Alagi Yorro Jallow

(JollofNews) – The Gambia has decided and while a good number are dealing with their disappointment, her choice will reverberate around the rest of the world. More importantly, it’s now time to pray for God to bring deep healing to the divide and schism in this beautiful nation.

It’s not time to gloat on a recent victory.
It’s not time to sulk on a recent loss.
It’s time to move forward and heal this great divide within our nation.

I believe in an exceptional Gambia. I believe we are stronger as a nation when we are united. And, I believe as Gambians, we all have a unique responsibility to bring our country back together again—a responsibility all Gambians wholeheartedly embrace.

As I write today not only to offer my congratulations but also to express my deep commitment in reuniting our country and our people after this particularly difficult election. It is my shared belief that, we have an urgent need to restore faith in our vital economic and government institutions and to bolster the promise of The Gambia—to lift everyone up and leave no one behind. Gambian families, businesses and our communities cannot truly prosper and reach their full potential in a country that is divided and distrustful.

The Gambian people should look for areas upon which to agree and can work productively with the new administration. To be sure, we are aware that there will be times when we disagree on the specifics of important policies, and we will respectfully make our voices heard when we do. I do believe, however, that we can be constructive—both when we agree and when we do not—if we can all approach challenging situations in good faith, guided by an unwavering commitment to a greater purpose.

The days after a hard-fought presidential election have traditionally been a time to mend the divisions in our country, with political parties and candidates moving beyond the harshness of the campaign season and putting our nation, and our democratic system, first before all else.

For our religious community, now is NOT the time to stop praying. We must “ramp it up!” The president and National Assembly members will have faced with many great challenges and will need our prayers more than ever before. I believe we have been given a great opportunity to stand up and take our assigned places in the Kingdom, to be “salt” and “light,” intercessors, active participants in doing all we can to promote godliness in our country, communities and homes.

The Gambia has lost her moral compass, the judiciary is broken, corruption is rampant, politicians have become intoxicated with power, and we are a grossly divided country. We need God to heal our brokenness. I believe this election has given an opportunity to start the healing process and rebuild the foundations that can make The Gambia a great nation.

Now that the election is over; the winner MUST pursue an approach to heal, reconcile and rebuild the division/detachment brought by this election. The Gambian people must reach out to ALL – both the followers and the oppositions. The fractured friendships from this election would take time to heal, but not IMPOSSIBLE.

We are not as divided as our politics suggests, we are one PEOPLE, we are one NATION. Hands must shake not slap faces. The path to greatness has just begun and I pray that our leaders and our nation can find peace and civility.
By Alagi Yorro Jallow 

The author is founder and former managing editor of The Independent, the Gambia’s only private newspaper before it was banned by the government in 2005. He was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a 2007 Nieman fellow and is the author of Delayed Democracy: How Press Freedom Collapsed in Gambia published in 2013.