The Spotlight: Scramble for the Gambia 2016; Part VI
By Yero Jallow
“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly,” – Albert Einstein.
Last week we received updates that the AU was in Banjul to engage the political participants in the 2016 Presidential elections slated for December 2016. Finally the AU too is coming out of the closet. There is something shameful about the AU and ECOWAS. It must be acknowledged on their visit and somehow commendable. These regional bodies are almost reduced to “white elephant” projects and organizations. How many cases has made it to the ECOWAS court and still none of the political campers have the balls to call the shots on a mediocre like Jammeh who is not only a threat to his own country’s citizens, but remains a creeping serpent hell-bent on regional and international political instability. To whom much is given, much is expected, and ECOWAS and AU should have taken a more proactive role in deliberation of their duties.
That said; let us piggyback on today’s updates from Banjul on the efforts to field one Opposition Presidential candidate to contest against the incumbent. In an update from a source close to the hosting party on the ongoing meet-and-talk, PDOIS, through its Diaspora Media Committee Coordinator said,
“Three candidates in the persons of Dr. Bolong Bojang of the NCP, Dr. Isatou Touray, an independent candidate and Halifa Sallah, of PDOIS, were present at the meeting. Mr Adama Barrow of the UDP was represented by Mr. Alagie Darboe and Hamat Bah of the NRP by Mr. Musa Sonko. GDC’s candidate Mama Kandeh, was not represented, the party instead chose to send two observers. An agreement was reached among the participants to proceed without the GDC.
All three candidates and the two representatives presented on how best to select a candidate. After the deliberations the gathering was concluded with an agreement to present their positions to a meeting of the opposition grouping GOFER on Friday.”
(Nyang, Modou. “Updates on Opposition Coalition/Alliance Building.” PDOIS Public Group. Facebook. 10/5/2016. Culled from the web, https://www.facebook.com/groups/530799270342331/1117521161670136/?notif_t=group_activity¬if_id=1475715092862503).
It is worth commendation to hear that things are seemingly progressive, however worth noting that a split vote doesn’t favor Gambia’s current situation. That is why celebration is not close to call. When Citizens and the voter population are confused on their choices, when rockets of insults and castigation ply the airwaves, when this race is finalized to be more than a two-way race, then that is a reason for voter apathy, added to the fact that despite Jammeh’s lost of popularity both on the national and international scene, he is still the incumbent armed with Gambia’s military, the state resources, the much crooked IEC, his fetishes and dictatorship, the monopolized media GRTS and his many enabling forces. If this doesn’t ring anything in your ears, then nothing else should.
We know for example Jammeh acts on his own irresponsibly, the very reason that he is doing all the political blunders, which is wrecking the fabric of society. The new breed of politicians in town too need honest advisors, otherwise the damage that can be done to us all as a nation will not heal quickly. Without doubt, talking is not easy. It is a wise idea to brainstorm with your teams, jot some notes, and have some talking points, otherwise you risk being empty in thought-process and decisions. Already being a leader should not be about fat paychecks, the palace air conditioners, and/or the accolades that come with the sweetness of power. A leader in essence should be the slave of representation, the one that gets to listen to everyone’s cry, and act upon such to better things. If today’s attitudes of aggression, greed, thirst for power, wish for political dominance, and political arrogance are not halted, book coaching of democracy, rule of law, and civilization would be shamed. It is critical that we heed to the voices of decent and stay away from any divisive trait based on any of the feared vices, especially in this world of “too many Chiefs and not enough Indians,” and we know where that lands us on.
So the ongoing talks should be marred with sincerity, love of country, and a wish for democratic change the soonest opportunity which is the forthcoming Presidential elections; without exaggeration, if that fails, the Gambia will continue to sit on a ticking time-bomb, vulnerable to both the lurking dangers, circumstantial unawares, and the very existence of state lawlessness. The politics as they say, “Politics is a messy business,” and those that want to do it, must fit in. The unfortunate part with ours is the political bluff and confusion, cult-like worship of political leaders, the lack of consistency and the demonstration of political immaturity, and the very existence of dictatorship which is known for divide and rule. It is easy to see that this disease of divide and rule, comfort groupings, blind support, and writing off others, has infiltrated even the fighting forces against oppression, so basically the more division we have, the more kings and queens, then each king and queen will guard his or her pride with loyal allies, and hell yeah, we have seen these battle grounds in the past. Country should come first. Common sense and pride of nationalism should be our guiding spirit. A country is too big to be hijacked by one, two, or even a few more. One’s intelligence is not useful if it cannot be put to use to benefit humanity. One thing must be done, to swallow individual pride, knock off the fat egos, and stand tall for love of country and its path for sovereignty and true independence.
I am going to sit on my fears for I have never being a pessimist in my life; based on what is not put forward before public domain, there is still something that is not well settled in my mind, in some of the developments on the ongoing talks. So if any is thinking that it is an easy pass, think again, as this is exactly how the political blunders were made. The golden rule must not rot in gutters, it should shine in a place where a mighty coalition is being talked about; that is every party, every leader, and every follower must treat the parallel neighbor the same way he/she wants to be treated. If the political aggression, alienation, and “fooling” some to be politically doomed, is not erased in our biased minds, you sure knows coalition talks won’t yield the much desired result. Even in the miscarriage of NADD, “mistrust” was one thing cited as the reason for the political divorce. Then we had political jealousy, the ugly beast of divisive traits, and the very disrespect that accompanied it during the process and its aftermath. So here again, take caution, and play your political cards well. The only thing that will last in it is the truth so again, stay within that parameter. Even in Orwellian “Animal Farm,” there was a method designed to deal with the two-legged animals, termed “BAD.”
It is expected that the next Coalition meeting will be on Friday 10/7/2016, so I hope to publish part VII then…stay tuned.