By Yusef Taylor @FlexDan_YT on Twitter
On Saturday 26th November the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) held a rally at Sukuta, Kombo North, in the so called “no go area” for Gambian Opposition. From 1965 to 1994, PPP was the dominant ruling party until a military Junta led by Yahya Jammeh overthrew the previous President Sir. Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Soon after the illegal coup of a democratically elected government, the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) came into power and banned the PPP from Political activity. Fast forward two decades of tyranny and dictatorship, the PPP is now revived with a charismatic interim leader commonly known as OJ and is campaigning full throttle for a united coalition to oversee regime change in December 2016 Presidential Elections.
Hon. OJ Jallow’s speech “Ndow Yabateh, Ndow Gaceh”
Speaking at the rally at Sukuta OJ touched on a number of issues confronting the country. His speech focussed on the urgency of Opposition Unity, the Senegal – Gambia border closure and the Islamic State declaration. The speech was delivered mainly in Wollof and translated in Mandinka. To begin his speech Hon. OJ recalled the names of leaders and allies of the previous PPP regime. He highlighted that Jammeh’s children are all born in foreign hospitals even though Jammeh claims he’s improved medical facilities in the country. He reminded the crowd that all the children of the previous President and his ministers were born in the country. In the presence of his wife he declared that “all my own children are born in the country.” How can Jammeh claim to have improved medical facilities in the country?
Hon. OJ – “Yahya bum nyu nah, nyun dunj doff. Nganeh legi la hospital yi gen.”
Jammeh – Africa’s Biggest Thief
Throughout his speech OJ sent a defiant message to Yahya Jammeh and his rogue regime, calling the brutal Dictator “Africa’s Biggest Thief”. According to OJ “today all Gambians have one common problem, the country is suffering and people are hungry. All these problems are because of Jammeh and the APRC. Let all parties put aside their individual party ambitions to one side and unite to remove corruption. Today we have a president who is in every form of business, what kind of President is that? Jammeh is the most materialistic president in Africa, one man wants to own everything. Jammeh owns uncountable houses and properties in Banjul, Kanilai and other places?”
“Jammeh said that he never saw Jawara give more than D500. That’s because Jawara was content with his earnings unlike the corrupt president we have today. Today Jammeh gives millions of Dalasis to musicians and wrestlers. Jammeh must tell us where he got the money from. He is the biggest thief in Africa, wasting millions of state funds. He gives away up to D8 million Dalasis and D19 million Dalasis, which could have benefited the youths going through the backway.”
Hon. OJ – “Den sacha ngur bi den ko sacha, Yahya Jammeh ak yum andal yep aye sachakat len! Ma ko wakh!!”
Continuing in his usual firebrand style of passion and defiance, Hon. OJ urged all Opposition Parties and their leaders to unite, declaring that “the time has come [for unity], failure to unite will result in Gambians hating the Opposition even more than Jammeh. We should unite our minds, our resources and our people to remove Jammeh. This will allow us to bring back law and order, straighten the constitution, the economy and then anybody can stand for any political position of their choice. If the Senegalese and Nigerian Opposition can unite to remove their incumbent how much more Gambia with much less Opposition parties. The people have hope in us and we cannot fail them by refusing to unite. PPP alone cannot remove Jammeh, same for all other parties, PDOIS, UDP, NRP, NCP etc. Country is more important than any Party.”
Hon. OJ – “So degay yange sampa party, danga am reew njeka, kon nak Gambia mo gena important party.”
Border Closure and Islamic State Declaration
In his speech Hon. OJ Jallow addressed the current Senegal-Gambia border closure. In his view “The Gambia is a small country and a nation of peace, Sir Dawda [the previous President] was influential in bringing peace to many countries including Iraq and Iran. We must not forget that Senegal and Gambia are siblings from the same parents. Today the Senegal – Gambia border closure has brought a lot of unnecessary hardship to the country. The impact on small medium businesses and transportation has been disastrous. All because the President decided to increase tariffs for each vehicle up to D28,000 without considering the additional ferry fees and consulting the Senegalese government. Yahyah Jammeh is the reason for the border closure.”
Speaking on the Islamic State declaration, OJ made personal references to his own family. Saying that “my own grandmother is called Mary Ndong, a Christian. Gambians have long known peace between Christians and Muslims who are strongly interrelated. How can Jammeh wake up one day after a full meal and declare the Gambia an Islamic State? In today’s Sudan there is non-stop killing all because of religious conflict. The Sundanese President similarly got up one day and declared Sudan an Islamic state, introducing Sharia Law. Leading to non-stop killing in Sudan, we need to be very mindful that religious conflict has been plaguing other African countries. Jammeh is no more Gambian that our Christian brothers and sisters. Jammeh said he is helping the religious leaders. One of the most respected African Islamic leaders, Pa Alhagie Karamo Touray of Brikama was picked up by the regime, same thing happened to Ismaila Manjang, Bakawsu Fofana, Imam Baba Leigh and many other religious leader. Today as I’m speaking to you, there are three Imams held in prison. Is this the Islamic State that Jammeh is calling for?”
Hon. OJ – “Nen anda ak sunj hell ak sagorr, ham neh Gambia nyo ko mom”
Addressing Gambian women he said that “Jammeh decided to go outside the country to choose his first and second wife. If Jammeh does not respect Gambians, let’s not allow Jammeh to disrespect us. We must deal with this Jammeh issue in its entirety. Gambia is all I have and is worth all my energy and effort.” OJ reserved specific praise for the Gambian Diaspora who said continue to support the PPP in all their activities. In his final words he said “the PPP has arisen, people are tired of Yahya Jammeh, tired of his big talk, tired of his hardship, his wickedness and his exiling of Gambian citizens. Go and tell the people that PPP has arisen and they should get ready to vote. Truth will prevail.”
You can listen Hon. OJ Jallow’s speech on Abdou Jawara’s SoundCloud page at the link below.