Crime and Punishment
By Momodou Ndow
So Jammeh’s office announced in a press release that they have discovered “one of the most serious economic crimes” during his nearly 22 years of rule. From the sound of it, this is epic and unprecedented! If this is "one of the most serious economic crimes” under his watch, I wonder how many other “serious economic crimes” are there and what is their level of seriousness? This also probably means that nothing of this magnitude (or even close) has ever happened in the history of The Gambia.
When the junta came to power, they claimed to be "soldiers with a difference" and promised to wipe out corruption. This was the basis of their coup. They accused the previous government of all sorts of economic crimes and arrested folks willy nilly. But it did not take long for them to prove that their claims were false and they came in pretense. Soon after, former Finance Minister, Koro Ceesay, was assassinated for attempting to be an obstacle when the junta wanted to dip their ashy hands into the cookie jar.
The “soldiers with a difference”, who were God sent under the leadership of Jammeh to wipe out corruption, ended up perfecting it; and now the “most serious economic crime” in the history of The Gambia has happened under Jammeh watch. Chei lee! Who knew! Somehow, economic crimes have been happening for a while now with folks getting arrested and jailed, but it never ceased, and now the ultimate has happened? Is Babili sleeping at the wheel or is he the architect and beneficiary of these economic crimes? Remember, this is “one of the most serious economic crimes”, there are other serious ones too.
Now this leads me to my main question: where does the buck stop? Is Jammeh ever responsible for anything besides living a flamboyant lifestyle and chastising Gambians day in and day out? After all, these serious economic crimes have been happening under his watch for 22 years now. Everyone and their mama is getting arrested for crimes they have committed, suspected of committing, or falsely accused of committing. See, no amount of arrest can hide the truth! A system built with lies will crumble under the weight of those same lies.
They claimed to be “soldiers with a difference”, but they never disclosed whether that “difference” was good or bad, and now we know it is all bad! It is that “difference” that brought us the brutality we are now facing, the daily dose of hassteh and disrespect from Babili, the never ending threats we receive, and is now unraveling the fabric of our society. What a difference soldiers can make! Did Jammeh commit any crimes and who will punish him?