Yahya Jammeh is the most polarizing figure in Gambia. In his speech Wednesday evening at Talinding— a town in Gambia, he spoke of tribalism and ethnic prejudice. The credibility gap between his words and deeds yawns wider. As divisive as he is, the current leader of Gambia has simply exacerbated a trend towards disunity that he has been developing for years. He continues — a record-setting pace of tribalism, divisiveness and mistrust for 22 years straight. Arm with the arrogance of power, Yahya Jammeh has grown particularly contemptuous and adventurous about destroying the bonds of trust and traditions of Gambia. For example, Yahya Jammeh’s regard for the majority tribe has been on a nosedive for the past 20 years. His popularity at home is fed by similar effrontery. Gambians should carefully consider the future direction of the Gambia under the stewardship of APRC regime. He is trying to burden Gambians with collective nationalism guilt by lecturing about Pan-Africanism, tribalism and the sin of the past colonial rulers. We categorically reject all these phenomena.
If Yahya Jammeh continues to serves as president. Gambians should begin by asking a key questions. Why is this man bombarding us with ethnic prejudice, tribalism, especially pan Africanism, on his tour and what does this philosophy means? He likes to talk about the worst examples of other peoples’ behavior 400 years ago but applies them to us now. Yahya Jammeh wants to rule Gambia with his 1970s mentality but wants himself and his family to enjoy all the benefits modern world. Not surprisingly, take a look at his family’s lifestyle compared with ordinary Gambians under his rule. He promised Gambians development but delivered disappointment and stagnation in the 1970 era. Our nations pocketbooks— have been thinning for so long because of his flamboyant and expensive lifestyle putting heavy strains on Gambia. His family owns the best — mansions, fleet of cars (phantoms, hummers, bimmers) and a bank account healthier than the nations savings. His home village have seen more development and is much cleaner than the capital. Our villages are still running two-wheel donkey carts for all purposes. Our hospital without proper medication.
A competent president would know that shared values like love of country, not Pan-Africanism resentment, to enables Gambia and Gambians to achieve their developmental goals. We understand the world is a global village but charity begins at home. The first responsibility of Yahya Jammeh and his regime is the perilous task to serve the Gambian people, not his— bank account, not his lust of “African Trademark” and dividing our society with tribal prejudice. Yahya Jammeh’s Pan-Africanism have other notions — a continued reliance on a policy of open-handedness of our nation coffers and judiciary to other citizens in hopes of attracting fame in history books. This is obvious nonsense. His mind control initiative— was first undertaken in a 1995 interview with a Senegalese medium. Mr. Jammeh explained his view of our “Legayocrasy” — one that goes well beyond the typical penchant for developing a nation and includes— a drastic revolutionary change. Apparently, that wasn’t radical enough for Mr. Jammeh.
He preaches about Gambia’s tribal color blindness and equality as cornerstone— that made us different from other nations to win the hearts and minds of people. Jammeh did unnecessarily politicize the government’s civil servants. He will dish out degrees— famous 89 which favored an unprecedented expansion of the powers of his government back then. Mr. Jammeh wants a government to have a bias in favor of an entire class of individuals. People with qualifications are increasingly frustrated of being hampered by internal tribal politics of hiring and nepotism. Yahya Jammeh in election time will speak so strongly about tribalism but kept Gambians in the dark about staffing decisions and hiring’s that aren’t being made on merits. A lot of his tribes’ men landed top jobs without necessary qualifications just to divide Gambians. This is wrong. We are all Gambians and love each other. Social engineering of the nation’s service men has been one of Yahya Jammeh’s goals in his quest to transform Gambia, and that means— playing with soldiers and ordinary citizens heads. By now we heard many related stories of military services about how superiors wanted to promote a qualified personnel because of their skills matched the job, but they were turned down by regime.
The colorblind tribal society in Gambia is no more under this regime. Yahya Jammeh has successfully divide Gambian communities, families and popular towns such as Bakau— Banjul — and Birikama using job positions to constantly put people at each’s others throat. No one has done more to work to cause inherent friction among the various ethnicities in Gambia than Yahya Jammeh and handful of his henchmen of this APRC regime. He and handful of rotten people, secretly spread— a message of in tolerance and differences among his tribesmen. During the PPP government, there were accusations that hiring decisions were based on who you know rather than what you know. With the APRC regime, Jammeh backhandedly gave us a pervasive culture of nepotism and tribal favoritism. The appalling pattern of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, rampant retaliation— is mind boggling. This is the reason why the government isn’t operating to its fullest potential. People whom were drivers, orderly’s, watch men now assumed mayoral posts, parliamentarian jobs, ambassadors and ministerial jobs etc.
There is no evidence that Mr. Yahya Jammeh has been seeking any consensus to change his ways. Gambia is one of the most overworked nations. He senses an opportunity to put additional pressure on a diminished and overworked Gambians. For 22- years, you have everything and we have nothing to show for. The Gambian people should ponder whether this model governance is the one we need to adopt at this juncture in our history as a country. Its seams we all looked the other way for 22 years. Gambians now want a vibrant government that will help fast track developmental goals. We don’t like the APRC model of cozy relationships and sweetheart deals when it comes to contractors or grantees, and the same holds true for pulling strings to benefit a particular tribe and friends. What makes us exceptional is — there isn’t tribal grave yard or tribal market in the Gambia. We are one people and Yahya Jammeh is the bad man. We are proud of all our different cultures. Gambians will soon come together to repent, repair and reinvent their wrong doings to society after you are long gone. So Yaya Jammeh, you keep your tribalism and Pan Africanism. A leader at his best — lifts the spirits of people but our eyes have seen a lot of bad examples from you.
I will leave you with one verse of the Quran to ponder upon. Surat rum verse 22: And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed, in that are signs for those of knowledge.
By Habib (A Concerned Gambian)