A President who is democratically elected to serve all Gambians shouldn’t use his good office and/or influence to promote any religion in the midst of others particularly in The Gambia – a community of different religious beliefs.
The President should know that he is no more a private citizen, which is why he should be extra careful in handling religious matters.
The building of the said 60 mosques he talked about during his meet-the-farmers tour and the donation of 11 million dalasis to the Pilgrims in Mecca didn’t only indicate his misplaced priorities but a bias approach in treating the citizenry, whom through their taxes, fund his various travels and external relations of which the said donation is generated from.
The Barrow led administration has pressing issues to solve in making The Gambia the last place of hope on earth.
Furtheremore, the government should be knowledgeable of the fact that we didn’t elect a religious leader nor a mosque, church or shrine builder but a leader who will unify us and together push the national development agenda through socioeconomic and political advancement. Quite a few people of conscience both Muslims and non-Muslims alike disapproved his approach and as well demonstrated it on their various platforms of communication with some citing it as religious chauvinism with the divide and rule tactics slowly taking precedent in a country known to be one of the most tolerant nations on the globe.
Many Gambians, irrespective of their religious affiliation, have shown their distaste from the start without any visible sign of its ending despite the increasing cries against it.
However, we applauded the Barrow administration when they revoked the illegal declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State by the former President, Jammeh but much effort is needed to ensure the existence of fair play as enshrined in our 1997 constitution .
Moreover, the national budget and any other source of public fund mobilized through the influence of the state shouldn’t be used for political patronage especially at the detriment of our dying agricultural, health and educational sectors.
We should understand that public servant and the President in particular should be accountable for any fund gathered by their offices by virtue of their positions as public servants if truly we’re serious about good governance and the democratization process of the so-called New Gambia.
In my humble opinion, I suggest that religious and faith matters should be left in the hands of religious leaders, who to my view have done tremendously “well” in leading their people over the years. The government only owe them the responsibility of providing a conducive environment for them to function in a way that does not violate or threaten the rights of others. This I believe is imperative in consolidating our co-existence which can be a unique model worthy of global emulation.
The Gambia belongs to The Gambians both those home and abroad, irrespective of our socio-linguistic or religious extraction and can only be developed through putting first things first and dedication to national duty and dialogue on things that matters.
Name John Mendy
Bsc (distinction) Political Science
Studying: Masters International Relations and Diplomacy
President of GAM FEDD
Secretary General: Banjul Open Debate