This isn’t simply a meaty topic to shrug under the carpet because it’s symbolic of the bind that we are in. The situation Gambia is in today is too complicated for easy allegory. Therefore, writing this piece, I have to hit certain themes repeatedly, and correctly for the esteem readers to capture the whole picture. Now, if you’ve been following the news lately – and by lately, your ears and eyes having been burning — because Gambia is being mentioned everywhere in the world.
The reason is — it seems Yahya Jammeh and his generals are hardwired on an ideology no one understands. Are they letting us know their brains don’t have the space to rehash these simple words “Time’s up” ? With Yahya Jammeh, we know two things about him: There is always an evil intention lurking somewhere in him.
Secondly, the Presidency means more than his life so much that it has outsized his faith. Going by objective standards of reason and fairness, these are the simple facts that define his life. The most glaring example of this is, today, such thinking has become institutionalized in our military — whom are seen holding guns everywhere. And the blame hardly ends with them alone because his enablers in strategic political leadership positions behave the same way too.
Going by what we know, after losing elections, accepting defeat and then a week later refusing to entertain calls to step down, many observers are still trying to figure out what Yahya Jammeh’s game is. That’s because rhetorically and substantively, he seems to be in another world unilaterally sidestepping everyone intentionally. He then tried to bait the Gambians public into a tedious trip of pursuing his own agenda by playing victim card. It failed. Then they pushed through tribalism charges using fake profiles. Once again, it failed because those agents were ousted and their gassy sound bites — is exactly from the dictators well-worn out script. Suddenly! The sheikh professor who sold himself as a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, lifted his middle figure to the Gambians metaphorically, to let us know — he can’t leave his comfort zone because his life depends on it .
In his televised address ,Yahya Jammeh refused to even take note of the IEC chairman’s historic statement that the elections were conducted fairly and the results wouldn’t chance. Yahya Jammeh continues to talk as if everything should be going swimmingly his own way only, prompting him to take over the IEC building and later his party prepared a petition to challenge the results — knowing fully well their flawed arguments are already dead-before-arrival. The Dictator can keep talking and talking and talking but UN made it clear — no matter how he slice things, his time is up to vacate that seat. He called on the religious leaders on Thursday Dec.16th, but he didn’t particularly like their advice — but want them to continue his propaganda for him. Attempts to find a middle way with him always fall short because he only sees his own interest.
For those of us paying attention, it’s often hard to tell where realism ends with Yahya Jammeh. Nearly every conversation he holds — gives us a clue about his personal vendetta, less about manners and more about showing off his muscle on people. Sadly today, Yahya Jammeh has forced Gambia and much of the world into a debate no one wanted or needed. The problem is Yahya Jammeh is categorical denial. Think of it this way. He placed the presidency more than his life so much that it has outsized his faith. That’s what dictators do. Well, now we have a problem. It’s like someone lost their parents and refused to believe they died. But this is different because he didn’t lose anything. After all, he staged a coup to force himself on us.
Luckily, we have ECOWAS-UN therapy to help him. We hope that the wonder-working power of their words-can get Yahya Jammeh to stop believing his lying eyes and ears. But, as a practical matter, Yahya Jammeh was trying to bully his way out of Gambian but now, he has no good options.
A similar attitude pervades his so-called Generals .The same confusing rhetoric’s holds true with holds true with them. They came for the ride after our victory, dance in the streets with us , and later got bought off with enticements and promotions. Moreover, these are the kind of things that breed suspicion. Many of these people maybe do not understand they are dealing with the world. They are ill prepared on their statements, they don’t understand the nature of the threat they are putting our country and their faces tells it all — – they are afraid of speaking the truth to Yaya Jammeh. Falling back on sanitized euphemisms is the rhetorical equivalent of pixelating Gambian people. This is the same thing Yahya Jammeh is doing. They are forcing us into only bad options and they themselves know the center of their arguments is not holding. The regime lost! What is hard to understand about that.
The world cannot allow Gambia to be held hostage. There’s no doubt that is true because it seems this is what Yahya Jammeh wants. Morally, Yahya Jammeh knows that in our culture people with “Guns” are feared, resented or reviled because that’s not the way most of us where brought up pre-1994 era. The great irony here is will Yahya Jammeh follow the advice of the Gambians and the world to hand over power by Jan 18th. Time will tell.
By Habib Drammeh