Lessons from July 22…

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The importance of studying history is to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. In fact, the best history lesson is to learn not from your mistakes but from those of others before you. That is wisdom.

Yesterday, marked twenty-three years since that fateful day in 1994 when we lost our democracy and began the treacherous journey into dictatorship. We went through military rule for two years and then had a semblance of democracy for 22 years. This turned into an open dictatorship when we replaced the democratic  institutions with the ‘Individual’.

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We danced to our tune and got a dose for our troubles. We resolved to change that and, on December 1 2016, Gambians – men and women, young and old – went out to vote for change; for freedom, for better governance. We broke the chanins, as it were, on that day.

We started the journey of reformation of our institutions though it is very slow. We envisaged a reformed constitution which would be inline with democratic practices. This would include cutting down the power of the executive and increasing the power of the masses. As I keep telling people, democracy is not about the president, the ministers or the national assembly members; rather, democracy is about the people, the masses of the people. We must give them their due.

In empowering the masses of the people, there are certain things which are inimical to progress. Any politician who fails to recognize those things is bound to fail and leave a bad legacy. One of those things is the promotion of cultism, cronyism, political patronage and lack of transparency. The forming of youth movements and Yaayi kompins is just another way of promoting the above.

The announcement that they will construct sixty mosques every year is another way of promoting misplacement of priorities. This is wrong on several fronts.

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Firstly, our system of government is based on democracy and not religious. We have different religions in the country and the adherents thereto are all equally Gambians. So, the State promoting the construction of mosques is a form of marginalisation of the other religions.

Secondly, we have not been told where the funds are coming from which is not inline with transparency and accountability. Besides, we have pressing needs which must be fulfilled before anything else. There are enough mosques in this country already.

Thirdly, we have seen a proliferation of billboards with your picture spread in many parts of the country. Isn’t this one of the reasons we – including you – fought to end what uses to obtain here? This promotes loyalty to the president – one man – instead of the nation. People say that the Barrow Youth Movement is different because it focuses on development. Let me say to this that intentions are always good but translating them into tangible action is where the difficulties lie. That is why in a democracy there re checks and balances that are meant to curb the greed of man.

History is recording!

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Have a Good Day Mr President…

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

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