After sweeping the polls with a whopping 72% margin, His Excellency, the President-elect Sheikh Prof. Alh. Dr Yahya Jammeh is now set to be inaugurated for his fourth term mandate. He will be taking the Presidential oaths as stipulated in the constitution of The Gambia on Thursday, 19th January, 2012 at the Independence Stadium. The ceremony is expected to be grace by other leaders around the world.
We remember such past occasions for their grandeur and style. The President had in those occasions drove into the Independence stadium, with his convoy slowed to a walking pace and under the dictate of a marching green boys and girls. 1996, 2001 and 2006, three symbolic inaugurations; each one of them had drawn a crowd big enough to have shaken the foundation of The Gambia's only national sporting venue. But 2012, is set, by all indication, to suit the political expression that made President Jammeh eclipsed his opponents, both the old and the new, who surfaced during the course of the elections with an eye for the Presidency. The victory, political commentators have said, is a master piece. 72% is after all 90% considering the fact that the combined percentage of all the opposition parties failed to hit the 30% margin.
Now, why should Gambians be proud to feast and dance on the occasion of President Jammeh's inauguration? The answer is obvious and needs no further deliberation except for few bullet points.
Firstly, The Gambia has stood out, in no small way, amongst countries with a functioning democracy. The process is participatory, where free, fair and transparent elections are guaranteed and where government cannot in anyway, infringe the electoral laws as governed by the independent body set up for the purpose of monitoring, supervising and holding elections.
Secondly, there is an independent Judiciary that takes charge responsibilities of justice dispensation and adjudicates cases of civil and criminal matters without government interference.
Thirdly, the Legislature sits on matters of concern to the electorate whose interest the elected members serve. The elections of these politicians are also held under the supervision of the Independent Electoral Commission to safeguard the transparency of the process.
These, one might argue are enough reasons to be proud, but that alone, even though significant, are not sufficient pride for government. President Jammeh has certainly done more than these in the 17 years he reigns the affairs of this country.
Economic Prosperity: This elicits commendations. Government has again created the right environment for the growth of the private sector and even allows it to lead as an engine under a far more relaxed and flexible business rules that offer incentives for new investments. In addition to these offers, the government of President Jammeh ensures there exist peace and security to sustain the current economic boom with emphasis on sincerity and quality service delivery. These services have time and again been put under the microscope, by government through the chamber once it felt it no longer serves the needs of the Gambian people. And the President, has himself, intervened incalculable number of times over the past years to generously come to the aid of the Gambian consumer who risks exploitation during religious feasts. The Gambian leader's signature in the Agricultural and other informal sectors, goes to manifest a general call for the empowerment of local industries, with enough protection for the products and services they provide. This, however, calls for patronage from Gambians to which they continue to drag their feet, ignoring the grievous consequences of inadequate local supply, in the face of dwindling international catering.
The boom has also been in the construction industry. New real Estate Agencies have emerged to synchronize with government efforts in providing affordable housing to the Gambian who least expected it.
The driving force behind the impact of President Jammeh's government is the vision 2020, which provides a roadmap for The Gambia's development plan all through the year 2020. It runs alongside the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which is a promise of countries of the world to end hunger and poverty through education and the provision of adequate health care. At home, President Jammeh's government continues to be on top of issues and has in phasing out the PRSPII, launched the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) in its stead. This too is a commitment made and a further promise by the man at the helm to stay the course of development, with renewed faith in Agriculture, Infrastructure and Industrial Development.
WE SAY HURAY! and call on Gambians to give His Excellency a standing ovation if he makes that entrance into the Independence Stadium on 19th January, 2012.
Abdou Njie GRTS