SHE SHE SHE: Put women and children first in solving Gambia’s problem

Thursday, December 15, 2016

There are a lot of issues that we are faced with as a nation, but we have to understand that the world identified us as a peaceful nation in the West Africa region, and that is something we have to guard selfishly.

The December 1 Presidential Election was a historic one, and every Gambian had a role to play in it.

It was historic because for the first time there was a democratic change of government in the country through a ballot box, ending the 22-year rule of the incumbent President.

The change was welcomed by some, while others were saddened by the change of government.

But who are we to challenge each other’s political affiliation, when the supreme law of the land has given each Gambian a right to freedom of association which, of course, includes the right to belong to a political party of one’s choice.

When the incumbent conceded defeat, it was also a historic moment for him and those who believe in his leadership values.

But then one could never forget December 9th 2016, when the incumbent made it clear that he was not stepping down due to reasons tabled before Gambians.

Called it a political game or whatever that pleases you, but the situation in the country is worrying and those that are threatened by it most are the women and children of this great nation of ours.

We have seen and witnessed what happened in Libya, Syria, in the Darfur region of Sudan, and Cote d’Ivoire; and in all these places where there have been wars, women and children were, and are the most victims.

We know for a fact that women and children are vulnerable in every bad situation, and even in places where there is peace and stability, the rights of women and children have been violated.

Women have been and continue to be sexually tortured around the globe on a daily basis, and in broad daylight, even in peaceful states or countries around the world.

Children on the other hand have become and are reduced to sacrificial lambs across Africa, in every available opportunity.

 Children have been reduced to beggars that are homeless and with no hope of a brighter future. We have seen places where children have been forced out of school and denied education, on the grounds that it is bad for them to have a certain type of education.

Women have been dragged out of their homes and raped many times before being tortured to death, all in the name of violence that has been created by men.

These are men that created the very game of politics and competing for high-level worldly positions, to satisfy their thirst for power and greed. In every war created and fuelled by men, women will have to be in the middle of it and suffer to the core, whilst men sit in their cozy offices, drinking the best drinks created on earth and lavishing wealth like no one’s business.

All these possibilities are right in front of us as a nation, whenever we login to BBC, CNN, Aljazeera and other media houses across the world.

It breaks my heart anytime I watch the suffering of women and children on TV, seeing a month-old baby being drained by hunger; and all I could see that is left of her was just bones and there is nothing that I could do to help, but to use my pen and appeal to those who matter to please end the wars and give this child the life he/she deserved.

It breaks my heart to know that the same political game that brings with it nothing but war, is what is rearing its ugly head in my peaceful country, and we all sit and watch in silence.

As women, we cheer, sing, clap, dance and cook for them when they are looking for positions. They will run to us and ask for our help in generating funds for their so called women empowerment programmes so we vote for them, and make them presidents.

When they get into office, they cannot even make us part of their national agenda because they are the very ones who will say the women’s issue and is not a national issue to talk to journalists about.

Then the question that comes to mind is - are they worth dying for? Do we need to turn our children into refugees because of them? Do we need to lose our innocent lives for them?

As women and children of this great nation, welcome the fact that we have leaders here who came to negotiate and hold talks with both the incumbent and the president-elect and his team; and whatever the outcome is, we want it to be in the best interest of the Gambian women and children.

We want everyone involved in the decision-making processes to put women and children first, because they are the ones who are going to suffer the most.

To the incumbent President and his team, we the Gambians and the world at large have seen the way you paraded women of this country as your best friend, who have always been there for you for 22years; and I see no reason why you should now make them cry just because of a political game between you and your opponents.

The children of The Gambia on the other hand are your children, and I see no reason why you should hurt them and punish them for a crime they know nothing about, if there is any.

You have preached peace for 22 years and destroying that in a day is not in the best interest of the Gambian people, particularly women and children.

Listen to the cries of the Gambian women and children, and allow a peaceful transfer of power to the president-elect.

To the President-elect Adama Barrow, you have been preaching peace in the country even though I am yet to hear about your plans for the Gambian women, especially with regards to working with them side-by-side in your government.

I believe that as a husband to two elegant women, you will agree with me that violence is not in the best interest of the women and children of The Gambia.

I hope you and your team will put the interest of women and children first, in any decision you have to take with regards to the incumbent’s decision to stay in power.

Negotiate if you must, and see to it that you have exhausted all other opportunities of negotiation; to see how best you can get your rightful place and be sworn in as President of this great nation.

To the incumbent and the president-elect, let me remind you both of this part of the National Anthem which says: “that all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day”; and we hope you see to it that this stands at all times, so that you will all do what is best for this country and honour the choice of Gambians, which was made known in the outcome of the December 1 Presidential election. 

Author: Halimatou Ceesay