By Buba Gagigo
Former Vice President Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang delivered a peace message less than a month before the December 4 presidential election.
In the message, she called for the preservation of the national heritage of unity, peace and stability ahead of the December 4 election.
Jallow further advised electorates to campaign and vote for the presidential candidate of their choice based on principles and values for political integrity and democratic governance, respect for the rule of law, respect for people’s and human rights and equal development opportunities which are the paramount interest of the Gambia.
Below read the full statement: “The peace message is drawn from my religious obligation combined with my responsibility as senior citizen and commitment to always promote the perseveration of our National Heritage of Democracy, unity, stability and peace for the advancement of our country, The Gambia. It is important to recognize that this Heritage is born from the solid foundation for democracy, peace, and social cohesion that was built by our visionary forefathers for the advancement of our country. Fellow Gambians, this Heritage must remain our guiding principle to safeguard our unity, freedom and peace because in the absence of these values we cannot advance our country.
“Fellow Gambians, as we recently conclude the unprecedentedly most contested presidential nominations of twenty-six (26) in our country and at the dawn of the presidential campaigns, it is important that I humbly call you to preserve our national heritage of unity, peace and stability for the paramount advancement of our country, The Gambia.
“It is therefore your responsibility to serve as ambassadors and be national pride by upholding our National Heritage which is the bedrock of our National Anthem calling us to live in unity, freedom and peace each day as a nation with one destiny. Being ambassadors also requires you to uphold our determination, as a nation, to build The Gambia, we want, after our collective and victorious fight for the democratic and peaceful change on 1st December 2016 against the 22 years of brutal regime and its bad governance.
“Fellow Gambians, in upholding your ambassadorship, I would encourage you to be the change you want for our country by respecting our constitutional, legal and democratic values as well as our cohesive social fabric during this highly tensed presidential campaigns and ensuing presidential election. Please avoid politics to destroy our shared destiny and mission to achieve the democratic, just, peaceful and prosperous ‘Gambia we want’ and by extension the Africa and global community we want by respecting zero tolerance to the increasing disrespect for political leaders, ethnic-based hate speech, fake news and political violence. You must also bear in mind that the absence of these values would have negative consequences on the region and world at large, because we all share the common goal of making and living in a democratic, just, prosperous and an interconnected global community.
“In discharging your good citizenship and moral responsibility to protect our National Heritage of unity, peace and stability for the paramount advancement and protection of the globally respected good image of our country, you must nurture the emerging democratic environment, which we fought for under the auspice of Coalition 2016 against the 22 year brutal autocratic regime. Such a stance will help us to achieve our common goal of “Never Again” through national reconciliation, unity, peace and stability in the paramount interest of advancing our country. This shows our commitment to protect our peaceful co-existence and to move our country in the democratic, just and prosperous path we want.
“At this juncture, history obliges me to pay tribute to Coalition 2016 because of their exceptional courage and sacrifice in engineering the democratic and peaceful change for the paramount interest of building a solid foundation for good governance, social cohesion, sustainable peace and shared prosperity for The Gambia. I also pay tribute to all the professional organizations and the friends of the Gambia who bravely supported the cause of the change.
“Fellow Gambians I also deem it human and professional to seize this opportunity to ask you to give a minute of silent prayer for all those who suffered, migrated to foreign lands and lost their lives during those bleak years just for exercising their inalienable rights and constitutional rights to contribute to the liberation of our dear country, The Gambia.
“Fellow Gambians, in exercising your constitutional and political rights to campaign and vote for the presidential candidate of your choice, it is important that you do so based on principles and values for political integrity and democratic governance, respect for the rule of law, respect for people’s and human rights and equal development opportunities which are the paramount interest of our country. You must also exhort all others to cast their votes based on these values. I will vote for the candidate of my choice based on these principles and values in the paramount interest of our country.
“Fellow Gambians, in observing your democratic and peaceful presidential election, you must exercise tolerance and constitutional right to vote peacefully and massively, as buttressed by the recently signed Inter Party (IPC) Peace Accord. It is important to appreciate that voting peacefully and massively will give our unprecedented presidential election, its deserving credence and milestone in the history of our nation.
“It is also crucial to protect your votes peacefully by being alert to the entire voting process in order to ensure a free, fair and transparent election. Please return peacefully to your families after voting to listen to the election results and respect the results to be declared by IEC in collaboration with the regional and international observers.
“At this juncture, I wish to commend the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), under the able leadership of Honorable Alhaji Alieu Momarr Njie, for their success in creating the enabling environment for the unprecedented and peaceful nominations of twenty-six (26) presidential candidates for the 4th December 2021, under a constraining Electoral Act, decreed by the autocratic regime.
“I also commend the twenty-six (26) presidential aspirants and their diverse militants for contributing to the peaceful presidential nomination and celebration processes of their candidates, which took place from 30th October through 4th November 2021. These aspirants all share a common goal and commitment to serve our country.
“I also deem it important to acknowledge the significant contribution of the security forces for maintaining peaceful and orderly nominations and celebrations processes. In the same vein, I thank the media fraternity for its exceptional performance in covering and disseminating the nominations and celebrations processes as well as the peaceful Gambian ambiance to the outside world. It also worth acknowledging the opportunity they gave to presidential candidates to share their respective agenda and mobilize support
“In concluding my peace message, I wish to encourage you to pledge to serve as ambassadors for democracy and our national heritage for peace, unity and stability by remaining law abiding and the envy of our country, our African region and the world at large. It is therefore incumbent on you to respect the spirit and letter of our National Anthem, which calls for our collective firm pledge and promise to strive, work and pray so that all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day as well as for God to keep us in our homeland ever true.
“Fellow Gambians, it is equally important to appreciate that peace, stability and progress in our country will contribute to the peace, stability and progress of our African region and the world at large because we share a common goal of making and living in a democratic, just, peaceful and prosperous continent and global community.
“On this note, I thank the entire media fraternity for attending the present press conference in the paramount interest of spreading the peace message. I now pray that God The Almighty and The Compassionate blesses the listeners, readers and communicators of this peace messages by winning their hearts and minds as well as making them ambassadors of peace in the paramount interest of our country and extension our Africa region and the world at large,” it ends.
The former Gambian Vice President delivered this message on Friday at her residence in Kotu.