By Alagie Yero Jallow

It is now crystal clear that the coalition leadership took their eyes off the ball. In their state of euphoria after achieving an unprecedented electoral victory, the leadership failed to appreciate that managing success is even more taxing than winning an election. They vacillated when they ought to have acted with promptness. Some of them have sought to falsely consign the verdict of the December 1, 2016, historic day to irrelevance. They have lived in denial for so long. December 1 Presidential elections challenges Gambians to guard their democracy. As they remember December 1, they are challenged to guard their hard-won democratic freedom and prevent any hijack or abuse of the very principles of constitutional democracy.

December 1 stands as the real democracy day which was sanctioned by the blood of martyrs who laid down their lives for this democracy. They know that even as enemies of democracy try to thwart the idea, the sacrifice of Gambians who took to the streets should never be forgotten.  The onus is on the Government to immortalize the true heroes of the Gambia’s democracy. This day December 1 must be a national day and be declared a national holiday. The State should further champion the course of deepening this nascent democracy, by ensuring that living and dead heroes of December 1 struggle to ensure that they are not forgotten.

The people of the Gambia should honor and remember the heroes and heroines of the country’s democracy and to commemorate the death of the late pro-democracy activists. Since December 1 stands as one of the most significant dates in the Gambia ’s political history, and a day not to be forgotten. One of the best national recognition the struggle deserves.

Nation building requires the sacrifice of all citizens: all and sundry must therefore imbibe the moral rectitude to embrace the past. They must, therefore, recognize the heroes and heroines of Gambia’s democracy. December 1, events in Gambia’s history symbolizes strong democratic principles and experience.  President Adama Barrow and his government must place history in the right perspective by recognizing and declaring December 1 as a Democracy Day. Adama Barrow should recognize its key figures that entrenches the Gambia’s democratic experience for the past 2 years in furthering the cause of democracy and good governance.

Several Gambians were in the forefront and an active participant in the politics of the dictatorship era. They shared the fears, pains, and anxieties of fellow Gambians about the horrors of dictatorship; their efforts at building an enduring democracy have not always been smooth.  President Adama Barrow  and his government has to halt the deceit, and repair the damage by taking the symbolic step of recognizing the  sacrifices of pro-democracy activists and many other heroes and heroines of democracy-the artisans, human rights organization, students, traders, journalists, academics, various professionals, organized religion and the labor movement through conferment of the National award with full honors, an honor first to men and women, young and old who paid the supreme price to pave the way for Gambia’s democracy, and then to the heroes and heroines who stood up against dictatorship, including those in the Fourth Estate of the realm who marshalled the written and spoken words against tyranny and the proclamation of December 1 as  Democracy Day.

The Gambia government should also give the posthumous award to the families of all fallen heroes and heroines the Gambia’s highest honor. This action is not to open old wounds, but to put light on the nation. They cannot right the past, but they can at least assuage their feelings and will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice, corruption and human rights violations. December 1 was the day Gambians has decided to end dictatorship, chose the path to national unity, rather than ethnic eyes. They redefined the Gambia through the ballot box. It is possible to revive the spirit of December 1 provided they could imbibe democratic principles.

No Gambian can doubt the United Gambians of all tribes, social media activists, Facebook warriors and all for the good interest of the Gambia and their great people. Don’t underestimate their prowess to change bad government of the Gambia, determination and pledge for a better Gambia. They were great men and women, great enough to give frame to change towards a better future for all Gambians, currently in their history. They are the guidance of their nation and people.

They are there when an educated and wealthy class despised the Gambia and  their people because they have robbed the Gambia of their treasures, or, at least, have got rich off the fruits of their people’s labor and they believe that if poor Gambians  get freedom from corruption their fountain will be dried up and they will be obligated to seek business in a new channel with failure.

You do not remove a ruthless dictator by only carrying placards. You don’t do that at the Elysee Palace, they will listen to you. You do that at the Buckingham Palace, they will listen to you. You do that at the White House, they will listen to you. as the arrowhead of the struggle against a brutal dictator.

Lastly, the government and civil society organizations should propose a hall-of-shame for past Gambian leaders and enablers of dictatorship who were infamous for their brutality to sound as a warning note to would-be bad leaders.