President Barrow’s calm demeanour is helping the continuous existence of peaceful multiparty politics in The Gambia. The achievements under him include the following:
- Free Press/Press freedom. The media is tasting the freedom to write, comment and publish material as they wish. Even the ousted dictator Jammeh’s Daily Observer continues to pump frivolous propaganda without let or hindrance from the state. The press freedom had ended two decades of self-censorship and fear on the part of the media. Hopefully, in the coming days and months, this freedom will translate into better analyses, sober commentaries than we have seen for far.
Police exhumation of bodies — Families with missing persons are dreading what some have already found out. The truth about their loved ones might be unearthed in a grave. The Interior Ministry is pressing ahead with investigations to locate secret graves. In a short period of time, that is an action-oriented policing. Whilst some Gambian want vengeance on dictator Jammeh’s enablers and killers, President Barrow wants to allow the due process to take its cause.
Kick-starting the economy…President Barrow is calling on Gambians in the diaspora and investors to come and take part in the economy. His vision is to see that each foreign investor having a Gambian partner to avoid economic flight and rip off.
NAMS came too soon: The national assembly elections in many other countries would have been pushed further to allow Gambians to come to terms with the unprecedented democratic change. President Barrow allowed the NAMS elections to take place in a heated multiparty democratic atmosphere. With some unsavory exchanges, however, the environment remains largely peaceful with occasional pockets of attacks.
Barrow has decided to stay away from the usual politicking taking place despite demands on him to get involved in the process. He has understood and acknowledged that democracy cannot bring perfect existence, as there will always be some unresolved issues even in advanced democracies.
- Good foreign relations: President Barrow’s demeanor has given the rest of the world renewed hope in the Gambia. He is a good leader who will not overreact and posture to dictatorship. In as much as we came out of a difficult dictatorship, some still want aggressive action on certain issues, mimicking dictator Jammeh. President Barrow, however, is right to leave law enforcement matters in the hands of the police and the Justice Ministry to do their job.
Foreign Minister Darboe has made several trips to negotiate the Gambia rejoining the commonwealth. And the withdrawal International Criminal Court is rescinded.
- A general review and audit of the civil service staff register is going on. All foreign missions are also instructed to provide full report of their assets, staff and activity records. This will enable the President to assess staffing level, competency, and re-focusing of the civil service with the help of the Secretary General and other key staff.
Working on the reform agenda, constitutional and legal.
Under Barrow’s leadership, there is no political prisoner
Eliminating state imposed fear, no fear of secret agents or informants
Defusing needless tensions without personally getting involved like we are used to. It may take some time before people realize that the president doesn’t have to get involved in every issue, but Ministers and other responsible authorities.
There are challenges. This is unavoidable for any country that emerges out of two decades of brutal dictatorship.
By Alhagie Suntou Touray (England) Kairo News Political Editor