Gambia: The Gambia’s Situation Is Precarious

There is not a day gone by without me thinking about OUSAINOU DARBOE, his executive, and the uncountable supporters, especially three ladies sitting in that HELL HOLE the tyrant calls my FIVE STAR HOTEL. It is only in Gambia that the leader of the biggest opposition party be sent to jail on bogus charges, and people go on with their lives, and business goes on as usual. OUSAINOU DARBOE and UDP may have given it all for the love of their country and its people, notwithstanding, revolutions have been fought by young men and women while the elders and children stay home and become the survivors of the species to narrate the story to the next generation. The history of the world is full of similar examples and probably the most striking illustrations I could give are those wars fought by ancestors in defense of the motherland; from the Ghana and Mali Empires to the Kingdom of Kaabu, all maintained and flourished on the shoulders of the youths.

Therefore, OUSAINOU DARBOE, KEMESENG JAMMEH, FEMI PETERS,   MOMODOU SANNEH AND THE REST should not sit in prison for me but at home to be the custodians of our history. The Gambia situation is different, given the fact that, the Gambian political psyche is not militant. We never had a cultural revolution unlike our neighbors in Burkina Faso.   Thomas Sankara, during his brief stint in office, has left an excellent effect on the lives of his people. He lived by example, did not ascend to the Presidency to enrich himself or prestige, however, oriented his people to understand that sustainable human development  is not skyrocketed from abroad but start from within; they should build the roads, manufacture their clothes because they will continue to be a welfare state if depended on outsiders. Lassina Sawadogo, the hero of the uprising with his boxing style gesture to defend himself against the soldiers with batons is a clear testament to that philosophy self-reliance.

Also, most the youths who took to the streets to demonstrate against Blaise Campoare were not born in the Sankara’s term in office, but His words ring in their minds like a “Talking Drum.” On the contrary, the average Gambian does not see themselves as the government “WE THE PEOPLE,” but a whole new separate entity commonly referred to as “MANSAKUNDA.” They don’t see themselves as the custodians of their democracy that is why the dictatorship has dragged on for 22 years, and we are still counting. Despite all these brutalities unfolding day-by-day, the mantra of the international community is “WE CONDEMN HIS ACTIONS WITH THE STRONGEST TERM” and anybody banking their hopes on this statement is then living a “PIPE DREAM.” Since, this has been the norm for the last 22 years and has not stopped the Dictator with his vicious cycle of violence against unarmed, defenseless and peaceful citizens.

Moreover, they will often question his mental health or the kind of people he is governing who will allow such subjugation almost to the point of death? This takes back me to the conversation I had with one my patients, a retired colonel in the US military. When YAYA had deceitfully claimed to have found a cure for AIDS; it made me wish I had never existed as a Gambian because this was the most embarrassing moment in my life. Our conversation continued to Yaya’s human right abuses and disregard of the CONSTITUTION he had sworn to uphold and also the lack of checks and balances, as, he is the Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary. In his response, he told me no US PRESIDENT would dare treat them like that, and if anybody ventured down such an avenue, they would be out of office. On the one hand, a mere word alone without actions does not make a difference for an average Gambian held hostage, but on the contrary, the international community cannot be culpable.

Since African independence, they have been bailing Africa out of natural disaster, disease outbreak, civil war or economic mismanagement. Africans don’t seem to have solutions to their problems. Also, our sub-region the ECOWAS is sitting down with their hands folded and with a “POPPYCOCK” mentality of sovereignty. For example Nigeria, the biggest economy and military cannot step up to the plate to “set the rules of engagement” and give an ultimatum to some of these small states who are threatening the peace and stability of the Sub-region.  Nigeria itself is engulfed in a culture of corruption and coup d’état since their independence and never had a chance to develop an institutional democracy. Furthermore, Senegal is not different either, because, the Senegalese discuss Gambia’s condition as a problem or often disregard it as a nonentity.

In my humble opinion, Senegal is just interested in annexing Gambia as a province rather than helping it become a peaceful and democratic state. “That being said,” it takes me to the president’s “SURROGATE-IN-CHIEF or RELIC IS TRYING TO BE RELEVANT” which some of us call “Kotokeh.” A piece of advice for you “Kotokeh,” in case you are losing your memory, is that relationships in politics are seasonal especially with a dictator.  After doing all of his dirty work and exhausting all your usefulness, he will throw you under the bus just like others before you. Therefore, nobody should negotiate their dignity in the union. From source, YAYA adores people like you who would put down their lives for him, selling his policies and polishing his image as the savior of the Gambia. This kind of scenario keeps him laughing in his armchair because another so-called educated Gambian has picked up the mantle to prolong his rule. Kotokeh, you and your boss, seem to be angry at everybody, but anger is a sign of weakness.  If YAYA is upset because he had a rough childhood, why should Gambians suffer for that?  The truth is the average Gambian grew up poor and even those from an affluent background, the majority of the times never see the wealth transferred from the previous generation. Furthermore, your tirade of criticism against DR. ISATOU TOURAY to bring her down is not being bought by anyone so shift the gear to something else.

Finally, the traditionalists are in the habit of transforming our Islamic Religion into a tribal culture. They intertwined culture and religion together so much that the distinctions between the two are almost impossible to see. I am not an Islamic scholar, but my little knowledge of the Qur’an tells me there is no verse which says that a woman cannot be a leader. We know Aisha “Peace Be Upon Her” has been at the forefront of the Islamic propagation. The Traditionalists like to subjugate women, treat them as second class citizens, and view their function in society as only to bear children and serve men. They don’t see them as equal partners in a relationship, and just because they have fewer skeletal muscles than men does not make them a sub-human being.

Just to let you know, women are intelligent; they can make sound decisions, and can take leadership to a new level if given a chance. I am not here to defend ISATOU or praise her but to set the record straight. She never forgets where she comes from even with all of her successes in life. Also, she is a mother, a wife, and even with her busy schedule at the end of the day, will enter the kitchen and make a delicious meal for her husband and kids. She never delegated that to an MBINDAN and above all never has seen her husband as a competitor but as a partner. So please Mr. Traditionalist do not Africanize me because I did not go to waste my time in that way. In almost half of my life living in this world, I worked to educate myself in a system that regards the condition of women to be worthy of consideration.

The Gambia situation is precarious; there is not a day without news of somebody jumping bail, absconded or kidnap. Our innocence in the last 22 years of dictatorship disappeared, and our efforts to be the commanders of our destiny are as Langston Hughes stated, “What happens to a DREAM that deferred? Or does it dry like a raisin in the sun or stink like rotten meat?”

Written By Ousman Jarra

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