Your Excellency

It has been a full week since I came back from Basse, URR where I joined thousands of patriotic, result-oriented Gambians who came to  show you solidarity in your game-changing groundbreaking events at the nation’s furthermost end. Truly what I saw in Basse and Wulli is a testimony to the fact that you are the most likeable politician in New Gambia and the people are willing and ready to give you all the support you need to implement your national development plan!

Upon my return to the urban areas, I expected some positive feedback from my move to join your team at Basse but I did not expect much endorsement from the constellation of idealistic young intellectuals who number among the bright stars in my youth development and mentorship firmament. But much to my pleasant surprise, I got hundreds of calls from university students, young professionals, youth mobilisers across the political spectrum and even former cabinet ministers who all pledged their loyalty and support to Your Excellency in your renewed drive for a fast-track approach to nation building; especially your landmark pronouncement of making the year 2019 the turning point for your development process!

Truly I am deeply gratified by the overwhelming show of support for you and the President Barrow Youths for National Development platform. The membership request is so huge that I am not even sure they can all be absorbed so soon. This all goes to prove that Gambians are willing and ready to go hands on in support of development. The young people of this country have told me that they are not going to sit down in workshops and conferences and social media bantering, they are not going to be spectators but active players in your new arena of premiership-level classic action in socio-economic transformation.

Indeed the people of this country are tired of that kind of democracy that is all about talking and meetings and protests. The democratic dividend must be felt and lived by the people; your recent moves in URR, in addition to previous steps you took in the area of energy capacity expansion and institutions building, have laid the framework for transformation. The implementation process is surely not going to be a cakewalk but Gambians must step up and stand up for everything that is good for this country.

Your Excellency, you must be ready to personally go to these work sites and to question and challenge the implementors  of your projects. Trust no technological concoction or other myriad matrices that may come your way as monitoring tools. The old saying “seeing is believing” is my recommended yardstick Your Excellency. We have seen Gambians collude with foreign contractors in the past to rob this country of the high quality of roads and other infrastructure that were tabled and signed at the initial stages of projects; leaving us with sub-standard roads and other public infrastructure. If they can risk it under a dictator, you must never assume that our people will naturally do the right thing under a free and democratic dispensation. Forget about their assurances and fancy M & E processes and systems. You must be the nation’s Chief Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and I wish you success in this, Sir!

We are willing and ready to stand by you and support you through thick and thin. And the tens of thousands of young people who follow me and listen to me are ready to do the right things and to start off by transforming their own attitudes, in the nation building processes. Verily, my advice to them in various fora in the past two years has been hinged on the thought of the legendary philosopher-cum-economist, J.S Mill: “The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.”

Therefore, why am I sitting here writing you so long a letter; Let me conclude with the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“Let us then be up and doing; with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing…”

I salute you Sir, with the assurances of my patriotic allegiance and support. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!

Momodou Sabally

The Gambia’s Pen