Thank you madam minister, it’s a sign of democracy

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Health minister has demonstrated that she has a sense of humour and the leadership skill needed to head a Ministry like Health and Social Welfare.

She understands that ‘an err is human’ and that the best thing one can do when a mistake is committed is to issue an apology and turn a new page. She understands that democracy works on the principles of daily compromise – a situation in which people disagree and agree. She has demonstrated that the only way to perfect our democracy is to accommodate public opinions but to settle with what is best for everyone.

Mrs. Lowe-Ceesay would ever be remembered as a model in our young but imperfect democracy. She has demonstrated that leadership can only be perfect if only a leader acknowledges shortfalls and willing to learn to move on.

In as much as the minister’s comments might be condemned by doctors, the demands they also advanced were not simply realistic. Asking a minister to apologise, retract her comments and resign does not fit in a democracy like ours. It’s enough for a minister to issue an apology and move on.

The doctors’ strike must end now; because after all, it is The Gambia we must put first. The issue might be about the minister and her comments but not the people and their patients. The Health Ministry is one of the most respected ministries in this country. It’s not the respect that is given; it’s the respect that was earned.

At the beginning of this democracy, the former Interior minister had equally issued a personal apology when he was overheard on the microphone accusing the Foroyaa reporter of being a PDOID sympathizer. His apology was greeted with some sense of hope; as it signalled a journey towards a democracy that we have all been yawning for so many years.

The journalists in this country have had the most practice than any profession over the years. But when the door opens for our new democracy, they feel that the best way to achieve their goals is to constructively engage the government by handing a Legal Position Paper. Today, we are optimistic that the laws that have long been impeding against our course will one day be repealed. 

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.”

Atifete Jahjaga