For the progress of our nation [which has been ravaged by consistent mismanagement for the past twenty two years by a brutal and despotic dictatorship] we need to make some hard decisions which may not be very popular in the short-term; but will yield great results in the long-term. But you are the one who can usher us into the Promised Land seeing that you have proven to be a democratic leader, and the fact that as per your Coalition MoU, you will not seek reelection.
Mr President, in order for you to succeed and leave a good legacy for posterity, you need to put in place sound economic policies. This can be done by looking for good short and long term financial plans. Key among these is the revitalization of our agricultural sector which was actually ignored – or manipulated and monopolized by the previous president – to pick up again. I’ve learnt from one of the leading experts in this country [with surprise, I might add] that the rice produced in this country if managed properly, and the production enhanced a little bit, can feed this country without having to import any. That is marvellous! Please, Mr President, can you look into this and make the necessary adjustments and arrangements for us to take advantage of this? Perhaps the Think Tank that has been so much talked about can render the necessary advice on this point.
In order for this and other ventures to be of benefit however, we need mechanisms to curb and eradicate corruption. Here a Wolof proverb comes to mind, Ñii di gas ñii di suul coow lai bari waaye pax du am,’ (Some digging and some burying, lot of noise but no hole). So, we need to set up a very strong anti-corruption commission. Corruption was endemic in the past two previous governments and thus it will take time, energy and tenacity to curb it. There is a need to set examples that this government will not condone any form of malfeasance. There needs to be arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments to send this message home. This is of extreme importance otherwise all efforts for economic progress will be defeated.
In addition to the above, we need a strong, patriotic, and dedicated workforce to backup any progress achieved as a result of the growth that would be realized from the economic policies. For this, we will need a very progressive, development-oriented education system. The current education system has failed us tremendously as it has only succeeded in producing more out of job graduates. This education system did not take into account the development needs of our country. I do not want to go into the nitty gritty here but let me just give an example. Look at the job market in the country, at least in the area of skilled labour, majority of the people doing this work are foreigners. We need our sons and daughters to have an education which will enable them to take over those jobs. What is the essence of having students who can pass all their exams with flying colours but cannot do anything, when they cannot deliver on the job? We need to look at this properly.
The education system needs to inculcate patriotism, hard work, dedication and pride in our country. I would even go further to advocate for the doing away with examination as a way of measuring the level of intelligence of our young ones. Or at least change the way it is done. Instead, the system should seek to identify the interest and talents of each student and encourage them to pursue what they can, and want. In this way, we will close the gap in the skilled work sector in our labour markets quickly. A plus for the economy.
Finally, we need strong leadership which will not shy away from taking the hard unpopular decisions. That is why nurturing our democracy is vital. If our government is truly democratic and observes the Rule of Law, then taking those decisions will be that much easier. For this reason also we need to encourage citizen participation. Government, as it is said, is participatory. This is why we need strong institutions, strong Civil Society Organizations which will always keep government and its officials on check. This will ensure that everyone in the country has a stake in the advancement of the country. With all these in place, within a short time we can turn the tide and move from the status of poor and underdeveloped country to a middle income country and from thence, developed.
This though requires hard work, dedication, perseverance and the willingness to make hard unpopular choices. We pray that Allah grant you the courage and vision to take the country to the Promised Land.
Have a Good Day Mr President….
Tha Scribbler Bah
A Concerned Citizen