Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln
Mr. President, you have demonstrated time and again that you have no regard for protocol much less to have any inclination to follow it. Worse yet, you have disrespected every single Gambian with your total lack of empathy and appreciation of the horrors we went through as a country. You have lost sight of the enormity of the task that was assigned to you; to heal a broken nation, to undo the damages of tyranny and set us on a path to reconciliation.
You have squandered the international goodwill that has been bestowed on us by well-meaning friends and organization to ensure that The Gambia, like all other emerging democracies stands on a sound footing to usher in a new democratic dispensation. Not only that, a much needed economic boost came with that goodwill that you squandered leaving us worse off than we were under tyranny.
Mr. President, never in a lifetime would we have imagined that a man would emerge in The Gambia who would score lower than Yaya Jammeh on so many leadership indices, but you have officially fallen behind Yaya Jammeh on a very important index; exercise of moral authority.
Yaya Jammeh was no fan of Hon. Ousainou Darboe, we even dare say he hated the man but he had a certain degree of respect for him. We all remember, and Hon. Darboe also cited the instance when Yaya Jammeh literally told Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay off, ordered that she be taken of the speaker’s podium and left the rally when she attempted to denigrate Hon. Ousainou Darboe.
Do you know how hurtful it is, that a man you touted as your political father feels more disrespected by you, his self-acclaimed son than he was by one of the Africa’s most brutal and sadistic tyrants of recent memory? How do you feel about that Mr. President, that Yaya Jammeh has accorded more respect to a man you called your father than you have? What does that say about you?
It is utterly shameful that as the head of state of an entire country, you find it amusing that a statesman of Hon. Ousainou Darboe’s caliber is being insulted in a very vulgar manner in your presence and all you can do is laugh and congratulate the insolent Fatoumatta Jawara for stooping so low.
In all civilized societies, political opponents are respected and treated with dignity because they are merely rivals; not enemies, and rivals bring the best out of us if we engage them substantively. The difference here is that we are not just talking about a political rival but a man under whose leadership you gladly served until greed set. A man whose name and sacrifice was your sing song throughout you campaign only to turn around in three short years trying to convince the entire world that there is not a worse person in The Gambia than that same man. How much lower can an individual stoop? What level of indecency will measure up to blatant and deceitful attempts at besmirching the name and reputation of a good man, a patriot whose length of service to the country and her people is nearly as long as the entire time you spent on this earth?
And it gets worse; the same man, who despite everything you threw at him still only sends kind and sincere words your way, admonishes his large following to treat and address you with respect on account of the office you hold if for nothing else. Still you insult and denigrate him without regard to his age (to put it in cultural context), without regard to his status or past relationships with you.
What an utter shame!
As if that is not enough, it gets even worse. The one thing we brag about as a country is how small we are and how everyone is so closely related. You know very well, due to your proximity to both men that your adviser, Siaka Jatta is related to Hon. Ousainou Darboe by blood (they share the exact same grandparents on their mothers’ side). Basic human decency, dignity and a conciliatory mind would deter any right thinking person from allowing a person to be denigrated so badly in a space where such a close relation of the victim is present much less have that relative be the custodian of such despicable conduct. But that only points to the flawed character of Siaka Jatta himself, that he disregarded the familial bonds that bind him to Hon. Ousainou Darboe and their extended families so much so that he decided to sever, in one fell swoop, three generations of family ties all in an effort to appease you and you allowed it. What a shame!
And it keeps getting worse; to think that you ACTUALLY EXTENDED AN INVITATION for United Democratic Party (UDP) officials and members to attend the said meeting where you allowed their party leader and his family to be the targets of despicable and vulgar utterances as a means to amuse your entourage is beyond comprehension.
I speak for many when I say I am totally and utterly disgusted by your endorsement and encouragement of such vile rhetoric in our national space. This was not the first and we can be certain it will not be the last. If not for the foresight of Hon. Ousainou Darboe and his prior knowledge that the constitutionally mandated tour was pre-planned to be used as a platform to besmirch him and his party, your invitation would have been honored and the UDP would have been officially represented at that meeting. What if they had a spur of the moment reaction and disrupted the meeting, wouldn’t that fracas have spilled onto the streets? What would you have had to say in the ensuing bloodshed?
We evaded a riotous situation, if not outright bloodletting by that single act of UDP invitees not honoring your invitation and Hon. Darboe’s preemptive audio to call on his supporters to exercise restraint. And to think that the security and defense chiefs were among the cheerleaders of Fatoumatta Jawara’s insolence only makes our hearts sink further.
We are outraged, and rightly so because you seem determined to surpass Jammeh in further dividing us, and in these volatile times, where our patience is on a knife’s edge we will not be so lucky as we once were if such insensitivities persist within our political space headed by none other than the head of state himself. Reechoing the sentiments of a witness in a recent TRRC sitting, we gave due process a chance to unearth the truth about past injustices and proffer a way forward so that we can heal as a nation. But one thing he is certain of, if nothing satisfactory comes of those processes unrest will ensue. He said that just barely a week ago addressing you specifically and politicians in general
You have undermined the Janneh Commission by your deliberate and total refutation of its recommendations after millions were spent setting it up and sustaining it.
Together with your Justice Minister, you continue to undermine the most important work of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Three years on, the murderers of Solo Sandeng and violators of many a human rights of Gambians still have their case dragging at a snail’s pace in the courts. But true to what your Justice Minister’s brother said, if the Justice Minister had it his way, those criminals will not be prosecuted to begin with and one is inclined to believe that the deliberate delay in dispensing justice is to pacify the nation before their impending release. Justice delayed is justice denied! Why should we be hopeful that will not be the case going back your track record, huh?
Why should there be any fuss about the life of one murdered person after all; if self-confessed murderers of dozens, if not hundreds can be set free after confessing to their crimes? Just as we reel from that surreal decision of your Justice Minister (approved by you), trying to make sense of it all, you are going around the country telling citizens that former President Yaya Jammeh is free to come back and live as an ordinary citizen because Gambia is his home. A man who has inflicted so much pain on our nation, as far as you are concerned is an “ordinary citizen” who can live in our midst without consequence. What is even more telling is that you declared in the same breadth that “he cannot come back to the presidency that is over”; meaning that is all you care about – the presidency. There is nothing ordinary about Yaya Jammeh or what he unleashed on our nation and her people.
You are totally oblivious of the consequences of your actions and utterances on the victims and the already traumatized general population and the threats to our very fragile stability as a nation.
You owe it to the nation, the wider world who offered us their goodwill and support to take a pause, reflect on the enormity of the task you have been charged with and correct course for it is never too late.
Those sycophants you surround yourself with will tell you you own the keys to paradise even when they see you sitting with the devil himself and sharing a pint of blood drained from a day old baby. They will not resign; they will not protest; they will not advise you against your desires no matter how ill-informed. They will just follow along and cheer for you. That is the very definition of spinelessness and lack of moral rectitude, which is the trademark of a sycophant, so no surprise there.
The Gambian people, and especially Hon. Ousainou Darboe deserve an apology from you for reducing a constitutionally mandated national task to one of mockery, insults, vulgarity and an endorsement of insolence by a serving National Assembly Member who should do herself a favor and return the seat to her constituency because she is clearly unfit to serve her people.
We are disgusted and ashamed that the presidency has been reduced to what you have turned it into after so much has been lost and after so much has been sacrificed.
The era of powerful kings and warlords is over, we need ideas and clear policies to move us forward, not bragging on various platforms about how you vanquished you enemies in a war that never was. So stop acting like the conqueror kings of the days of yore.
We have a nation to build!