While a lot of people believe that it is the security service personnel of the Gambia who hold the balance of power in favour of Jammeh, others believe that it is our hard working and indefatigable women who are actually the backbone of his regime. However, my contention is that it is the vibrant, intelligent and dynamic youths of the Gambia who are the real deal makers or breakers. The future of our beloved country lies squarely in the hands of our youths as the last frontier of hope especially with regards to a political change. The writings are clearly on the wall for all to see.
One manifestation of this fact was on the 4th April when the UDP congressional convoy arrived in the Kombos from Basse. Following the rumours that there was a major demonstration unfolding in the streets of Banjul, there was a plethora of commentaries on social media and some online radios by some Gambians in the diaspora calling for the youths to come out in the streets in full force.
The impression was that once the youths managed to cross Denton Bridge, Yahya Jammeh will quickly take to the sea and be a refugee in Senegal like Baba Jawara did in 1994. However with the border closure in place, my guess was that Jammeh will not move an inch but will put up a fight. Anyway it was just a rumour and it seemed that the youths have apparently already made a decision of their own that they would not be drawn into any form of violence. Their message was loud and clear: they will not be used by any interest groups whatsoever!!!
Another example was about 3-4 weeks ago in a political rally in the village of Mariama Kunda. During the adoption ceremony of Mr. Dahaba as the father of the village, a pronouncement was made that the Kombo North Region is a no go area for the opposition. With no legal basis for such a declaration and not a chance that the security services would implement such a whimsical and wishful thinking, this was a ploy to instigate the APRC youths against the opposition. But the fact that the PPP, PDOIS and UDP are all over the Kombos holding political rallies is yet another proof that our youths have reached that level of enlightenment where they can no longer be used by politicians or their sycophants.
A third incident is a video which is currently online in which the Gambia’s Minister of Interior was addressing what appeared to be APRC youth militants. In this video, the Minister talked about the APRC youths as being not only the biggest in numbers but also the most hot-blooded. He asserted that they will not trouble anyone but anyone who troubles them will be dealt with using the full weight of the security forces. To me, this was a blatant attempt to divide the Gambian youths by drawing a battle line between “us” (the APRC youths) and “them” (the opposition). Again I am certain that our youths have passed the stage in which they can be divided and manipulated by any minister, governor, or other politicians. Not even by President Jammeh himself.
The wind of political change has finally arrived in The Gambia and change will certainly happen. In addition to overstaying in power, there are so many other reasons why we need a change in political leadership. One good reason is that for 22 years, Jammeh has made numerous promises and revealed several visions of the Gambia becoming an economic superpower and yet we are not even among the list of the top 100 wealthiest countries of the world. In the contrary and according to the World Bank, The Gambia is in fact among the top 10 poorest countries in the world.
Clearly, Jammeh and his government cannot and will not deliver The Gambia to the promised land of freedom and prosperity and so it is therefore time for a change. However, resorting to violence to achieve political change is absolutely not an option. If we set our little country on fire and shed each other’s blood, we will not even be on that list of the top 10 poorest countries at all. Instead, we will join Somalia on the list of failed states. Our voters’ cards are our bullets and the ballot boxes are our guns. By using this powerful weapon, we will achieve change in peace and security without any struggle, violence, reporting each other to the security or even trading insults at each other. We are too civilized, too enlightened, too closely related and too peaceful for all that.
In conclusion, I challenge each and every youth to go all the way out to convince our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and big sisters (who are the backbone of Jammeh’s regime), to also vote for change this year……even if that change is in the form of a Serrer man from Njongon village in the North Bank Region!!!
Long Live the Republic of The Gambia, long live our peaceful and harmonious co-existence!!! We can all smile and no one has to cry!!!!
Posted on April 12, 2016