ELECTION 2021 Voice of the elders

Dec 22, 2021, 1:36 PM | Article By: Charles Sarr Thomas

 (Voice for Elders including veteran public servants, private sector)

Following conclusion of the 2021 election, one of the best, if not the best run, most orderly, free and fair election witnessed in our lifetime and in the political history of this country; we can congratulate ourselves as an electorate and as a nation. Congratulations also to President-Elect Adama Borrow for an impressive victory devoid of malice, intimidation or personal interference in the overall electoral process. Commiserations to his opponents all of whom, one can say, exhibited exemplary leadership, commitment, as well as political maturity. God bless us all.

Now, for the way forward, it is time first and foremost to put behind us all our meaningless differences and self-interest and focus rather on nothing but the long-overdue development of the country. Our universal slogan should be ALL HANDS ON DECK for a better, more developed Gambia. What we need now is to banish all discrimination from our midst based on tribe, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, or affinity; all of these bigoted trends have done nothing but retard the development of the nation. Without them, no one gets unfairly side-lined, and progress would finally be given a chance. It therefore behoves the incumbent government (when formed) to address this issue as one of high priority as there would be need to make use of the best people recognising the fact that even the best designed of development plans or blueprint will likely not succeed if the right persons are not put in the right places to execute those plans. Simple and straightforward, one thinks, yet this factor has been the main stumbling block to the country’s development agenda for some years now, much to the benefit of few and the detriment of all. It seems the situation has to change, the sooner the better for this country: the change is urgent, change is NOW! 

Moving forward, for attainment of a more comprehensive development, which we all want to see, there is absolute need now to effectively engage and empower both women and youths; lip service is just not enough. This makes sense anyway when it is considered that this group not only constitute the vast majority of the population (65% women alone) they equally possess requisite knowledge and skills to contribute very meaningfully in fact, to the progress and development of this country. If this group is side-lined or their potentiality underutilized, it could only be to the nation’s economic loss and disadvantage so let us wise up to the fact: their empowerment should instead be a high priority for government, any government worth its salt, any government prepared to make a difference. 

Should the inclusion of elders/veterans be made an imperative in any development agenda? Our answer is most definitely in the positive? Many a developed and developing country have made use of their (elders) wisdom, vision empirical experience and tested knowledge to greatest advantage. Some have done so by actually establishing councils of elders, some through directly utilizing knowledge and skills of veteran experts. Gambia can do the same!

In conclusion, by putting aside all forms of discrimination including tribalism, and rather prioritize the inclusion of capable, selfless members of the society, true development and progress can be better assured. Meanwhile Gambians have decided; the elders have spoken, let us see what happens. And with this we leave behind some profound Gambian sayings for thoughtful reflection.

  • “Good to have elders in the yard (community)”
  • “Words or predictions of elders  do not stray in the wilderness; they usually hit back home”
  • “An elder sitting on his/her mat can see farther than a young person standing even on tiptoes”
  • “On a journey, if you don’t know where and how to go, try to know where you started from”