By Sulayman Jeng, Birmingham
Here is the beginning of another week Your Excellency. Its aura of expectant bliss is peppered by the heartening speeches delivered by your visiting ministers at the London impromptu meeting with their fellow Gambians. Their orations regenerated the truism, “the beauty of a morning is not often in the wholesomeness of the atmosphere but in the hopefulness of one’s thoughts, feelings and how one yearns to outset the day”. As an apolitical activist, I refuse to be on the payroll of politicians and a feeble victim of political thugs. As an upshot, I will hasten to sculpt the political dispensation of your rainbow cut and dry instead of how politicians and their surrogates fancy. If that doesn’t go down well with anyone, then have a word with God.
Hon Mai Ahmed Fatty. Candidly, rose to the occasion as a young, determined and zealous minister who conspicuously charted his route to drive in change and development for his ministry. Listening to his speech on Facebook live, my heart palpitated with unqualified love and renewed respect for him despite his many perfect imperfections. No wonder he is the darling of new Gambia. However, he fell short in telling his enthusiastic audience how he intends to resolve the popular call for the removable of the Police Chief and his tainted administration. Perhaps, the audience was mindful of not perturbing the alluring feathers of fierce Hon Mai less they are perceived as uncongenial by him. Lamentably, eschewing uncomfortable truths does not equate loving one’s country or leaders. Barack Obama opined: “Loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out what is right and shake up the status quo”.
Another fascinating progress of your government, Mr President, is the warning of governors to stay apolitical during the forthcoming National Assembly Members election. It is no secret how the former incumbent had utilised governors and government apparatus such as security, media, vehicles and funds to marginalised the opposition. Such laudable impartiality enhances state neutrality and levelling equal opportunity in a viable political field. Furthermore, it entrenches meaningful democratic dispensation. Political parties will now have to scout for sponsors and/or dive deep into their pockets to fund their candidates and campaigns. In a similar development, the news of Nema Project and Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency entering a deal to construct livestock and milk production facilities across the country is enriching. It will not only create more employment for the returning youth force, but equally make dairy products available and affordable for struggling Gambian households.
Mr President, for the above developments to be sustained, efforts must be orchestrated in arresting the portentous and divisive political adventurism particularly on the social media by party surrogates. It is creating personality cults where activists with dissenting views from political leaders are terrorised with profanities, peddling mud on reputable characters and exclusion in order to marshal them into a dark valley of silence. Activists who are critical of you and your government are coerced to either join the league of political prostitutes mystifying you for a pin of pleasure or forever remain silent. Mr President, such an unhealthy political climate only profits a few politicians and their thugs at the expense of the majority. Dejectedly, it is also on such stifling atmosphere that repressive dictators are produced. It sickens the heart and deadens the mind to see how new Gambia which is yet to find its democratic feet after emerging from 22 years of repressive bondage treasures such horrific political indulgence. However, I am pleased to inform your Excellency that I rather die standing than continue slaving on my knees.
Notwithstanding, you inherited a broken system from a monstrous dictator after a worrisome political impasse, your government needs to set its barometer right by refocusing its lenses. There is battery of evidence to corroborate not only series of costly miss opportunities in amassing exhibits to freeze Jammeh’s assets, apprehend and prosecute alleged suspects but constitutional omissions. One notable instance is where a trained American sociologist picked and fixed a legal blunder committed by a barrister of a government bragging of 3 legal luminaries as cabinet ministers. That in itself is explicitly telling on the kind of system we have. The other regrettable evidence is Hon Omar Jallow’s childish tantrums directed at his fellow cabinet colleagues. In earnest, it demonstrates your ineffectiveness as an impartial supervisor of a rainbow government and the deafening hypocrisy of the coalition cum Tactical anything anything. What is visible from afar is the emergence of deadly sharks jumping from the icy ocean of greed and desperation tethering reputation of innocent citizens in exchange of a photoshoot with the modelling President. Of course I would love a hug and photoshoot with you but it has to be grounded on mutual respect and sincere appreciation of each other’s way of life.
Mr President, I will conclude by referencing Famara Drammeh who has this to say:
“I am not against the renewed bilateral cooperation between Gambia and China, however it’s important to make it clear to them that our Fisheries and Timber resources are no go area this time around.
We are losing millions to unsustainable fishing practices, deforestation and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU). It’s time to give chance to marine and terrestrial ecosystems to regenerate itself while continuing to provide food security at national level”.
Until tomorrow again, Mr President, have a blissful Monday and keep up the good work.