The Epiphany Of New Gambia

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We can agree that most pundits would say it was one of the greatest week for the Barrow administration. A week that saw the official commissioning of the ferry Kunta Kinteh where President Barrow gave a big, thoughtful speech about serious things juxtaposed with his cool and collected personality, which all came together in his speech on the deck of Kunta Kinteh. It was no coincidence that the President found his voice; it was a solid speech on many levels. President Barrow could be seen using his notes, but he spoke freely though he improvised from time to time. The result was very humane and powerful, to call spade a spade.

The welcoming of Honorable Mama Kanteh, leader of opposition Gambia Democratic Congress at the President’s office was a pivotal moment in our nation’s political history. For over 22 years, we haven’t seen the former President Yahya Jammeh extended the olive branch of the executive to opposition leaders. What a shift from the past! Mr. Kanteh showed some real statesmanship when he articulated the need for all Gambians to come together. He also elaborated the need for citizens to answer to call to duty rather than relying on the government to solve all their problems. Mr. Kandeh’s statement manifested reconciliation tone in a country that is struggling to heals its deep wounds. His broader appeal to bring the nation together is timely.

The President’s decision to shakeup the police force was another news that was welcomed across the board. The New Inspector General of Police (IGP) Supt. Landing Kinteh is a true professional who will bring the necessary reforms that are needed in our police force. The country bade farewell to former IGP Yankuba Sonko who has been reassigned to foreign affairs ministry.  Sonko was at helm of our police force when the Gambia went through major transformation stage (#Gambiahasdecided). We thank you for maintaining peace during Yahya Jammeh’s crafted political impasse.

Another hallmark of the Barrow administration was in full display when the press briefing led by the Minister of Information and Director of Press, Demba Jawo and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, respectively. Thursday’s press briefing brought the Gambia’s political sincerity of conscience and sensibility to light. Amie Bojang-Sissoho rolled out her brief impetuously in a current of eloquence; she was poised, confident and genuine. The brief had a good structure and the content was absolutely on point at all levels. The exigence was clear and the timing too was perfect. She speaks clearly, confidently and professionally, just as press secretaries in serious democracies do.

It is clear that President Adama Barrow’s objective is to gather Gambians’ support and trust by using many effective leadership tools. And in so doing, he has asked members of his cabinet to declare their assets. A distinct difference from the previous administration headed by a dictator who ran the government’s coffers dry. President Barrow is assuring change-hungry Gambians that his Coalition administration will not do business as usual. Overall, the new government this week demonstrated to us its marriage with those values upon which our success depends on: hard work, honesty, courage, tolerance and patriotism. These words are old but they are true and must be present in our daily lives if we want to shape our development agenda. If we collectively uphold these values which have been stimulating forces of progress throughout history, we must continue to demand their return to our institutions. The core foundation of our new found democracy is beginning to take shape.

To sum it all, President Barrow’s last week was a very good one. All he needs to do is to keep charging, keep being the grizzly bear, keep getting at it. No matter how long it takes or bumpy the road is, the Gambia will Insha’Allah [God willing] get to the Promised Land soon.

Alaa Baraka

Br. Sariang


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