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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Perception is important in politics

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 By Musa Bah

There is a lot of talk in town, and on social media on the issue of the distribution of key positions in your government. Some people are of the view that certain ethnic groups are being favoured while others are marginalized. I do not necessarily share this view because, for me, it’s more a question of demographics than intentional nepotism.

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I have written before that those who have some idea of probability in math will know that because of our demography, it is likely that certain ethnic groups may appear to be the favoured ones when it comes to government employment, particularly in the key positions.


This is actually not difficult to fathom; but, as you know our nation still has a long way to go in educating the majority of our populace, there is a large percentage of Gambians who are uneducated. These people depend on secondary opinions to form their view on our body polity.


The truth is that, in the Gambia, our demography is such that no single ethnic group can singly sway the direction of politics. We need each other, depend on each other, work with each other, and do everything together in order to achieve our goals.


This was clearly demonstrated during the struggle to defenestrate the former president. We came together as Gambians, not on any lines of division, but Gambians and worked assiduously to claim our country back.

Now that that battle is over, and it is time to share the national cake, the ugly head of division has started raising its head in many forms.


We see people raising concerns that their ethnic group is marginalized, others say that the replacing of some heads of parastatals is biased, others see that the rehiring of people illegally dismissed by the former government is biased, and all sorts of divisions. Some appear genuine, while many are simply perceived.


The truth is Mr President, we need to make it known to our people that being appointed to government position is not a means of making money or honour, or favour. Rather, the appointment is a call to serve your country and contribute your quota to national development.


So long as we don’t see work as an opportunity to serve, rather than make money, our development will be snailslow.

Mr President… from henceforth, we must promote our commonalities rather than ficus on our differences. No nation can develop who sees its people as segments and groupings. That has to be imprinted in the Gambian psyche to ensure that our unity is maintained and preserved.


In fact, the idea of counting the number of different ethnic groups in primary, junior and senior secondary schools has to stop. It might have had its uses but those are outdated and counterproductive. These only promote our differences rather than our similarities.


I think we need a communication roadmap which will look into these issues and then effective methods should be used to disseminate the views of the Government – which by the way should be equality before the law – to the people. This roadmap should produce a concept which is as inclusive as possible, not leaving out anyone or any group; rather, it should only show one nation, one people, and one Gambia.


This should be sold to the Gambian people as a whole who should also take ownership of the concept. That is how we will be reunited!


Have a good day Mr president.

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