By Modou Nyang, Seattle, Washington
Undoubtedly, the political class is the most significant institution to influence change and improving lives and living conditions. They got the mandate, the power and resources to implement any program either good or bad on behalf of the people. This structure is dominated by senior citizens and some who should have been enjoying their pension schemes and retirement wages but refuses to do so. They continue to occupy positions that should have been handed-over to the young generation, their own grand-kids to inject new ideas and innovations that will promote development and growth. They often point fingers to young people and blame them for their very own inefficiency and capacity deficiency.
In the case of The Gambia, my home country, in our present “New Gambia”, statistical accounted for 67% of the population to be Youth are seriously under represented and often kick-out of the leadership line. The present government was expected to lead the reforms, be youth and gender sensitive which is NOT the case. The entire leadership circle is dominated by retired civil servants and senior citizens whose grand kids need at home so dearly. This demonstrates the lack of trust by our current elected officers towards our Youth. “Must we trust them, since they do not trust us”?
Series of appointments have been made so far. According to them, some are volunteer committees while others are paid appointments, less than 1% of the total appointments both volunteer and paid appointments combined together are for youth, a cohort that accounts for about 67% of the population. While less than 6.2% are women and the rest are distributed within ex-government workers who have served in the 30 yrs. of the PPP and / the 22yrs of APRC. What makes believed that people with 50yrs of opportunity can safe us? If they were unable to effect a change after 50yrs, what makes us believe that they will now? They have done their part and should retire now.
For the Gambia to develop, be self-reliant and economically independent, we must give our youth the opportunity, mandate, authority and powers to lead the design and implementation of a new future that they will own and be active players in it. It is time to mainstream youth and women in all the leadership structures with a clear plan and time of hand-over to them to take charge of our own destiny. They Gambia belong to all of us. You can’t get it all just by yourself. The government should tap from the innovation and creativity of the new generation. We can do it. As a community, we refuse to be side-line and demand for an inclusive Gambia where young people are given the opportunity to participate in the leadership of the country.
The Political parties should invest more on their youth and prepare them to take over the leadership status of their respective parties.