THE TOUR OF THE PRESIDENT

The tour was meant to meet the requirement provided for by the Constitution under Section 225 Paragraph 15 which states that “the president shall undertake a nation-wide tour at least twice a year in order to familiarise himself or herself with current conditions and the effect of Government policies.”

One would have thought that the president would expect every farmer who has the means to come and listen to find out what government has for them to uplift them from their current state of poverty.

The farmers have three major concerns. One is the cost of farm inputs and their accessibility.

The second challenge is the marketability of their products and how to improve farm income.

The third challenge is the rising cost of living. How many farmers could afford chicken, meat or fish? How many could afford plain soap to wash their children and do laundry at a price of 8 dalasis for a small bar of soap? How many could afford sugar at a price of 9 dalasis per cup? How many could afford to put milk in their pap or porridge at a price of 20 Dalasis per tin? We could go on and on to prove that a balanced diet is difficult to achieve by farmers. How government policy aims to curb the rise in the cost of living and increase farm income is what the president should have explained.

Instead, GRTS is busy talking about the size of turn outs. Furthermore, derogatory remarks are being broadcast which is awakening sectionalist sentiments, which have a tendency to push the country from the politics of issues into the politics of sentiments and thus pit citizens against each other, instead unifying them to engage the state based on its policies and their impact on the lives and liberty of the sovereign people. The Gambian people are mature enough to know that the government has a duty to end detention without trial and poverty that are growing.

A person who heads a nation has a duty to guard one’s language so as not to hurt the sensibilities and sensitivities of decent citizens. Any derogatory remark against a person or group of people is libellous and seditious. Such conduct needs to be denounced in the strongest terms and the person counselled to desist from such an adventure.