By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
A Gambian politician who’s also head and Secretary-General of the United Democratic Party – UDP, has highlighted the importance of reconciliation in the fight against corruption to the people of the West African country.
During his end of year speech, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe urged all Gambians to reaffirm their stances on national development and to build a democratic and inclusive nation.
Ousainou Darboe also opined that reconciliation can only be achieved if corruption is rooted out. “My message this year is focused on reconciliation because reconciliation is impossible as long as corruption continues,” he said.
Ousainou Darboe hopes the reality of true reconciliation can be attested in music and sports arenas, the National Assembly, and on television screens where programmes reflect the talent and diversity of the Gambian community and its languages and cultures, some of which could be seen in the work of the CRC and the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission – (TRRC).
The UDP chair regrets that “Some individuals continue to sow division, and the vast majority of our people continue to live in poverty, high youth unemployment which has led to a pervasive sense of hopelessness that is responsible for the tragedy off the coast of Mauritania earlier this month,” he said referring to Gambians who died trying to move out for greener pastures.
The politician confirms that true reconciliation is not only about conceding civil liberties of the people but also about political and economic transformation.
“Reconciliation means that we should continue to use the capability of the state to improve the lives of the people, to have a tax regime that is progressive and public finances that are responsibly managed. Reconciliation also requires that we have access to quality health care through, among other things, the introduction of a National Health Insurance,” he said.
He also talked about the importance of education and the need to supply capacity needed education facilities in rural areas. “We need to improve the quality of education nationwide and rural schools in particular and ensure that there is a renewed focus in early childhood development programmes. We must continue to seek out and forge durable social compacts to attain our vision of the ‘Other Gambia’ that has been fundamentally transformed.”
He expects reconciliation to be a very practical undertaking, adding it’s about the work that needs to be done to unlock investment in the economy, to reduce the cost of doing business and to promote growth. “It is about the urgent measures we need to take to ensure a reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses. It is about ensuring that our water resources are preserved and equally available to all,” he concluded.