As I have previously stated in this column, the title “Honourable” conferred on NAMs comes with great expectation, and should be earned by holders through exemplary work and conduct. It is sad to say that NA’s vote rejecting government’s proposal to extend the state of public emergency shows how irresponsible some of our NAMs can be. The alarming Covid-19 statistics tell the whole story.
New Covid-19 cases recorded in June 2020 alone, were almost equal to the number of cases in the previous three months, that is, March, April and May 2020. As at mid-July, the trend is even playing out worse. Moreover, The Gambia’s infection mortality rate is around 5%, more than double the 2% rate for Senegal, which has over 8,000 cases. I hope NAMs know these facts. What Gambians expect, from them (all hands on deck), is constructive engagement to minimise the ravages of the pandemic. By choosing instead to become detached spectators, or, worse, positioning themselves as obstacles to achieve that goal, nay-sayyers have sadly demonstrated poor judgment rooted in a foolish sense of pride, and therefore need to be reminded/introduced tosome of the lyrics in Jimmy Cliff’s memorable song on the issue ‘Foolish pride will bring you emptiness; Foolish pride is only play and from a small mind; Foolish pride can bring you (a) stormy day; Foolish pride can lead your heart astray, suffer you, wake you up make you cry; selfishness is what you are thinking of, but its foolishness just to glorify, glorify self…….foolish, foolish, foolish pride’.It is so deep. I hope this is not the end of the story, because sincere people recognise that no person has perfect knowledge, and when they make mistakes, recognise and act on their error(s). Heedless NAMs should know that Gambians are watching, and waiting for an opportunity to either renew their confidence in NAMs or send them packing – that is the main point of responsive democracy. In the circumstances, I call upon media practitioners, opinion leaders, and influential Gambians, especially those who understand and believe in the credibility of Covid-19 science and statistical updates, to continually sensitise individuals around them, and lead by example.