Now little over 20 years since the “Military with a Difference” took over the reigns of power in the Gambia. Too many promises were made and people were so excited that at last meaningful changes were coming to a country living by hope.
Today the Gambia holds top record for highest level of political instability above any country in that sub-region. The country’s self-imposed leader is very unpredictable, unreliable and lacks workable game plan to start with. Gambian economy is seriously underperforming; public institutions are failing. Private sector is almost non-existence as the President owns or is a major shareholder in most businesses, small medium and large scale ventures. Youth unemployment is at the highest, political and economic exclusion is there for all to see.
Average families cannot afford to put food on the table. Basic human rights are taken away. People of the Gambia cannot speak out, organise or be critical of the leadership. Too many people have disappeared without trace while so many have lost their lives. Military and civilians are equally affected. So many families are still looking for answers. Serving military officers are now absconding almost on a weekly basis. A very large number of highly educated, trained, skilful, talented Gambians are leaving and working outside the country. These are glaring visible indicators of crisis.
Gambia is crying out for new leadership and we in the diaspora have collective responsibility to help rescue our country from dictatorship of President Yahya Jammeh. Yes, elections are held but democracy is not only about elections. It is also what happens between elections. There is a saying that “unity among the cattle makes the lion lie down hungry”. There is urgent need for all different groups to work together under a single unified leadership. We need to mobilize our resources together with ultimate objective of changing the government in our country.
Our country deserves a government that is focuses on readily feasible and viable developmental agendas, economic growth and sustainable livelihood for all. That requires a government that can move towards process of inclusivity. It means also having to come up with realistic development agenda in support of home-grown requirements and capable of addressing our domestic needs.
Gambian youths are principal stakeholders in our development matrix that deserve total investment providing them with the relevant education and skills needed for the future. That further entails formulating policies capable of creating the enabling environment for private sector investment for job creation; a thriving financial system and stable economic platform comes handy. Such a development model contributes to creation of free trade and economic opportunity for all and not just for the few connected. Investors have to be assured of total security and protection of their life and property. Rule of law and preservation of human dignity cannot be taken for granted but sustained by commitment of government at all levels. Our current leadership has failed to provide all of the above so deserve to go.