Every leader in every country is there to bring “development” to his nation and its people, whether it is Adama Barrow in Gambia, Macky Sall in Senegal, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, or Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenya, and so on.

Specific to The Gambia, the country’s Constitution (1997), which President Barrow (and before him Yahya Jammeh) has sworn to uphold and defend, provides for this obligation under the Directive Principles of State Policy.

These state clearly that the State shall endeavor to create an environment that “secures the maximum welfare and prosperity for all persons in The Gambia”.

Also, “ensures ample and equal economic opportunity for all citizens”, and “balanced development for all parts of The Gambia.”

It must also “endeavor to facilitate equal access to clean and safe water, adequate health and medical services, habitable shelter, sufficient food and security to all persons”.

The Executive, Legislature and all other organs of the State in taking policy decisions, making laws and in the administration of the country shall be guided by these principles.

As we can see, Yahya Jammeh was and now President Adama Barrow is required to facilitate development in The Gambia.

Also, they both have this mantra of being national development-oriented leaders, and claim to have brought development to the Gambian nation during their stewardship.

We will also note that both – Yahya Jammeh before him and now Adama Barrow – are beating their chest; and pride themselves as the harbingers of unprecedented development in The Gambia.

However, the point is – it is their duty; we are saying that was why they were elected/hired/appointed by the people; and precisely what they were sent to/put in our State House to do!

Definitely, in keeping our side of the bargain, that is why the president and head of state is given the palatial State House in Banjul, the grandiose Office of the President and staff/aides, and all the attendant fat perks (including the much talked about depass / daily fish-money in common parlance).

Well, we made sure they are all provided for, so that he/she can effectively and efficiently work for us!

So the person who is president and head of state is not doing Gambians any favor, when the government brings “development” to any village, district or region.

To say this to the masses in very simple and clear language – as we are doing here right now – is what is required, and not the peddling of obscurantism which we have seen from the first Republic to date.

That said, we must commend the persons we employ and install at our State House for doing their duty, and fulfilling their contract with Gambians, particularly in the area of infrastructural development.

We are aware of the good work done in several areas, as well as the ongoing reforms in several sectors. In future, our TAT editorial comments and opinion pieces will touch on these issues.

For now, we want to highlight the fact that our leaders are/were elected to do a job, for which we pay them handsomely and give them all privileges and facilities, including members of their family.

It is, therefore, their obligation to serve us well, and to do so diligently and honestly. Nothing else is expected of/from them, and nothing else is acceptable!

Of course, we know that as career politicians, they are always eyeing re-election; we know that politicians being the big opportunists they are, their endeavours to bring “development” is always politically-motivated.

Indeed, their calculations and actions most of the time are designed to make a name for themselves, and not motivated by altruism.

Therefore, be vigilant and do not be carried away by politicians at the hustings, and their talk of promoting national “development”.

We must be alert, particularly in this period of crucial national elections; as most of the time, their words and deeds are self-serving; and, not necessarily based on a desire to do what is in the national interest.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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