EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow delivered his New Year message to Gambians with a promise that they will soon start to reap the actual fruits of his Government’s strategies. “Gambians will soon enjoy in prosperity and development that encompass the entire nation. It is obvious that the Government has taken the right steps, and we are heading in the right direction.”
He said his government and the Gambian people welcome the New Year with optimism and confident that greater successes lie ahead, saying attaining greater successes require bigger efforts, bigger investments in real terms and bigger sacrifices from every citizen.
His former vice president and foreign affairs minister Ousainou Darboe had also released his New Year message in which he said Gambia still suffers from the two decades of dictatorship and government incompetence.
Mr Darboe, leader and secretary general of the United Democratic Party (UDP) where Mr Barrow once served as an executive member before resigning in 2016 to lead the coalition that defeated the country’s exiled-former president Yahya Jammeh, said the country must address the unfinished business of its democratic transition.
But Mr Barrow said in his message that attaining greater success calls for the fullest exploitation of the energies, competencies and endowments reposed in ‘our’ human resource for maximum utilisation of the resources at our disposal. “This realisation should fortify us in the year ahead; but, our strategies now need to include moderating our differences and refocusing our vision.”
He said his government’s policies are geared towards establishing strong institutions and the right legal frameworks for nation building, saying it is within that context that structures are established, and they have also started to realise their impact in the current year.
He said the implementation of the recommendations in the “Janneh Commission” report has marked a sharp turning point for the entire country in respect of the former President’s financial dealings and his close associates and the TRRC revelations have opened a new chapter in the history of The Gambia and world politics.
Mr Barrow said 2020 is a popular target year for key global development goals, many of which he said will not be attained. “Although this is not an excuse for failure anywhere, it is a reminder that unforeseen circumstances and external factors can affect any national plan or target.”
He said from 2020 onward, sharper focus will be cast on human resource and infrastructure development, the economy, social services, institutional strengthening and performance, saying “Our achievements and endorsements, nationally and internationally, have encouraged us to remain at the helm of the affairs of the nation. Today, we are more determined, more focused and much more devoted to the cause of the people.”
The Gambian leader said the country has have learnt lessons and they are better prepared to tackle the challenges that confront them as a nation within the context of a world marked by unexpected developments.
“I swore twice by the Holy Qur’an, in Dakar and in The Gambia, to defend and act according to the national Constitution. Under these circumstances, I cannot accord the Coalition Agreement preference over the Constitution.”
responding to campaigns for his resignation after the end of his three years in office in December, Mr Barrow said the circumstances now dictate that national development and the national interest take precedence over partisan or sectional interests, saying while tendering his resignation is not unconstitutional, as some people argue, it is irresponsible and imprudent to do so if it is not prompted and justified by principles linked to statehood and the people. “To resign after three years in office implies betraying the people, multitudes of whom continue to pledge support for my Government and our development agenda.”
he said he has judiciously counselled myself to bow to the will of the people, and he refuse to yield to the sentiments and ambitions of a minority group and for that reason, his decision is to complete the five-year mandate stipulated in the Constitution for a sitting President. “I am not ill disposed in any way to warrant my resignation as President.”
He however assured that the next Presidential Election will be held according to schedule in 2021 and for that the electoral reform process is in progress to ensure that all national elections are free and fair.