Today, 18th January is the day in 2017 when President Jammeh’s mandate expired and tomorrow, 19th January in 2017, is when President Barrow was sworn in to be the first President in the opposition who came to office through the ballot box.
For 52 years prior to 2016 Gambia changed Leadership at the Presidential level only through coup d’état. This is why most Gambians never believed that a president could be removed through the ballot box. It was very easy for a government to remain through inducement or intimidation by fear tactics or patronage.
As of 2016 every Gambian became convinced that their votes count and that the voter matters. This lesson should be further buttressed so that each voter would become convinced that a maturity age of 18 years is attached to voting to ensure that the voter is able to think and make informed choice.
From hence forth any voter who allows himself to be manipulated should be seen as a citizen who has betrayed his or her birthright to determine a destiny of liberty , dignity and prosperity for all for a paltry price .
As we reflect on the developments of 2016 and 2017 we should all renew our commitment to democracy and the peaceful transfer of power as the best instrument to keep a nation together in peace. The US should draw lessons from the Gambia as it heads towards 20th January 2021 when the Presidency is to be transferred.