By Ousainou Mbenga
As the power of the people is betrayed and coalition 2016 implodes, it’s imperative for us to “draw the line” at this critical juncture to stop all hidden agendas on their tracks. A mere regime change is not what we fought for, only to leave intact the structures upon which Jammeh and his APRC ruined our beloved Gambia.
For up to now, what and where is the coalition’s program for the “new Gambia”? Subsequent to its detachment, what and where is the “tactical coalition’s” program for the “new Gambia”? There exists no plan of action from the Barrow “government” to distinguish it from the insolent APRC regime.
In case the coalition or its detachment, the “tactical coalition” is still missing the road to liberation and social transformation upon which the vast majority of the Gambian masses are poised to march on, we hereby remind them again that: “the masses are the makers of history”. It was the Gambian masses that made history on December 1, 2016, not the coalition nor its detachment, the “tactical coalition”.
Gambia has DECIDED! We will not return to the People’s Progressive Party (P.P.P) or to the 22 years of horror and terror under AFPRC – APRC. Equally, we will never tolerate or settle for “anything but Jammeh”. We will begin to display our impatience for your “rearguard leadership”.
Coalition 2016 didn’t come without a struggle. We literally had to force its creation, without which the vast majority of Gambians that voted for Barrow would have stayed home on Election Day.
To those who continue to shield President Barrow and his “tactical coalition” from constructive criticisms, even in the face of their blundering actions; you are in for a rude awakening. We don’t need anybody’s permission to criticize the coalition or its detachment, the “tactical coalition”.
Our victory was not for sale!
The Gambian masses in no uncertain terms DECIDED but the coalition leadership was paralyzed by indecision resulting in the so called “IMPASSE”, during which Jammeh nullified the election results, imposed a state of emergency and bluffed his way out into exile under the threat of a “blood bath” in the Gambia.
To put it bluntly, our victory was sold to Jammeh and mortgage to ECOWAS / ECOMIG. Shrouded in secrecy and mystery, Barrow’s mal – administration will never reveal what they agreed and signed with Jammeh moreover what they signed with Senegal and the European Union.
In my informed view, based on the concrete conditions on the ground on December 2, 2016, if Jammeh wanted war, he would have never survived the catastrophe, let alone live to explain it. The masses were at their highest spirit of resistance against the Jammeh regime.
This spirit was courageously displayed during the campaign, on Election Day and at its sharpest point, on Victory Day, December 2, 2016. Even after the “impasse” and all its humiliations, the spirit of resistance didn’t die.
Because the Gambian masses came out in droves on “flag independence” day, February 18, 2017 not to hear speeches but clearly send the message that they want solutions to their wretched social conditions. Eye witnesses estimated 60,000 people inside and outside the stadium which has a seating capacity of approximately 30,000. According to eye witnesses, the people outside were more than the people inside.
All the conditions were to our favor to chase Jammeh out of town or arrest him without the “blood bath” he bragged to unleash upon us and the “invading forces”. But the “rearguard leadership” of the coalition preferred to negotiate for meaningless peace in fear of the consequential destabilization of the Gambia and the region. The impasse should have never happened.
The humiliating desertion of Banjul in particular and the mass exodus of refugees into Senegal is one of the unforgivable crimes that Jammeh must be tried for. Jammeh and his terrorist APRC regime should have ended on December 2, 2016.
When the fearless and courageous youth scaled atop the “July 22 Arch” and tore up that banner of his, the action should have been a chain reaction across the country had there been the right leadership. Instead the coalition mis-leadership tailed the masses by telling them to calm down.
It was at this point that Jammeh truly knew that he was right when he said that: “I don’t have an opposition” in the Gambia. Is this the kind of leadership we want to cultivate and pass it onto subsequent generations? A leadership that doesn’t have the courage to fight back but would rather call on others to fight for them.
“Freedom is the recognition of necessity”
The coalition 2016 election campaign with #Gambia Has Decided was unprecedented in the political history of the Gambia. Not even the campaign for “flag independence” in February 1965 can equate to the 2016 campaign: Jammeh Must Go! A vast majority of the Gambian masses have come to the recognition that it’s necessary for us to have freedom in order to transform the wretchedness the APRC left us in.
Beware! The Gambian masses have tasted freedom, particularly the youth that came of age during the 22 years of Jammeh’s horror and terror.
They have chosen not to be “blind patriots” any longer. And in solidarity with those who were 20 years old in 1994 and the rest of us who are just fed up with African tyrants, we constitute a growing force of Gambians who will not settle for anything less than overturning this rotten system.
The Gambian masses have endured 52 years of betrayal by unscrupulous politicians and their allies, the aspiring petit bourgeoisie, the two most unreliable sectors of our society.
This is the era of revolutionary – progressive politics. We must become more meddlesome in the affairs of the STATE. We must be willing to organize and fight for social transformations and justice to overturn the parasitic relationship with the unscrupulous politicians. The era of vote for me and then shut up are gone forever!
There are obvious indicators from the Barrow mal-administration that clearly points to a regime in the making.
The blatant language of supremacy, hegemony and “taken over the country” from the “tactical coalition” is troubling at best. But we are not leaving anything to CHANCE.
“Give them a chance” is how Jammeh crawled into power and with the massive blind patriotic – anti Jawara support, stood up and walked over us for 22 damn years while consolidating his reactionary bases. Service to the nation and the people must become a TEST. We must test leadership for national unity and achievements, not ethnic loyalties.
Finally, we must DISMANTLE the APRC apparatus / structures if a “new Gambia” is to come into existence. Jammeh’s vermin and criminal elements have been deliberately integrated into the security arm of the Barrow mal-administration, a cause for great alarm.
We are not in the business of “witch hunts” or “settling scores”; this is about our peace of mind which the criminal Jammeh regime interrupted for two decades. A new Gambia requires a new foundation, not the termite infested APRC foundation.
A new Gambia requires an unwavering confidence in the power of the people: the workers, what’s left of farmers, the dynamic youth energy and honest intellectuals.
Down with neocolonialism! No patience for tribal politics and rearguard leadership!