By Madi Jobarteh
April 6 is without doubt a major historic milestone in the life of the Gambia for both for the conduct of the election and its outcome. This election is directly connected with the decision Gambians made on December 1 when they voted out the APRC Tyranny led by Yaya Jammeh. April 6 is further linked with December 9 when Yaya Jammeh attempted to trample upon our verdict only to have Gambians stand firm and resolute to ensure that we install our new president on January 19. Hence what we have gone through on April 6 should be perceived within the wider context of transforming the Gambia from a dictatorship into a democracy.
In view of that, once again I urge Pres. Barrow to address Gambians after having experienced the most successful, free and fair elections in the country. This is the first time when we did not have Yaya Jammeh and APRC dominate GRTS, and illegally mobilize the entire state machinery for their election purposes. We did not have the Coalition also take advantage of their incumbency to flout the election rules either. Rather all players acted according to the rules of the game. For this reason and going into the future Barrow needs to speak to us immediately after this parliamentary election. As the head of state, his voice and opinion is necessary to validate the process.
We need to hear Barrow speak to us about the significance of this moment and further strengthen our resolve for a new democratic Gambia. We need him to call on our people to reconcile and unite as one nation. In the run-up to the elections, there was some physical and verbal rancour among our people and now that we went through the elections peacefully, it is important that the Chief Servant speak to us to bury the hatchet. Barrow needs to speak to all stakeholders in the political process to see each other as compatriots who are dedicated to the development of the Gambia.
Pres. Barrow should also address the nation to congratulate Gambians for this achievement once more and urge our citizens to unite and work together for the betterment of the country. As the chief executive, he needs to call on our people to rise up and actively participate in national affairs in order to ensure a democratic Gambia. We need Barrow to give us his vision and his expectations and how the people can support him achieve his objectives.
To our communities, Barrow needs to speak the language of patriotism, honesty and unity. He needs to offer consolation and encouragement to those who suffered in one way or the other during these campaigns and promise us that his government will not tolerate lawlessness but will hold anyone to account for breaching the peace and stability of the Gambia. There are several insidious rumours flying around to which Barrow needs to dispel and provide assurances. He needs to reiterate the positive remarks he made during his tour and among them further condemn tribalism.
Barrow needs to understand and appreciate the power of communication and utilize it to the maximum. A well-prepared national address on GRTS is necessary to put our people at ease yet energize and inspire them towards unity and hard work for our country. His advisors must urge him to seize the moment and engage the people.
Let the president realize that this election is, first and foremost in his own best interest more than anyone else in the Gambia. For the first time we have 7 sides in the parliament which can only ensure better governance for the country. Majority of the seats in the parliament were won by the parties that originally formed the Coalition. Hence the parliament as currently constituted is definitely in the best interest of Adama Barrow. He now has the necessary majority to pass through the reforms he needed. And for that matter alone Barrow needs to speak to Gambians to prepare us for the new dispensation unfolding right now.
Finally as a show of great leadership, let Barrow demonstrate the rare gesture of calling each of the party leaders individually to thank and congratulate them for their participation and success in the elections. This is even more than necessary given that he is a transitional leader who needs to heal a nation that has been traumatized and divided for decades. This will augur well for national cohesion and reconciliation.
I would advise that such a call take place on national television so that the entire nation can see that our leaders are talking with each other. Such gesture also commits the leaders and their parties to remain faithful and pursue a democratic, peaceful, non-tribalistic Gambia. It also makes the people remain calm thereby further strengthening national security. Let the president call the political leaders as a means of healing the nation.
God Bless The Gambia.