The people deserve respect and to be told nothing except the truth, were the words of the Democrat (President Adama Barrow) whose presidency is leading a transition to full blown Democracy and democratic rule in the Gambia. It will be recalled that during his Media Engagement at the Banjul International Airport from the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York, President Barrow had clarified the issues of a group of Gambians who had demonstrated against his government, whom he described as Gambian UDP. This reference did not go down well with the Secretary General and Party Leader of UDP and consequently reacted to President Barrow, a reaction currently circulating in both conventional as well as social media platforms.
However, one thing which remains crystal clear in the reactions of the UDP Leader and Secretary General’s comments is the fact that President Barrow was once an Executive Member who had substantial knowledge of the Modus Operandi of the UDP. Having heard this from the party leader himself about President Barrow and UDP by any measure of reason, provides substantial ground to qualify President Barrow to be able to say something substantive in and about UDP including and not limited to what he had said about the UDP demonstrators at the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York, the 3 Years Jotna Group of both 2019 and 2020, as well as the one purportedly said to be in the making for 11th November, 2022. Besides, the Gambia is relatively a very small country in terms of numbers where everybody tends to know anybody. To this effect, one can safely conclude that the partisanship of almost all the ring leaders in these Anti-government organizations remains an open secret and here in is laid the truth of what President Barrow had said.
His Excellency, the president of the Republic reiterated the need to inform the Gambian people once again, that they were well represented at this year’s UN General Assembly Meeting, held in New York in the United States of America. That he is also happy to report that the Gambian Team had the recognition of their peers in the Conference and had commanded the respect of the American Government and other World Leaders. His team received a special invitation of President Biden in closed door meetings with other highly respected African Heads of State and held important sideline meetings with the Heads of important Global Bodies on behalf of the Gambian People and in the interest of our dear motherland.
Much as the resolute stand, determination and commitment of the Barrow Administration is, to move the development agenda of this country forward, we are also fully aware that in a democratic environment, there are bound to be dissenting voices even if we were to pave the roads with silver or diamond, such voices will continue to be so. Typical in this regard is to compare the achievements of the Gambia in road construction for the combined period of the first and second Republics amounting 800 km of tar whereas Barrow at the end of his first five-year term is rated 600 km, most of which have already been completed while some are ongoing. It is for this and related reasons that the people deserve respect to be told the truth.
In the light of this clarification, President Barrow has taken yet another opportunity once more to assure progressive Gambians across the political divide, that contrary to divisive tactics, ill-conceived maneuvers and the endless string of disinformation being spread by some opposition leaders, the Gambia is regarded today as one of the most democratic countries in Africa by the international community. This is evident by the presence of international systems and the unprecedented proliferation of civil society organizations (CSOs) currently in the Gambia with clearly expressed willingness and desire to work with, under or alongside the current dispensation.
Although we are a very small country with a poor natural resource base and very limited economic opportunities compared to almost every other country in Africa, despite this, the NPP led government wants to assure the Gambian public once more that they have elected an honest and efficient government to power, and that is why this country now occupies the biggest spot in the international community than it ever had. The unfortunate incidence of deaths involving people mostly at the family level or associated social relationship of a kind in the recent past, shall soon be a thing of the past as the security forces are being put on high alert for this task. In addition, a lot of Peace Building endeavour and strategy by critical partners shall soon be roll out with their resultant benefits to society.
The UDP Leader and Secretary General in the said reaction and on a number of issues such as youth unemployment, seemingly appeared to have gone on leave elsewhere away from the Gambia that might have been responsible of him not knowing and not appreciating all the focus that the Barrow administration is giving to the youth sector. Are you not aware Mr Party leader, of all the recent expansions and new creations being done at the University of the Gambia and its satellite institutions? UDP’s Secretary General, didn’t you hear about the new policy direction and targets of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology for the production of Home-grown engineers and Skills acquisition from regionally specialized TVET Centres across the country? Honourable Secretary General and Party Leader of UDP, where were you when the Young Scorpions were doing what they did, or do you think that these achievements had only fallen from the sky or had come from nowhere? A N M Ousainou Darboe, when did you last visit your native region of CRR, not to have seen or appreciate the trunk road from Lameng Koto to Pasamas or the numerous Bridges across the country? Secretary General and Party Leader of UDP, don’t you know that all these are positively impacting on the good lives of the Gambian People and for this reason, they value them so much?
Having realized that the Secretary General and Leader of UDP does not or could not appreciate these National Development Giants, I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the Respectable Members of the media to inform the Honourable Party Leader of UDP that this year, a major United Nations Report ranked the Gambia 3rd HAPPIEST, MOST PEACEFUL AND SAFEST COUNTRY in Africa, after Mauritius and Ghana and this achievement needs to be safeguarded and celebrated. It might be necessary to show amazement that in 30 years, the UDP leader had never publicly appreciated the good achievements of the health facilities of the previous regime until now, which he described as death traps. Respectable Members of the media, could you again kindly remind the Honourable Secretary General and Party Leader of UDP that his UTTERANCE TO DESTABILIZE this country is as fresh in the minds of his own party supporters, as it is in the minds of the rest of the citizenry and all residents of the Gambia. I want to let the said UDP’s leader to know that President Barrow and his entire party and government are Democrats who do not know any alternative to Democracy such as MacChavellians do. However, to the extent of the truth in this assertion is also our believe in our collective commitment to the Defence of our sovereignty and Constitutional obligation, for which the President as well as cabinet took oath.
If the negative news the detractors are spreading about the government of the Gambia in the news media on a daily basis is true, it would have been crystal clear that our international development partners would not have so much confidence in our governance system.
The Gambia is a resource disadvantaged country compared to its many other neighbours with vast mineral and natural resources but we are striving hard and taking our pride of place in the global community. Yes, the Gambia has challenges but these are not of our making. These are the problems of the world now impacting on us because we are part of the interconnected world. The important thing however is that we are not relenting as a government until we are able to create the enabling political and socio-economic environment in which every Gambian shall realize his or her fullest potentials.
The Gambia has achieved a lot under President Adama Barrow that we can all be proud of in all spheres of life. We should not allow a few disgruntled elements in our midst to turn us into a sad nation when, the rest of the world envy us for our national unity, peace and happiness. In the global political dialogue now, considerations for national peace, happiness and safety are taking over economic and financial indicators in the conversation about progress and wellbeing. We are already ahead of many countries in that. We are in the front seat in this on the world stage and Government is trying all it could to ensure that we remain on that trajectory.
In conclusion, the NPP Government and its Allied Partners wish to assure Gambians that you have elected a highly committed government in power which is comprised of your own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, niece and nephews, who are manning the positions and require your continuous support and confidence to take this country to the next level. God has given us a great country but now more than ever, in these times of global difficulties, we should come together as one people to confront our challenges with the strength of unity and courage. As Dr, Kwame Nkrumma ever told Ghanians – ‘a planted seed takes time to germinate before sprouting into the glorious foliage which finally becomes visible”. May I finally remind the Secretary General and Party Leader of UDP that apart from crystalizing the truth on anti-government demonstration led UDP members to which he responded vehemently, President Barrow had also opened an avenue for collaboration and partnership and I am surprised that the Honourable Party Leader and Secretary of UDP only provided zero response to this invitation. Needless to mention that no one will drop from the sky to take this country to where it should and for this reason, President Barrow has opened his arms with absolute readiness to embrace anyone be it an individual, a group or a party including UDP in the spirit of National Reconciliation and Sustainable National Development. As religious believers in Islam and Christianity, let us unite and work hard and put all our trust in the Creator of the Universe, who alone has the power to salvage us from the current undesirable Global Trends and this in my view, is the truth that the People in respect deserved to be told.