Monday, April 15, 2024

Consolidation of power

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By Musa Jeng


It is indeed a very strategic move for most political parties to hunker down and try to consolidate power, in order to be able to govern and pursue the very platform of the party. As I continue to discuss this theme with friends, we begin to recognize that consolidation of power can also become a scalpel capable of performing an abortion to a democracy in its early trimester. Interesting analogy I retorted, and maybe we need to flesh out where we are going with this.

In the early part of the Jammeh regime, APRC consciously engaged the citizens basically making pronouncements that people wanted to hear, but also understood their initial success could be based on to inherit the legacy of the previous government, notwithstanding what they thought of the PPP. Clearly, the very change that was being sold to the citizen had nothing to do with building democracy but rather to replace the Govt, and its success starts with consolidating power. July twenty second movement became the vehicle that was used, and they started to put in their own Governors, chiefs, Alkalos, village elders and opinion leaders within Yai compins. Interestingly, most of these people were recycles from the PPP and neither side had a problem with their new relationship. The APRC saw them as a means to consolidate power, and to these new hires it was a matter of survival. The only loser was the opportunity to build a viable democracy that could have given the Gambia a new start for better lives of its citizen.

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Hmn, is history really repeating itself? Are the political parties of the day much more interested in inheriting the APRC structures all over the country as a way of consolidating power? Are they interested in wooing business elites from the APRC regime as a source of funding to consolidate their grip to power? The jury is still out on some of these questions and concerns, but the jockeying and the positioning from some of these parties is beginning to look like the movie we have seen before.

Of course, political realities dictate that all political parties will engage in expanding structures and support base, but looking at the journey we have taken, the sacrifice of people and the battle that have been waged, we cannot overlook the raison d’etre of the struggle. Some of these local opinion leaders that are being recruited all over the country, for twenty-two years were the same people very much willing and supporting the killings of their countrymen and neighbors; business and political elites willing to look the other way whilst their countrymen were being killed, maimed, tortured and deprived of their economic survival as a means of punishment.


To the parties I say, as you ponder to come up with strategies to consolidate, I would like you to remember few people: Deyda Hydara did not pay the ultimate price so that you can consolidate; Solo Sandeng did not pay the ultimate price yelling electoral reforms just so that you can consolidate; young school children never had the opportunity to get married or have their your own children, and now you are busy recruiting the very people that supported the ending of their lives so that you can consolidate; and entire civil service with their pensions and families destroyed by sending them to become refugees, and you reaching out to the very people who supported them so that you can consolidate.

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In conclusion, anyone who was part of this struggle and really expected to be compensated with the spoils of war, either never understood what this fight was about, or saw this as a means to an end. But on the same token, any political party that conveniently adopted a strategy to recruit people who were very much part of subjugation of our people, just because consolidation is the most important thing, without a doubt ignores the sacrifices of the people. The fight and the sacrifice was always about change, and the opportunity for a new dispensation so that all our citizens can have the opportunity for a better live. It will be a very sad day that all of this come down to taking care of our own, and again to consolidate so that we can continue to take care of our own… I really hope not


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