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Opinion | Stepping up to the plate

By Basidia M Drammeh:


Hot on the heels of a huge public outcry over his lack of leadership in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, President Adama Barrow rose up, delivering probably one of his best speeches which contained stringent and specific measures to prevent, contain and manage the spread of the virus in the country.

Gambian President H.E Adama Barrow

Unlike his previous speech, today’s address to the nation was generally bold, as the President specified measures aimed at flattening the curve, including decisions to scale down government operations and a call on the private sector to suspend all non-essential services. President Barrow went as far as declaring a state of public emergency throughout the nation and reassured the public that there are enough supplies of basic commodities.


As this crisis deepens, the President’s call on political leaders to come on board in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is a welcome development.


Nonetheless, I was expecting the President to also call on the Parliament to hold an emergency session to discuss the crisis and legitimize the extraordinary measures he has taken.


Meanwhile, the President did not address the fate of his compatriots who are running private businesses as they would be adversely impacted by the suspension of activities.


We also still don’t know how the 500-million-dalasi fund will be managed or is it that the Finance Minister will clear the air on that?


It’s my hope that the President or his Vice would appear more often to reassure the people and address their concerns through regular press conferences, aside the media briefings by health officials.


This is the most critical crisis that President Barrow had encountered since he assumed the mantle of power, hence he must step up to the plate, because, after all, it is an existential threat.

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