By Sulayman Bah
Gambia`s President Adama Barrow said Gambians should make the 1st December 2016 political change “the beginning of genuine recovery and sustainable development for posterity.”
He made these remarks at his 1st anniversary victory celebration event in the Buffer Zone on Saturday, while addressing thousands of Coalition 2016 supporters.
According to Barrow, the sort of changes that has never been achieved in the history of the country has been achieved. He said the country has succeeded in the struggle to ensure “freedom for all”, which is paramount to the country`s development. And, urged Gambians to remain united in developing the country.
“On this faithful day last year, this country took a stand and liberate itself from politic of fears, intimidation, division and embraced hope, diversity, respect for human dignity and rule of law” said president Barrow.
He said the change has been “dramatic and decisive” and the Gambian people resolve to no longer return to “mismanagement and unconstitutional rule.”
“Consequently, because of our determination, we are witnessing the beginning of a new democracy based on justice, freedom, equality and fraternity” he said.
On some of the challenges confronting his administration including power shortage, Barrow said his government has taken a firm step to resolving electricity crisis in the country in three years’ time. According to him, without which development of the country cannot be attained.
The Gambia is an agricultural reliant economy and the citizenry mainly rely on farming for survival. The country`s farmers faces difficulties of selling their produces after harvesting, Barrow informed the gathering that funds are available to purchase the country`s main export crop, groundnut for the next groundnut production season.
In addition to this, he thanked party leaders who created ‘Coalition 2016’ for setting aside personal ambitions, in favor of the national interest by uniting to support his candidacy, which made them victorious in the previous presidential election.
For her part the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs, Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang pointed out that the coalition government was formed by political parties namely; PDOIS.UDP, NRP, PPP, GPDP, GMC, NCP and an Independent Candidate.
VP Tambajang broke into tears as she mount the podium recounting on trying times the country went through under the previous regime. And, the huddles the country experienced in effecting the change that is prevailing in the Gambia today. She also urged all to take ownership of the country and work towards its development.
UDP leader and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ousainou Darboe, said the anniversary day is designed to celebrate “the demise of a dictatorship, the enjoyment of rule of law, transitionalism and democracy.”
He said “today we are celebrating the victory election of Adama Barrow as the president of the republic of the Gambia.
“This election brought about the demise of forced disappearances and avail us the opportunity to put on trial those who engaged in those obnoxious and heinous crimes against Gambian people.
“We are today celebrating the election of President Adama Barrow and the enjoyment of accountability in The Gambia”
Darboe said the celebration “could not have been achieved without the unity of the Gambian people, in their determination and focus to ensure that the country is freed from the clutches of the former dictator.”
He revealed that the government has or will soon be putting in place a national development plan, which will complement their political freedom, adding that there cannot be any meaningful development without economic freedom.
The Youths and Sports Minister who is also the GPDP leader, Henry Gomez said the coalition government was constituted by all the seven political parties, who saw the need to put aside their political differences with a view to bring to end “22 years of bad governance” under Jammeh.
Gomez urged Gambians to embrace and accept the leadership of President Barrow, saying that “it is ordained by God” and join hands in the spirit of national development.
The PPP and Minister of Agriculture, Omar Jallow, said “the day is to remember 22 years dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, amidst torture, arrests detention and disappearance among other human rights violations, that had compelled Gambians to come together irrespective of any status and put that painstaking scenario into the past.”
Jallow explained that the coalition was formed by political parties, the youths and the Gambians abroad, who made tremendous contributions in the fight to effect the change that prevails in the Gambia today.
Similar remarks were made by Amat Bah, the NRP leader who stressed that the daunting task ahead of them “is to put words into actions” and added that “talking days are over.” He thanked all those who stood by The Gambia during its trying moments.