Gambia: An Oppressed Nation Bleeding In Agony


Anyone who cares to note with sincerity cannot help but hear the agonizing moans of the Gambia, a once upon a time happy and peaceful nation, under Dictator Jammeh. What is even more annoying is his unrepentant demeanor and unflinching passing his faults to the West. When will this senseless imbecile ever going to learn that Gambia’s problems are no one’s but his inability to lead, ignorance, and chilling hatred for progress?


From 22 July 1994, every headline he made is for the wrong reason yet he never learns from any of those avoidable errors to set his house in order. If he is not blaming the British, he will be picking on foreigners for no reason. It is the foreigners fault if the Gambian fishing industry has fewer Gambians than foreigners? A wise and good leader would have first study the situation to understand why Gambians are shying away from the fishing industry. Once the causes are understood, sustainable solutions will be mapped to get more Gambians into the industry. Yes, it is true that most of the fishermen in the Gambia are predominantly Senegalese but how do they endure the trade? How many of these foreigners have fishing trailers and ice plants to store their catch? Most of them have wooden canoes which are at the mercy of the sea and weather. Some of them pay with their lives and those of their loved ones to get a couple of dalasi. What safety mechanism has your government put in place for the safety of these fishermen’s lives and properties?


Your call for back to the land is equally baseless without any substance. There are many Gambians who want to be farmers but are repelled from the land by many factors that you are reluctant to admit. For instance, lack of machinery, good road networks, competitive markets, factories, storage facilities, inputs: seeds and fertilizer, political stability, viable economic policies and the list can go on and on under your watch. If one takes a look at one off your Kanilai farmers for example, you use state apparatus to till, grow, harvest, store and market your produce. How many Gambian farmers have similar access? The same can be articulated for your utopian dream of food self-sufficiency in the Gambia. Assuming, that many Gambians responded to your call and went back to the land and produce loads of tomatoes, for example, is there a market for all the tomatoes produce in just one season? Greater part of the produce will only go to waste. Is there any tomato paste factory in the Gambia?


Peace and stability does not only mean the absence of war. It also entail good governance, political and press freedom, viable and sustainable socio-economic policies, security of vulnerable citizens, transparent and accountable government. However, all of these are deficient in the Gambia under your watch. Just the mere mention of your name in public now amounts to a treasonable offence. Innocent citizens continually rot in your detention chambers without trial, others are summarily executed and the rest disappear for good. How can there be any meaning progress and development under such and dreadful environment? Corruption is rampant, the economy is dead. Any good government will encourage the press to take it to task so that it will step up and be a people’s government.


But Dictators like you are scared of transparency and accountability. The Gambia could have been a heaven on earth but you systematically destroyed all that was good in it. The political system is a sham. The security services turned into political thugs. And the central government a one man boutique!


Babucarr Darboe

Chelmsford, Essex




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