Opinion: President Barrow decries Social Media: But is he really genuine?
It is a tradition in the Gambia for the president to gather Banjul Muslim Elders, Supreme Islamic Council, and other Muslim groups for dialogue during Eid.
However, the genesis of this tradition and the raison d'etre is not yet clear to me. The meeting is mostly loaded with empty talking bereft of anything beneficial to the sorry state of the country.
We witnessed the dictatorship style, political self aggrandisement, sarcastic remarks, sneering, and denigrating opponents. And, the meeting normally concluded with the president giving envelopes of money to those Elders who graced the event. Dictator Jammeh used to display the pile of money for everyone to see on camera before dishing out to the Muslim Elders present.
The style of the gathering and its agendas metamorphosis from one leadership to the other with the benefits of the gathering to the country, still blurry.
Nevertheless, like his predecessor - former president dictator Jammeh, President Barrow - is becoming a master in diverting attention from the pressing issues of the country and wallowing in the muddy waters of nothingness.
Considering the untold level of corruption, graft, failures across-the-board, the cost of living crisis, the economic collapse, youth unemployment, tribal bigotry, and the infrastructural decadence, especially, terrible roads, causing numberless of deaths.
But, President Barrow chose to deliberately divert attention to social media, the powers of former Dictator Jammeh, and meandering hopelessly through all the balderdash that are not priorities for the common Gambians.
We know social media is overwhelming our weaknesses and derailing productive public discourses. It may radicalised people into obsessive hatred of communities, people they never even met.
It is true that some people sometimes may be compelled to post offensive and often career - and life threatening contents on social media.
Hence, the technology we envisioned overtaking our lives are not wild, uncontrollable machines, but they are lurking in our bedrooms, sometimes laying on and under our pillows, as we fall asleep - our mobile phones.
Thus, without doubt, social media is a threat to our societies, democracy and mental health. There needs to be a concerted front globally, to mitigate the negatives of social media.
And yet, Mr. President, you are entirely complicit in all that you are clamouring about social media. Need I remind you Mr. President, that you owe your presidency to social media.
To the extent that in 2017, you complimented social media platforms for being a quick and reliable source of information by lampooning the Gambia Radio and Television Services “GRTS” for not being fit for purpose per serving your interest as a opposition candidate.
Mr. President, so much of your person and presidential happiness has been made possible through social media. Of course, you could bring down your own social media platforms that are building up your image of a man of supernatural powers, a prophet who would lead his people towards a cherished land of the first world.
But, no. At your behest, your supporters use your social media platforms as outlets for your propaganda, platitudes, and your praise-singing.
Also, it is a well-known secret that stooges of yours who harnesses social media to attack, lampoon, insult potential opponents, wine, and dine with you or others very close to you without any qualms.
It is also a common display of I do not care, seeing such abusers gracing your political party meetings and using those platforms to further insult your perceived opponents at your very presence.
Mr. President, it seems your only issue with social media is when it is used to unearth your government's corruption, failures, and, in general, holding you and your government accountable.
Mr. President, the buck stops with you. What that means in this situation is for you to legislate to fix the many problems created or exacerbated by social media as you claimed.
You are at liberty to introduce online safety bills in order to mitigate some of the wider degradation of the public realm by social media.
This may be difficult because social media or I should say digital technologies move fast and unpredictably.
But, I do not think you are genuine about doing anything to curb the abuses on industrial scale as negatives of social media. I think you are only acting to the demand of the gallery.
And you are trying frantically to derail the country's attention from the failings of your leadership and your government.
Views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjuronline.com. Got an opinion article for publication? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com