By Celestine Kujabi
As we clock three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days after Gambians decided for a change in governance, it is the stitch in time to review and assess the outcome of our decisions and note, but a few critical and reasonable objections for the progress and prosperity of this country’s political posterity. Our expectations were high as we witness an unprecedented change in our political history. The internal problems coupled with serious international isolation for the past decades instigated the need for change which was made possible by the will of the people to realize this change.
Beyond reasonable doubt, it was supposed to be the change for better governance, progress and prosperity, but for many it was a change for interest, opportunity and redress. Indeed change came but without a fore-thought and fore- sight of the direction of the wind of change When some of us decided we did not only decide to replace one government with another but to institute and instill the values, discipline and virtues of democracy.
After decades of political blackout, darkness and ignorance, it is very important for those who value political progress and prosperity, to review and look into our political work plan and direction so as to prevent and avoid a repetition of our political past. For those who subscribe to the political progress and prosperity of our Be-loved Gambia, the prevention of a political slowdown, ignorance and darkness can and must always be avoided. This calls for truthful and effective communication and sensitization of Gambians, by all means possible, of their responsibilities before rights.
Therefore it is necessary to identify the expectations of a good percentage of the population so as to work towards the realization of the positive effects of the decision made by Gambians. As we ushered in a new government, there were expectations that the new Executive will appoint a Cabinet based on experience, merit and recommendations by the Public Service Commission. Many Gambians never expected a politically appointed Cabinet because of the disadvantages to such appointments which are now visible to all Gambians. Gambians expected to see a Cabinet of the people,, by the people’s confidence through the Public Service Commission, and certainly for the people because they will be appointed on merit and experience.
The Executive owes The Gambians the responsibility of washing their hands from Party politics and work for the interest of The Gambia and Gambians irrespective of creed, ethnicity or party, for all pay the taxes and none is exempted. By now most Gambians expected a Cabinet that is initiative, active and responding to the positive expectations of our diverse peoples. Cabinet members need to come up with viable proposal and projects to create employment, alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of the people. Gambians needed to realize a change in their day to day lives. We expect to hear and see from them otherwise it could be too little too late. For the young, the lessons learnt are the disadvantages of nepotism and favoritism.
Great were the expectations to unite Gambians as one people as it was the campaign slogan “One Gambia, One People” but is seems now Gambians are deeply divided on common interests and direction. The wind of change has come along with unexpected values of Party politics and individualism signaling the pursuit of personal interests and opportunism. Gambians never expected to be so soon divided by Party politics which has undermined the slogan “One Gambia, One People” barely two hundred (200) days after Gambians decided to change for the better.
When change was needed Gambians came together as one people to make change happen, therefore there is no way anyone, party or group of people can make change. We therefore expect the Coalition government to take it upon themselves to unite Gambians through reconciliation and allow party politics to rest for at least the three year term agreed on by Party s. At the dawn of the New Gambia, many expected the Coalition to either institute a National Political Council, of which they are members, responsible to advice the President on National issues, or find their way to the National Assembly by election or nomination and not to take up office as Members of Cabinet as they are aspirants to the Presidency. Taking up Cabinet positions is a step down the political ladder for any aspirant to the Presidency. It is not a good political move and is regrettable.
Expectations were a very neutral National Assembly dominated by independent or liberal minds that represent all Gambians without party affiliation. A genuine National Assembly must ensure the representation of the interest of all Gambians irrespective of their political affiliation, ethnicity or creed. We expected the nominated members to come from groups such as The Supreme Islamic Council, The Gambia Christian Council, The Gambia Federation for the Disabled, Youth Organization or Student’s Union and Women Federation.
This was supposed to be in line and conformity to the values, virtues and discipline of democracy. One of our greatest expectations was to see an immediate review of the constitution in consultation with the will of the people. We need to immediately revisit, review and reform some of those provisions that undermine the principle of Separation of Power and Rule of Law, because these were the provisions that allowed a lot of irregularities for the past decades. Our expectations are a total reform in the modus operandi of government and not to change or upgrade our capacity or that of the people of interest around us. We pay the taxes for all to be paid so those paid by the taxes are responsible for the progress and improvement of all; this is what qualifies Honor to be called Honorable. If there is a need to have a new Cabinet to achieve our noble expectations so be it. The Presidency, in conformity with the great expectations of the Gambian People, has been empowered by the Constitution to relieve anyone who is not living up to expectations and appoint action and not passion. The Presidency has nothing to answer for performance but has a lot to answer for human resources.
As we go beyond the year mark we demand improvements and immediate action to steer the country to socio-economic growth and development to recover all what was lost. We need to realize improvement in the living standards of average Gambians. There is no room for passive ideals or ideologies, we need actions to realize or achieve our positive objectives. We must not be allowed to regret our decisions by betraying our expectations. Let us stand together as we pledged “One Gambia, One People” and wash our hands clean off Party politics and work hard to gain more grounds and contend in international development as we have recorded our Gambia as a big contender in international politics when we made our decisions December 1st, 2016. Let us always be reminded of One Gambia and One inseparable People.