Today marks the 18th of February, a significant day for The Gambia’s journey towards self-governance. While it is a moment for celebration, it is equally an important day to pause and reflect on the progress we have made, on the achievements, as well as our shortcomings as a nation.

Personally, for me, amidst all the great achievements we have made, I can’t help but ponder on the future of the country, particularly in light of recent unsettling incidents and increasing reports of crime in the country. These events emphasises the pressing need to address the persistent security challenges within the country.

Understandably as a people who have suffered a lot and just emerged from a tumultuous past under dictatorship, it is natural to want to forget the negative past. 

However, it is equally important as we observe Independence Day today, to remember the security status during the previous regime. Despite its numerous flaws, there was a notable sense of safety and security, with crime at very low rates. 

There is a stark difference to present-day Gambia. So different that, one dares not to venture on even routine activities like early morning jogs. 

I remember on returns back home during the previous regime, I went on morning jogs as early as 5 am when it was still dark. I dare not engage on this routine in today’s Gambia.

Therefore, as we commemorate Independence Day, I urge President Barrow to prioritise addressing these security issues. 

While he does not hold direct responsibility for security operations, his leadership and command influences over how security should operate in the country. 

This makes him accountable and incumbent on him to engage with security leadership to implement proactive measures in safeguarding our nation. What is evident currently is reactionary.

The recent responsive actions by law enforcement are welcoming and commendable (in the case of the diaspora Gambian who reported a crime before it occurred), but this is insufficient. 

We need to have preventative strategies in place to deter crime and tragedies before they occur. Evidence suggests that robust security measures deters crime.

President Barrow’s aspirations to leave a great legacy are evident, yet without a secured nation, I am afraid, these ambitions may just be fantasy.

Your Excellency, the time to act is now.

Happy Independence Day to all, may The Gambia, Our Homeland, continue to progress and thrive.


By Musa Krubally

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