As the Gambia is emarging from the shadows of two-decade long dictatorship by the Jammeh regime, a Senior Adviser at the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) has warned Gambians to desist from being caught up in the euphoria that follows regime change. Dr. Seth Kaplan said this often leads to high expectations.
“Whenever a country is in transition, expectations are extremely high,” said Dr. Kaplan at the lauching ceremony of The Gambia Transition Brain Trust (GTBT) held last Thursday at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi, about 12 km away from Banjul.
Gambians voted out ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh in December 2016, putting an end to his 22 years rule marked by continued clampdown on civil liberties, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. But the Coalition government has since vowed to right the wrongs of the past in addressing rising demands for justice while pushing ahead with a reconciliation agenda.
Dr. Kaplan said in many cases the reality will not meet the expectations. He calledon Gambians not to let the hopes turn into disappointments.
To tackle these challenges, The Gambia Transition Brain Trust will be tapping into the robust expertise of the first non-governmental organisation with a special focus on an integrated approach to helping fragile and conflict affected areas to transition out of tyranny and into a state of peace and democracy.
“Change takes a lof of time: political culture needs to change; institutions need to improve and civil society needs to develop. People tend to think that once the ‘bad guy’ is out, everything will get better and quick,” he added.
IFIT Senior Adviser stated clearly that freedom does not necessarily mean a straight line to progress. Such expectations, Dr. Kaplan added, are unrealistic and need to be managed.
He then reminded the gathering that unmet expectations, unfulfilled expectations, disappointment, frustrations can lead to a backlash…
Hon. Yaya Gassama who spoke on behalf of National Assembly Speaker Mariam Jack-Denton said all these issues should be addressed. The Kiang East parliamentarian emphasized the need for Gambians to reflect on the challenges to chart a way forward.
GTBT Coordinator, Juka Fatou Jabang, said they have born inspired by IFIT to form an institution that will come up with analythical thinking about issues that are affecting the population.
She expressed their intention to share their findings with government.
Jabang further stated that GTBT is comprised of a diverse and interdisciplinary group of practitioners, intellectuals, professionals from different fields.
“The group is independent, and non-partisan. We don’t belongany party openly. We are autonomous,” she pointed out.