My Eid Message to President Barrow and his administration:
Dear Mr Mbai, Eid Mubaraka to you in advance, once more, can you kindly give me a space in your widely read news paper; to extend the following message to “President Barrow and his administration” As we approach the first Eid celebration of his presidency, for the spirit of national dialogue, it’s essential for us to use every single opportunity to encourage the government of president Barrow to have more desire and frequently engage the public to participate more in political and national reconciliation which is badly needed in the country at the moment. In my observation, majority of Gambians still not sure which direction the new administration is taking to engage the whole community in to national dialogue which would be different from the past regime. In my opinion, the new political dispensation shall means” the new method of doing things differently” which might encourage most citizens to participate in the spirit of nation building. Consequently, the special days like Eid, should be unique opportunity for the head of state to approach the nation with the spirit of uniting Gambians as one community like before. One aspect to achieve that includes, the head of state must endeavour a frequent physical interaction with general public.
Traditionally, while Muslims in the Gambia marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, it’s part of tradition, the Gambia supreme Islamic council including Banjul Muslims elders particularly the Imams would pay a courtesy call to the head of state at State House in Banjul to engage him and his government to discos verity of issues which concern communities in the country. While cerebrating Eid this year, I would like to suggest the following recommendation: rather than giving opportunity just to handful of Muslims elders having an audience with the head of state; why can’t Barrow’s government provide a venue like independent stadium at Bakau or McCarthy square in Banjul and made the president available to everyone who is interested to see him just for one day and seek hand with him like how they do it annually in Brunei Darussalam. In that country (Brunei) at every Eid, the King of Brunei known as (the sultan of Brunei Darussalam) on the special occasions like Eid, he would made himself available to public from all walk of life to come and interact with him just for couple of hours at the end of which he would address the nation concerning the issues which are national matters. Equally in the Gambia, the similar opportunity should be accord to those living in the rural areas to pay a courtesy call to their various administrative governors’ and have an interaction with governor at each administration region just for similar purpose.
In my view, such humble move by Barrow’s government, would build the bridge between the government and the public. Additionally, its opportunity for citizens to physically interact properly with their head of state; and I think gatherings like this, may serve as social platform for peoples to directly communicate with the government which will surly remove the veil of mistrust currently existing between the public and political leaders in the Gambia. In addition, it will increase the emotional strength of the head of state in order for him to inspire more citizens’ particularly young peoples to participate more in the democratic process as well as encouraging political and religious dialogue in the country.
By Yaya Sillah, The Author