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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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On Barrow’s recent remarks

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By Alagie Saidy-Barrow

Over the past few days, I heard Bandam, Adama Barrow, make some incendiary and embarrassing remarks that do not sit well with me. And if anyone sees Gambia outside of a political box, or outside of a government job box, they should be equally concerned. I also came across the reaction of Dr Ismaila Ceesay to the president’s utterances and unfortunately, the good doctor was struggling to pour darkness over Gambians by claiming we didn’t hear what we heard and that it was all Kerr Fatou’s fault.

To recap, this is what Bandam Adama Barrow said in Mandinka: I’m telling members of the NPP that you shouldn’t have any reason to be afraid because you are the Mansas, you are the government, President Barrow cannot do all this by himself. Anyone who insults or troubles you and breaks the law, stand up strong and fight them because I am behind you!

I also heard Adama Barrow break the news that he is the president until 2026 and he is the president of all political leaders and anyone leading any organization. He said when these leaders have problems, they run to his police stations, and when they get sick, they run to his hospital, when they need any papers, they go to his government.

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That a president will tell his political party members to fight anyone who troubles them because he the president is behind them is inflammatory and dangerous. Let anyone else make that type of statement and our police will invite you for questioning. But so much for equality before the law! What makes me sad is that Adama Barrow seems to forget that he may be the president but the powers he relies on to defend his APRC/NPP do not belong to him! That power belongs to the people, at least on paper. That he thinks he owns the hospitals and police stations is just as dangerous and reminds me of Yahya Jammeh who also told us that Gambia belongs to him. That Yaya Jammeh is unwillingly languishing in a foreign land should have been a lesson for Adama Barrow!

Referring to a UDP bureau, Barrow said his NPP is not a Banabana party and that he saw the UDP bureau which is like a Narr boutique and will soon be occupied by a Narr. I grew up in Bundung, in an area called Bundung Mauritania. I grew up with people who were considered Narrs. I know two of them who served in our military. I wonder how they may feel knowing that our president looks down on Narr boutiques. I wonder how the Banabanas feel knowing our president looks down on them!

But before I offer my advice, I have to ask what happened to the pretentious National Dialogue? I ask because listening to my Bandam and reading Dr Ismaila Ceesay falsely accuse others of trying to create instability affirmed my suspicions that we had many mouths in the national dialogue but no hearts!

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But on to my free advice. Instead of Dr Ceesay trying to pour darkness over Gambians as if we are not intelligent enough to understand what we hear, he should have been busy drafting a strategic communication strategy for Barrow’s public engagements. This tour was announced a while back and I can guarantee you that they never thought about a communication strategy to guide Barrow on his public engagements. An effective leader should know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, where to say it, and to whom! But to be effective, one must surround yourself with competent leadership!

So, to all those responsible for speaking for the president, have a strategy, a plan. That way, our president may not be going around belittling others or encouraging his supporters to fight others because they have his support. He may not be going around telling us that he, Adama Barrow, builds 50 classrooms every week. If the president goes by a communication plan, he may not be going around telling people the police stations, hospitals and government belong to him. Essentially, he will be guided in what he says. Be proactive and reduce instances of having to react to save face or trying to pour darkness over us.

The communications team around Barrow will be doing themselves and Adama Barrow a huge favor by engaging in strategic communications. It will save you from so much spinning and it will save us some of the embarrassing statements Adama Barrow makes. Importantly, it will save the country from incendiary rhetoric from the president! I know my advice will not be heeded but just in case you want to consider it, let me know and I’ll help you out for free… You don’t have to give me anything from that 40 million you divided among your friends to help you with your messaging!

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