Adama Barrow, the presidential candidate of the seven-party opposition coalition, in Gambia’s December 1, polls, has said his candidature is a symbol of national unity, promising to work with coalition partners to unify a divided nation.
“The position of president is not an ordinary one. I am seeking that office to make a difference and give Gambia a new start so that the potentials of the country and its citizens would be developed to the fullest,” Barrow told a rally of supporters on Friday in Basori Komobo central, in West Coast Region.
He called for a change in order to promote and consolidate democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for the human rights.
He pointed out that this could be achieved by ending impunity and self-perpetuating rule characterized by one round of voting, absence of two-term limit, detention without trials, disappearance without trace and contempt for the order of courts.
Barrow said: “When the state fails to be a protector of its citizens, the citizens reserve the right to change the executive and put into office an executive that is true to its Oath of Office.
“If elected president, I will be true to my Oath of office. I will put a coalition government of national unity in place, to last for three years that would respect, uphold and defend the constitution, so that no one would be arrested without due process, detained without trial, disappear without trace or held after being released by court order.”
He said under a transitional government, the disciplined forces will display professionalism and would not be obliged to be loyal to any ruling party but would be loyal to the republic and the citizenry.
He said the Civil service would be Independent and appointments to public offices would be based on merit and the courts will be impartial and independent, saying as president he will not interfere with the Judiciary or the National Assembly.
He stressed that the media will be free to disseminate divergent views and dissenting opinion and civil society will be free to hold the government accountable to the public.
According to him, under the coalition-led government, there will be accountability and transparency in managing the affairs of the country, noting that to ensure national reconciliation, his government will grant general amnesty to all prisoners associated with dissent or civil disobedience as reaction to excesses in administration.
However, he said truth and reconciliation would be initiated to address past injustices, indicating that his administration will appoint competent persons to work in consultation with the law reform Commission to provide guidance on Constitutional and Electoral reforms so that the sovereign Gambian citizen would enjoy freedom.
According to him, the coalition government would guarantee free and compulsory education at the basic level and make education accessible and affordable at all levels to all.
He said primary health care would be made accessible and affordable at the village level, while self-reliance in food production and support services in agriculture will be a priority.
He added that industrial growth would be enhanced and the services sector given added support to maintain strong growth potential.
Barrow stated that the coalition government would improve infrastructure and endeavor to make utilities such as electricity and water supply accessible and affordable.
Technology energy generation and mining will become major industrial activities, he promised.
“There is no need for tension to build up between tribal and religious groups. We are all equal in citizenship, each has one vote, the coalition is established to create one nation and one people,” he said.
Photo credit: Dr. Isatou Touray