The first sign of remorse is an admission of guilt. That is followed by an apology and then a move towards making amends. That shows sincerity on the part of the culprit; even if the crimes deserve punishment, at least the conscience is cleared.
The past 22 years have witnessed horrors that we cannot even dream possible in our worst nightmares; a stain on our national conscience for eternity. The human rights abuses, persecution of opponents and journalists, extra judicial killings within the ranks of the army and beyond, lost souls unaccounted for etc. Who knows what, who perpetrated what, who helped whom, who lied to cover a crime, are all questions to be answered and we will see that our nation is not so innocent after all. The economic crimes that are being unraveled at the Janneh Commission are leaving us all agape from shock and anger; the proverbial tip of the iceberg. As enormous as the sums are, these economic crimes will pale compared to the human cost yet to be revealed in the probe into human rights abuses.
To have emerged from that without a nation submerged in civil strife is noteworthy. Tragic though, is that so soon into the new dispensation when the probes into the affairs of the former regime have not even picked up steam yet, we have politicians mounting podiums and making statements tantamount to saying Yaya did nothing wrong. When it was said that the GDC and the APRC were cut from the same cloth, it was denied despite obvious links from the past. Today, they are both singing the same song; if we entrust their imminent alliance/collusion with our affairs, they will honor the Butcher of Kanilai with national honor and recognition as an ‘elder statesman’ with privileges accorded to former presidents paid for by our tax monies, including the monies of those he orphaned, widowed, and emasculated, a giant middle finger in our faces; and yet we urge them on. It may not be surprising to hear them speak like that, but to see elements of the so called ‘independents’ and PDOIS cozying up to them for political expediency is shocking. True, they are citizens and they deserve a voice and political representation; but to join forces with them while they stick to their old ways is telling.
Democracy can be a hard pill to swallow indeed; the democratic space is meant to bring out the best of us to the forefront in terms of ideas, appeal, and past performance; not the worst. In the new age, to see people who were directly involved in that mayhem of 22 years through active participation suddenly finding a voice to speak to our conscience as to what is right or wrong in governance is the height of shamelessness; worse is to have citizens of conscience giving them a platform to speak and even encouraging them to do so as if they have anything good to offer. In some societies, these are the people who will be running for cover to hide for their lives; not even their families will be spared but thank God ours is not such a society and for good measure. But even in ours, shame and regret should make such folks bow their heads down in remorse and seclude themselves in prayer and atonement. Wanting to re-emerge as a political force in our country is beyond insulting, yet we encourage them in the name of democracy. How about demanding an apology to start with in that case? An apology for their part in aiding and abetting criminality of the worst kind; state sanctioned and executed.
These players in Jammeh’s cabal of mayhem and of total destruction of all facets of our country are consciously urged on; BY CHOICE, by some of us citizens and political players; yet we cry “system change”. Here is Momodou Sabally gallivanting the streets of Banjul pounding his chest that he can’t be “caged” because we refuse to challenge him at every turn for his role in the decadence that came to be the Jammeh ‘administration’. Sabally the poster boy, Sabally the face of the regime is now the darling of some young people? A leadership mentor? How tragic indeed. I do not know what he perceives as caging, but if all your years of service to Jammeh did anything, it was to “cage” you in perpetual fear, cowardice, and spinelessness; being nothing more than a “yes” man even to things you do not subscribe to.
On the other side are Yankuba Kolley and Fabakary Tombong Jatta promising a comeback for the APRC and its old ways, urged on by none other than Mama Kandeh and his GDC. Both Kandeh and Jatta having had their hands in the same maggot infested rotten dish with the ousted tyrant and saw the ratification of some of the most obnoxious laws ever promulgated in the history of National Assemblies around the world. Are we that desperate for leaders and voices of dissent? Lest we forget when we spoke out against the most obvious forms of tyranny and persecution, these same people labeled dissenters as empty barrels and that everything was as it should be. They lied, they schemed, they deceived, they defended all manner of ill out of selfishness and cowardice, yet we embrace them as our new saviors. We need some soul searching as a people.
Lest I get misquoted; yes, they deserve political representation and a political voice as free citizens (for the time being), but they failed the test after being given the chance to proof themselves. The political ideology they subscribed to prove to be fatal to our body politics, yet some want them to be shortlisted for the next opportunity. Are we that starved for decent citizens? It is true, democracy accords all the same opportunities, but by God we as a people should not encourage people who have proven to us that they are rotten to the core, devoid of conscience, immoral, clothed in hypocrisy, live and breathe lies and deception.
And no, I’m not asking for them to be outlawed, of course the government has no right or reason to disallow political pluralism, but we as citizens can shut them up collectively by challenging them at every opportunity on their role in perpetuating the crimes against our people until they own up to their share of that mess. That much we owe to ourselves and our dear motherland. Just as we speak of holding public officials to account; so too must we hold any aspirant of that office of public trust to account any time they present themselves as interested.
What we are witnessing with the recent utterances by Fabakary Tombong Jatta regarding the detained soldiers is the re-emergence of the Jammeh–style of politics; ethnic-baiting! Again cheer led by the non-APRC aligned GDC (yeah right!).
So here’s a lesson; if you sympathize with Fabakary Tombong Jatta or Mama kandeh, or you want to defend their “freedoms” but not remind them of their responsibilities; then do not claim to object to what obtained under Yaya, for these two are the same exact replica of that monster: graduates of his political school of thought. You don’t believe me?
Quote either of them having ever said one thing critical of Yaya, then or now, no?
Show me a piece in which they pledged to do things different from Jammeh, none?
Point to a time they once called for the probing into any of the actions of Jammeh or even show any of his actions as ‘potentially illegal’, still nothing?
Ask them about the legality of the murders of the Mile II nine or about their thoughts on the murder of teenagers on April 10thand 11th and who is responsible.
Truth is, they will want these issues forgotten about, brushed under the carpet and tell us to forgive and forget as the Almighty Allah commands. That is why there was nary an objection to the Indemnity Act then or subsequently.
If you’ve been hired for a job and you got fired because you screwed up; if you want a rerun at that same position, you are expected to tell your employer what you would do different. Admit you messed up, explain why you did and offer to do different; but coming with the same old garbage and demanding your “rights” while conveniently ignoring your responsibilities is the kind of stuff that gets security called on you to drag you out of the building.
While we are not calling for anyone to be illegally persecuted or silenced, truth is the only thing the players in ‘Team Mayhem’ should have to say to us now is to explain their role in those acts of unmatched breach of fiduciary trust. Offering us the same poison in a different chalice should engender national outrage, not collusion or sympathy.
Ning Kankurangho yeh mamma faa, nee yeh tung wuleng jeh, ebori!(Be suspicious of anything that resembles a past tragedy).