Saturday, March 2, 2024

The self-reflection Gambian service men need

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Let me put it bluntly. To acknowledge the grim facts that there is much to dislike about the actions of those small unrepresented elements serving the country in uniform today is just common sense: Kidnapping of citizens, torture, disappearance, determined to kill, assisting Nigerian mercenary judges to terrorize citizens, provocation of citizens, cronyism, disrespect, enabling dictatorship in every facet of Gambian life and increasing regime intrusion in the lives of Gambians. We have for too long avoided the discussion of the continuing deterioration of life of Gambian citizens as a results of the actions of those serving in uniform enabling dictatorship and it should be out in the open now. There should be no assumption that the transgression of the few unrepresented elements behavior towards our citizens constitute the majority, but we are just puzzled by those who are constantly looking for opportunities to incite turmoil against opposition or provoked a convulsion of violence on our citizens.


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As it has happened too often, countless victims narrating their encounter with security forces denying Gambians their fundamental rights, abusing their authority, expeditiously mishandling them, torturing, kidnapping, threatening Gambian citizens with horrors, has become all too familiar now in the APRC regime and we struggle to understand why? Apologists are ever ready to bombard us with statements such as “I had to do it in order to keep my job” but No one believes the self-serving argument anymore. It’s the same old story. We all see you dancing —celebrating Gambians tragedy of December 30th after Gambians tried to redeem themselves from dictatorship, mishandling citizens showing solidarity with bogus court proceedings of UDP executives, keeping a tight lip on abuse of Gambians by your colleagues, and worst of all- looking over your shoulders with no remorse on the brutal suffering of others.



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I was listening to the interview of Sukai Dahaba — a widow with small children, whose only crime was showing solidarity with her demised friend —Solo Sandeng and protestors at the high court. She narrated her ordeal yesterday as to why she has to ran for her life. She was targeted because —she was one of the founders of “Kalama” revolution and simply being an opposition sympathizer. Horror stories of service men holding his zipper in front of her, promising “You will know what will happen to you at 9:00pm”. Another chasing her with hose pipe beating all over her body. The small holding place at station where they were kidnapped was bombarded with “tear gas” to weaken them. Notwithstanding all that, a female threatening to put them on diapers along with old flailed elder women because “She was tired of escorting them to bathroom”. It was very painful for her to explain — how they were forced to clean dishes, facilities and bathroom after their server torture session. After she arrived home from securing bail, her children couldn’t even have recognized her due to the torture she received from those supposedly serving our nation.



Nonetheless do we blame Yaya Jammeh for creating such a system? Thuggish nature of some security forces? mean-spirited people in uniform? overly zealous men with zipper problems? unrepresentative element of servicemen? All of the above? Well! we always hear the loud cry of professionalism of Gambian service men but so far your encounter with Gambian during the April 14th and 16th events are always done with such rage and anger. How can those be serving the nation in uniform build trust and cooperation with the Gambian population if most of you lack patience and the appropriate forbearance to conduct your job? We see great hypocrisy in the attempts to blame Yaya Jammeh on everything but you guys are at the forefront doing dirty jobs, and some of which he has no idea or gave executive order to do so.

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The inconvenient truth that vast few among you are becoming disenchanted with this culture of mistreatment and wickedness towards the citizens and are deserting the country in droves. Whether you are serving your country as a service men or civilian, your moral motivation should be much more powerful than your financial motivations. And, you should have that discipline in you to not to politicize anything or let alone be completely egoistic and striving to ruthlessly to satisfy your evil thoughts at the expense of the citizens. Majority of you keep silence in the face of a wholesale assault on Gambians or in most cases, whenever opportunity presents itself to be professional and nonjudgmental, the end results is exploiting power given to you. This is why Yahya Jammeh is free to reshape the country to suit his vision seem and Gambians citizens remain puzzled and confused about your roles in our society.



And for whatever reason, the security service personnel are now as ideological, partisan and divisive as any in a long time intimidating anyone at free will. The role the security service played in the conviction of April 14th and 16th innocent citizens did not rise to the level of action envisioned by many Gambians. Gambian service men mere presence anywhere leads to provocation. Our citizens are subjected to the threats of physical harm, their political affiliation to blackmail them and using every weapon in their arsenal to cripple and destroy opponents of the regime. Some are just eager to see grown men crying, eager to see a broken arms or figures and worst of all naked bodies. The fuss goes beyond politics. Where are the morals, respects of people and professionalism you all claim about often?



Our elders instill the values of compassion and always advise us —not allow leaders with blood on their hands to sway your decisions of compassion towards the citizens, nor should you allow them to exploit you for their narrow self-interest. Those are lessons most of you haven’t yet learned. Yes, there is no problem you being resolute but balance your anger with common sense and compassion towards people. We all share the love of our country, reservoir of goodwill and you must all make your service of our country worthy of our people, not to slake the appetite Yaya Jammeh alone. I salute those who are serving all our people with decorum, respect Gambian citizens and those risking their lives elsewhere to bring peace in the rest of the world. I hope you all prevail on the few evildoers among yourselves. Gambians live matter.


By Habib ( A Concerned Gambian)

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