Charles Njie, chairman of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations has
stated that without a strategic, robust and urgent system change, led by an
informed, committed leadership, in line with the principles of good governance
and human rights, the Gambia will not be able to consolidate the gains of its
Mr. Njie, was speaking during a press conference organised by TANGO, premised on the theme: ‘The Gambia We Want’ to further express the decision and desire of the people of The Gambia at the polls on 1 December 2016 – a democratic dispensation firmly rooted in good governance and a vehicle for sustainable development.
As Gambians observed the first anniversary of the swearing-in of President Adama Barrow as the country’s third president, civil society groups have converged to call on the new administration to redouble up its efforts to strengthen the rule of law, accountability and fight against corruption.
“It is only through these that the government will be able to fight impunity and abuse of office and set the country on the path for greater glory,” he noted. He said TANGO is of the view that the time has come for the era of true change for this country.
Njie challenged: “We therefore urge government to take advantage of the energy and potentials of our people and optimize the international goodwill currently directed towards our country. We tasked the new government to bring about a complete overhaul of the bad governance system and to cleanse our body polity and create a new foundation of a modern democratic state.”
The initiator of the collective #Gambia Has Decided, Lawyer Salieu Taal reminded the gathering that Gambians defiantly sent a clear message on 1st December 2016 that they voted for change.
He said as Gambians have graduated from #Gambia Has Decided to #The Gambia We Want, “It is time we stand united against any threat to nascent democracy.”
“As a people, we must define the values that underpin #The Gambia We Want. Civil society groups have a huge role to play in facilitating this important discourse and engagement between all the stakeholders.”
Ebrima Garba Cham, chairman of Gambia National Trade Union (GNTU), said his organisation is very much alive to the average workers’ poor working conditions, poor salaries incompatible to prices of basic commodities sky rocketing on daily basis.
“Low income earners can hardly meet their basic necessities of life,” he bemoaned.
Neneh Cham, executive member, The Gambia Bar Association challenged government on the lack of transparency in the appointment of judges, lack of independence in the structure of one of the most crucial bodies in the system of legal administration – the Judicial Services Commission and the non-adherence to rules of constitutional amendments.
These issues, she argued, relate directly to those foundations that hold up a democracy, “It is important that the broader civil society join forces as one voice to amplify the positive and ongoing engagement with this government, in the best interest of Gambians.”