Open Letter to President Barrow
Your Excellency President Barrow,
I write this letter to you with trepidation and anxiety, as a concerned citizen in our nascent democracy, which you fondly call New Gambia. With utmost respect, Mr. President, let me remind you that the Presidency is an institution and all your powers are derived from the sovereign citizens of the Gambia as clearly stated in section 1 (2) of the 1997 Constitution, which reads:
“The Sovereignty of The Gambia resides in the people of The Gambia from whom all organs of the government derive their authority and in whose name and for whose welfare and prosperity the powers of the government are to be exercised in accordance with this Constitution”
Mr. President, let me take this opportunity to remind you that all the powers you exercise are subject to limits set by the supreme law of The Gambia, our Constitution as stated in section 61 (2) which reads ;
“The President shall uphold and defend this Constitution as the supreme law of the Gambia”
Mr. President, we the citizens as the repository of the sovereign powers of the state, have delegated our powers to your office to enable you to execute your duties in accordance with the laws of the land. Mr. President, you are the custodian or trustee of powers that belong to the people, powers bestowed to you by the people and powers to execute your functions in the interest of the people. In a nutshell, all your powers and legitimacy are derived from the citizenry.
The good citizens of The Gambia broke the shackles of a brutal dictatorship and are still healing from a very dark episode of that history. The freedoms we enjoy today were not handed to us on a platter but are rather the result of sacrifices of patriotic Gambians – some of whom paid the ultimate price, may their lives rest in peace.
Mr. President I find it hard to believe that you allegedly made the statement that “The Gambian people were scared of Yahya Jammeh’s power because he had the police, the SIS, the Army, but I am more powerful because I have the Police, the SIS, the Army and ECOMIG forces” [ my emphasis].
Mr. President, with utmost respect, the Police is our police, the SIS is our SIS and the ECOMIG is our ECOMIG. Mr. President, as Commander in Chief, your duty is to uphold the Constitution and command the security forces in accordance with the dictates of the Law as provided in section 61 (1) & (2) of the Constitution.
Mr. President, Never again will our security apparatus be used at the whim of any leader against the citizenry or any person for that matter.
Mr. President all security forces are servants of the sovereign people of the country, albeit under your command at our behest. We trust and expect that the era of Presidential directives to our security forces is a thing of the past.
Mr. President, our country is at a crossroad. As we are trying to build the foundation of our democracy (Constitutional Review Commission “CRC”) and seeking to heal as a nation (Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission “TRRC”), the youths are anxious and impatient, and want to reap the democratic dividends now.
Mr. President, the same security forces you mentioned as belonging to you, belonged to your predecessor and was used as instruments of oppression against the citizenry. Mr. President, rest assured that the fear factor is a thing of the past. We defiantly stood up against your predecessor at the height of the political impasse despite his army, NIA (now SIS) and Police. #GambiaHasDecided against tyranny or any form of Dictatorship.
Mr. President, with such a statement, what message are you sending to the CRC and the TRRC? Our nascent democracy is still fragile; the citizenry is learning the new ways of living under a democracy, with all their expectations and aspirations.
Now, more than ever, as our leader, as captain of our ship, we are yearning for unity and peace. We are yearning for a “New Gambia” where the basic essentials such as water, quality education, health care and decent employment opportunities are available to Gambians, particularly the poor and the underserved. We are yearning for transformational leadership and not politics of rhetoric or division. Mr. President, we respectfully remind you of your own slogan “one people, one nation and one destiny”.
Mr. President, I hope and trust that you will recalibrate and refocus on making Gambia great. Mr. President, humility is a great trait and will endear you to Gambians. I humbly ask for the old President Adama Barrow to come back and steer our country to greatness.