By Abdoulie Lowe
Before I go any further, let me remind you that this post will be a combination of facts and opinions. I may not be entitled to my facts, but I am totally entitled to my opinion. I will try to be as clear as possible, but how you understand and interpret this blog is entirely your prerogative.
Dear Dr. Touray Supporters,
I wholeheartedly welcome the candidature of Dr. Isatou Touray as the first woman presidential candidate in Gambian history. I am glad to witness this historic milestone in our nation’s history. Nobody will doubt the ability of Dr. Touray to deliver us from the encroaching hands of a brutal dictator. She is a phenomenal woman indeed. However, even though her candidacy is worthy of jubilation, her female supporters should avoid turning her campaign into a feminist movement. Remember, we still have male chauvinists, especially in the rural areas, and Religious fanatics like Imam Fatty, who believe that a woman shouldn’t be president of a nation. Therefore, one should not only support Isatou based on her gender, instead support her because she’s the best/right candidate capable of unifying and leading us to peace, progress, and prosperity.
To the Diaspora, I say- get your act together and stop the petty bickering and subliminal attacks against each other. This is by far the most important elections in our nation’s history; therefore, we can’t let our superficial differences detract us from our goals and objectives. While we at it, we have political prisoners languishing in our notorious jails, scores of Gambians in exile, and our economy in peril. Imagine what a Jammeh victory would do to us? It will be a mandate for him to continue what he was doing- arbitrary arrests, detentions without charges/trials, extrajudicial killings, human rights abuses, and poor governance. And I am afraid Jammeh will be victorious if we continue to be divided and supercilious in the way we deal with each other. Remember, this election cycle shouldn’t be about tribe, gender, or social status; instead, it should be about our livelihoods and future as a nation and as a people. Gambians on the ground are badly yearning for change, so this ongoing malevolence against each other must stop.
To the “No Elections with Jammeh on it” camp…. I respectfully ask- How do we end this madness without elections? Please come up with a viable strategy for change that you’re ready and willing to relentlessly support and lead. Remember an uprising can only succeed when the people hit rock bottom and are ready and willing to risk it all. Vox populi amongst Gambians suggest that election is their only and most viable option to effect effective change. If Jammeh can kill the two Solos, jail the executive of the leading opposition party, insult the biggest tribe, and sleeps soundly at night, then we are not ready for a popular uprising. Personally, elections is my only choice to effect meaningful change; the stakes are too high and the maleficence and callousness of Jammeh to kill in order to remain in power can’t be underrated.
To the Opposition Parties…. I say…..
We have reached the nodus of this election cycle and the key to our freedom rests heavily in your hands. Some people, myself included, believe that it’s easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than for the opposition parties to form a coalition. But, I would like to remind you that only ONE person will be elected president on December 1, 2016; therefore, rallying behind a single candidate is paramount and imminent. We should learn from other countries like Senegal, who has defeated an incumbent twice by forming an alliance of some sort. Yes, it is almost impossible to remove a dictator through the ballot box, but forming a united front is definitely our best option if you ask me. Let us not fool ourselves with roaring crowds, most of those showing up to your rallies are there to feed their curiosity, eat your Benachin, or to enjoy the ‘Ndowrabbin’ and ‘Hupajamm.’ Make no mistake, the opposition will be much stronger when they’re united than when they’re divided. So I say- let’s stop the inertia, get off our high horses, rally behind a single formidable candidate and free the Gambia from tyranny and oppression. Shall we?
To the Voter…..
We must desist from voter apathy and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that your vote won’t count. Fact is- your vote won’t count if you stay home on Election Day. And when Jammeh tells you that if Gambians don’t vote for him, the Jinn will vote for him, he’s only discouraging your from exercising your civic duty and your right to be heard. Gaddafi and Mubarak claimed their people loved them days before they were ousted. These claims are made to discourage opponents and encourage loyalists and those contemplating of defecting to stay put. Voting is your citizenship right, so give it up without a fight.
To the security forces, I say…. Er… Never mind, I won’t waste my time addressing you… Nevertheless, always remember that your main role is to serve and protect all citizens from harm, intimidation, and exploitation, so you shouldn’t be the perpetrators of these atrocities. Jammeh’s departure is long overdue, so don’t let him use you for his own selfish interests. A word to the wise is enough.
To All Gambians…. During the past 22 years, one man has held our nation hostage, insulted our people and elders, stole and wasted our resources, tortured, maimed, killed, and isolated us from the rest of the world. And the reality is that things will not get better until we have a change of leadership. Change isn’t easy, but anything is possible if we come together for a common purpose and seek a common ground based on mutual interest and respect. This election is not about any particular Gambian, it’s not even about Jammeh, it is actually about our posterity. Therefore, let’s put our tribal, ideological, and individual differences aside and salvage the nation before it is too late. I urge all Gambians to come together and put our partisanship aside and rescue our beloved Gambia. I have no doubt that we can do it. Yes We Can!