My Dear President and Godfather,
You recently said that “if the people want they can vote for the opposition who will never be president in this country; they will not even be National Assembly members. No election, no military and no foreign power can remove me from office …………………..unless Allah says so”.
At the end of that meeting, some of the attendants most probably came forward to congratulate you and to assure you that you will once again win this election with another landslide because your threats are so effective, intimidating and scary that Gambians would not dare to vote for the opposition. So you must have left the meeting feeling great that your election victory is sealed, signed and stamped.
Mr. President, those surrounding you will only tell you what you want to hear for obvious reasons. They might be worried about losing their jobs; or they might be scared of earning your wrath thereby being a guest in your five star hotel; or they might be only interested in gaining something from you such as a position, promotion, money or other material benefits.
My Dear Godfather, as a person who have extremely high regard for you; who sincerely care for your personal safety, security and well-being; who is neither afraid of losing his job nor seeking for any material gains from you; and as a person who is concern about the peace and stability of our beloved country; I can give you a honest, unbiased and independent opinion of the real situation on the ground. I hope you listen to my message of peace with your heart and not your mind.
Mr. President, it is not all honky dory with the Gambia and her people as those surrounding you might make you to believe. In fact any person, marabout or jinn who tells you that Gambians love you so much that they would vote for you next month is simply telling you a big lie. They are giving you false hope just for their own personal interest because not even they themselves will be voting for you. Before I go any further, I will deconstruct your statement quoted at the beginning of this blog post for you to know how it is perceived from the other side of the bridge.
Your statement has a number of hidden messages but I will highlight just two. My first observation is that you wisely and truthfully said that nothing will remove you from office “unless Allah say so”. Your Excellency, we all know that the days of revelation/prophesy are long gone and Allah does not talk to ordinary human beings like you and I. In this regard therefore, is it not possible that the days of your presidency are indeed over? Is it not possible that Allah has decreed that it is this election that will remove you from office? Is it not possible that Allah has decreed that it is indeed one of those opposition politicians that you are ridiculing who will be succeeding you?
Your Excellency, you are neither a prophet nor a saint but a very ordinary human being who is not more important/influential than people like Gadaffi, Nino, Tailor, Gbagbo and many other presidents who were unceremoniously booted out of power. You may not be an exception Mr. President
Your Excellency, my second deduction from your statement is that you are making these threats simply to scare Gambians from voting for the opposition so that you can remain in power in order to retain your presidential immunity. In military parlance, we call that throwing smoke or maneuvering in shallow waters. Mr. President, you are worried that if you lose power, Karma may catch up with you to account for your deeds during your 22 years in power. And you have good reasons to be worried.
One such reasons is that all the old and traditional opposition parties have finally reconciled their differences and have formed a coalition. And as we all know, you have violated the fundamental human rights and freedoms of each and every single member of the coalition apart from Honourable Hamat Bah by imprisoning many of them and forcing others into exile. You are therefore worried that things will go south for you if you lose the election.
Your Excellency and dear President, however, that might not necessarily be the case. As I have said in my first challenge to you not to run for re-elections, Gambians are among the most forgiving, peace-loving and God-fearing people on earth and therefore there is every possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation. I firmly believe that there is still a way for you to leave power in peace, honour and dignity.
Your Excellency, all that you need to do is to cancel your IEC nomination scheduled for next week and then not running for a fifth term in office. There are already two distinguished and capable gentlemen and patriotic citizens who are all set to take part in the elections. In that way, you can preside over a free and fair election, hand over power peacefully to whoever is elected by the people and then retire peacefully into the world of elderly statesmen.
Mr. President, I urge you to recall that one of your proudest achievements and most favourite quotations is that “not even a chicken died when I came to power on Friday 22 July 1994”. Your Excellency I believe that there is still a golden opportunity for you to boast in many years to come that “not even a chicken died when I left power on Friday 02 Dec 2016”.
Mr. President, please do not participate in this election because there is only one outcome for you. You will lose so badly that you may end up in the Guinness Book of Records as the incumbent with the worst election defeat in the history of democracy.
In conclusion, I hope you will take my advice seriously and announce your withdrawal from the presidential race before the last window of opportunity closes on you. May Allah grant you the wisdom to realize that you have come to the end of your regime and may He grant us a peaceful political transition.
Posted on November 5, 2016