The weekend was overwhelming. I raised some fitting questions and the reactions were daunting. Generally, almost everyone, even your sceptics, wish you well and want you to succeed. However, a disturbing reality also poked its head, that the onus of your leadership’s success lies entirely on you and only you. That one really worried me seriously. A national success isn’t the sole responsibility of only the leadership. The citizenry equally has a responsibility in driving that success to reality. Lamentably, to only highlight our problems without taking appropriate actions to have them resolved as a collective people is not only preposterous but counterproductive and irresponsible. So be part of the solutions to the change we all want to drive and not its huddles. However, it does not obviate the fact leadership can neither be complacent nor blind to popular demand.

Furtherance to the aforesaid, genuine concerns were raised as pointers of your leadership failure to adhere to old school benchmark of democratic correctness. The vacant Vice President role feature most prominently. Some perceived it as a deliberate dereliction of your responsibility, Mr President. Abdou Rahman Jallow has this to say on his part:

“I have always love and appreciated her sense of tenacity and valor for standing up high in the face of oppression. However, she wasn’t all alone. There were many Gambians who stood firm and fought along side her and even before she jumped on the bandwagon. Don’t they deserve the position? Let’s prevail on the Barrow government to do what is right. Ones contribution in the past shouldn’t give the person any latitude to hijack what belongs to all, except perhaps if there are some ulterior motives. Continuously keeping the position for her is doing much more damage to the legitimacy of the government than they realized. Is it worth alienating their support base? I don’t think so”.


Similar sentiments of unmet expectations were also highlighted. Another prominent Gamboan Activist, Alagi Ndure, also opined thus, “My confidence in the president hasn’t eroded, but I’m of the belief he should be more assertive and pull tighter the ropes. Let him come out of the shadows and take his rightful position. This is expected of him. Mr Jeng, gauging from the many letters you’ve been writing to Barrow, I am sure you’ll agree with some of us that the president could have been more forthcoming with what this government is about. Beside that only onetime he gave a press conference when has Barrow directly talked to us from home? There’s no doubt the guy means well, but he also has to speak more, be more visible on the scene and show confidence to give us too hope and boost the people’s trust and confidence in him and his government”.

The duo did not only represented their self-tailored concerns but that of many other Gambians who fought with you to defeat dictatorship. And I dont think they are asking for anything unreasonable. Are they, Mr President? Another point raised by Mr Ndure I have repeatedly cajoled you to undertake is period touching base with the citizenry through either a weekly or biweekly press conferences. It is a reassuring to learned of your just concluded two days cabinet workshop to help your leadership become more citizen friendly and communicate more effectively with the people. Effectively and regularly communicating with the people will not only restore eroding confidence on your leadership but equally solidify your support base.

Conversely, in as much as we want you to succeed, you must equally put it what it takes to succeed. For instance, removing ‘a fixed mindset’, ‘the need to control everything’, ‘the need to say yes when you really want to say no’ and ‘toxic people’ around you. Talking about toxic people, I am reminded of the unpleasant episode at the ferry terminal yesterday when some staff on taxpayers salaries blatantly abdicated their duty. At first they told desperate waiting commuters the ferry broke down. Upon the arrival of Hon Darboe, the narrative changed shamefully to it can only carry a handful of vehicles. Perhaps, it is in addressing such unacceptable conduct from civil servants that Mr Ndure alluded that you “pull the rope tighter and be more assertive”. Many of this calculated act of short-changing of taxpayers by certain public institutions are nothing but deliberate efforts to halt the change and plant seeds of discord in the citizenry. NAWEC’S unbridled and perpetual poor supply of electricity and water is not but twin of the GPA ferry staff conduct. Not firmly nipping such unpleasantries create unstability and dissatisfaction. Will you be calculating your steps in resolving the damning act of the ferry staff?

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK