Dear Editor ,
I want express my profound support to see our president embark on a “thank you tour” just before the incoming National Assembly election. This is the step in the right direction. In many advanced democracies, we have seen political leaders embarked on a “thank you tour” to connect with the electorates who have supported and given them opportunities to lead their constituencies or countries. Example , recently President Trump embarked on a “thank you tour” to connect with American voters about his desire to achieve his campaign goals, aspirations and to urge his supporters to continue giving their political support on various political agendas. This is the normal democratic culture and it gives leaders the ability to once again recognize that they are being send by the people to serve their collective interest. Participatory democracy involves citizenry to be in constant touch with their leaders. Part of this democratic tradition is not only to see leaders embark on nation wide tour to express their gratitude to voters but also to engage them politically about issues of common interest.
President Barrow’s country wide tour will give him opportunity to listen to the electorates and to express his commitment to election campaign goals . As a democratic leader , it will also give him the real sense of how voters feel about him and his government. This tour will afford him the opportunity to enhance his leadership skills and to get to know what really matters to Gambian people in various constituencies. In essence, the tour is personal assessment tour about how he is doing for the country as well as assessment of what voters needs across the country.
President Barrow will visit various places where he will meet with community leaders and discuss various development projects the coalition government envisions for the country. I believe that president Barrow is doing the right thing because he is the one who should thank the Gambian people instead of people coming to statehouse to show solidarity and support. Leadership is all about fighting for the aspirations and collective interests of the people.
President Barrow can also use this tour to unify the country and strengthen the coalition political support base throughout the country . Getting out of the bubbles , and interact with ordinary people will give Mr President the opportunity to realize that power belongs to the people and will educate him that he is not above the people. He will empathize and feel the pain of ordinary Gambians as he meet them in their various communities.
Politically, president Barrow will be good asset for coalition tactical alliance candidates. Gambian must understand that coalition is not a political party. It was formed with supreme objective to remove a despicable tyrant and to replace the previous dictatorial system with rule of law and democratic values. Now it is time to allow democracy to prevail in our country. President Barrow has every rights to support any political candidate who might support the coalition agenda and its leadership. This is what democracy is all about .
The oppositions may say this tour is a political tour designed for UDP political advancement but they failed to remind themselves that UDP is essentially the most important pillar of the coalition. Even if the claim of the oppositions is true, it is part of democratic dispensation to meet with electorates especially before National election to showcase the agendas of the administration. Campaigning for any political candidate is in essence telling the voters that Mr president does not have absolute power to do everything on his own . People’s representatives are the ones who would also hold him accountable to ensure that he did the right thing for the Gambian people. This is democratic practice we need to instill in our new democracy. This will also empower citizens that they have the power to replace any leader if their collective interest are not realized. In American politics , we have seen former president Obama campaigned for democratic candidates who supported him to victory. Such is the beauty of participatory democracy.
Those who accused President Barrow of supporting UDP candidates must realize that we need UDP tactical alliance National Assembly members. In fact President Barrow will visit and advocate for coalition parties candidates whether those candidates are members of UDP or not . Coalition tactical alliance candidates needs president Barrow’s help to ensure their victory. Mr Barrow needs to use his political capital so that we can have majority coalition National Assembly members who will help to push the constitutional reforms and economic development projects . This is the way forward.