There is no gainsaying the fact that your victory was more widely greeted and received than any other in the annals of history. Perhaps this was due to the fact that for twenty two years the Gambia lived under a brutal and tyrannical dictatorship which robbed us of lives, economy, honour, respect and recognition. Many a Gambian lost hope in the future of our country. Then we went to the polls and Lo and behold! Gambians mustered the courage to go out and exercise their franchise, making our voices heard loud and clear. We defenestrated the dictator and voted for you to be our new Chief Servant. Our hopes were rekindled and we entered a new dispensation of democracy and good governance. Or so we thought!
Mr President, no one is a stauncher supporter of your government than I am. I had longed to see the back of Yahya Jammeh who stifled our voices and did not allow anyone to express his or her opinion. Being a writer, nothing could be harder for me. So, here we are today, in a new [though nascent democracy] prepared to stand tall among the comity of nations once again. True to form and your good nature, you have shown us that with a little cooperation from citizens, you can make a great president. You have assured us of the right to express ourselves without fear of molestation. The media is now free and citizens are speaking out on a daily basis. Kudos!
You have appointed a good cabinet [at least I think so] and have made sure that the judiciary is independent. You have restored sanity to our civil service and things are picking up, at least in some areas. But there have also been some epic failures on your part. Perhaps this is to be expected, seeing that you don’t have any experience running a public office; but you must consult and communicate. We hope that these will be reversed and solutions sought. From henceforth, Mr President, consult widely before you embark on anything. You have a good team, as you kept repeating during the campaign period, men and women who are consummate politicians and technocrats. With advice and suggestions from these, you will not stumble at all.
Your failure to appoint a substantive Vice President, in my opinion, is your most serious failure. Everyone knows that the office of the VP is the second highest office in the land, and as such, it is unfathomable that you will be in office for more than four months without a Number Two. The idea that someone is overseeing that office is not enough. Roy du niroo piir! Appoint a vice president and complete your impressive cabinet. This is a matter of urgency.
Secondly, up until now, we have not heard or seen a development blueprint. This means that we are groping in the dark. It is like one going to a strange place without a map. This does not augur well for democracy. A few weeks ago, you told the BBC that the Development Blueprint will be out very soon, and two weeks and a lot of complaints later, we are still without one. This is being regarded in some quarters as ineptitude and an I-don’t-care-attitude on your part. Fix this mishap, Mr President.
There have been some security breaches in some parts of the country with citizens calling on you to show leadership and address the nation, but you responded with deafening silence. What is the reason for that? You magnanimously [if haphazardly] pardoned some prisoners, but this was done without proper consultation with the relevant authorities. The result is that we are told that the increase in crime rate is a direct consequence of that as it has been estimated that seventy-five percent of the current wave of crimes are being committed by people you pardoned. In the beginning of this write-up, I referred to you as our Chief Servant, which means that we are your employers. You do what we tell you to do. You don’t get to ignore us like Yahya Jammeh used to do! Address the nation and reassure us that you are on top of things.
The issue of NAWEC has been a perennial problem which we thought you will tackle with urgency. In the past week or so, the water and electricity company has struggled to provide these basic needs and failed – still failing – miserably. What are you going to do about it, or are you going to give us the silent treatment again? I hope not. We (the Gambian people) have given you all the tools you need to fix our problems. The laws allow you to seek help, sign contracts, invite investors, take loans, contract experts; anything, just to provide us with basic services. Take control of the situation and do something.
Mr President, remember that yours is a transitional government and you don’t have all the time to procrastinate…. Waatoo te je. Whatu amut. Waktu al. Wakhtu jegee. Get out there and work for our progress.
You promised to provide employment to the teeming youth population. These are now getting desperate and frustrated. Do something before it’s too late. A stitch in time saves nine!
Our rallying call was #GambiaHasDecided…. One is now tempted to ask: #HasBarrowDecided?
Have a good day Mr President.