I wish to extend my heartfelt prayers and condolences to the victims and the families of Faraba Banta protesters who were cowardly killed and injured when they peacefully gathered to express grievances about environmental degradation in their community. This cowardly and senseless killing by The Gambia’s paramilitary forces is once again a clear reminder that there are some rogue elements within the country’s security forces who have no regard for human life, rule of law and constitutional rights of citizenry.
The government of President Barrow and The Gambia’s police force must take full responsibility to ensure that the perpetrators of this cowardly act and heinous crime are not only brought to justice but are also compensated . For far too long the rogue elements of The Gambia’s security services have gotten away with gross human rights violations with total impunity. This is evidenced by lack of justice for various human rights violations that took place during 22 years of military dictatorship.
Majority of the perpetrators of financial exploitation and human rights violations are walking Scott free in the country while some are rewarded with highest paying job at the expense of ordinary citizens. Unless the new government takes bold and decisive actions to get rid of bad and evil elements who have helped to sustain 22 long years of dictatorship , President Barrow is bound to fail.
Leadership requires making bold and decisive actions that are genuinely designed for supreme interest of citizenry . President Barrow must understand that he needs to be resolute in order to be successful. During this transition, only a resolute leader with clear vision will be able to transform the status quo and Gambian society into more positive direction. Challenging the status quo to get the best outcomes for the country should be the highest priority for this administration. This means that President Barrow and his team should be blunt and not afraid in stepping on some toes who have helped to sustain previous government for 22 long years.
President Barrow must set highest standards for himself , be independent , determined, tactful in communication and above all ignore the usual Gambian Marsallah ( avoiding the truth and justice ). The first step to indicate that he is a resolute leader is to fire or retire all those security chiefs and economic exploiters / thieves who have played a significant role in sustainment and entrenchment of previous oppressive regime . This is the single most effective way to indicate that Mr Barrow is ready to transform the country into a shinning city and beacon of hope for so many hopeless citizens who fought hard to restore democracy and rule of law in the country. He must not let fear to dictate his sole responsibility because it is the single most weakness that is an enemy of change. There is nothing to be fearful about except fear itself.
The Faraba Banta incident is also another reminder that the setting of TRRC is a useless political adventure and economic exploitation mechanism in a country where public officials never acknowledge or take full responsibility for corruption and human rights violations. It is quite evidence that TRRC has already deviated from its core mandate and has set itself into political adventurism with supreme interest to encourage usual Gambian Marshallah while justice for the victims is already given deafening silence. The only way to prevent more incidents like Faraba Banta is to set better example by bringing the perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice as soon as possible.
President Barrow must be bold and resolute to embark on genuine security services reforms or total overhaul of our national security apparatus. This is because Gambia’s security services are still in the dark period of military dictatorship. Majority of the people in security services lack genuine employment qualifications and constitutional requirements to serve in the national security.
Some of the rogue elements in the country’s security services were recruited and trained to ensure sustainment of military dictatorship. These are people who continue to sabotage and commit crimes against Gambian people. It is time to cleanse our security services by recruiting genuine and qualified indigenous citizens who have not committed any crime against Gambian people in the past and present.
Sustainability of our national cohesion and economic development truly lies on educated security forces who understand democratic ideals , values and are committed to rule of law and constitution of The Gambia . This can be achieved when President Barrow demonstrates a resolute leadership with compassion, wisdom and clear vision for transformation of The Gambia.