Not quite long ago, a knot of determined critics of the Gambians opposition parties and many respected individuals whom are perceived to be leading voices in the diaspora, had decided they have had enough of the dictatorship back home rigging elections and frustrated by politician’s who can’t seem to come together as one unit to fight against dictatorship. As the election clock begin ticking towards 2016, Conversely, some sold their principles to support dictator by surprising many, others went about their business and rest of the lot like many of us, weren’t helping the parties work on their vulnerabilities, new strategies to employ and community outreach plans to disfranchised voters. Also, many weren’t helping opposition improve their communication skills with an emphasis on social media outreach, help identifying future leaders with strong backgrounds, conducting civic education messages about effects of dictatorship and wining the hearts /minds of people. Gambians become more exhausted by the flurry of daily news — latest outrages by the dictator, the fallout from those who went to work with him, and the unhappiness that engulfed our nation.
So much has changed now, and nothing more than the April 14thambush of people protesting for electoral reform during which Solo sandeng was brutally murdered and women tortured beyond their dignity. On April 16th, UDP executive weren’t offered any choice by the regime about events of April 14th, yet they rose to the occasion under those circumstances to demand release of citizens and release of their dead son’s body. No one would ask for such attention under these circumstances, yet Ousainou Darboe wasn’t offered a choice. The brutality that meet them in the streets devastated Gambians and galvanized citizens from all over the world to condemn actions by the regime. As the other opposition parties were having countless meetings, working on strategies instead of rallying the whole country to come all together to demand release of UDP executives, the dictator capitalized on that vulnerability by distorting events, using religious leaders to preach about peace during Friday sermons, and employing his chameleon tendencies of “biting here, blowing cold air there” to further damage the experienced opposition leaders. He began calling our Mandinka’s brothers as people who destroyed Jawara government just to divide the unsuspecting population and boldly worked with his mercenary judges to sentence those whom they wronged to three years’ prison time.
Motives aside, Gambians finally began to wonder about the jolting prospect of another 5 years of discriminate killings, youths dying on Mediterranean seas, families crying of their love ones sold as domestic slaves, whole nation reduced to strangers in their own home land, regime keep propagandizing that things are moving in the right direction but in truth, everything is failing and using scare tactics with fire power to silence the nation. As the notorious Gambian Dictator skips from one tragic event to the next. Trading citizen’s lives for ritual sacrifice. Going after businesses. Wasting the nation resources. Self-declaring Islamic State, the Gambians suddenly finally saw the clear picture of a dangerous man who hijack our country, exasperated by his divisive politics and losing groups of people he can’t get back. Many suddenly begun openly contemplating going to elections to prevent what they fear will be wide-scale destruction of Gambia if dictator is left unchecked even though he has rigged the whole electoral process and engaged in voter fraud by registering foreign citizens.
Gambians became more frustrated, angry and many feel desperate about the regimes cultural assaults on their values, declining Gambian influence in country now run by foreigners, regime getting ever more dangerous and becoming fed up with other established politicians who they feel didn’t rise up to the occasion to speak as one voice April 14th/16 as a national matter instead of UDP matter. The dictator has worked for years to reduce them to nothing in the eyes of Gambians as disgruntle people who are just power drunken. They’ve heard some big talk in towns and but it failed to motivate the whole nation to come out and pent up their frustration on the horrible evil dictatorship ruining our nation. Then came Mama Kandeh from nowhere. Many began asking who is this new comer, again? with completely mysterious name — as the GDC came out talking about problems of dictatorship during the time UDP were so devastated with everything that had happen. The angry Gambians suddenly feel they want to hear about someone who share their values and will fight for them. Boomshakalaka! GDC stated attracting crowds — although many neither knew his complete profile nor if he has he a specific plan to put the country right side up again. Soldiers started coming clean even at later date — exposing crimes and confessing to events as true penance.
The Gambian people wanted to send a strong message to Yaya Jammeh that enough is enough. They looked around and saw that M. Kandeh was the only messenger available. They loved how he shuns Yaya Jammeh as neglecting the city, and pokes a stick in the eye of APRC regime of being ashamed of bringing guest to Banjul whiles talking about the everyday struggles of the ordinary people. The population continued sending strong message to dictator that he should listen closely, pay attention to Gambians that they want no more of him and will make an effort to deliver on election day to see him gone forever. Disenchanted diasporian — who are at the receiving of dictatorship in terms of their pockets, family’s problem rescuers and diffusing hardships of everyday life, got excited but worry about mistakes Gambians made of not vetting Yaya Jammeh properly who had deliberately betrayed trust. Mentemmelsh! The online radios started blasting with never ending theories just as following these dots …….. One thing we know in Gambian politics is “today is often the enemy of tomorrow” but they felt very encouraged because notorious flip-floppers and opportunists were all calling for the same thing. People whom were sitting on the fence suddenly become ebullient and invigorated such that they started pushing for unified front to take on dictatorship.
The gift got getting better as one capable intellectual women name Dr. Isatou Touray declared her intention of running as independent candidate. People got so excited demanding what was impossible before, to make it happen by all means— united front to get the controversial dictatorship plagued by scandals out of Gambia. But in the end, the 2016 election will still offer a stark choice between brutal dictatorship and final freedom for all Gambians to finally steer our country back to smiling coast of Africa with lots of possibilities for all its citizens to reach the sky with their dreams. I pray we all succeed this time by God’s grace. To those who still have their grandparents alive, let’s give them the beautiful live that Asombi Bojang lives now. To those who still have their moms, let’s give them the opportunity with Zeinab Jammeh have in life. To our beautiful sisters, let’s give them the sweetness which Mariam Jammeh enjoys in life. To our brothers, let’s give them a chance that which Muhammed Jammeh have with possibilities as far as the eyes can see. To those without parent like myself, give us the opportunity for that closure to stand before the graveyard showing blessings and invoking supplications for highest paradise for our parents. To our beloved Nation of the Gambia, let us throw our votes to make it the smiling coast again, just as the ocean ushers each wave gently to the shores with great care and passion to reach the shores of freedom.
By Habib ( A Concerned Gambian)