President Adama Barrow

(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has expressed confidence in the ability of the five nominated National Assembly Members to influence change and help rebuild the country based on strong institutions and legal environment.

Mr Barrow said his decision to nominate Mariam Jack-Dention, Majanko Samusa, Ndey Yassin Secka–Sallah, Kumba Jaiteh
and Momodou Sanneh was influenced by their independence, experience in politics and active social engagement.

He said Mrs Jack-Denton, who has since been elected speaker of the house, is a renowned lawyer who could ensure that there is institutional accountability in building a strong foundation for the Gambia to sustain its democracy.

“It is expected that her ability to cross party boundaries in her interactions with her colleagues will further our common agenda to enhance efficiency of the Assembly,” he added.

In the case of Ndey Yassin Secka – Sallah,  the president said despite her visual impairment, she has worked in the media raising the concerns of people with disability as well as being a volunteer in many organisations.

For  Kumba Jaiteh, the president said she represented the youth and as a young activist and her legal background will be an added value to the Assembly.

He added that Majanko Samusa and Momodou Sanneh also will bring in their experience as former National Assembly members to the New Gambia.

“Blending experienced former Assembly Members in the New Gambia with young vibrant political activists will nurture the change we want for our country,” the president added.

“It is normal that appointments may seem to favour one group or another.  This could be ethnic, gender, age, regional or religious representation.  What is important is the ability of the appointee to carry out the functions assigned to them with competence.   There is only one common identity we have as citizens, that is, we are all Gambians.   We should avoid identity politics and work in the best interest of the country.  Only conscience and integrity will bring the best out of us.

“Political affiliation cannot be a factor to disqualify any citizen from public service.  It is a constitutional right to associate with any political party of one’s choice so long as it does not influence their performance and professionalism.”

He added that he views the Gambia’s political diversity as a strength for the country to nurture its new democracy.

“Decision making is a process influenced by consultations with individual, various partners and stakeholders.  In life everybody has a mentor or is inspired by someone or something.

He added as a president who came from a political party founded by people of integrity, he also has mentors and people who inspire him.  He however noted that this should not be interpreted as his decisions are being dictated by anyone.

Mr Barrow noted that vying for the presidency was a mission for him to change the country from an entrenched dictatorship and to promote dialogue, consultation and accommodating the opinions of others to make informed decisions.

He added: “It was through the active participation of citizens that regime change was effected in December 2016.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses but together we are stronger.  If we have unity of purpose then we can overcome our differences and leave a positive legacy.  We will be crossing one bridge at a time.  Gambians have removed a dictator who has been entrenched for 22 years. We must overcome our differences and focus on our common agenda. ”

He expressed the believe that Gambian National Assembly members will demonstrate maturity, respect for each other as well as focus on the agenda to build a strong foundation for future governments to build on.

According to the president, this will give citizens the liberty to enjoy their freedom with dignity and within the rule of law.