photoGuest Editorial By Nfally Touray, United Kingdom

More Gambians are suffering through negligence or willful occasion by the very government that is supposed to provide them protection of life and property. Quite often, news come up that a group of Gambians have fled to the neighbouring countries in fear of their lives. These are youth in their prime age of potentially productive life. Recently it was the case involving the executive members of National Patriotic Student Association (NAPSA) who opened the can of worms revealing massive scale of injustice at level of the president who sought to implicate for crimes they never committed. At first everyone thought the national study body was so loyal to President Yahya Jammeh. It came as fatal blow when news broke that members of the darling student executive fled for safety in neighbouring Senegal at unknown location. This situation is sending very unstable signals indicating point of no return for everyone to join hands and effect change in the Gambia. If President Yahya, as the chief custodian of Gambian laws is unable to provide necessary protection for his people then he is not fit to be called the Commander in chief. The country certainly is crying out for a new leadership.

Reason dictates that as people get more educated, they become increasingly inquisitive and demanding. They want to know how they are being ruled, how their tax dollars are being collected and spent, what their civic rights are and how those rights are being safe guarded. This requires a change in the attitude of the leadership. The leadership has to open up lines of communication and encourage dialogue so citizens participate in the governance of their country. This cannot only be the job of one individual. For someone like President Yahya Jammeh his job can be a lot easier if he allows people to have a say and stop seeing those who criticize him as enemies of the state; unpatriotic citizens, or people who should be locked up or get killed in extreme cases. President Yahya Jammeh may have good ideas about taking the country forward but needs to accept that other people have equally good or even better ideas. That is why he must allow other people to participate with diverse inputs, ideas and views in collective governance of the country for best shared responsibility. People’s human rights should be protected. People should be able to speak out, gather or demonstrate without fear of hearing a knock on their door or having to flee for their lives. It is completely unacceptable for government security forces to rain on demonstrators like they did with the April 2000 student episode in which so many young people lost their lives.

As we become aware of the current state of affairs in The Gambia, we could either accept them as they are or demand change. The truth is that well over a million Gambians are calling for change. We know that President Yahya Jammeh already exhausted best of his ability and ambition in the last 20years. It is most proper when people of Gambia demand that he steps down and allow someone else to take the country to different level. In that exercise dutiful citizenship I wish to encourage everyone else demanding change. The rights of all Gambians must be respected. Immediate release of all political detainees is an obligation imposed on the president and government of Gambia. These are legitimate demands. Office of the president, the immediate occupier of that high seat and all public sector workers are required by law and duty to open up by upholding the principles and higher ethics of accountability. For people to protest and hold accountable the leadership along all government officials accountable is a right of citizenship that cannot be trample on without consequences. People of the Gambia need to know the sources and use of so many millions of Dalasi that making President richer than the state in 20years. We demand to know the whereabouts of all our brothers and sisters who have disappeared over the last several years. Their families need to know and we the citizens need to know. We realise that we have to make it attractive for you to willingly give up power it is our belief that if you love the country as you say you do, then the future of the country should be of concern to you and know that the future is not bright. Mr President, the country is falling apart and all the youths are risking their lives to leave while the window of opportunity is tightly closed. Gambians have the required capacity to move the nation forward. It is therefore very sensible to agree with those who refuse to one man rule especially with such unacceptable scale of corruption. You have to step down Mr President.

Ends

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