Panafrican News Agency

President Barrow calls on political leaders to unite the people

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Gambian President Adama Barrow Monday called on all political leaders and supporters to unite in spite of their differences, saying they must be bound by their common desire for national development, peace and prosperity.

“Let us unite the people and avoid tearing the nation apart,” he pleaded in his New Year Message to the nation received by PANA here Monday.

"To all political leaders and supporters, I reiterate the point that, despite the divergent routes we opt to follow, we are bound by the common desire for national development, peace and prosperity. Let us unite the people, and avoid tearing the nation apart," he stated.

President Barrow said 2021 would go down in the history of The Gambia as a dramatically significant year.

“The high voter turnout in the December 4 Election is not without high expectations from the electorate. Peace, stability, reconciliation, justice, and socio-economic and political development are particularly of general concern. As a result, we must work together to fulfil these expectations. 

"I plead that we renew our commitment to working as a nation for accelerated development, using vigorous processes and procedures to ensure that there is justice for all,” he said.

He added: “Together, we can make 2022 a fulfilling year of progress, love and reconciliation by embracing our cultural differences, celebrating our citizenship as Gambians and making the most of our resources. Like 2016, 2021 will go down in the history of The Gambia as a dramatically significant year.”

According to him, looking back, the year began with the prolonged calamities of coronavirus, which affected all sectors and hindered the full implementation of national development programmes.

President Barrow noted that although this was a global trend, “we thankfully appreciate that The Gambia is not as badly hit as many other countries, including the most developed ones”.    

“Our determination as a people and focus as a government fortified our resilience and helped us to live with the pandemic. We thank God for this."  

He recalled that another incident of the year worth mentioning was the unfortunate 7 July windstorm that led to loss of lives and left many people devastated, most notably in the North Bank Region, Kanifing and West Coast Region.

“Obviously, therefore, 2021 was not all rosy. This notwithstanding, we registered remarkable achievements across all sectors.”

President Barrow said the year provided opportunities to strengthen The Gambia bilateral and multilateral cooperation, saying that the support and collaboration from regional and international partners were significant and invaluable.

He added that, through such partnerships, "we immensely strengthened our socio-economic and political advancement".  

He told Gambians that, generally, government did exceedingly well during the year in the key areas of infrastructure development, energy generation, agriculture, governance, institutional strengthening and provision of cash and in-kind support.

“We boosted the education and health sectors in an unprecedented fashion. On the other hand, the people stepped up political activity and participation, and manifested their civic responsibilities and civil rights with passion.  

"Our democracy is now vibrant, and all citizens are at liberty to express themselves freely within the framework of the law. The Government is proud to observe that there are no political prisoners in any Gambian prison, and no media house has closed down due to government interference,” he pointed out.

President Barrow stated that, over 1,000 election observers from different parts of the world, including former heads of state and high-profile personalities, witnessed the last Presidential Election, which attested to the high degree of transparency in the electoral process.

“The Election Observer reports validate our democracy and transparency. They also confirm that, with the voter turnout of about 90%, the vast majority of Gambian voters have renewed their confidence in my government.

"I remain indebted to all voters and stakeholders for the orderly conduct of the election. Together, we have made The Gambia a model of democracy in Africa and the world over. The task at hand is to sustain it for good,” he said.

He added that such successes should motivate Gambians to aim higher and the days ahead provided opportunities for all of Gambia to explore as a nation and as family units and individuals.

-0-PANA  MSS/RA 3Jan2022