By Kebba Jeffang
Friday, 25th November, 2016 the people of the Kombos accorded Adama Barrow, the coalition presidential candidate a tumultuous welcome particularly the major settlements of Brikama, Farato, Busumbala, Lamin, Tabokoto-Latrikunda and Westfield. Some described the crowd as historic.
After 2pm on Friday when the entourage departed from the Kombo East settlement of Basori, it took over 10 hours before the delegation could settle for the day in Brufut where they held a usually well attended early morning meeting on Saturday.
Thousands of people with over 300 vehicles accompanied Adama Barrow and the entourage while many bystanders have been intercepting the convoy in all the settlements from Basori in Kombo East to Brufut in Kombo North. The supporters of the coalition who could not fit in the vehicles became barefoot soldiers and trekked alongside the convoy.
Meanwhile, the flag bearer of the coalition Adama Barrow in the entire campaign trail across the country assured the Gambian public that his transitional government is ready and willing to make all necessary reforms in all sectors including the law and the Constitution of The Gambia.
While addressing a massive crowd in Busumbala on Saturday night, he said the people have power to remove and replace any government using the majority principle.
Barrow promised “we are going to release all the political prisoners in The Gambia if we are voted in. We will build the economy to international standard because The Gambia is ranked among the least developed countries in Africa and the world.” We will ensure job security for the civil servants.” To do this, he said, the power of the president will be curbed to prevent dismissals according to his/her whimps and caprices. He indicated that arrests will be according to laws and procedures and the use of numberless number plates for vehicles shall be a thing of the past.
“I am telling you this because I know the calibre of people around me including Halifa Sallah, Omar Jallow, Dr. Isatou Touray, Sidia Jatta, Dembo Bojang, Hamat Bah, etc. All these people are experienced in all political sectors and being the youngest among them I know I will be guided.”
He said The Gambia is at a cross-roads and the only moment Gambians must capitalize on (or no more) is on the 1 December, 2016 election by voting and ending the 22 year old regime of APRC.
At the meeting held on Thursday in Basori, Barrow said President Jammeh has betrayed Gambians in all aspects. He made similar remarks in Brufut and Jambur during the weekend.
He indicated that impunity prevails and President Jammeh does what he likes without anything coming out of it.
He added that for the last 22 years in the face of suffering, poverty, enforced disappearances, people are still scared to speak out. He then emphasised that “now is the time for us to end all that by using our votes to” to say “enough is enough”.
He went on to say now is the time for the Gambian people to wake up by voting for change.
Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of the Coalition 2016 also told the different gatherings that if Gambians want to end their suffering, President Jammeh must be removed come 1 December, 2016. He said they have come together to be empowered as a force to rescue the country whose economy has been derailing and collapsing.
He said Gambians must understand the importance of the unity of all parties and capitalize on it. “Today, no party among these 8 establishments will propagate their programmes to you. We all have our programmes and we will debate and argue what is best for the coalition but not a party agenda. This is about the unity. We are united for us to win and rebuild the failing economy that has no future for younger generations of the Gambia and to develop this country for our own good. There are resources in this country that can develop this country and we have been seeing the sand mining exploitation in Batokunku and Sanyang which is not even counted in the government revenue. If you ask the government about the revenue from those resources they could not give any reliable answer.”
Dembo Bojang, co-chair GOFER said for over 22 years of APRC rule, the road connecting Jambur and Farato has been in a deplorable condition.
At the Kiang Karanata meeting, Omar Jallow alias OJ said President Jammeh’s human rights record is enough for the citizens of The Gambia to show him a red card. He said declaring the nation an Islamic state contrary to its secular status is inconsistent with the arbitrary arrests and detention of many Islamic scholars in a tiny country like The Gambia.
Dr. Isatou Touray also urged women across the country to be conscious of President Jammeh pretending to love women. At Farato on Saturday night, Dr Touray criticized President Jammeh’s involvement in all sectors of businesses including petty trade which many women rely on to support their children and family and this makes it so hard for poor women especially the gardeners.
Meanwhile, Coalition 2016 entourage stormed Banjul with a mass rally yesterday and at the time of going to press, it was supposed to proceed to Sukuta and Gunjur on the same Sunday.
Earlier speaking at Jambur, Folonko Bojang a resident said since 1994 the country has been going backward instead of forward attributing it to bad governance.
“We have suffered enough because we are farmers and very poor people but we will not like our children also to be poor and experience the same ordeal. And the best thing to do is to change the government because the current one doesn’t have the interest of the Gambian people at heart. They are just there for their families, forgetting the tax payers.”