Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Successful and influential politicians start small, although the challenges political leaders face get into politics require a mixture of idealism and pragmatism to succeed in Gambian political rhetoric.
The Gambia deserves political leaders who are very passionate about restructuring and good governance. The electorates must challenge anyone aspiring to lead the Gambia today, an inspirational leader committed to reorganizing our faulty political system. We want a leader who can lucidly express himself, not one who mumbles and muddles up well-written speeches.
We yearn for a leader who feels our pain and who understands that public office is a call to serve, not one who views it as an opportunity to appropriate state resources and award contracts to companies he has interests in or to have his hand in the cookie jar.
Fatoumatta: The constant reference to Barack Obama is not accurate. Obama, before he entered politics, was an active organizer. In that capacity or role, he came face to face with the pains, poverty, anxieties, and deprivations with which some people had had to live with daily. He got to know what the government and authorities should be doing but not doing.
He thought about solutions to these problems and made mental notes about what he will do if he ever had the opportunity to lead the country. This was what drove Obama into seeking political office- the desire to make a difference and change the realities of the people through politics.Barack Obama was elected as a State Senator in Illinois and later as the Junior Senator from the US Senate.
As a Senator, he sponsored and co-sponsored so many consequential bills. He was outstanding even for a junior congressman. That was why many of his senior colleagues urged him to run for the presidency of America. The charge against Obama by his opponents was that he had no experience in the Executive Branch.
It was not that he had no experience in government or governance. Macron, the French President, is another example. He was the Minister of Finance of France before he became President. He had some experience. Barack Obama did not become the President of the United States from obscurity. It happened before our eyes.
That speech at John Kerry’s Democratic Convention in July 2004 made all the difference. That Obama DNC speech made Obama President; hence he launched his national campaign. Before then, he was busy working his way up the ladder, gaining people’s confidence. Barack Obama, after graduating from Harvard Law graduate he went into a community organizer. He was involved in organizing a voter-registration drive across Chicago. He came to Bill Clinton headquarters to give his spiel.
That question is less far-fetched than it may seem. To be sure, Obama is a man of prodigious talents — the most magnetic presidential candidate since Jack Kennedy, whip-smart, fiercely competitive, burning with passion and ambition even as ice water runs through his veins. He was going places in a hurry long before he had political advisers.The Gambia is looking for a leader who can raise the issue of restructuring with his administration, who are so impervious to the institutional and social effects of fiscal managerial and capacity building reforms and the public sector restructuring discourse, not a leader will relegate the Gambia to the back burner.
We want a leader, audacious, bold, confident, dogged, fearless, and can speak truth to power. We want a leader who can address the needs and aspirations of Gambians. We want a leader who will empower citizens to explore and expand and become masters of their destiny. What the Gambia needs going forward are men of valor, strong and resolute as political leaders and not verminous pests like some we all knew in the Gambia’s body politics.
Many names are mentioned in hushed tones and with rumors swirling who will contest on December 4.However, we need someone to excite us with a dynamic and passionate character determined about reforming and restructuring public institutions and strengthening governance. We are looking for a leader who will promote social rights and social justice and build and nurturing genuine and substantive, and procedural democracy in everyday life.
We have “The Gambia Landlord” who runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds, blinded by his inordinate ambition and motivated by looting the country’s treasury, leaders who squirm as earthworm sprinkled with salt always, after five years in seat of power remains colorless, odorless and tasteless like Carbon Monoxide gas which is so poisonous. However, the Gambia currently is at a precipitous state, very steep and tottering on the brink of disaster and destruction.
It needs an assertive leader, bold, convinced, determined, energetic, fearless, gallant, and indomitable. We want leaders who can speak truth to power regardless of whether their position or utterances will affect their aspiration is our man any day. Someone Gambians all need to check that leader’s profile and engage more on what they have to offer their political leaders. However, it is also possible that it is not a person’s important age, but rather which generation they belong to.
The process of generation replacement could be critical because some politicians are fighting against the tide of history. On this argument, the conservative electorate is effectively dying out. It can be rewarding if they do things right. We like young democratic and patriotic youth who want to engage in politics and take up leadership. We also admired young people who are ambitious and aspire for political power and prepared to explore traditional political activity extends to young people’s political ambition.
However, like we have written several times, that power does not concede. Power concedes only when offered something equal or greater in return. A critical analysis suggested to a synthesis in politics is salient to use the bottom-up approach. Power is not acquired overnight, and it is built in increments. Do not get it twisted, and politics is about representation. Whoever aspires to lead must earn the confidence and respect of those they wish to lead. We must lift others as they rise, running to start changing the status quo of political power.
Fatoumatta: Most importantly, the problem with leadership in our country is not about age but character and values. We have had both young and old leaders in this country with almost the same outcomes. How old was Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara when he became Prime Minister of the Gambia? At what age did Yahya Jammeh become Heads of State or presidents? How old was President Adama Barrow when he became President in 2017? He was 52 years old.
Were Yahya Jammeh and Adama Barrow, an older adult at 52? They were in their prime youthful age when they took over the leadership of the country.Moreover, do not tell me Yahya used the barrel of the gun not elected. It does not matter! How you get to power is not as relevant as what you do or did with it. Many former military leaders had transformed their countries. In politics, numbers are destiny! The people must know you or those they trust to know you. Do not think you can go it alone. If you do, you will fail, and spectacularly so.
Fatoumatta: People must learn to eat a banana before plantain. Eat small things before you look at big things. Work your way up. Become a community leader yourself. Know how things are done. You like citing George Weah; would he have become President without Charles Taylor? You are using Macron as an example; omo! Go and do your research o! That was how Baba jalinding and Hustleman thought they could become President just like that. Their vote tallies could not even win them a seat as councilors. They should have asked Domorifoday and Kekendo. “Love Does Not Win Elections”; Yadicone told us from her experience during the Municipal elections.
Fatoumatta: That 2004 Senate race built the foundations of Obama’s presidential run four years later. Obama proved to be a superb strategist and message maestro. He came up with the tagline ads in his race, “Yes We Can!” because it gave voters a stake in making change happen. It stayed in and became the rallying cry then and in the future of campaigns.When you begin the idealistic nonsense about godfather politics, do you want to put community and opinion leaders? They did not become leaders by staying in their living rooms to watch Tom and Jerry. They matter because they care about their community and have gained their people’s confidence. It would be best if you had them to succeed. You need their approval. If they cannot work for you, make sure they do not work against you.
Fatoumatta: We are not on a mission of any image laundering of any Presidential aspirant for the December 4 elections, but our position is borne out of being convinced by little we have read on both traditional media and social media against some firebrand politicians with little political experience or never had political experience before and want to assumed power. Hence, no issue here, but what some December 4 presidential aspirants lacking is the political experience that is not adequately compensated for their passion for a better nation evolving in the Gambia. December 4, voters are not searching for filtered leaders with an impressive resume with a predictor of mediocrity and high risk, less reward without experiences and deep knowledge; instead, “unfiltered leaders who have a great deal of brilliance and expertise who can perform the very best.