Women of Substance

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From maafanta archives. First published, October, 2010


Halipha can't you see?

by Fatou Jaw Manneh

Halipha can't you see?

Silence fell over the horizon

As the inevitable scribes hit the platform

A sham document is brandished

Confirming all that we dreaded

That indeed after all this agitated noise

There is a coalition NOT.


Halipha can't you see?

Over ten years and counting 

Gambians have given you respect fit for a king

Cause you showed up when needed

With courage and tenacity you persevered

I remember falling into the devil's water while you swam along

And for that I am forever grateful

Endurance is your second name,

Perseverance your trademark

Your character in mandinka is called Foroyaa

And your pen never shied from the truth

We cajoled and begged and crawled but all was met with stiff rigidity

And we hailed and hailed and hailed you

Our highest and Dearest Halifa

But time is running out

And indeed these are trying times


But Halipha can't you see?

The prisoners roofs are leaking

Countless victims are killed and buried unnoticed

As presidential convoys become DEATH's HIT SQUADS

Markets running dry, rice untouchable

As this golden coast of West Africa

Is turned into a kingdom of beggars

Where mediocrity is celebrated

Hypocrisy applauded and brutality condoned


Halipha can't you see?

Even lawyers are jumping fence

Or was it the bar that got spoked?

Gambians hate to see any coalition

Without your stamp of approval

So open your heart and stay the cause on the people's side

And do not take us for a fool Halifa

You took us for a long ride Halifa

And now we feel duped and suspicious

Of your actions and intentions


Halipha can't you see?

Of PDOIS I am no member neither do I identify with other parties

But if truth be told to you Halifa

Your strength and power

You have misunderstood or miscalculated

In the political arena Halifa

You are neither Mohammad nor the mountain

So Halifa please track back and follow the flow

Or else history will paint you uglySome fights are still worth the fight

Even when you know you lose in the end


Halipha can't you see?

Nelson Mandela made the giant leap from prisoner to president

Not because he was more handsome, educated or concerned

But because a thousand other great men gave way and allowed him to pass

So that liberty reins supreme and terror is banished forever


Halipha can't you see?

The restaurant is burning

Halifa so shocking you talk about setting the table

Sharing the cake with inadequate spoons and forks and

Please trash out this residual garbage

Omar OJ Jallow definitely my hero

He was arrested over 20 times, beaten and his house raided


Halipha can't you see?

I interviewed OJ thrice and thrice I failed to produce the final draft

Cause I got shamed and emotional beyond belief

Anytime I tried to account for the trials and tribulations

Of this gallant son of The Gambia

It feels inadequate to address the ordeal of this brave son of the land

The country fell and he did not budge

And out of loyalty He stood for his party

Even when he knows it was doomed


Halipha can't you see?

Over ten years of the UDP OusainouDarboe 

We taunted, tormented and haunted

Abused and caricatured

With scandals of tribalism, naivety and timidity

Unfairly so for this humble man with great integrity

Out of love for you we hardly listened to Ousainou

But we shall not at the expense of our dear country

We cannot smooch smooch to our detriment

In The USA we call it tough love

And In reality, i mean country above ego

And some fights you fight even if you lose


Halipha can't you see?

The humble man ran after you

Pleaded, stumbled and pleaded again

Cause we will not take anything less from him

But now and for now I say to OJ and Ousainou

You must move on and God speed!!

For Halifa and his band of flip-flops

I say good luck to you too and God bless you too

And history shall eventually be the judge

I shall leave you with some wisdom words from Thomas Paine in the thick of the American Revolution

It gave inspiration to millions of Americans yearning for liberty

Hope it melts your heart and put you into Action too

Halipha can't you see?



"These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." 

Thomas Paine