First-Ever National Political Dialogue: Gambian Leader urges unity, tolerance & increased social cohesion 

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By Alieu Ceesay

Gambian political players showcased a high sense of maturity and national solidarity as they joined President Barrow at the State House in Banjul to discuss pressing national interests in a ground-breaking interparty forum themed on strengthening “Our Collective Responsibility in Preserving the Nation, Safeguarding the State, and Securing Our Resources.”

The dialogue marks a significant step in President Barrows’ efforts to foster unity and address the nation’s critical issues.

In his opening remarks, Gambian Leader President Adama Barrow emphasized the importance of the consultative dialogue, saying the meeting seeks to build consensus on holding and institutionalizing a national dialogue day, as recommended at the first public forum held last year, as part of 58 independence day celebrations as they look to celebrate its 59th anniversary.

“I directed the committee to work on this national consultative forum to encourage and stimulate reflection on selected national issues to promote, protect, and nurture peace and stability in our democracy.” 

 President Barrow highlighted the significance of dialogue in promoting peace, stability, and reflection on selected national issues, aligning with the country’s journey towards its 59th anniversary.

The dialogue comes at a crucial time as The Gambia grapples with political misconceptions and social disparities undermining its enduring unity amid a steady transition to democracy. These misconceptions and disparities are galvanizing the country toward a collective call.

President Barrow urged Gambians to unite in fighting insecurity and working together for the country’s interests, calling for widespread participation in the national dialogue to reinforce social cohesion and tolerance.

Political Party Leaders at the Dialogue event

“I call on all citizens that can do so to participate in this national dialogue, to reinforce the social cohesion and tolerance that exist in our society.” President Barrow added. 

Stakeholders anticipate a successful nationwide dialogue covering various critical topical issues such as religious tolerance, ethnic diversity, sovereignty, security, safeguarding the media and democratic space, irregular migration, and youth empowerment as representatives from 19 political parties present to add their voices from across the spectrum on pressing issues.

Kebba Jallow, representing the People’s Progress Party (PPP), emphasized addressing food sufficiency and unemployment challenges. At the same time, Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party highlighted the urgency of resolving land issues. 

Muhammed Jallow of the Gambia Action Party expressed optimism that the dialogue would foster unity and prioritize national interests.

Alagie S. Darboe, representing the United Democracy Party, stressed the importance of political will in combating corruption, enforcing the anti-corruption commission, safeguarding national sovereignty, and upholding institutional discipline.

Hamat Bah of NRP and Alagie S Darboe of UDP

“We should have the political will and commitment to fight corruption, enforce the anti-corruption commission, protect the Gambia’s sovereignty, and discipline our institutions, which should adhere to rules and commit to our work.” Alagie S Darboe observed.

The dialogue resonated with calls from various political parties for tangible actions on food sufficiency, security, employment, and other pressing concerns, underscoring the collective commitment to steer The Gambia towards a more significant and brighter future.

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