By Kebba Jeffang
The former vice-President of the Gambia, Madame Isatou Njie Saidy, speaking on behalf of the cabinet ministers of the previous government under Yahya Jammeh, assured the current government of their full cooperation to make the transition process possible.
She was speaking at a handing over ceremony on Wednesday, February 15, which was attended by President Adama Barrow and his cabinet at Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, the Vice President, described the handing over ceremony as a defining moment in the political history of the Gambia as this is the first time to have such a political transition. She said with the effort and commitment from the new government led by President Adama Barrow, a strong democratic governance foundation has been laid which is based on social cohesion and unity, adding that regardless of what situation, Gambians are the same people.
The VP said the exercise was initiated by the present government in consultation with the then outgoing government meant to ensure an orderly transfer of power from the outgoing Jammeh government to the current one under the leadership of President Barrow.
“And we have thought it necessary to have an independent institution to help us ensure facilitate the transfer of power so that it can be objective as possible and so that information can be shared and sharing of expertise between the two governments can be possible,” said Madame Jallow Tambajang.
She added “Knowledge is a continuous process and there is no knowledge without reference. And we need the outgoing stakeholders to provide us with reference that is needed to ensure that we have the institutional capacity development to democratic governance and equality and prosperity for our people.”
The former Vice President Njie Saidy congratulated the new government particularly President Adama Barrow for his assumption to power as well as for initiating the transition process. She said the outgoing government was directed by former president Jammeh before he left and that he gave all his support to ensure the success of Mr. Barrow.
“We are one country, one nation and one people after all if the Gambia works it works for all of us, if the Gambia succeeds it succeeds for all of us. But if there is retardation all of us will face it. We are one people irrespective of political affiliation; irrespective of our differences when you come to the Gambia we are one and the same. We should work in unison and to ensure the success of the Gambia,” she said.
Ex-VP Njie Saidy added “the success of the Gambia is for all of us, not just for the government because we need the success of the entire Gambian people and our children and our children’s children after all. We are doing it for our future generation is not for us. We don’t have much to live in this world for sure I know, but we are doing it for next generation and that is why I can speak for my colleagues and say we will do whatever is within our means and capabilities to support this transition process.”
She said even after this whoever is in need of their service among the new cabinet can consult them, as they are willing and open to give guidance and advice because it is all about institutional memory.
“It is not that the outgoing government is smarter or more intelligent that the present government; no, not that is because we have been doing it before. 22 years is not 22 days for sure a lot must have happened and we can share experiences which could be good or bad but is development. There must be trial and errors here and there but even challenges can be shared and we can learn from our challenges and failures just as much as we can learn from our successes and progress,” she said.
The country’s former number 2 said this is why they feel that the transition is very important. She thanked the international consultants as well.
“I have heard the CV read out and he surely has the capability and experience when it comes to transitions. Most African countries I think are facing just what we are facing in the Gambia right now. We never had this sort of transition where a government will hand over to another government. We’ve only have 3 governments after colonialism (the 1st republic, 2nd republic where it had never happened and here we are in the 3rd republic and that’s why we are in a dilemma I presume both for the incoming and the outgoing government,” she said.
“As I said better late than never, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of my colleagues to thank definitely the incoming government for staring this process right now. I know you are very busy, inauguration is around the corner, there is a lot of work to be done by ministers and there permanent secretaries and other technicians and you are expecting a lot of guests but because you see the importance of this transition and this transition team in particular that’s why His Excellency launched it this morning and we thank him for given importance to this process,” said former VP Isatou Njie Saidy.