opinionBy Ousman Njie
Threats have been issued regarding the commencement of military action against the Government and they should be taken very seriously. Prayers, Jamboree and fanfare are being substituted for crisis prevention strategies. This however is not enough to handle potential crisis situation. Ultimatums and Dates are meaningless in terms of armed aggression. There is psychological warfare that precedes conflict. It is carried out by adversaries.
There are serious threats that lead to war of a large scale like in Syria that tears countries apart. There are also armed interventions of a small scale to make it unsettling for a government to govern. Usually, foreign governments know when a major conflict is eminent. In that case they would issue travel advice to their citizens so that they would not be used as human shields.
Small scale interventions may not pose dangers to foreign nationals and occur when they are least expected. They are marked by incidence of suicide bombing and assassinations.
What is important is to forgo propaganda and deal with the hard issues. Standing on a platform in the name of promoting world peace and then claim that a head of state who has been in office for 17 years would be there for another million years is to engage in propaganda. World peace is now promoted by good governance characterized by respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, the holding of free and fair elections and the establishment of a term limit. What Gambians expect every day is announcement of commuting the death sentences of death row inmates to life imprisonment, general amnesty, the release of prisoners, removal of ban on Media houses, the creation of human rights commission, the reform of electoral system and so on and so forth.
The government should acknowledge that hardship is increasing because of the way the economy is being handled. Despite debt relief, the domestic debt increased to 10 billion dalasi in 2012 and the external debt grew to 12 billion dalasi in 2011. Opening up is the way to prevent crisis.