President Barrow: Gambia has friends

Thursday, September 21, 2017

In his maiden address to the 72 Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Adama Barrow told world leaders that during those difficult times, The Gambia knew it had friends, “ones who came to our aid and have since kept faith with us”.

According to President Barrow, the recent political crisis in The Gambia had been a lesson that his compatriots will not easily forget. Gambians made an irreversible choice to close a dark chapter in their history and embarked on a national agenda of reform and transformation, he told the UN.

Political analysts both at home and abroad lauded the President’s speech at the UN. It was “a great speech,” said Alagi Yorro Jallow, US-based Gambian journalist and Harvard University Fellow. “This is what leadership should be about! Impassioned speeches and declarations of solidarity with the many, who are exploited by the few for nothing other than greed and selfishness.”

How is that rationale like? “It is simple,” said Jallow. “The President, through his mode of persuasive speech employed ethos (possess ethical appeal), pathos (appeal to the emotions and you, empathy) and logos (contain justifiable and logical appeal) to present an image of being caring, competent and passionate about finding real solutions to the myriad of problems, bedeviling our dear country and the world,” Jallow argued.

He said by examining and using what he described as Aristotelian rhetorical theory, he will draw conclusions that Barrow’s speech was “an excellent piece and President Barrow is now a master storyteller.”

Contributing to the debates, President Barrow emphasised the need for preventive diplomacy as experienced in The Gambia.  He noted the positive impact of solidarity among stakeholders in the realisation of peace and in pursuit of democracy, promotion of human rights and respect for the rule of law. 

“His statement called for collective efforts to instill good governance in The Gambia,” Amie Bojang Sissoho, Barrow’s spokesperson, said in a press release.

However, Barrow also told world leaders that economic challenges are posing threat to human rights and democracy, contributing to high unemployment among the youth.

Barrow, who recognised the contribution of Gambians in the Diaspora in putting the country on a democratic path, said the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan will bring economic growth in a transformative manner.

On foreign policy, the statement acknowledged the enormous contributions of ECOWAS, regional and international organisations and institutions in bringing peace toThe Gambia.  The President said The Gambia promotes good and friendly neighbourliness and takes a win-win approach in its relationship with nations of the world.  The Gambia expressed support to the one-China policy and the two-state policy to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

Meanwhile, Mr Madi Jobarteh, deputy director of the Association of NGOs in The Gambia, described the speech as historic and kind as expected of a leader of a country that went through terrible political upheaval and became a subject of such international goodwill. 

However, he said,Gambians must also remind President Barrow that it is already eight months into office yet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to be set up. The process to review the constitution is yet to materialise, while ‘obnoxious and anti-human’ rights laws that Barrow promised in his manifesto to be repealed within six months of taking office, are yet to be done.

“Furthermore, Gambians must remind him that while he spoke of system change, yet the presence of old system managers are rife in his government. How, therefore, could there be system change? What is needed now is for Barrow to pursue through his reforms with gusto, so as not to disappoint and lose international partners and goodwill,” Jobarteh said. 

Author: Sanna Camara
Source: Picture:President Barrow