His Excellency, President Adama Barrow on Tuesday, 4 June 2019 admitted to Muslim elders that the task of nation building is an arduous one. Hence he is seeking forgiveness from all just as he forgave all. He admonished that the country pursues dialogue in all matters as a way of fostering national unity.
As a century-old tradition, Muslim elders from Banjul do meet with President of the Republic on each feast of Eid-ul-Fitr (Koriteh). Now, it has expanded to include broad representation from all Muslim groups from the country to go to the State House and discuss issues pertinent to the country. The elders would make suggestions and advice to the leadership during the meeting.
“I have forgiven all, and I ask forgiveness from all. I have nothing against anyone. As a leader, I am bound to make decisions that affect people’s lives on a daily basis. Hence certain decisions I make are in pursuit of national interests and not for mere pleasure,” the President told the elders.
He also maintained that dialogue be the best way out where conflicts emerge over national discourses. The President added that his government’s policy of allowing due process to prevail in all matters is inviolable in today’s democracy that the country is nurturing.
Thus he noted the concerns expressed by the elders relating to the practice of Sharia law in matters of marriage and divorce. These values, according to the elders are sacrosanct of the beliefs of Muslims and should not be interfered with under any circumstance. However, the transitional agenda of The Gambia requires building of strong institutions; institutional and legal reforms and the strengthening of rule of law, he told the leaders.
“The matters of constitutional reforms are being handled through the Ministry of Justice. Your concerns are noted and the Minister will take it under advice,” the President said, noting that the new Gambia being built is for all, not just any group or individual.
For the transition to be successful, the president urges the elders to continue praying for the country. He reminded them that The Gambia is bigger than anyone and all of the citizens. Hence the extra demands of all virtues during the Ramadan should be constant practice by all even afterwards.