Oct 14, 2009, 8:22 AM
Ahmed Fatty, former special adviser to President Barrow and the leader of The
Gambia Democratic Congress (GMC) has prescribed “national dialogue” as the only
solution in bringing about healing and reconciliation in this deeply
politically divided nation.
“Now that the leadership of 3 Years Jotna are out on bail, I want to renew my call for a national dialogue. This country is deeply divided against dangerous fault lines based on ethics, religious and political. These differences are more pronounced each passing day,” he said.
In an exclusive with The Point on Tuesday, Fatty expressed regret that even ‘our institutions’ are not yet up to the task. The president, he added, should take the leadership in reconciling the emerging confrontational factions and uniting the country.
The GMC leader observed that there is nothing more urgent than this, saying “the truce test of leadership is the ability to unite your peoples around common national agenda and get them to talk to each other resolving internal challenges. National dialogue will help heal and reconcile our peoples”.
Winning elections, he stated, do matter in a democracy but there is something more important than that.
“To me, a true leader is not the winner of election, but one with the capacity of strengthening bones of community ties, narrowing differences and building a bridge between hope and fulfilment. We must inspire hope with realistic opportunities for the fulfilment of public aspirations. National unity is imperative,” he stated.
He maintained that national dialogue, is one medium to achieve this, adding that it will refocus our compass and help us get our priorities right.
“We can do it if we really care about the future of our children. We must prepare for the future, a future without conflict and threats of conflict. We must lay the foundation for a strong nation where citizens can realise their potentials, with a true sense of belonging.”
Politics, he went on, should not be a source of division. Unfortunately, he observed that everything in this country has been reduced to politics.
“We politicize religion, ethnicity, and development and bloat the minor differences to alarming proportions. We invent bitterness, revenge, and character assassination to score cheap political points against each other. Leaders have become dealers in fractionalization and deceit, blatantly violate sacred oaths and wilfully manipulate the public.”
He added; “We are better than this. With such a small population with huge challenges, but abundant opportunities, we can do better. If we start talking to each other, we will narrow our differences. If we start talking to each other, we will empower each other. If we dialogue, we will reconcile and our nation and we will be stronger.”
Fatty while urging Barrow to take leadership now also called on all stakeholders to put the national interest first. “History is recording and we can’t fail.”