Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK


Is Friday! The morning is cool and soothing. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, I will not make it to London as planned to grace the Gambian Community meeting with the visiting ministers particularly Hon Mai Ahmad Fatty, Minister of Interior. I wish I could Face Time and ask him some pertinent questions I love to ask.

Your colourful reception in Paris, France was tainted by a calculated underestimation of a determined will of a free people. Some sceptics exploited power of the social media to propagate the blunder to project your government’s exclusionism. Here, wisdom plays a pivotal role. Wisdom, Mr President, is the knack to differentiate between wrong and right. Correspondingly, wisdom makes a person acquainted with minute details of what revolves around him or her. The most attractive bit of wisdom is it shelters you from misjudgement and preserves your integrity, maturity and conscience.


Unfortunately, you manifest signs and symptoms of its deficiency. To amplify my assertion is your admittance on France 24 that “there is a tactical Alliance” under which each party sponsors its candidate. Perhaps, your statement stems either from memory lost or lack of understanding and awareness of what transpires around you. The tactical alliance is but a symbolic shadow with no visual presence. Mr President, your era is personified with advance information technology and inquisitive minds.


As such, Gambians now search and demand for answers to questions of accountability, transparency, impartiality, good governance and the essence of freedom and justice. Thus, some plunge into the ocean of wisdom to excavate suppressed truths buried deep inside coded vaults. This explains why every Gambian puts you and your government under the microscope and expect better from what you are currently delivering. A classic illustration to validate my premise is the popular call for dismissal of the alleged Directors and security chiefs who enabled the dictator. Majority of those dismissed and arrested were hastily replaced with persons of questionable characters. That, Mr President, isn’t the change which will usher in justice, impartiality and sustainable development.

Many are left wondering if this is what they actually fought for. Suffice it to say the pursuit of freedom motivated and connected our hearts despite our political orientation and alignment to fight fearlessly until dictatorship was defeated. In that fight limbs and lives got lost; tears and blood got shed and bones flattened but we kept fighting. The freedom is worth the lost. However, Mr President, the freedom we fought for is not that in which a person or group of persons rejoice from being protected from justice and exclusion from equal opportunity while not realising the very essence of being free and complete. In sum, it is unethical to bow in reverence to freedom which exudes the ideals of just doing what pleases the self, Mr President. Conversely, if you do not take a step back and reassess the determinants which propelled you into the presidency, you will end up trekking on an unjust path on which you will disown your truest being and ideals.


Therefore, there is nothing gratifying than being solemn to one’s personal truth and conviction. Do you give a thought how history will carve you after your transitional reign, Mr President? Similarly, how will you be at peace with your conscience knowing many who helped in electing you into office feel betrayed? Will you live in constant regret few years down memory lane when you look back at things you could have done or said differently?

It is enriching to note your efforts in striving to recover the looted funds by the dictator and soliciting from foreign stakeholders to usher in investment, security and bilateral co-operation, but these must be rested on functional institutions supervised by strong technocrats with indisputable character and expertise. Furthermore, there should be a demarcation between state and party. This brings to mind what my elder brother told me many years ago: “In business, there is no brotherhood”. The same is legitimate in running a state. Mr President, common sense postulates a good leader avails and alerts himself or herself to his or her people’s needs and aspirations but must be impartial. Consequently, to drive meaningful change under a young and fragile democracy, you must abstain from recycling old wine in new bottles.

Yes, I almost forgot. How could I, Mr President when everyone hymns it? Bamba Mass and Suntou Touray are prominent supporters and advocators of the UDP but I am yet to learn of the executive positions in the party. Yes, they are influential and command huge followers but does that make them the spokesperson of UDP? I guess not. As a consequent, their views, opinions and statements albeit may be intended to sell and buy the party new members and supporters remain non-representative of UDP, its leader and executive until otherwise.


Similarly, it is also erroneous to claim the party is a Mandinka party. I know people who cannot even speak the language and yet they are members. What does that make their membership? It is up to Bamba and Suntou to preserve their hard earned reputation by being mindful of the kind of messages they avail the public. If they are found to be wanton that is their personal beef and not the UDP’s. Similarly, calling Halifa Sallah a dictator and a hater of progress is to accentuate if one stands in a garage, you turn into a car. Very preposterous indeed.

Until Monday, Mr President, have a good weekend. Ah less I forget, do not get too cosy on the presidential chair for you may doze off.