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President urges leaders to preach peace ahead of election

By Omar Bah

President Adama Barrow has called on leaders temporal and spiritual to preach peace and stability ahead of the decisive December election.

The Gambian leader made the call while addressing Members of the National Assembly yesterday in his State of the Nation Address.

“As we prepare for the December presidential election, it rests on all categories of leaders and influential persons, especially those belonging to political parties, to preach peace and stability for another cycle of free, fair and transparent elections,” Barrow appealed.

He said the various presidential aspirants should allow Gambian citizens to vote for the candidates of their choice without pressure or hindrance.

“I ask the security personnel to be more vigilant than ever, and ensure that the rule of law prevails. It is a duty on everyone to fight the criminals in the country, and a collective responsibility to stop every form of injustice,” he said. President Barrow said while democracy guarantees voice and participation to each citizen, it does so with conditions.

“Universally, multiparty democracy, which our constitution seeks to uphold, is derived from legitimacy, as defined by the law; thus, the law must guide our actions. Unfortunately, we have noticed and experienced, in some instances, unjust and deliberate actions that are anti-democratic; yet they are committed in the name of democracy,” he added.

He further urged Gambians to engage in constructive dialogue and discharge their civic and social responsibilities diligently.

“While we individually have the freedom and right to define and express the concepts that inform our philosophies, we must be alive to other people’s ideas and the values that cut across social life, religious conviction and peaceful co-existence,” he said.

As human beings, he added, “It is contrary to good citizenship to disregard our sense of justice and act on impulse, grudge, hate, revenge, or engage in crime and other negative tendencies that undermine progress and development for the people”.

“In this context, we must appreciate the worth of every citizen, honour the labour of every worker and reward everyone in due measure. As Gambians, we must be sensitive to the pain, sorrows and desires of those around us, and work towards making life easy and comfortable for every one of us,” Barrow noted.

Addressing the challenges faced by the country, Barrow added, “requires unity, peace, stability and the desire and will to promote and defend the nation’s cause”.

He said his government has registered significant successes over the years.

“The national discourse on the country’s political evolution has been a significant source of divergence. The future is much brighter today because of the opportunities created from 2017 to date. Now, we can forge ahead with insightful lessons from the past and the present. I appeal to the people’s sense of civic responsibility, as genuine patriotic citizens to give the nation their utmost,” he said. He assured the lawmakers of his government’s continued commitment to respecting the country’s legal frameworks and operational arrangements.

In the State of the Nation Address, the president detailed the development accomplishments and challenges of all government ministries.  

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