An Open Letter To Bakary Badjie Minister of Youth and Sports
Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Mr minister I will not address you with the prestigious title of “honourable” sine you are new into the hot seat. However, history will tell when to address you with the title. Please be informed that it is with utmost respect and humility I write to you this open letter from Niamina in Central River Region.
I know you are aware that I have been following your activities over the years even well before you became the Minister of Youth and Sports. I do not doubt that you have all it takes to uplift the youth especially those in the rural Gambia who have been ignored and marginalized since independence.
You could recall that from 22-28 May 2006, youth, experts and ministers converge at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the final draft of the African Youth Charter in which amendments and adaption were made after critical discussions, by youth, experts and ministers. This gave birth to its final endorsed by Heads of states at their meeting held in Banjul in July 2006.
Unfortunately, the Charter validated on that day is still yet to be realized by the young people of the Gambia. History will also judge you wrong if you failed to play your part as your predecessors. The Charter has illustrated key issues affecting youth in the areas of employment, sustainable livelihood, education, skills development, health, youth participation, national youth policy, peace and security, and youth with disabilities, among others.
Mr Minister you may read the said document to advise yourself on issues affecting the young people as well it will give you a roadmap on how to navigate. The Charter is indeed a unique instrument for the protection and safeguarding of the African youth because it takes into consideration African values concerning youth development.
This is not going to be business as usual, you have to come out from the comfort zone and engage the young people. The youth of the Gambia are smart and energetic, and I believe if they are engaged it will make work easier for you in achieving the mission and vision statement of the ministry. I submit to you that your appointment is a test for the young people of the Gambia and your failure and success will describe Gambian youth.
I will be glad if you see this letter as a sincere appeal from a concern citizen in the service of nation-building and read the content with a free mind.