The GFA party Youth League: The Gambia cannot afford to experiment with an incompetent and an untrustworthy leader

Mr. Saidou Bayo

We shall not forget the pain and horrific rights abuses YahyaJammeh’s APRC administration inflicted on the people of The Gambia. Unfortunately, President Barrow has demonstrated with indifference his unwillingness to break from the past and implement the Change people voted for in 2016. Thus, it is an understatement to say that our experiment with President Barrow has been nothing short of an absolute disaster on many fronts and we are all paying heavily for it. The time has come for us to inject real meaning into the Change agenda that the country voted for in 2016 and desperately needs. We cannot afford another experiment with an amateur; we must end our love affair with mediocrity and vote for someone who is competent, and knows what they are doing from the start.


The Youths represent an important segment of the workforce of any country and the Party recognises and is sensitive to the legitimate aspirations of the youths (e.g., good education, and enabling environments for social progress) and that is why it provides for the establishment of the Youth and Women’s Leagues in its Constitution. Thus, the Gambia For All (GFA) party takes the views of the youths very seriously. The Party is acutely aware that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and the youths of the Party also know that there is a need for them to learn from those that know so that they can be better equipped to continue to nurture the progress made and transform the country. To that end, the youths occupy a very special place in the decision-making process and in the life and work of the Party. The Party views its Youth League an important ally and warmly welcomes ideas from the youths. Indeed, the values, and vision that the youths bring to the Party help shape the policies and programmes that can be put forward to the voters. To that end, the youths, regardless of their age, are always warmly welcome to join and share their ideas and participate in the life and work of the GFA party.

The GFA Youth League is of the strong view that Hon Bakary B Dabo (fondly known as BB Dabo), the Secretary General and Leader of GFA is the most qualified and ready of all the Leaders of all the Parties in theatre at the moment. BB Dabo is a highly educated diplomat and a seasoned mediator with an acute understanding of governance, policy issues, mediationand conflict resolution. He is a principled, honest, and a visionary leader with strong moral fibres and respecting of the rule of law and democratic norms.

If anyone takes the time a quick look at BB Dabo’s career history, and it is important that we do because of what is seriously at stake, it becomes very clear that the vast experience which he brings to the job puts him ahead of the pack of the presidential aspirants. He served as Assistant Commissioner in Basse and Kerewan. He served as Assistant Secretary in the then Prime Minister’s Office; he was Assistant Secretary at the Foreign Office; served as Director, Economic & Technical Cooperation at the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat and was a Banker at the Gambia Commercial and Development Bank. He then became Gambia’s Ambassador to Senegal in 1979. His diplomatic skills to help restore normalcy following the 1981 coup is no secret. In Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s government, BB Dabo served as Vice President, but at the same time held a number of important ministerial posts such as Information and Tourism and also held the Civil Service portfolio for some 10 years. During that time, many governments in Africa sent representatives to The Gambia to understudy how our The Gambia’s Civil Service worked. BB Dabo also held the post of National Education as well as Culture, Youths and Sports.Under his tenure as Minister for Economy & Public Finances, the economy and trade began to flourish but, this was brought to an abrupt halt by the takeover of Yahya Jammeh and we all know the 22 years of wanton brutality, gross rights abuses, corruption, the collapse of institutions of government and polarisation of the society that characterised his government.

Upon completing his legal training and after being admitted to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn (UK in 1998), BB Dabo served as Senior Political Adviser to the UN Secretary General to help bring peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He served as Chief of Staff to UN Mission on Ethiopia and Eritrea. There, he mediated, persuaded and created the enabling environments for both parties to respect the agreement they signed to stop fighting and negotiate in good faith with a view to arriving at a permanent settlement. He also served as Chief of Staff and Liaison Officer of UN Mission to Western Sahara, MINURSO. His skilful work to bring Morocco and the POLISARIO Front to the negotiation table and help resolve the conflict underscore the UN Secretary General’s confidence in BB Dabo’s capabilities and diplomatic skills.He also served as Senior Political Adviser to the UN Political Affairs Department to find a negotiated solution to the problem in the Republic of Guinea/Conakry in 2011. Clearly,BB Dabo has a track record of working across the divide, something the Gambia needs at this time. His leadership skill will help inject sensibility into the running of our institutions and restore the rule of law.

The Youth League of the GFA is of the view that, for some 27 years, there has been a sharp departure from the kind of leadership we need to help transform the country. The Party’s Youth League believes that the country is at an important stage in its life. If we have learnt from what has been happening over the last few years and more recently, we cannot make the mistake of electing an incompetent and an untrustworthy leader – leaders must mean what they say. Theyouths of the Gambia and the people of the country deservebetter and that cannot be realised unless there a meaningful root and branch change which will help realise their dreams of a better life. That is what the people voted for in 2016. The youths represent a sizeable percentage of the electorate and must realise that they too have the power to bring about the transformative change The Gambia badly needs and deserves. The interests and dreams of the youths and of the people of The Gambia have been neglected for so long. It is now no secret to us all that in their search for greener pastures, the youths have resorted to taking the notoriously deadly “back way, resulting in untold suffering and the death of innocent and energetic young Gambians the country needs to grow. It does not have to be that way at all. We advise the youths to vote wisely and to not allow anyone to mislead them for selfish interests. The youths must learn from the lessons of the past. Clearly, it will be unwise and a disaster to vote for President Barrow as his re-election could threaten the peace and viability of the nation.

We hope you make BB Dabo your choice; he is ready, trustworthy, experienced and he has the integrity, respect and the requisite leadership skills to lead and elevate The Gambia.

Saidou Bayo is a Youth Mobiliser, GFA Youth League and also a member of the Central Committee and Communication Cell of the GFA party.

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