of justice on the wrongdoers think they can also do same or worse and get away with it.

The nation cannot reach its desired end if the culture of impunity, political considerations, indiscipline and lack of respect for national values are treated in a contemptible manner.

Gambia has been Independent for 58 years, a mature age, which suggests that we must be doing a lot of the things for which we have been seeking external help for years.

The country has been blessed with water, crops and a very rich human resource which is the envy of many nations. What we need is good leadership, hard work and efficient management of our resources and we will cease going to other nations with cup in hand for freebies.

It is not enough to pray and wish the best for The Gambia but 58 years after our independence, we should be engaged in acts that would propel us forward rather than those that draw us back.

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