By Lamin Keita
The Paradigm of Everybody runs away, People you play with abandon you, People you dine and wine with abandon you, People who tell you day-in and day-out that they support your philosophical and ideological political values all-ignore you and consider you a loser, political neophyte and a hater of one’s country.
People of all fate run away, Brothers, sisters, uncles, fathers, mothers, and half-brothers were all exploited to the core, only to satisfy the whims and caprices of the authoritarian leader.
Even the most holier-than-thou-sanctimonious religious figures were scared to death, corrupted, and goes against the core values of what their religion dictates.
Many, including the civil society, political parties, and security services, all shut their doors against the people looking to bring today’s solace we are all enjoying.
Intellectuals abandoned their theories and learning such theories also became a mere farce and a tautological undertone. Political science and law became mere mantra of dramaturgical platform where you see kleptomaniac and egoistic nature of man displaying all characteristics of Machiavellianism.
Our country became a place of personality trait where individuals were more focused on their own interests, they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals. WHOLE OR PART?
Rhetorically, who stays without running away?
The stark reality is, many who had the opportunity to talk or write to a newspaper in order to defy and denounce the dictatorship, shun away from their civic duties as either enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights or our national constitution.
If the defenders of our country were all cow-towed, succumbed to fear and state coercive apparatus, then we must hail the defenders who remain with high esteem. However, Mr. President, to consider political precedents, such political truth telling must not be used as carrot and stick against people who were quiet or dine and wine with Jammeh.
It is time for national healing from the hazards of the twenty-two years of authoritarian durability and alienation, which Gambians will never forget. It is time to move on, and lay legacies of parameters that will make such authoritarianism impossible and would never ever prevail in our country.
For the records, Jammeh used such narratives against PPP’s failures only to silence and manipulate majority of The Gambians. Telling majority of The Gambians to zip it because PPP’S 30 years of rule was a mishap and none of us talk about it or confronted Jawara. Ironically, Jammeh’s rule became a political macabre in the history of our motherland, and above all, antithetical to all the yard sticks you can think of measuring democratic values. Personally, those who are talking must be listened to and you have the option to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff.’
As an instrument for political prowess and expediency, it is important and fundamental as head of a state you inspire your citizens with words of inspiration, encouragement, valor and determination instead of words of despair for an unknown future in this era of our new democracy.
I believe that the difference between a democratic and autocratic government is that the democratic government listen to its citizens (more inclusive, receptive, and accommodating) more, and also simultaneously subjected to frequent constructive or not constructive criticisms.
Visiting some political theories relating to democracy, that often gloomily paint democracy in the realm as never a matter of contestation, but competitiveness that comes with the rule of the GAME-legitimacy, which you already possess and that enable you today to the rule The Gambia. In brief, the legitimacy to rule must also come with the legitimacy of the procedural definition of Democracy that include tolerance to public opinion, but not to heap barriers against the oppositions or critiques.
Therefore, good or bad-mouthed talks will make your government responsive, robust in areas where you need to acclimatize. In this critical juncture in the historical chronicles of our country, whoever respond to the above itemized needs of our citizens will be my hero.
I undoubtedly agreed that there were lapses before as succinctly stated in your truth telling speech, but is time to put these courageous deeds into actions and lay a solid foundation and legacy for democratization- for us and the future generations to come.
For these reasons, we need value change, tolerance and increase secularization, and these characteristics need inspirational leadership qualities, which our country lacks for twenty-two consecutive years. I also believe leadership is a learning curve, where you learn every day, but only narratives without implementation through inclusion or participation will result to abysmal failures.
Relatively, a veritable example is from Mandela who could have plunged the entire nation of South Africa into chaos, but back tracked and decided to reconcile South Africans, specifically for national interest, and I strongly believe with optimism you can do this.