By Mustapha Darboe
A leading civil society activist and deputy executive director of Tango, Madi Jobarteh, has criticised a statement from Tourism minister Hamat Bah seeking to, as the activist put it, mystify the presidency of Adama Barrow, claiming it is “God’s will”.
At a civil society forum on Friday, Jobarteh said leadership is a social contract and not a divine gift, and argued that Gambians made Barrow president and not Allah.
During the recent presentation of 57 vehicles to National Assembly Members, Bah called on Gambians to support President Barrow claiming he was “given to us by God”.
“We need to graduate from that mentality. I heard Hamat Bah in the delivery of those vehicles to National Assembly Members saying that God removed Yahya Jammeh and God gave us Adama Barrow,” Jobarteh argued.
“God did not remove Yahya Jammeh and He did not give us Adama Barrow. We gave ourselves Adama Barrow and we drove out Yahya Jammeh. It is those kinds of messages, infusing culture and religion, which confuse our people to be subservient and weak and then allow dictatorship to rise again.”
The civil society forum which was organised by Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (Duga) and Coalition of Change Gambia (CCG) brought together prominent anti-Jammeh activists such as American Jeffrey Smith and Fatou Camara.
The interactive civil society gathering happened at the Paradise Suites Hotel and it gave activists the platform to critique the performances of the new government as it enters its ninth month.
The discussions at the forum centered on the way forward for The Gambia as the small nation emerge from two decades of dictatorship that has a huge impact of its governance institutions, especially those relating to rights protections.
Jobarteh also cautioned Barrow and his cabinet to deliver on their promises of a system change and not politicise the civil service.
“We know that Barrow’s government promise to do legal, constitutional and institutional reforms and for legal reforms, they promise within six months. But until now, those laws still remain,” he argued.
Adelaide Sosseh, a veteran educationist, argued that though the term New Gambia came to be famous as the defining term of the change, there is significant work to