Sunday will mark the 18th Anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution, a revolution that laid the foundation for ambitious vision which has continued to trail all sectors of national development.
The revolution, which was wholly embraced by the young and old, ushered in a change of leadership that Gambians had for a long time been yearning for. Massive developments streamed in within a short period of time and Gambians mobilised in unison to praise the 'soldiers with a difference'. Accountability, transparency and probity were institutionalised, while corruption and nepotism were flushed out of the administration of public affairs.
A new wave of consciousness and awareness among the masses was evidently conspicuous in the political andsocio-cultural terrains of the country. Unprecedented developments in the country's political history became the order of the day. In short, a new Gambia was born on July 22, 1994.Suffice it to say, the Revolution came into being with a purpose and clearly articulated objectives forself-determination and sustainable development of the country.
This revolutionary leadership has demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubts its commitment to the promotion of national identity and unity as well as the improvement of the lives of our people in both the moral and material sense. One needs not much to see the advancement in the political process, economic development, social emancipation and progress, cultural revitalisation and promotion that is accompanying the Revolution.
18 years today, the revolutionary leadership did not in any way distance itself from the core pillars that brought it to administer the affairs of people -accountability, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption, all benchmarks with which a revolutionary government can be measured. Above all, the Revolution saw the commencement of projects such as construction of roads, establishment of health facilities, construction of schools, and establishment of the first University Extension Programme in the country and subsequently the University of The Gambia (UTG) in 1999.
Apart from the numerous developments registered by the Revolution, there is ample evidence that it has fully incorporated the authority of the people in an everlasting and inclusive manner in governance. The Revolution has given the masses a wide scope to achieveself-confidence and to control their political, economic, social and cultural resources.An independent electoral commission was established by the Revolution, in addition to a locally architected constitution and revival of the country's judicial system.
A change of attitude on the part of the citizenry, particularly on the part of our youth is therefore essential to complement the efforts of the government in our development process. It is widely argued that every government is a reflection of its people. Therefore, the extent of popular participation will determine how well a government will serve its people.
What we should do now is to continue to manifest a high spirit of support and loyalty and be in solidarity with the efforts of the government. Remember, 18 years has placed us on a greater path to success than ever before in the annals of our history.