By Baaba Sillah mu Sabel
At this rate, even my great, great, great grand-children will be paying this debt after we are long gone. We need to face ourselves. Part of that process of self-engagement will include the broadening of our capacities, our hearts and minds so that we can accommodate each other without prejudice and without being too needlessly judgmental. This way, we learn and continue to learn from the facts of history. We need constantly to identify those aspects of our dark sides.
That Anima in us that is deeply recessed in our subconscious feeding those negative urges that are lacking in charity, that are intolerant to difference and the tendency towards fearing the other. Above all, we need to strengthen the education system so that it is more attuned with our economic realities. It must be looked at holistically, not piecemeal and not in a cock-eyed manner. We must examine and rectify the deficiencies within them, from pre-school all the way to higher education.
We need to build capacities within our public institutions and find ways in which we can limit the usurpation of all the powers within them by the C E O. The CEO by the way is not the institution and the institution is not synonymous with the CEO. All managers, I presume, would have learnt that delegation is a cardinal principle of management.
The municipalities should remember that their primary role is community development. This is why they must dialogue with people in the municipalities, respond to their needs and work with them closely at all levels of the planning and implementation processes so that, the revenues they raise must be used prudently and transparently by opening their books for public scrutiny.
On another note, I am encouraged by the African free trade zone agreements conference in Ruanda. I am encouraged even more so that Mr Barrow is attending. The salvation of Africa lies within Africa herself but I am deeply troubled about the current hysteria about Senegal. Jammeh has left but his familiar, violent, emotional outbursts and temper tantrums about Senegal has rubbed off even at the most unsuspecting quarters.
Africa must go beyond free-trade agreements and veer towards realignment of our economies, find solutions for our energy needs so that we can industrialise. Does it not surprise you that we can, all by ourselves find and fulfill the energy needs of our continent? Renewable energy sources are infinite. Why do we not as Africans put this up as our top priority even at the regional level to begin with? Even the very basic domestic needs of electricity have not been satiated since 1977. Why can we not work this out with Senegal so that we do not continue to produce it inefficiently? Is it our ego that is making us prevaricate? This will be a necessary first step towards complimentary. We can complement each other’s strengths and work on our weaknesses in order to turn them into strengths and opportunities. Africa must open her artificial borders and allow for the movement of goods, people and services.
For the Gambian population, I am going to ask here a few pertinent questions on their behalf and I demand an answer. The Gambians deserve this! Are the local government elections a dress rehearsal for the general elections to come? If yes, has the coalition’s promise of initial three years tenure in office going to be honoured? If no, is this a case of the coalition reneging on the promise they had made to go to the nation after three years? The people deserve to be treated with respect and not left hanging on a string. Sincerity honesty and courtesy are important virtues that holders of public office must revere and cherish even if it is for the office’s sake.
I hope that it will soon dawn on us that; we are all the children of Adam; we are endowed with multiple identities, some of them shift while others remain; we all belong to a race, a gender, have different experiences, belong to a particular language grouping, a caste perhaps, belong to a religion etc. May be soon, we will come to the realisation that people may make different choices in their lives; will have differences and hold differing political and ideological stances. This does not make them enemies!
The Gambia will continue to be every body’s anchor, haven and heartland where we strive to work and pray so that we will all live in unity, freedom and peace each day. Let us, let us. Let justice guide our actions towards the common good ….
Please keep tribalism out of our politics and maintain and stay committed to the ideals of the ideological stand you have taken and prepare to act to make a change. That is what will take us forward into the twenty first century and not take us back into the divisive old and bad ways and daunting mazes of ethnic and ‘tribal’ politics.
What has become of our cross ethnic jokes; our cross surname jokes, Serers versus Peuls and the enduring ice-breakers within our traditions that build instant trust and friendship with each other? What has happened to our humour?