Some days ago we faced a terrible storm and so many are still suffering from the aftermath of it. I was lucky enough to be staying in my daughter’s house in Tallinding. It is a big robust two-storey building and her apartment is on the ground floor. I woke up from the wind, the heavy rain and the thunder, but I got back to sleep again unaware of all the commotion this weather had caused. I was sleeping like a baby, which I think I had in common with President Barrow and the guys, because they don’t seem too concerned about what has happened to the Gambian citizens and their property.
My good friend, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, the leader of CA, Citizens’ Alliance, has been on his feet since he understood the terrible consequences of the storm. He has been traveling all over the country to see the damage and has created fundraising to try to help those who are suffering. Ten people died in the storm! That is 10 too much and it shouldn’t have happened. I don’t blame Barrow for the storm, but I do blame him for neglecting his people. He was elected to be the president for all the people of The Gambia, and not for himself and for what he can gain. I suppose he slept well in the State House, perhaps woke up for a while to turn his pillow so he could keep on snoozing on the colder side of it. I hope the storm didn’t bother him too much, but he has two wives so at least one of them could comfort him, pat his back and make him go back to sleep.
Today, I saw some photos, taken by a camera installed in a drone. The drone is able to reach where it is hard for us people to reach. It flies in the sky and can give us great information about the damage. So many houses are broken, roofs have been destroyed and the corrugate is everywhere except from where it should be. In CRR we have a lot of people whose homes have been destroyed and they are sheltering in a school. The things in their homes, which haven’t been damaged by rain and rubble, can easily be stolen as no one is there to watch over them. Opportunity makes the thief, as we all know. Imagine to be forced to stay in a place where you have no mattresses, no possibilities to cook for you and your family. You don’t have enough toilets for all these people and you are worried about your home and your belongings.
How will people be able to pay to repair for all the damage that has been done? Where is the help from those who have the funds? Are they so relieved that they haven’t suffered anything themselves so they have forgotten those who actually are paying their salaries? Ok, so President Barrow showed some little concern, telling that people are in his ”thoughts and prayers” as American politicians use to say in times of disaster. The president told that there will be an assessment of all the damage and what it will cost to repair and replace. All of us know, who has been in contact with the Gambian government for some reason, that they work slower than dead snails.
There are funds that can and must be used for this kind of help, but what about the urgent needs? The president finally left his comfort zone and traveled around in The Gambia, but not immediately as Dr Ismaila Ceesay did. No, it was better to stay in the State House, in a comfortable armchair in front of the AC and listen to the reports from people on the ground before he finally decided to go and see for himself. President Barrow is not a president for the whole Gambia, he is not a leader more than by his title. A leader is always in the forefront, a leader is always concerned about those he leads. He knows that he is nothing without them. A leader is humble, caring and always willing to leave his comfort zone to serve his people. Dr Ismaila Ceesay is a true leader. Those of you who have judged him as someone who believes he is above others are wrong.
Dr Ismaila Ceesay has dedicated his whole life for The Gambia and her people. He has studied hard, he has lectured, he has written articles and in so many ways been here for you all the time. He was the one who started the chain of demands for Yahya Jammeh to step down. With the risk of his and his family’s lives he wrote an open letter demanding that Jammeh should accept his fate and step down. Those of you who believe that you know how he is, what do you actually know? Yes, Dr Ismaila Ceesay is a highly educated man and is it not about time that we finally got that in the role of leader for the country? Haven’t we had enough ignorant people in leadership positions here already?
Most of our political parties in The Gambia are cults built on one person and one person only. What happens the day that person is not here anymore, if that person has died? A political party must have a strong manifesto which will survive no matter how many leaders it has seen. The largest political party in Sweden, the Social Democratic Party, is more than 100 years old. Obviously this party hasn’t had the same leader as when it was founded. The political manifesto for this party is strong enough to survive leader after leader, times of hardship and times of being questioned by so many. If you have a strong manifesto and a lot of people who believe in it and are prepared to work for the party , voluntarily or not, the party will survive and thrive.
Try to challenge yourself and find out what the different presidential candidates are promising you. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. People tend to have a short memory and that is what people like Adama Barrow is using. He has been waiting until the last minute to do some improvements of the country, because he knows that people already have forgotten the past. What president Barrow added to his ”thoughts and prayers ” speech was to tell people to take better care of their homes. Isn’t that like a kick in your stomach? Most people are struggling with surviving, too many can’t afford to buy their own homes.
A lot of people live in the same house, often there is only one of them who has an income and who must support all the others. There is no money left for good quality corrugate, new cement and everything you need to maintain your home. If you don’t even own it, you would of course not invest a lot of money in the building. President Barrow is Gambian and he should know all this. I am a toubab from Sweden but I seem to know more than this guy. Perhaps he should call me? I could give him some advice, I have a lot to say but I am not sure he will be able to stay awake the whole time.