Nov 7, 2013, 10:34 AM
new book, President Barrow: The Making of a New Gambia, was launched at the
Kairaba Beach Hotel on Saturday.
The authors, Amadou Taal and Ebrima Manneh, as well as a host of other guests and dignitaries, attended the event.
The Master of Ceremonies (MOC) was Jainaba Nyang who, after prayers from Islamic and Christian leaders, described an “awe inspiring phenomenon that everybody in The Gambia has contributed to in their own small way”.
She also informed the audience that the book, which describes The Gambia’s transition from the rule of Yahya Jammeh to his removal by democratic vote and regional military and diplomatic pressure.
Throughout the event the families of those who had lost family members during the struggle against the former regime were lauded and acknowledged for their bravery and sacrifice.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Solo Sandeng as well as the “uncountable, selfless and brave brothers and sisters who, without thought of personal gains, have sacrificed their lives, wealth, knowledge and honour for the sake of liberty and democracy in The Gambia.”
The welcoming remarks were delivered by Chairman Abdoulie Touray, who thanked all those in attendance, particularly those who had lost loved ones to the actions of the Jammeh regime.
He quoted the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela as frames of reference for the transitional period The Gambia is undergoing.
He described the tumultuous political events that happened around the world in 2016 finishing with The Gambia’s democratic decision to oust former President Jammeh.
In the political turmoil that followed the result, he stated that, “the leadership showed maturity and each Gambian should be lauded for their peaceful approach”.
He expressed a desire that The Gambia could follow the example of Dubai and become an economic powerhouse in Africa.
Quoting a proverb, he reminded the audience that, “Life can only be lived going forward but understood looking back.”
When introduced to the audience from the top table, co-author Ebraima Manneh thanked all those in attendance and in particular the three families who had lost loved ones and “brought us to the place we are today.”
He recalled his long relationship with his co-author Amadou Taal and praised his integrity and dedication to hard work.
He said they had both served on the board of Worldview with the late Deyda Hydara the co-founder of The Point newspaper.
He described efforts on his part and a few close compatriots to found a new party and their decision not to register that party when they found that Hon. Ousainou Darboe had registered his party two days before.
They came to terms to avoid a split and he reiterated that, “UDP is not a Mandinka party”.
There followed a review of the book by Mrs Juka Jabang, Executive Director of WAEF.
She parsed the content of the volume in some detail and highlighted certain sections such as “Lawyer Darboe’s trials and tribulations” in chapters five and six and the negotiations to overcome the impasse in chapter eight.
She told the crowd that the final chapter asks a question; “Where are we going from here?”
At this point the crowd was entertained by a drama presentation from the group Activista before the official launch of the book was carried out by H.E. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, Minister for Women’s Affairs and overseeing the Office of the Vice-President.
She commended the authors for their good work in educating the people.
She also added that everybody should buy and read the book as it is an education and extremely worthwhile.
The closing remarks and vote of thanks were delivered by co-author Amadou Taal.
He thanked the editor Joseph Akagha who he said did a “good job, editing from cover to cover”.
He also praised the chairman Abdoulie Touray, whose foreword he said some people might think is better than the book itself.
He also commended the book review by Mrs Juka Jabang, saying that her scholarly work could well form the basis of another book. He described contacting H. E. President Barrow to tell him they were writing the book and how pleased the president was at the news. He also thanked H. E. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang for making time in her extremely busy schedule to officially launch the book.
After thanking the master of ceremony, Mr Taal called forth the young people present who had performed poetry and drama for the assembled guests.
As he praised them, he led them in a call and response. Together they declared; “A Better Gambia is Possible; A Better Senegambia is Possible; A Better West Africa is Possible; A Better Africa is possible.”
He lauded the young people for their efforts, saying they were the future of the nation.