Congratulations Fellow Gambians

Let me be the first Gambian (hopefully) to publicly congratulate President-elect Adama Barrow for leading this incredible victory of our people over the most senseless and brutal tyranny Africa has seen since Idi Amin. Congratulations to the leaders of the Grand Coalition and indeed the biggest congratulations go to the people of the Gambia for once respecting ourselves and standing up for ourselves. We have suffered for far too long and well done for doing it for ourselves.

Let us celebrate and rejoice. With patriotism and hope that indeed we have just started the long road to rebuild our nation. It will be arduous but doable with honesty, determination, focus and hard work. Over the past 22 years, the damage done to our country was not only against our institutions and the plunder of our public wealth, but more deeply against our psyche, morals, standards, peaceful coexistence, religious and ethnic harmony and everything good that the Gambia represents. Even the slogan, ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’ became too silent and embarrassing to say.

Yaya Jammeh however did not do this damage solely and wholly alone, but more disgracefully also by ourselves. By our failure to be just and informed and to stand up for the nation. Many of our people, particularly those who should know better such as intellectuals, business executives, chiefs, alkalolu, imams, priests, and other professionals and academicians among others including youth and women leaders have all compromised themselves in creating, supporting and condoning a dictatorship that has consumed far too many of us.

We now need to build a new society of human rights and freedoms. We need to build a truly constitutional democracy. We need to build an open and free society. We need to hold our leaders to account and demand that the government is transparent, accountable and responsive.

Let us not give space to Adama Barrow knowing full well that we cannot and must not create another dictatorship. Let us track him like a suspect and ensure that we hold him to account for every word and action he says and makes or fails to say or make. Let Jawara and Jammeh be lessons for us to learn from. After 50 years of independence, we must by now be mature, civilized and advanced people. Hence we cannot continue to perpetuate infantile, nonsensical, undemocratic and backward socio-cultural and misconceived Islamic ideas and practices infused into our politics and the management of the state.

I, for one will never call Adama Barrow, ‘Your Excellency’. We know you as Adama Barrow and we will not tolerate any more titles or initials because you were nominated as Adama Barrow. Period. Henceforth, we must stop sowing the seeds of dictatorship. Our musicians must never ever sing praises for Adama Barrow. We must not be sitting down and waiting for him in our events. He must be there first because he is our chief servant. This is the mentality we must approach leadership now.

Immediate task: Free Ousainou Darboe and all political prisoners now!

This is one of many conversations I will have with fellow Gambians as we all engage in rebuilding our Great Nation. Forward Ever. Backward Never.

Written By Madi Jobarteh 

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