By Musa Bah
I have repeatedly written about these things, but I will not tire of doing so until I see tangible steps. For twenty two long years we waited to offer our little advice in the way we are governed and did not have the opportunity. Thus you can understand the zeal and enthusiasm some of us feel to have the right, ability, and courage to put pen on paper and give our unsolicited advice and suggestion. So bear with us!
When on December 1 2016, the results showed that you had been elected into office, we were overjoyed. We were full of hope. We were full of enthusiasm and thought: Here comes the chance for us to make rapid progress and be counted among the comity of nations! We prayed, sang, hoped and cried out of overflowing exuberance. Alas! Some people are beginning to lose that glimmer of hope.
Firstly, let me start with the issue of the Vice President. You appointed the good lady Madam Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang and concerns were raised over her being over aged according to the Constitution. True to your nature of being a democrat, you rescinded the decision and appointed her as minister for Women’s Affairs and overseer of the Vice Presidency. This in itself was wrong because the vice presidency, being higher than the minister, it is hardly possible for her to oversee that position. But we bore it as we had seen that at least you are listening to the voices of the people. But then, on the 25th of June when you addressed the religious elders, you referred to her as ‘my vice president’. This is somehow reneging on your own word.
The youth need jobs. We expected to have a plan to solve the unemployment problem. The youth need jobs to sustain themselves and feed their families. We expected that by now there would be a development blueprint which will map out ways of giving them jobs. We are waiting for this development blueprint, Mr President.
Then comes the issue of the Constitutional review – and this is somehow pertinent to the issue of the vice president – one would have thought that by now the Constitutional review would be in high gear and underway. But things are quiet. Or is it that something is happening that we do not know about? What is the problem? Why aren’t we hearing anything about that?
Then comes the issue of term limits. We want to hear a clear and unequivocal pronouncement on the issue of term limits. This is important because we know that many a time in Africa, leaders have been known to ‘wakh wakheet’ on this issue.
There was talk since the time of the campaign and even later, of a Think Tank. We waited eagerly for this, thinking that that is how we are going to get the ideas to transform Gambia into a modern, advanced and democratic country. When therefore we heard the announcement that it will start or will be launched on a particular Monday, we were elated. That Monday has come and gone; meanwhile, we are yet to see anything Think- Tank.
I think one of the things that should be addressed with utmost urgency is the issue of Constitutional reform. Every other thing will gradually fall into place if that problem is addressed. It is the substratum of all actions of the government and the citizens. Please, do something about that!
Have a good day Mr President.