Mr. President; Remain Focused

Your Excellency,

While some citizens may feel the need to condemn, criticize, or attack your every move under the pretext of patriotism, love for country, and holding public officials to account, do not let them derail you.

Remember, not many were happy with your ascension albeit by popular choice; they said as much. They questioned your competence and your loyalty to country. Their disappointment they masked in a new crusade of ‘national’ duty to hold you ‘accountable’. Whatever you do, in their eyes will never be good enough, if deemed as good at all. To them you will always fall short or you could have done it differently. Wonder why no commendation comes from that camp? They hide behind the mantra that they do not want be sycophants or promote sycophancy.

Remember your base; The Gambian people that saw hope in you, that trusted you and the majority of whom thus far have not been disappointed and are grateful for their choice. Being the grateful people that we have been raised to be, you get lots of commendations for the good work you initiated; that commendation they call sycophancy.

To them, what your responsibility is should be carried out with no thanks for you have been hired and paid to carry out those responsibilities. There is no greater responsibility than that of a parent to a child, but a show of gratitude from a child to a parent is always appreciated and the lack of it is disheartening. We have been raised to show gratitude and be polite to all, especially those who show concern for our welfare. We have been raised to say Abaraka, Jere jeff, Ajaraama; it doesn’t fill the stomach with food but it gladdens the heart.

Even observing you from a distance, it will be insincere of anyone to not acknowledge your humility and sincerity, but even for that we will be labeled sycophants. “they all start out like that then turn into monsters” they say; “so do not encourage him toward that path.” It is true that power corrupts and that you are human, which means you are not immune, but we take solace in your good nature and your choice of advisers; the people you choose to surround yourself with. Humble, upright, sincere and patriotic men and women who gave it all for country and people in various capacities; it will be an insult to them and their various comrades who succumbed along the way that we’d think them capable of steering you towards being the very thing they gave their lives and liberties for; we remain hopeful. Your predecessor said it in public that he does not have any advisers, you do and so we believe you’d be different from him by miles, you have already proven that.

You recently commissioned the Security Sector Reform project aimed at what you termed “reset[ting] the direction of our security service into a functional and effective one that delivers for THE GOOD OF OUR PEOPLE.” You have effectively disarmed yourself of a weapon you could effectively use to entrench yourself if you so desired and surrendered it to the people. We know how it obtained under your predecessor and under tyrants elsewhere; Abaraka!

The Ministry of Justice and the courts are staffed with intent of making them impartial and competent. You have restored dignity and faith in our judicial system. In succession we are expecting constitutional reforms that reflect the aspirations of the Gambian people and takes away from executive excess; another move to entrench democracy. Jere jeff!

Mr. President, we understand these reforms take time and that undoing decades of entrenched decadence will require baby steps, but we will be patient and optimistic rather than cynical. Like a baby taking its first unsteady steps, we will be there alongside like that proud parent urging you on and helping you get back where you may stumble. Let the mocking jealous neighbors shout from their balconies that our baby is old enough to take steady strides.  Ajarama!

For that optimism and commendation of the good steps you take you have been cautioned to be wary of the people who take that route as they are sycophants. Any right thinking person should be wary of sycophants for they do not bring out the good in you but the good you serve them, so naturally a right thinking person would like to distance himself from such people. In your case, such people are your support base, the majority of The Gambian people. They are not sycophants, just proud grateful people in the majority. Isolate yourself from them and you stand alone to be at the mercy of those who from the very beginning never saw you to be good enough. Don’t fall for the narrative that it’s not you, it’s those around you; same thing. Bring down the walls and what lies within is exposed vulnerable, easy target.

Their stance is of course their right, do not suppress it, do not command loyalty from anyone, and do not shut them out. I am in no doubt that you will strengthen democracy and expand the democratic space, as uncomfortable and outrageous as some of their claims may be let them express their views; keep your eyes on the price and march on, we are here with you.


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