VP Fatoumata Tambajang – A woman of Substance

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By Ebraima Manneh**, Raleigh, NC, USA

As the unveiling of the new Cabinet of President Adama Barrow begins, we start with a sure sign of things to come. The President has started on the right footing. Appointing Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang to don the mantle of Vice President has already received widespread acclamation. First of all, the President has shown that he intends to give women the attention and priority they so much deserve in this new dispensation. Who could better represent them than Fatoumata? She is eminently suited for the position; she has been one of the key advocates of unity among political parties to defeat Yaya Jammeh. She has tirelessly strived at home and abroad to promote this idea which seemed rather farfetched to most pundits. Relentlessly nevertheless, she plodded on drumming the cause in virtually all Gambian online radios and newspapers, on many cases extending it even to Senegal. She was regularly heard on online radios and every time, her voice exuded confidence and conviction in the eventual success of her task which I daresay skeptics found as an uphill one… She was a steadfast pillar, and an astute mediator and negotiator, in the process that culminated in the coming together of opposition parties and the eventual election of Adama Barrow as our President that we are all proud of today.

The President to have honoured her in this way is not only a recognition of her untiring and selfless efforts as a true patriot, but it is a glaring foreboding of the future for Gambian women. Not only is she capable and very experienced but those of us who know her can vouch to her permanent empathy with and sympathy for Gambian women. She was once the Chairperson of the then newly created Women’s Bureau under the First Republic and we know indeed, that several women’s projects that we now take for granted today were initiated and implemented under her tutelage. She comes to this exalted position with a wealth of international experience having served with the United Nations in The Gambia and overseas.

Apart from her impressive past experience and attachment to the people, Fatoumata is woman of substance, tall in both stature and ideas, she is  genteel, and soft spoken and with remarkable fluency, she is at home in speaking Fula, Wollof and Mandinka as well as English and French. She will no doubt be an asset to President Barrow as her number one collaborator and the entire transition administration. She is also, as a very religious person and is adept at quoting the Quran as she is at reciting Victor Hugo. She is at peace with everybody irrespective of social standing, religious affiliation or political outlook which will stand her therefore in good stead in the role of rassembleur –.  To bring people together which we need in The Gambia in these days of confused animation. We expect her to play a key role in bringing about and maintaining collegiality and cohesiveness in the government and among Alliance members; a sine qua non for success.

As we welcome Fatoumata with open arms, we pray that God grant the transition government the wisdom and love of country to steer our great and long suffering country from the doldrums that we have been in for twenty two years. We are taking up a new start and we are convinced that all patriotic Gambians, indeed all people of good will, understand our plight and would be willing to see us through the difficult times ahead. Let us use this good will well. God bless The Gambia!

**The author is former Permanent Secretary in the first Republic with a wealth of adminitrative experience and proven expertise in Sengambian geopolitics. A career administrator, Manneh is multi-lingual and a senior member of the United Democratic Party.

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