By Musa Bah
The daily newspapers yesterday quoted you as saying that five years is not enough for you to complete your reform agenda. While this might be true as you put it due to the poor state of the economy you inherited, it is important to state that you and indeed all Gambians knew or should have known that the state of the economy is not good before you came into office. There is not even one Gambia who didn’t know that the former president, Yahya Jammeh and his government were embezzling funds and carting away with our little resources.
During the campaign to get yourself into office, you made a lot of promises to put in place a comprehensive reform agenda which will put the country on a firm democratic footing. You promised to review the constitution and introduce term limits and so many other lofty promises. At one time, you promised to stick to the agreement with which you came into office. You said that even if it had to be the five years mandated by the constitution, you will go back to the people and consult them. Now, these statements coming from you that ‘it’s left to the people’, five years is not enough’ and so on have shaken the trust that many had in you.
Granted, everyone knows that five years is not enough for a president to do all that s/he wants to do; but the point is that no president can do it all. The work of government never ends. A president will do his/her part and go and another one will come and do his part. That is how it will continue till end of time. Presidents come and go but the nation remains.
In fact, my shallow understanding was that yours was to be a transitional government. It was not for you and your government to come and bring in any major developmental strides. What your role would have – should have – been was to come and level the playing field by reviewing the constitution, building the institutions and making it a nation based on institutions rather than on individual decisions. You were to bring in electoral reforms which will enable all Gambians to exercise their franchise without any difficulties. This would have been enough achievement for you.
If by these statements you want to hint that you want to stay for long, let me inform you that Gambians will really be disappointed if after twenty-two years of a dictatorship, our new president wants to cling onto power. So, the advice is that you should focus on the reforms and leave the rest to the next president to deal with.
So far, Mr President, you have conducted yourself honourably and have not shown any autocratic tendencies. We want you to remain so and ensure that when you leave office – be that after three or five years – your reputation and honour would still be intact.
Have a good day Mr President.