First, Happy 59th Independence anniversary to Senegal; I will be remiss if I don’t! Contrary to what Hamat Bah wants Gambians to believe, Senegal has been–and is—a great neighbour. Second, the Gambia government should focus on the creation of jobs, especially for the young people. It takes tremendous courage and energy for a young person to risk his/her life in the Sahara Desert or the Mediterranean Sea. Let us harness the energy that propels them, to creating jobs for them–at home. People would rather be in the comfort of familiar surroundings than risk their lives on a dangerous adventure.
Enact laws and implement policies that are business friendly–through lowering taxes and interest rates, fighting inflation, increasing exports, and improving security. Adoption of these policies will improve the awful exchange rate of the dalasi, which has impoverished Gambians for 2 decades. They are also a recipe for attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the country. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) creates jobs and is an easy/cheap avenue for transferring knowledge and skills to local employees. The more FDI the country attracts, the more foreign currency reserves at the Central bank, and the greater the demand for the dalasi. The combined effect improves the exchange rate of the dalasi, makes businesses more profitable, and, ultimately, job creation. Jobs engender hope and a sense of belonging. People given a sense of belonging and a stake in a community will always defend it against vandalism.
Unfortunately, the preoccupation of the government is the internecine combat between President Barrow and the UDP, which is not in the best interest of the ordinary Gambian. The ordinary Gambian wants jobs and the ability to feed his/her family. It is reminiscent of the last 2 years of the PPP government (1992-1994). We all know how that movie ended: the principal actors and numerous Gambians were unlawfully imprisoned, killed, maimed, tortured, or forced into involuntary exile. We should be mindful of that!
Even though the Kaninlai Butcher/Dictator appeared on the political scene, literally, from nowhere, there was a conducive environment for the success of the coup. Partly to blame for the success of the coup were the apparent differences and fissures within the ruling PPP government. Anyone who follows my writings, knows that I adore Sir Dawda, but the intramural battle within the PPP was his blind spot, and it made room for an uneducated, brutal, and tribalistic dictator. When the population are frustrated with the bickering within government, they welcome any form of change, even one as odious as Yahya Jammeh’s.
Even more frightening—God forbid–is that a potential dictator will have no trouble finding repugnant humans, like the Alagie Kanyis, the Junglers, or the Singhateh brothers, to do his dirty job of killing and maiming Gambians, for him. Equally abhorrent, the dictator will have no difficulty in recruiting unqualified public servants like Momodou Sabally, Secretary General; Momodou Lamin Gibba and Edward Graham of the Social Security Office. We should nurture our nascent democracy but pay great attention to hopelessness and despair among our citizens/youths. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.
Tumbul Trawally, Seattle, USA