Section 222 paragraph 15 of the Constitution states:
“The President shall undertake a nation-wide tour at least twice a year in order to familiarise himself or herself with current conditions and the effects of government policies.”
This is the mandate given to the President by the Constitution.
The questions now arise: Did the President familiarise himself with the current conditions confronting the vast majority of the Gambian people? Has he seen how long it takes to cross from Banjul to Barra. Has he seen the long queues of transports and the amount of resources the country could harness by having enough reliable ferries to enable transports and people to cross with ease? Has he seen the roads after 53 years of national independence? Has he seen the corroded corrugated iron sheets and thatched roof houses as he moved into the hinterland? Has he seen the tattered and torn clothes and shoes worn by the poor? Did he listen to the cries of the farmers for fertiliser, seeds and farm implements as well as markets for their produce? Has he taken note of the rise in transport fares and the difficulty it poses to people earning thirteen thousand dalasis (D13,000) annually, which is the average earning for the vast majority of Gambians in the country? Has he taken note of the problem of the livestock without adequate water facilities for their livestock? Has he seen the problem of gardeners who need fencing materials and markets for their vegetables? Has he seen all the logs of wood that could no longer be exported because of the moratorium on the exportation of timber without government allocating any forest for logging and the growing of more trees to replace the ones exported? What came to his mind when he saw the mighty ocean which should have given rise to captains, merchant and fishing vessels and their crews instead of hosting the dead body of migrants struggling to escape a land of poverty in search of prosperity?
Now that the President is in the urban area he should utilise this time to reflect. The Gambian people who have transformed his tour into a battle ground for a future political career should ask themselves whether they are proud of the conditions they have seen during the tour whether they are hoping to continue to talk about side issues instead of building a Gambia which all Gambians will be proud to call their homeland. This is task of the tour, the task that should now occupy the mind of the President and all those who love their homeland and people.