“My meeting with Mr. Kandeh was on national issues. It was good to discuss with him. Elections are over and it is time for nation building,” President Adama Barrow declared in a statement issued on his official Facebook page. Mr. Barrow did not elaborate further about the issues he discussed with opposition leader Mama Kandeh. Mr. Kandeh is the leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress Party (GDC).

Mr. Barrow’s recent meeting with Mr. Kandeh, is a welcomed development. This is what we expect from any serious leader interested in unifying the country. Politics of segregation, nepotism, and marginalization should be a thing of the past in this new Gambia. Mr. Barrow should reach out to his opponents in the opposition in the interest of national development.

As rightly alluded to by President Barrow, elections are over and it’s time for Gambians to come together and contribute their respective quotas to nation building. One does not have to necessarily work in the government to contribute his, or her quota to nation building. But it is imperative to add that the onus lies in the government of the day, to create the enabling environment for such contributions to take place.

During Jammeh’s watch, the relationship between the opposition and the government was not cordial. That was largely due to Jammeh’s misplaced notion that anyone in the opposition was an enemy of the state. Hence, he decided to alienate the members of the opposition.

With president Barrow, elevating our political culture from isolationist position to engaging those on the other side in the opposition, is good for our new found democracy. Such a momentum should be nurtured.

There is nothing wrong to have members of the opposition in the new government if they are qualified to serve. Keep in mind that the country belongs to all and sundry; and hence its development, should be the business of any peace loving Gambian. 

For the longest, Africa, has been left behind in terms of economic development, and democratic consolidation. We cannot develop the continent, if those in government harbors grudges against those in the opposing side. The opposition is an important partner in national development.

Today, the world will be impressed by Barrow’s humility, and determination to engage those on the other side calling themselves legitimate opposition parties in this country. This is a rare move, as far as our nation’s political history is concerned. He should not stop at inviting the GDC leadership; he should extend similar audience to the former ruling APRC, PDOIS and respected elders in the country to see how best they can chat the way forward in complimenting his government’s efforts to develop the new Gambia. We rest our case.

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