Monday, February 26, 2024

Letter to Momodou Sabally

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By: Amadou Camara

Warmest greetings to you Sabs, I hope you, your family and loved ones are wonderfully well. I am obliged to send you a message, an attaboy, to stiffen your spine, following your decision to change political party. By doing so, you have put country before party; Gambia before individual; people before puerile politics; and the national interest before narrow interest. It’s the bloody right thing to do. Politics, said Otto Von Bismarck, one of the most consequential figures in history, “is the art of the possible.” By nailing your political mast on the apron string of the ruling NPP party, you have demonstrated traits that distinguishes you from the many: that you are a pragmatists; as opposed to being a purist; that you are idyllic as opposed to being an ideologue; that you are a utilitarian determined to do more for the common good in power, as opposed to a utopian crowing and carping on the sidelines of politics. You are on the right track.

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Tony Blair, Britain’s ex-Prime Minister (one of my modern political heroes, as you well know), famously took head-on certain section of his party – the hard left, who were diametrically opposed to his politics and policies – when the Labour Party was in opposition in the 90s. “Power without principle”, he told them in an impassioned conference speech, “is barren, but principles without power is futile.” This justifies your decision. You are in politics to gain power and change lives and livelihoods, not to be an ad infinitum, bordering on the ad nauseam, protest movement. The former are the history makers, the change markers. The latter are the histrionics, and the historical footnotes.

You are an incredibly talented, intelligent, clever, indefatigable, creative, and innovative man. It is best for Gambia that you will now channel these qualities to help The Gambia succeed. John Maynard Keynes, the eminent economist, famously said that: “when the facts change, I change my mind.” You are a rational man. Whatever facts that led you to change your mind, stick with them. And know it is difficult. Sort of like carrying a Ming verse on a slippery floor. Because, Emmanuel Kant, the German philosopher, have people like you in mind when he said, “the free and the rational escape the empire of expediency by doing what is right.”

I know you are a well-intentioned, perspicacious and development-driven man. And that is all what counts. Political parties, said Winston Churchill, as like horses in a race. Your target is always to hop on the best and fastest horse to win at a canter. This from a man who defected from the Conservative to the Liberal party, back to the Conservative Party, and became the most important figures in the 20th century. The Gambia, Africa and the world, is for you to wow and woo, with your archetypical virtuoso Saballian flourish. As Churchill used to say to his troops when their energy is flagging, and their motivation to fight on is sagging: KBO (keep buggering on). Keep in mind that immortal stoic Latin phrase: sustine et abstine (meaning bear and forebear. Acknowledge the pain but trod onwards towards your task). Victory will be yours!

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