Women of Substance





The Spotlight: The Scramble for the Gambia; Part XII – Is Three-way Race Still Not A Problem?     -  By Yero Jallow

“You grand panjandrum. You pretend to be philosopher kings and guardians of the lost. But you mortally dread the light of knowledge. Facing the truth is, for you, like staring at the blazing midday sun. The truth burns your eyes; knowledge scorches your souls. So you frantically catch and lock and burn. You run amok with the indelible blood of innocents on your hands. You frantically search for the magic wand so that with one wave; you can extinguish the light of wisdom and keep us all in the darkness of grand ignorance. For only in darkness can you grow and thrive” – Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow (2009), Open Letter To The Great Panjandrum.

Over the past week, we monitored a lot of politicking, some negative, others positive, and a lot more unknown and remains suspended in thin air. People who take to the pen as a weapon for liberation neither have the answers nor claim to know anything more than the general populace; in fact it is good citizens who support such activism, who celebrate the style of writing, and the very enlightenment it offers. Writers and activists in fact do not enjoy their work much compared to the beneficiaries, some of whom like to enjoy the wrestle shows, while still sitting in their comfort corners. People were engaged in activism, to share, and to appeal to a mass number of followers, some of whom even may disagree, but understands that it offers a view point. It requires a lot of thinking and/or sacrifices, yet still very rewarding for the simple fact that you fought to make sure others enjoy freedom, and liberty. To those good citizens, even to where we have our unresolved disagreements, there is still a need to walk in parallels for Gambia’s greater good. That class of citizens is by far better than the pretentious ones sitting on the seesaw and being swayed by the chaff of their fantasies floating in air, the very nature of their selfishness, complicity, enabling, complexities, and the pretentious nature of the misguided behavior. So to what side do you belong? Are you on the side of the oppressed or the oppressor? You can’t be both, and that is why neutrality is not acceptable. The big elephant in the room have its poisonous hooves on the tails of the little rats. If the referee or any standby onlookers blow the whistle of neutrality, Desmond Tutu will give such a person a nasty and sticking smack on the cheek.

To answer the question: Is three-way race still not a problem? Yes, it is. Emphatically. On Sunday October 30th 2016, there were electoral primaries. GDC (Mama Kandeh) and the Independent (Isatou Touray) didn’t participate; both charged GOFER with disregard and unfairness. GOFER went ahead, conducted the primaries, and crowned Adama Barrow as the winner in the first round of voting. According to the election reports announced by Fatoummata Tambajang, Adama scored 308 votes, and 246 votes was needed to win. Congratulations GOFER in that front, though the lasting scars of the allegations remains a story to be told, perhaps now, or maybe later, as when buried truth rises again.

However some problems that remained unresolved. On Wednesday November 1st 2016, in a much undesired tone, Isatou addressed the nation on the way forward, and registered some concerns on some irregularities, similar to concerns that Yusupha Jaiteh of the GDC registered when he refused to sign the MOU. It shows a pattern of some flaws, whether known to the outsider, and/or the insiders within GOFER. Isatou came under heavy fire, some of it well constructed, others overly sensitive, and the rest was overkill on her personality. It wasn’t that Isatou didn’t have some valid points; it was that her message was too tensed, and the tone she delivered the message with very crude, such that her points were buried in her anger, which disappointed a lot of people including myself who looked up to her even to where we disagreed with her method of politicking. Matter of fact, some of the many that criticized Isatou and helped her reconsider, did a great job, and that is healthy in my view. On Thursday November 3rd 2016, she again reviewed the situation, and agreed to suspend her campaign in support of the coalition. That is commendable and good politicking right. To those that quickly disowned her, it wasn’t the right way to go about politics. You still needed to stay with the person to help him/her make a wiser choice, and not leaving them to the unawares or wolves to devour. Please do not quickly write off your own warriors and it comes back to bite, a dangerous pattern of activism among Gambians, that just need a nib to the bud. The more you make your own warriors funny, the funnier you get yourself. Sometimes learn to sit on these things for a minute to dissect the politics and make better informed choices.

Now, going by these developments, the race for Gambia’s presidency is three-way. That is the least desirable. Personally, I would like to register my discontent, which is not necessarily directed at an individual and/or even a party, it is the very failure to achieve one presidential candidate against the incumbent. That seriously bothers me for many reasons. Given our situation, I cannot understand why any in their right mind will not give it a 110% in favor of the Gambia’s greater good. I know other theories developed from the very unset, that certain parties were “dummy parties” sponsored by Jammeh. I am yet to be convinced by that theory, though I see an insistence in wanting to lead, which poses some concerns for someone wanting to preside over the presidency. According to the late Madiba, a leader doesn’t always have to be in the front, and people appreciate the leadership where citizens step up when there were problems. So again, I am telling citizens to exercise vigilance, and look for opportunities to unite now against the nomination and/or elections day. Failure to do that will reduce the chances of victory. My worry is not even about Jammeh’s possible victory come December 1st 2016, it is the fact that our nation is in serious trouble. The dictatorship is old and kissing off to its criminality goodbye, there is no doubt about that. Our country is sitting on a ticking time-bomb ready to explode at any time, with high chances of a military revolt, either December 30th 2014 styled coup, or even internal revolt, both really undesirable as a way to change government, though necessary in our efforts, because the mechanism and recipe for democracy is not at hand. My worry is the one that is going to come, whether again the person will rule by democracy and unite citizens or will it be another paranoid dictator? That answer sits on the burden of the blowing wind of change. With everything going on around Jammeh and his criminal government, the inevitable downfall is what we are looking at, where and how soon a dawn is what we do not know, though the signs are there as litmus testimony to the fact. Maybe, it is exactly the reason that the presidency is being fought so hard, that people that shared a common enemy are unable to give chance to one another.

In the end, I would still like GOFER and GDC, to reach some strategic deal on unity. Tell me that politics is old, long since gone, and you are speaking to the choir little Yero, and you might be right. What are some of the possible options? Can the GDC take the vice presidency (for example) as a bargaining tool while Adama leads as the President? I think it should be explored.

Next part coming soon…

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