The first point of civility must point to truth – otherwise all its roads to formulate a civil and a vibrant democracy will lead to chaos and disunity.
My hunch is – the folks of the ‘3 Years Jotna’ aren’t on some heroic quest for vanity, but even if they are – it remains their right! The government cannot usurp those rights and cannot criminalize civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is the life blood of a democracy.
Some of us have never been part of the ‘The 3 Years Jotna Movement’ and have never supported it for practical reasons. I’ve always maintained that – it was badly conceived and improbable to attain considering the situation on the grounds. Among those concerns are; the drafting of a new constitution, the pending referendum, the possible fall out of ascending an unelected official into Presidency, and many other obstacles I cannot enumerate here.
Equally disappointed I was when Lawyer Darboe, a man I greatly admired and respected, switched positions on this matter, which seem to be only out of expediency – because his explanations were radically cheap on substance and utterly superficial in context.
Nevertheless, me and many others, stand with all of them in defense of their rights to dissent, to assemble and the legitimacy of the movement.
We cannot go back to the imbecilic trifles of the past brutal regime. We can start exercising the draconian laws of punishing or criminalizing dissent, arresting journalists and shutting down radio stations at the government’s volition.
There is no real substantial argument offered why such harsh measures are being taken against our fellow citizens. The tendency to bring those old techniques to terrorize the masses is repugnant and will never be tolerated in The Gambia. Civil disobedience cannot be criminalized. It’s simply wrong.
The government and the law enforcement can hide behind these foolish draconian laws to use them as penance against our fellow citizens, and they will certainly not suffice to perpetuate injustice for long.
Like it is with individuals, the life of a nation unfolds in series of surprises. Events are often unpredictable but it seems our conducts remain habitual – even as a nation. We must all work to change some habits; to truly love one another and stand for the rights of all our people, especially those we disagree with.
The temperament of a leader can be a gift or curse that accommodates the national impulses and events we know not whence they come. A leader of a nation cannot be contemptuous towards a section of the population simply because they oppose his rule or question its legitimacy. That is antithetical to democracy. It cannot be a crime to be asked to keep your own word. A leader cannot too arrogant to explain why he has to negate on his commitment, arguable within reason and solid legal grounds.
Modesty give you the private entrance into the hearts of the people of this great nation, but arrogance is shutting you out of those solemn entrances. Temperament is the means to climbing the pedestal of the natural aristocracy. It wasn’t bolster, ineptitude and arrogance that brought Barrow to power, and they won’t be the instruments to keep him there either.
His rise to power is the culmination of a million efforts by a million citizen. An honest effort to remove a dictator, to make him a prime custodian of our newly found democracy. That his very position has been conferred to him by the votes, the sweat and tears of many of those he now label as treasonous criminals. Still, many real criminals of the past regime stand erect besides you, Mr. President.
To those making the arguments to justify this aggression again fellow citizens, beware. Just about any argument can be made in the name of ‘love of country’ and ‘national security’- and then go on to insult, assault or label half of our countrymen or classify them as criminals or bad people. If you claim to love your country, try loving all our countrymen. Aren’t those two the same? What is a country without its people?
If a president seeks blind loyalty, he will certainly have it, but it will also ruin his presidency, and will be remembered as just another rascal that betrayed his people. Blind fealty gives thinking a fix direction, it is a killer to authentic discourse and it’s a dangerous double-edged sword that will certainly destroy your legacy.
Mr. President, many doubted your intellectual prowess and competence even at first glance, but admired your modesty, stood with you and prayed for your success from the very start. But I’m guessing lack of self-esteem is not humility. You can’t give up an ego you never had.
Now, it feels like many of us were wrong at the presumption of your humility. Taking the affairs and the security of our nation seriously is wise, but taking yourself too seriously is a sign of folly and overblown ego.
There is no luck in great presidencies and nothing can preserve its legacy beyond it’s intrinsic value. The effect of every great leaders on the minds of their people is in the depth of their own thought, moral integrity and their capacity for good they can render to those they govern. Mimicking a despotic murderous dotard like Jammeh is no roadmap to greatness.
You can’t masquerade your contempt and misgivings with the pretentious claim of national security. A coat of paint over a termite infested wood won’t take away the rot.
If something doesn’t commensurate your values or beliefs it might annoy greatly you but doesn’t necessarily make it wrong or illegal. It might inconvenience you but doesn’t mean they’re subverting democracy.
These trifles of an overzealous government are only transient, we the people shall set our rate and place in the history of our nation.
Onslaught by your security services is not only unacceptable; it is despicable and a stain on your presidency. They act as if we take for granted something that is freely granted to us. Like an immense gift beyond our metrics for valuation that we are abusing. Like an ungrateful child that outrun the sympathy a government afforded her.
The rights of the citizens aren’t your charitable givings. But, any attempts to stifle those rights are your own misgivings.
Mr. President, you and a sod – too drunk to remember his own name have equal stake to this country that we all love. Civil disobedience is the life blood of a democracy. Get use to it!