Perhaps it comes as a big surprise to many Gambians that all kinds of “stuffs” are happening to our beloved country —each time you take a deep breath and violence against our citizens continue proceeding as though on autopilot, consuming an ever greater share of our neighborhoods. For many of us who came of age before July 1994, it is very distressing that Gambia is the worst it has ever been in our history. The table were set for Yaya Jammeh to buck political ideology and do the hard work to make Gambians feel their government works for them. Perhaps predictably, Yaya Jammeh’s lack of adult supervision, as he only see the laws of the country only as footnotes in a case book, led him to overburden Gambia with many of his limitations. Yet, that’s hardly the whole story. At some point, we were promised a quick trip of shortcut to the gravy train of democracy but it turned out to of a decades-long nap of dictatorship simply because— Yaya Jammeh is afraid to lose the plush of the parlor “Terangha” — he unbelievably finds himself in.
When some Gambians eventually have the courage to say enough is enough, Yaya Jammeh thought to himself, he has the power to prevent a sunrise to democracy and continue holding that imaginary levy for Gambians to continue taking long naps — whiles on the ruff bumpy journey of dictatorship. Four years, many Gambians groaned helplessly when a disgruntled Yaya Jammeh began disparaging some of his respected critics as unsalvageable rejects, for their campaign against his sudden burst of violence on defendless Gambians and forcing those highlighting the never ending familiar narrative of violence that plagued our country to flee our homeland. While his actions are very troubling enough, he then took the leap from off on the wrong foot to begin writing off certain communities — from developmental projects — by costing Gambians thousands of jobs and adding to his dismal track record already pockmarked with failures. Every goodness and blessings that was meant for Gambia, are routinely swatted away for his family use — siphoning away funding — so much that Gambia remains as one of the poorest nation in west Africa beset by poverty.
That sad thing is, despite all of the setbacks they put our country through, they’re not about to slow down in their quest to run it out into the Atlantic Ocean. His fatal choice of words to the civilized world and his remarkably tone-deaf approach to thoughtful international leaders, played very well among his base at some point. So cleverly, Yaya Jammeh began testing his relationship with the Gambians by dogging, abdicating his responsibility-recklessly and turning public attention elsewhere by paying lip services only— to issues of the country. It is very disheartening that the regime will ruefully promote violence against the opposition and then run to the furthest fringes of the country, for the villagers to rest their consoling arms across the regimes shoulders. They will start giving them— red fire warnings as election day approaches and siting potentially dangerous unparalleled traditional beliefs to drive a vote against the opposition.
As for the youths,Yaya Jammeh’s door-slamming against our history, made sure many of the young do not have any memory of life before 1994. Majority of us grew up poor, but most people were impelled by the spirit of common purpose to see each other succeed or become joyous at someone else’s success. That is not the case today. Yaya Jammeh has played out Gambians against each other to extreme anger such that our unity against his dictatorial rule and optimism in our opposition coming together, gave way over time to the unparalleled culture of cynicism, pessimism and political division of today. No Gambian is rarely proud of our country’s path deep in their heart. But in a larger sense, dictatorship has grown brittle with stubborn national challenges over the two decades, when we allowed our democracy to take a long nap. We will only be able to see the bright side of democracy again, if our fellow citizens all vote against this regime. Gambia is hamstrung by dictatorship with the inability to develop. It is best when our opposition leaders stand in unity for us to embrace a new future, a worthy legacy second to none in history. We can deliver that future as one team.
By Habib ( A Concerned Gambian)