#Gambia: National Day of Mourning
The Gambia mourns the death of over 4 dozen young men and women who lost their lives while trying to get to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in search of greener pastures. We woke up to this dreadful news with deep sadness and sorrow. As a people of faith, we understand and believe in the inevitability of death. However, it would be insensitive and irresponsible for our government to not take a closer look at the push factors of this irregular migration and attempt to do something about it in order to curb if not eliminate this perilous venture. During the Babili era, the situation in the country was so unbearable that thousands of our young people were forced to embark on the perilous back-way journey through the mighty Sahara and the deep Mediterranean Sea. These people had lost faith and hope in their government’s ability and willingness to cater for their needs and aspirations.
With our new dispensation, the hope was that opportunities would be created for our young people to engage in meaningful development-oriented, productive and lucrative ventures but many believe that hope has been shattered. The new administration acted responsibly and received commendation for evacuating our young people who got stranded in war-torn Libya; a country that was and is still in a state of anarchy. We also commended the current administration for putting a moratorium on the deportations from Germany because such deportations will undoubtedly outstretch the country’s capacity to cater for its growing youthful population amid high unemployment. However, it is an undeniable fact that the initial euphoria that surrounded the democratic transition in wearing off if it has not already worn off. Whatever it is that our government is doing to address the plight of the young people ought to be redoubled, and the issue needs a meticulous and pragmatic approach. In the absence of dictatorship, tyranny and autocracy, if our young people still prefer risking their lives in the deep meandering Mediterranean to continuing to live in a state of destitution and the false pretense that The Gambia is development-bound, then the government needs to act swiftly to avert the situation. The situation is unequivocally alarming.
The nation is at a crossroads, with a leadership whose primary focus right now is to hold firm grip onto power. Every other thing is secondary as Mr. President and his inner circle are fixated on cementing their position at the mantle of leadership. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that for it is their prerogative, but they should never forget what brought them to power in the first place. The realization of that dream lies on the Gambian people who must choose whether to retain the current leadership or replace it with a new leadership come next elections. Until then, it is the responsibility of the current administration to come up with policies and programs geared towards improving the economic and social well-being of the citizenry. The future leaders of the country should not and must not feel abandoned and neglected. Being the fulcrum of Gambia’s future, the youths are key to our socioeconomic development. May Allah shower His Blessings on the departed souls, and give the families the strength to withstand the irretrievable losses. Amen!
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