Madi Jobarteh

(JollofNews) -My fellow Gambians, with deeply mixed feeling of joy and remorse I hereby celebrate with you all at the dawn of a new era in the history of our dear country.

For the first time, we have gone to the polls and elected the Chief Servant of our choice thus marking the first democratic change of government. Even though Yaya Jammeh, that unworthy son of our land unsuccessfully attempted to kick our verdict in the mud, yet it is our undiluted choice and our will that prevailed.

What this manifests is the fact that the sovereignty of the Gambia and the power of the State reside in the people of the Gambia. It is a verdict that clearly shows that power lies in no single individual’s hands, but that power belongs to only the people. We have demonstrated that indeed there is no force on earth but the Almighty People.

We welcome Adama Barrow as our Chief Servant for the next three years. While I will have time to talk about the role and responsibility of the Chief Servant of the Republic, let me say that what happened on January 19 is the manifestation of the incontrovertible fact that We the People are the makers or breakers of the Gambia. that swearing-in showed us that neither Yaya Jammeh nor Adama Barrow can save or burn the Gambia.

Rather it is We the People of the Gambia who can save or burn the Gambia. We have demonstrated that fact since December 1 by standing our ground to defend our vote that the sovereignty of the Gambia lies in We the People. This is why Yaya Jammeh could not do anything because our power and our obedience that we gave him for 22 years were withdrawn from him. When he took his illegal petition to court, we saw how empty the place was because we have refused to go with him.

Just imagine how it was when we had crowded around him as if he was a god. Who can imagine that Yaya Jammeh could be held hostage in State House for two months, afraid to step out? Who could imagine that Yaya Jammeh would go to court to fight for his case, and only a handful of people turn up to support him? That should tell us that We the People are the only power and the sole owners of the Republic of the Gambia. It should tell us that no leader has power without the people.

Similarly Adama Barrow as our Chief Servant has the audacity to claim and assume the Servanthood because we gave him our power. Otherwise Adama has no source of power to claim such a position. Let us know ourselves, fellow citizens.

The meaning of the Third Republic therefore can be found in the situation that unfolded since December 1. What has happened since December 1 has shown us that only one thing is true. That is Human Rights. Have you asked yourself why Yaya Jammeh refused to step down? The only reason he refuses to step down is because of human rights. When the moment of accountability arrived, immediately Yaya Jammeh reminded himself that indeed he was not a protector but a violator of human rights. It became crystal clear to him that human rights are precious, inviolable, and sacrosanct; a tangible commodity that cannot be wasted and disregarded. It became clear to him therefore when you violate human rights, one day you would face accountability to repair the damage. That fear of accountability is what was at the core of his refusal on December 9. January 19 was his day of reckoning and he became afraid.

What does this mean going forward? It means that from now on each and every citizen must bear in mind that the respect and protection of human rights is a sacred duty for all. It means the peace and stability of our society can only be founded on human rights. The situation has clearly shown us that in any society in which human rights are damaged without repair, in full and immediately, then no one is ever save in that society regardless of your position. Yaya Jammeh is one clear example. He has realized that since he has damaged human rights, then there is all indication that his own human rights cannot be protected. If indeed he had protected human rights like John Mahama of Ghana, I am sure he would be eager to leave office. But he was afraid to leave office because he was afraid of human rights. Therefore human rights can give you courage and confidence. But also human rights can make you afraid and weak, depending on whether you protected or violated them.

In this Third Republic therefore, I want all Gambians to become Human Rights Defenders. This is because only human rights can make or break a society. When we respect and protect human rights, we will ensure peace and stability. Furthermore this will also ensure efficient leadership and effective government that are responsive to our needs.

We will ensure transparency and accountability in the business sector, in our homes and communities and in our associations and relationships. In that way, we shall ensure tolerance, respect and cordial social cohesion. But when we disregard and damage human rights, rest assured there will be corruption in our government. We will make our leaders become tyrants and liars. We will make public institutions fail. This will cause businesses to weaken and cost of living to go up while poverty becomes widespread and painful. Yaya Jammeh and APRC have shown us what it means to violate human rights. We all became victims and potential victims.

Therefore Gambians, the reason why the Gambia is in such deplorable state after 50 years of independence has to do with nothing other than our lack of respect and protection of human rights. This became more aggravated from 1994 to date, but it has been there since we became an independent republic in 1970. When the quality of human rights is weak in a society, that society also becomes weak in its development and peace. When the quality of human rights is high in a society, consequently there is a high level of development, peace and stability. Hence human rights are the foundation upon which war and peace are founded. Human rights are the foundation upon which poverty and development are founded. With more and better protection of human rights, there will be peace and development. With less human rights, rest assured there will war and poverty.

Welcome Chief Servant Adama Barrow.

God Bless the Gambia!