Thousands of Gambians queued to vote in the December 2016 elections

(JollofNews) – As Gambians are observing the first anniversary of the swearing-in of President Adama Barrow as the country’s third president, civil society groups are making big push to keep alive the momentum of change that ended the 22-year old regime of former President Jammeh.

Civil society groups are gradually getting back into activism, which remained dormant over these past two decades. Mr Jammeh’s “rule of fear” confined most of them to a complete lethargy, turning activists into per diem hunters specialized in organizing workshops and seminars.

“TANGO is of the view that the time has come for the era of true change for this country,” said John Charles Njie, chair of The Association of Non-Govermental Organisations (TANGO) during a presser held Friday at organisation’s headquarter in Kanifing, about 7 km away from Banjul.

Mr Njie made it that without a strategic, robust and urgent system change led by an informed and committed leadership, in line with the principles of good governance and human rights, the Gambia will not be able to consolidate the gains of this change.

“We therefore urge our government to take advantage of the energy and potentials of our people and optimize the international goodwill currently directed towards our country,” he emphasized.

Lawyer Salieu Taal of the collective #GambiaHasDecided reminded the gathering that Gambians defiantly sent a clear message on 1st December 2016 that they voted for a change.

“As Gambians, we decided for a democracy. What type of democracy do we want Gambians have graduated from #GambiaHasDecided to #TheGambiaWeWant and it is timely to have a national discourse,” he added.

“As a people, we must define the values that underpin #TheGambiaWeWant. Civil society groups have a huge role to play in facilitating this important discourse and engagement between all the stakeholders.”

As Gambians are still pushing for salaries to be based on the real cost of living, Ebrima Garba Cham, chairman of Gambia National Trade Union (GNTU), said his organisation is very much alive to the average workers’ poor working conditions, poor salaries incompatible to prices of basic commodities sky rocketing on daily basis.

“Low income earners can hardly meet their basic necessities of life,” he deplored.

He further reaffirmed Gambians workers resolve to take ownership of their country’s destiny by “meaningfully participating in steering the affairs of State to higher heights.”

The tiny West African nation is recovering from 22-years of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime. Amid huge challenges, the new government of Adama Barrow has vowed to right the wrongs of the past and announced major institutional reforms that are expected to put the country on the ‘right path.’

Written by Abdoulie JOHN