On Monday, 18th November 2019, President Adama Barrow departed from the State House in Banjul to embark on the constitutionally mandated ‘Meet the People Tour’. During the coming twenty days or so, the president will hold forty-four meetings in different parts of the country.
During meetings of this nature, the president is expected to hear firsthand information from the people who elected him into office. This was exactly what the drafters of the constitution envisaged when it was made into law.
It is undoubtedly important for a leader to be in tune with the needs and aspirations of their people. That is why leaders are advised to put their ears to the ground. It’s clear that the best way to do that is to go out and meet the people, interact and dialogue with them in order to assess their needs and lay plans to solve their problems and serve them better.
Many citizens have put up the argument that considering this reason and others it would have been better if the tour was conducted during the first quarter of the year so that the farmers (who form a large majority in the country) could tell the president of their needs in preparation for the rainy season.
Farmers need seeds, fertilizer and other equipment so that they can have a good yield at the end of the farming season. So, touring the country at a time when they can reveal their difficulties and needs in anticipation of the season would have paid a lot of dividend for them and for the nation at large.
However, as it is said, better late than never. Now that the president has finally found time to go on his tour, citizens should make good use of the opportunity and talk to him about what matters to them most.
Equally, it is necessary that he and his entourage not spend the entire time politicking but rather listen to the needs and aspirations of the Gambian people.