Madi Jobarteh Writes To President Adama Barrow

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Building The New Gambia

Open Letter to Pres. Adama Barrow,

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Wednesday 8 June 2017

Chief Servant Adama Barrow. Anything Anything!!

Mr. President, do not hesitate and do not ignore. Do not downplay and do not procrastinate. Do not delegate and do not refuse. Speak to your people. Say anything. Indeed Anything, Anything! Tell us about the meetings and conferences you have had since last week, or since last month or since January. Just say anything. It serves the country no good for the head of state to remain silent for more than 48 hours. Every week we deserve to hear a statement from your own mouth. It could be Anything Anything!!

Institute a weekly national address over radio and television to tell us anything. It could be a message of unity and reassurance. Speak to us so that we know that you are there. We want to know whether you see and hear and feel us. We want to know if you are indeed on top of issues. By just knowing that, you help to settle our minds. That would be encouraging and refreshing. Please just say something. Anything Anything. Tell us about your expectations and vision for the Gambia.

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You can even tell us about the foreign leaders and donors you have met, and the contracts you have signed to address transportation, electricity, employment or about the issue of our youths in Libya and those who returned. You can also tell us what you expect from each and every Gambian. It is now more than four months since we elected you, yet we do not still hear from you. This is indeed unprecedented in the history of leadership. Even the Dump Trump speaks to his Americans every hour – at least through Twitter. He does not say anything substantial, but he just says anything that comes to his mind. Therefore Mr. Barrow, speak to us! About anything. Anything Anything.

Barrow, you do not even have to talk to us in English. But you can address us in Fula or Jola or Mandinka or Wolof or Aku or Manjago or Serer and indeed in any of our languages. They are all our languages, equal and dignified. There are translators at GRTS who would put it into English. No doubt. But just speak to us. Anything Anything.

If you cannot talk to us, then go out with your wives to visit market women in Serre Kunda or Brikama, or Farafeni market. Visit taxi drivers and share your vision and hopes with them. Listen to them. Visit our neighborhoods, villages and towns. And Kanilai could be a great stop. But just get out and meet your people directly. Above all go to the National Assembly and address them and the nation. Leadership is also about personal touch and closeness to the people; that is called visibility and communication and they strengthen leadership. Visibility and communication make leaders being loved and respected, and build public confidence and trust in them. Hence no visibility and no communication erode public confidence in a leader.

Alternatively, you can call groups to State House to meet with you to discuss. Invite teachers to hear their concerns. Invite imams and priests to pray for the nation. Invite farmers, women’s groups and not forgetting persons living with HIV/AIDS or persons with disability and especially our children. Talk to them to hear their issues and concerns. Invite the private sector or CSOs to discuss national development issues and concerns. Invite any sector of our population and dialogue with them.

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One very important sector you could meet collectively is the victims of the Dictatorship. Invite them to State House to console them and share with them your determination to see justice done. These are the parents of April 10/11 victims; Parents and wives of November 11 victims or D30 Heroes; The families of Deyda Hydara, Koro Ceesay, Daba Marenah and co-victims; Solo Sandeng and his fallen colleagues; Kanyiba Kanyi, Enor Kolley, Jasarja Kujabi, Marcie Jammeh, Binta Jarju and also the family of Haruna Jatta among other victims. It will soothe their hearts and give them hope for justice. It will serve to stabilize and strengthen our transition to our democracy and promote unity and reconciliation.

Yes, your ministers are within their powers to speak on your behalf and about their areas of responsibility. But they cannot substitute you no matter how competent and relevant they are. Remember, we did not elect them. We elected you and then you employed them. Therefore above all else, You and The People have a direct accountability relationship. The ministers are accountable to you and also to us, but you are primarily accountable to no one but to We The People first and foremost and then second, to our elected parliamentarians. Hence no minister can better speak for you than yourself.

By not speaking to us, then you disrespect us. It means you ignore us. But it also means you are not ready to lead. It could be you are afraid to speak lest we criticize you for what you say. It could be you have no ideas to share. It could mean anything and we are right therefore to speculate anything we wish to speculate. Such speculation projects a leadership vacuum that frustrates citizens even your supporters like me. But we want you to succeed and this is why we want you to speak to us.

But more seriously such vacuum creates an unfortunate opportunity for criminal gangs like APRC to take advantage to subvert our democracy as they just did in Kanilai. So all of these incidents in Kanilai, Farato, Kartong and Bakau with many coming are also your fault because folks did not know what or where you stand. Therefore they misjudge and misinterpret you hence they take issues and the law into their own hands. So if you had shown the leadership since the very beginning it is clear that none of these incidents would have happened or at least not as bad as they did.

Your silence is empowering detractors and enemies of the Gambia such as Yaya Jammeh. Your silence is validating the speculators. Your silence is vindicating those who said the Coalition is a bunch of selfish and incompetent parties and leaders who cannot govern. Some had said the Coalition Government still thinks it is still an opposition. Your silence is validating those misconceptions. Prove them wrong by speaking to the issues and to Gambians directly. Be ready to be criticized and respond to those criticisms. That is democracy.

Speak, Mr. Barrow. Anything Anything.

God Bless The Gambia.

In The Service of the Nation, I remain


Madi Jobarteh

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