Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 at a few minutes past 4 PM Gambian time, a handful of elected representatives sworn to serve the interest of the people who elected them, connived with a greedy executive under the leadership of Adama Barrow to subvert the will of the Gambian people and defer their aspirations to have a break from the past.
A past marred by unprecedented abuse and rights violations, memories of which evoke post-traumatic stress. For over two decades, The Gambia was under the iron fist of a murderous tyrant when in 1994, four junior officers of The Gambia National army led a mutiny that overthrew three decades of democracy and unleashed the tyranny of Yahya Jammeh onto innocent unsuspecting Gambians.
The ensuing 2 decades witnessed unmatched barbarity and state sanctioned abuse of human rights at a scale and magnitude that will send shivers down the spine of the bravest of men. It would cost Gambians two decades of blood, tears and nightmares to finally rid themselves of the worst tyrant of our times anywhere in Africa. With the help of regional forces, Jammeh was forced into exile after losing democratic elections and refusing to cede power as demanded by law.
With the change, Gambians hoped anew, and in one unified voice declared ‘Never Again!’ Never again shall we allow injustice to perpetuate itself in our midst; never again shall we surrender our collective will to the whims and caprices of a wannabe king; and never again shall we endure perpetual failure and bad governance from our leaders elected to serve.
But not only did Gambians hope, they acted by being active participants in the drafting of a new constitution that will usher in a new republic. Across the length and breadth of the country, patriots answered the call to national duty and contributed their quota to what they believed would be the document within which would be enshrined the supreme laws of the land according to which they will be governed, and the sanctity of which every elected official would have sworn to uphold.
The men and women tasked to capture the broad spectrum of views and compile them into a single document, are men and women of the highest social standing, some of whom have made lasting positive marks on the history and lives of peoples in lands far from home. They answered the call to national duty and gave it their very best. These men and women comprised what became known as the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).
After months of research, deliberations, and consultations with Gambians whom they travelled to meet in their homes in hamlets, villages and towns in every corner of the country, and having travelled continents to meets Gambians living away from home to sound their opinions, in the end, they came up with a draft constitution that captured the views, aspirations and hopes of Gambians. This was a generation of Gambians who, because of their nightmarish experience, were collectively desirous of bequeathing to succeeding generations a Gambia better than the one they were forced to live in under bondage, governed by one man’s desires.
Adama Barrow, an unassuming and unknown political quantity, who was ushered to the position of leadership as a gesture to ensure continuity in the fight against tyranny, swore to further the aspirations of Gambians and usher in the change that Gambians desired, reneged on his promise, desirous only of perpetuating his reign at the top only for the gains that the unexpected chancing upon the presidency brought to him and his cohorts at the detriment of Gambians.
To help his self-perpetuating bid, he orchestrated and executed the greatest betrayal of our collective aspirations as a country, and right by his side to help him further his agenda were the following elected representatives who first betrayed their constituents before conniving to betray the entirety of Gambians and generations yet to come.
The only reason and justification given by these traitors to the course of change leading to their vote against moving the constitutional amendment bill to a second reading and giving Gambians the opportunity to vote on the draft in a referandum, is because they believe that the current president, whose incompetence has been constantly glaring, deserves to have his current term discounted from consideration in our bid to institute a two term mandate for all subsequent presidents. They tried, albeit amateurishly, to couch their dissent in other reasons but their motivation was obvious.
Dear future generations, remember their names and recall their deeds. Others will come along and attempt to sanitize this very moment in history, but the raw emotions of betrayal, anger, and disappointment that reverberated across the Gambia on this day as a result of their callous betrayal is palpable, and no amount of sanitizing can erase that. Their betrayal is hurtful because; as elucidated by one of Gambia’s present day patriots, the proverbial ink used to write the text of the 2020 draft constitution was the blood of the countless Gambians that was shed in the journey to the aspired New Gambia. Remember their betrayal; their cold, calculated, and callous disregard for our long years of suffering and their utter disregard for the sacrifice in life and limb of countless Gambian victims. Meet the traitors to the course of a better Gambia. By their act, they have proven to be unworthy of and henceforth surrendered the title of ‘honorable’ to greed and selfishness.
MEMBERS THAT VOTED AGAINST THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION
1. Sunkary Badjie; Foni Brefet – APRC
2. Musa Amul Nyassi; Foni Kansala – APRC
3. Kaddy Camara; Foni Bondali – APRC
4. Momodou Camara; Foni Bintang – APRC
5. Sankung Jammeh; Foni Jarrol – APRC
6. Amadou Camara; Nianija – NRP
7. Samba Jallow; Niamina Dankunku – NRP
8. Ousman Touray; Sabach Sanjal – NRP
9. Sainey Jawara; Lower Saloum – NRP
10. Alhagie Mbow; – NRP
11. Baba Galleh Jallow; Sanementereng – Independent
12. Saikouba Jarju; Busumbala – Independent
13. Fatou. K Jawara; Tallingding Kunjang – Independent
14. Alagie Jawara; Lower Baddibu – Independent
15. Abdoulie Ceesay; Old Yundum – Independent
16. Muhamed Magassy; Basse – Independent
17. Saikou Marong; Latrikunda Sabiji – Independent
18. Omar Darboe; Upper Niumi – Independent
19. Billay G.Tunkara; Kantora – Independent
20. Salifu Jawo; Jokadu – GDC
21. Kebba Jallow; Jarra Central – GDC
22. Muhammed Ndow; Banjul Central – PPP
23. Majanko Samusa; Nominated