Ebrima Janneh (EB)
Opinion | Dialogue with President Barrow
Mr. President, to say life is transient, is an understatement. Hence, have you reflected that since you have been in power, many patriotic citizens and eminent talents have answered the call of the omnipotent and omniscient God?
Even though none of us want to die and want to delay it as much as possible. But that decision is way beyond our prowess as human beings. Death, nonetheless, is pursuing us incessantly, and it will eventually catch up with each of us one day.
The lions hearted love these former patriotic citizens had for the country is either equally or greater than yours.
They have mostly achieved the ambitions that burned brightly in them in terms of services to their country. Most of them had demonstrated a perfectly calibrated touch for public sentiment.
Herewith, they are judged by the legacies they bequeath to the Gambia. That is why history embalm in great honour those who left positive legacies behind.
Others that bequeathed bad legacies are also being judged by history, albeit negatively.
Thus, I am with the belief that you understand what I am referring to here. Because at the foetal stage of your leadership, you harped about interest in building your legacy. And of recent you talked about your retirement home and plans post your presidency in the Gambia.
Mr. President, you are either being deluded about failures across the board in the Gambia, or you do not understand what legacy building takes once you climbed to the helm of power.
Legacy Mr. President is earned, and in your position as president, the choice of retiring after presidency in the Gambia is not within your control.
Those decisions are predicated on how you rule the country. And watching and reflecting on the situation of the country only distantly, you will know that things are not going according to the hope and aspirations of most Gambians.
The country under your leadership is being rocked by corruption, soaring inflation, costs of living crisis, economic crisis, tribalism, and sufferings across board exacerbated by your failures.
It can thus be argued that former president dictator Jammeh had given us cancer, and you, the president, are leading the country to the edge of a precipice.
Everything in the country feels ungoverned and in chaos. From religious fanatism, crime, lack of empathy, people taking matters into their own hands, and sadly, with your authority draining away in the gutters.
Dictator Jammeh has gone into exile, and that is just the beginning because he bequeathed bad legacies he cannot be proud of. History is already resounding his name in great dishonour.
Mr. President, lives were lost in 22 years of struggle to uproot dictatorship in the country and ushered you in from zero to hero. But, it is disappointing that you failed to fill the void Jammeh left behind and steer the country in the right direction.
Illigal drugs, crime, and youth frustration are rampant in the country. This causes some youth to get desperate and break into defenceless people’s homes.
In your political party - NPP - and within the country, conspiracies and plots are proliferating. Rival factions competed for ascendancy. The common aim is to gain political office and patronage that goes with it.
Poverty and greed are overcrowding out that readiness to sacrifice for the sake of the common good that was the core of civic virtue.
The proliferation of fig-leaves of intellectual dishonesty and academics whom Lenin had earlier called “useful idiots” is a disturbing commentary on the projection of the country.
But these are some of the issues, failures, soaring cost of living crisis, and out of control unemployment are unleashing on the country.
The health system is in dire crisis, but you are in denial. You think politics is about throwing punches, ridiculing genuine opposition, refusing to take responsibility, and shifting blames. Your government, in the darkest times of the country, has abandoned the people to their fate.
Nelson Mandela once said, "I quote - A man who rises to the position of presidency in any country must be a man of ability, forceful personality and uprightness in his public life”. That is why the character of any government is shaped by the personality of the person at the top. Because the buck stops with the president.
The diaspora Gambians are providing an informal parallel system of support, where they are divorcing with their resources and to help needy and sick people.
Every now and then, peoples’ immediate needs - medical health care, food, and shelter - are on display on different media seeking help.
It is unfortunate that all these do not translate into punishment for you and your fig-leaves of educated fools, so-called advisers, supporters, and minions.
Mr. President, you have to be careful because the dire situation of the country is getting out of control. The sufferings and pains may jolt the people into frustration and anger.
They may have no choice if the status quo aggravates but to be in a collusion course with your government that has so centrally embedded breath taking levels of corruption and divisiveness as a policy.
The country may accept that your government is beyond redemption, but that does not mean we cannot bring someone else.
Alas, the Gambia has been bedevilled with leaders who failed us and continue to do so.
From President Jawara at lower level, dictator Jammeh at worst level, stretching to President Barrow, getting out of control, the Gambia is living with the pain and deprivation of our leaders.
While the sufferings in the country are endless, corruption settles in and becomes a way of life. The president and his political party, meanwhile, are busy enriching themselves and their friends and families to a head spinning increasingly visible degree.
In my frustration and lamentation – I enquire – where are the patriotic citizens? Where are the educated masses? Where are the ordinary Gambians? Where are the religious leaders? Where are our grown-ups?
The bad news, unfortunately, is that these above-mentioned people are the very ones that preside on self inflicting corruption and incompetence, causing pain to the country they claim to love.
Shame on all of us.