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Sunday, July 21, 2024

The Gambia at a critical juncture

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By Touba Special Marrie

The current state of The Gambia’s civil security, economic stability, and political landscape is profoundly concerning. Recent developments necessitate a critical examination and a resolute stance on the affairs of our nation, which is teetering on the edge of political and socio-economic collapse.

To frame this discussion, we must ask ourselves:

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Are we committed as a nation to progress?

Are we, as citizens, dedicated to our collective welfare?

Are we serious about our developmental aspirations?

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Are we serous minded in our leadership efforts to uplift the poor and ensure inclusivity?

Affirmative responses to these questions are essential for envisioning a prosperous future for The Gambia. Conversely, any negative answer will fragment, debilitate, and ultimately devastate our nation.

First and foremost, the rumoured legislation proposing an increase in judges’ salaries, coupled with lucrative retirement benefits, is both pernicious and a blatant affront to the impoverished citizens of The Gambia. For salary increments to be perceived as equitable and driven by good intentions, they must prioritize and start with low-income earners such as farmers, teachers, nurses, and drivers. Elevating those already in privileged positions, such as judges, at the expense of the poor is indefensible and represents a nullification of ethical governance.

Additionally, there are troubling rumours that our National Assembly Members (NAMs) are contemplating a bill to augment their own wages, allowances, and other benefits. This proposed self-serving legislation is a stark contrast to the pressing needs of the Gambian populace. NAMs, entrusted with the responsibility of holding the government accountable and enacting legislation for the collective good, should be the last to entertain such an egregious act. Any bill of this nature, whether approved or not, constitutes a profound betrayal of public trust.

The Gambia has been transformed into a nation characterized by superficial entertainment rather than substantive information. Our country has recently become the most entertained and the least informed nation. Ladies and gentlemen, these are dangerous times. This alarming trend is a testament to the government’s failure to foster an informed citizenry capable of participating meaningfully in democratic processes. It is beyond argument that our government is crippled with all its advisers, its ministerial ranks decimated, and its reputation in tatters.

Despite nearly eight years in power, the current administration has demonstrated a concerning lack of progress. Instead of advancing, The Gambia’s affairs appear to be regressing. Persistent corruption scandals have eroded public trust in governmental institutions. The healthcare system is deteriorating, with hospitals and clinics inadequately equipped to meet the basic health needs of the population. The nation’s infrastructure, particularly its congested roads, is crumbling. Youth unemployment is rampant, leading to widespread disenfranchisement and increasing susceptibility to drug misuse, which has tragically claimed the lives of many young Gambians. Civil security threats loom large, as crime rates surge, and citizens feel increasingly unsafe in their communities.

This dire state of affairs has besieged a nation once hailed as a beacon of peace and stability in the region. It is as if there is no governing body at the helm, steering The Gambia aimlessly through a sea of crises.

In response, we must unite and transcend political differences to rescue our beloved Gambia. The time has come for the youth to mobilize, organize peaceful demonstrations, and vehemently oppose any legislation designed to siphon our scarce resources for the benefit of a privileged few. It is imperative that we hold our leaders accountable and demand transparent, ethical governance that prioritizes the needs of all Gambians, not just the elite.

Wake up, Gambia!

Rise up, Gambia!

As the government continues to fail the masses, we must take matters into our own hands and declare that enough is enough. This country belongs to all of us, not just the three arms of government. We must reclaim our nation and work collectively towards a future that is equitable, just, and prosperous for every Gambian.

Touba Marrie of Rutgers University, New Jersey, rhe USA.

A native of Foni Kandonku, data scientist and mathematician.  

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