Friday, July 19, 2024

OPINION: The Peace Award for H.E President Barrow and the Dialogue with Opponents

- Advertisement -

By: Suntou Touray, Deputy Head of Mission at The Gambia High Commission London

His Excellency President Adama Barrow deserves our appreciation for his efforts in promoting peace in The Gambia and the surrounding regions, and we must extend our heartfelt congratulations to him for being awarded the African Prize for Promoting Peace 2024 by the Select Committee of the African Conference for Promoting Peace, which is based in Mauritania.

- Advertisement -

The United Nations Secretary-General is credited as saying, “There is no winner in a war. Even the so-called winners are losers.”

Mr. Antonio Guterres said, “The U.N. itself has to evolve in order to fulfil its mission and realise its full potential.” In his proposal for U.N. reform, he went further by saying they must use every effort to create and maintain peace by strengthening it.

It is against that backdrop that I feel it necessary to state that for human beings to grow and prosper in a world that is suited for everybody, there must be sustained and lasting peace.

Although Politics is rightly presumed by many to be, ‘the winner takes all, in short, it is a ‘zero-sum-game’. The President of Kenya, H.E. Dr William Ruto in one of his interviews publicly declared that ‘he will not appoint his opponents to his government positions because that will undermine the work of the opposition.’ He based his assertion on the logic that, having your enemy in your government means, undermining you from within, rather than from outside.

- Advertisement -

President Ruto is correct in a scenario where the democratic landscape is devoid of near-conflict reality. A vibrant opposition is meant to offer alternative policy directives to a government in power. Opposition parties are not enemies to the government, but rivals so far as alternative ideas are concerned. President Adama Barrow on the other hand has absorbed his opponents in his government machinery, unlike President Ruto of Kenya.

The Gambia has had a troubled history, but H.E. President Adama Barrow’s recent attempts to engage directly with his political opponents and civil society are a positive step forward. Dialogue is a powerful tool that can help raise difficult questions and offer solutions. President Adama Barrow should be commended for opening up a new avenue for open discussions with opposition parties and civil society.

Although he doesn’t have to talk directly to his rivals or engage in dialogue with them, creating an environment where such discussions are possible should be commended. Our democracy is maturing, and political leaders need to engage in regular civil debates and panel discussions to educate the population on their ideas and policies.

The peace award is a gesture that could motivate President Adama Barrow to remain on a peaceful trajectory and listen more to his critics and party officials without hostility.

- Advertisement -

Politics is not an easy profession; it involves emotions, sentiments, and sometimes bitter confrontations even among party supporters. Therefore, a leader must listen and consult widely, outside of their usual comfortable circle. This is why listening directly to political opponents is important and a good gesture.

Stay on the peaceful path and engage more actors and listen more to the needs and aspirations of the people Your Excellency. Gambians are peaceful in nature and they will offer ideas and solutions so long as the environment and opportunities are made available.

Popular Posts