Gambia

The Gambia Cannot Afford To Be Isolated

A few weeks leading up to the polls, I wrote a piece asking that you not subvert the will of the people; and in that piece I stated;

The peace and stability of the country lies solely in your hands. What you say, what you do, what you condone from your surrogates, what you order your security forces to do all have a potential to destabilize the country. Violence is always a reactionary response, always! Let peace reign, pay the price for peace; RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO CHOICE! It is that simple.

With the growing list of organizations, individuals, civil servants, diplomats, NGOs, international partners, states and institutions of state, as well as regional, continental and global bodies all joining the call that you respect the will of The Gambian voter while at the same time declaring their support for and recognition of Mr. Adama Barrow as the legitimate authority in the Gambia come January 19th, you remain defiant. You still sit in the State House paralyzed as regards your state functions and refusing to retract your December 9th rejection of the polls after conceding defeat on December 2nd.

What this means is that after January 18th, you can no longer act on behalf of The Gambia in any respect with international and regional partners. Your authority, which was mandated by the Gambians will no longer be recognized anywhere in the world, what then for little Gambia?

To disrespect a people that have given you so much; or should it be that you have taken so much from and they let you get away with, speaks volumes of your character; a flawed character that you managed to shield from the public thus far in your over confident, tough talking, oath taking pronouncements on how much you love the Gambia and her citizens. Lo and behold, the intoxication of absolute power and the ill-gotten wealth that you so cherish is all you’ve truly cared about.
It came as a surprise in many quarters that you’d so easily accept defeat, but you were lauded nonetheless. When you did the about face from that position a few days later, it was an aha! moment in those quarters, it was too good to be true. Some people saw through the façade that you put up of a patriotic citizen out for the greater good and saw a despot hungry for power, wealth and fame; they gave you the benefit of the doubt only for you to prove them right. A lot of theories are out there as to why the volte face after conceding defeat to the opposition in the “rig-proof” elections that you are so proud of. The excuse that there was human error in the final results declared, which in no way changed the outcome of the results is just a scheme to subvert the will of the people.

Some say the prospect of prosecution and having to face the courts to account for your misdeeds got you too scared and hence the change of position. True, there has been talk of facing justice for the numerous atrocities you have been accused of, but is that not a fair request? All those orphans, widows, and grieving parents deserve to know what befell their loved ones and to have some closure. You claimed to have upheld the law in every instance of your presidency, why then would you be scared of answering to those same laws?

As a former president, there have been talks of pardon and reconciliation in recognition of some of the achievements of your administration. That claim is a fact, we saw when Lawyer Ousainou Draboe was released he stated that he forgave you personally as did the other political prisoners you held hostage. President-elect Adama Barrow stated he has no interest in prosecuting you. Typical to Gambian character, the need for reconciliation and forgiving past errors was a very likely outcome for you, question is what of your accomplices who are not so prominent in status but are known to have acted on your behalf in committing gross human rights violations and torture? Some say they are holding you hostage to save themselves from the fate that awaits them. They don’t want to be thrown to the wolves; understandable.

We get it, the unknown can be scary. The uncertainty of what life after so much power and wealth will be like got you scared enough to take a whole nation hostage. But what powers have you to change the world’s position towards you and the Gambia you want to impose yourself on?

We know you had nothing when you imposed yourself on us in 1994; you grew richer than all 2 million of us combined but we never asked where Allah’s World Bank was. If there is an iota of decency left in you please yield to the desire of the Gambians you claim to care so much about, The Gambia that gave you so much. If you truly have a fraction of the faith you profess to have in the “Almighty Allah” let His will reign above your desire, after all submitting to the will of God is the character of a true Muslim like you claim to be. 

Whatever fate awaits you, face it with grace and dignity, don’t let us remember you as the cry baby who had to be dragged out of the State House wailing and kicking. You’ve been too tough for us to even conceive of you in that manner.

We know how much harder life gets when there is a border standoff with Senegal spearheaded by the transport union; this time around you are calling for an impasse backed not just by the government of Senegal but with the whole world, at least those who care to have any relationship with our dear little Gambia. How’d you think we will fare as a people? Any action Senegal decides to take this time around in order to put pressure on you has the backing of the regional body; ECOWAS and the African Union (AU), as well as the United Nations. 

What if; theoretically, Senegal decides to close off her air space and issue an arrest warrant for you and any member of your family or government? We all know how much Zeinab hates being in Banjul, if your actions cause her to be stranded there State House will be hell for you. If at the time of that decision being made finds her in some far flung corner of the developed world, the prospect of her enjoying your wealth without you, or the prospect of not seeing her for an indeterminate period of time, (like ever) will cause more erratic and irresponsible behaviors from you, and we certainly as a people cannot afford an erratic lovesick Yahya Jammeh.

This scenario is just to ring it closer to home; there is a worst case scenario that no one wants to delve into. All we ask is that you give us back our country. If you like tear down the entire infrastructure you built if you felt betrayed by Gambians, we’d rather be back to pre-1994 Gambia cherishing our peace than be a 2017 “Dubai” in civil strife.

On the other hand, if your drug dealing and arms-trafficking buddies are after you for chickening out to Adama Barrow, come clean and tell us where the stash is; you know never where help can come from. But please, after everything we did for you, don’t take away from us our most cherished asset; PEACE.
So please, jee. Dukareh!

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