Commentary: Turning the tide for Barrow
Sunday 16 August | Sulayman Jeng
TURNING THE TIDE FOR BARROW
President Barrow stepped into the presidency with an overwhelming approval and support from almost every Gambian. History positioned him as the man leading a victory against an entrenched dictatorship that has made every Gambian family a victim of his state orchestrated mayhem. Gambia and Barrow became the new darling of the world as it marveled on how the smallest West African nation successfully uprooted a brutal dictator democratically.
Lamentably, the honeymoon didn't live to see daylight. One teething disorder led to another deflating the hopes and expectations that new Gambia will usher in under Barrow. Patience was nursed as a result of his government's unpreparedness to harness the inherent governance stressors that popped out following the demise of the dictatorship. Naturally, most Gambians were alert that a transition between dictatorship to democracy is never smooth but with the appointing of the right calibre of people in key positions in government would have guided the leadership over such expected humps.
Barrow's enviable popularity began ebbing with his failure to demonstrate proactive leadership where it is acutely necessary to do so. Oftentimes, citizens have to resolvely nag and demand for him to address them before he does so. That is a spanner in the wheel. Another factor costing him huge support is the baggage of advisers, 90% of whom, have nothing to offer. They can neither bring anything that will significantly spurt development nor augment Barrow's personal capacity for effective leadership.
It is disheartening to see them continue clustering around him as stumbling blocks to potential investors and genuine critics whose intent is to empower Barrow, enrich his leadership and polish management skills. Some will argue he has himself to blame. Why is he so dependent on them? Well, most of them are his long time colleagues from childhood. Others he crossed path on business and politics. Notwithstanding, a government is not a social club. As such bringing these people with him to the corridors of power will only thwart his leadership as we are witnessing.
Apart from shedding them off him and appointing the right Gambians he needs and excellent Director of Press who is a seasoned media mogul with a thorough understanding of media and public relations. Fatu Camara of Fatu Network fits this role like the skin is to the flesh. With all due respect to Mrs Bojang-Sissoho, she is not cut out for the position. I do not have to illustrate why job role is not tailored to suit her. Contritely, Fatu Camara's media CV speaks volumes. Her PR skills are unmatched in the Gambia. Coupled with her connection nationally and internationally in galvanising support, mastering ceremonies, liaising with dignitaries and investors will greatly turn around the tide for Barrow's ebbing support and popularity.
Whatever cock and bull stories they told you about Fatou Camara are just to blind you from seeing the good side of her. The reason is not because she won't measure up to the role but they are scared to death that she will tell you the truth. And they don't want you to hear it. Recently, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities both nationally and internationally because of the dead woods clustering around you. When did you last chair an international convention? How do you fit within the circle of world leaders? What are your advisers and Director of Press doing to turn the table for you? These are fundamental questions you should be asking.
With Fatou Camara as your Director of Press, she will ease the burden of having to face the nation often. A classic example was when Jammeh fell out with the press. It was Fatou Camara who diligently brokered understanding and a working relationship between them. She coached him how to relate and relax with the press. A closer look at the Gambian media, one can quickly note you aren't its buddy. That is bad PR for you. Don't wait until after 2021, you need her to help rebuild your PR. If any of them tells you otherwise just asked the person when last did you do a PR or defended me on the press. Only Duo Sanno does that. With Fatou Camara on your side I am telling you for free you will soon notice the difference. It is said numbers don't lie. The last thing I want to do is to tell you I told you so.
She came and set up her Fatu Network from nothing. Now it is an international media power house. Intertional acclaimed journalists around the world reach her daily for update on the Gambia. Who will argue that her Fatu Network is not a success? Mr President, that is the kind of Director of Press you need. Please reach out to her. Ku bugga sa tarr molai digal sanngu.
Sulayman Jeng is a former Editor of the Kibaaro Media Ltd and writes from Birmingham, UK. Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of GunjurOnline. Got an opinion article for publication? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com