By Makutu Manneh
President Adama Barrow has addressed the nation on the occasion of the 58th Independence Anniversary of the country on Saturday 18th February 2023, and called on the army to avoid unconstitutional actions.
The president said conflicts and military takeovers have persistently hindered Africa’s development and said those in uniform, should be in the forefront to rise against the fears of wars, conflicts and unrests.
“As we did in 2016, there are legal and democratic and constitutional ways of removing unpopular governments. So there is no wisdom in choosing paths that lead to unrest and destruction.”
“We have noted that in recent years, the elites in African armies have stayed away from unconstitutional actions. This should now filter to all ranks within every army on the continent,” he said. That when a military takeover occurs certain citizens rejoice but only for a while. He said in all genuine democracies like ours, there are adequate checks and balances to prevent unlawful actions.
Speaking further, the president said recent reports of arm robberies, stabbings and other unfamiliar brutal acts in the country’s societies, threatened national security and said such criminal acts leading to injury and loss of lives are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. He called on the public to step up in their neighborhoods and be more vigilant. President Barrow further added that his government will continue its capacity enhancement efforts for the security sector to competently handle and decisively prevent deadly crimes.
“The younger generation will appreciate us better if we construct a future of comfort, peace and happiness for them. This is what democracy offers,” he said. He said the country’s national day is a reminder for all to showcase their patriotism and loyalty as proud Gambians who are willing to accommodate one another, and that his government is determined to unite the people to work together for peace and development and leave behind durable achievements. He said as the country celebrate her 58th Independence, people should focus on their common features as Gambian citizens instead of their differences and should accept the wisdom and necessity of living together in peace and harmony to develop “our” homeland despite our diverse opinions and interests.
“Fortunately, our differences can be harmonized by democracy as a political system and a social process in our family systems, communities, institutions, organizations and the nation at large. For this reason, the theme for my address this year is democracy, a recipe for peace and development,” the president said. That as democrats, they maintain the supremacy of the constitution and rule of law with due regard accorded to our diversity as a people. The president further added that his government believes in democracy for peace and development as well as for self-determination, economic growth and protection of human dignity. That they also believe in inclusive democracy for inclusive development and stability.