President Adama Barrow may well have stopped fretting about a transition that never was, but going into the future there will be plenty to see over his shoulder. It follows last year’s election which saw the country teeter on the brink, with the future looking all but certain. Now that the coast appears to have cleared – thanks to a tremendous show of support both local and international – the man at the helm can ill-afford to squander the goodwill of the people.
By any count, President Barrow is a barely believable story. Here is a man who emerged when it was least expected. I call it luck. It is when an opportunity presents itself and you grab it by the p***y. That’s exactly what this mild-mannered guy from Basse did. Perhaps the greatest achievement of his life.
And having been inaugurated in the proper sense on February 18, President Barrow knows he now has to focus on the onerous task in hand: governance. And he has to live up to the billing, somehow.
Sure, a normally-so-composed President Barrow inherits a country that is troubled. We have an economy that is comatose. At the last checking by analysts, the country had a weak revenue base with public debt standing at 48 billion dalasis, representing 115 per cent of our GDP. All of this amid allegations of mindless looting of our treasury. What’s more, we have an education sector that has failed. At the healthcare front, it’s the hospitals that have been turned into mere consulting centres. A blunt interrogation of our nation tells of a dire situation.
Without a doubt, things are awful. They smack of a complete variety-show of malgovernance on the part of the immediate past government. And it will take time before we come to terms and recover from the cataclysmic effect of the APRC’s over two decades ruinous reign in power. It’s a fraud that many did not see coming. If only they knew, they would not have allowed what was to become a dictatorship take root. They would have resisted, if only they knew.
But it should not be about whining about yesterday. It rather should be about working and getting things done. The nation has to pick up the pieces. We have to forge ahead. It’s about finding sure ways for all our problems. The Gambia has to revive and prosper. Gambians should get out.
Interesting, the expectations are huge, and or even unrealistic. But they speak not of foolishness on the part of the people. It’s a cry of despair and frustration. It’s from the heart. And one could very well think President Barrow has the capacity to respond to the yearnings of Gambians. But make no mistake: it’s not going to be an easy process. Fundamental change takes time. It’s very clear this one will take some time.
The submission is that President Barrow must focus on growing our economy and making our education system work. The economy has to grow in a way that will create a more stable future. There should be a good strategy. There should be a clear direction. And it has to be about taking responsibility for our own destiny.
President Barrow must find a way. He may not be a magician but he has to find a way, however he can. He first has to pursue an aggressive line to bring our economy out of the woods. He also must give all other sectors a new future. It can be tricky. It can be daunting. It can be demanding. But with President Barrow, there should be a will, and there should be a way. And yes this one is his to lose.
Lamin Njie wrote from Serekunda. You can email him at; email@example.com