Reading the Daily Observer Wednesday 23 July 2014 editorial captioned “Still moving on” left me emotionally deflated and wondering what happens to the moral conscience of the editor-in-chief of the paper. On a second note, I concluded perhaps he is coerced to dress the Revolution that is “a misdirected course of history”, to sponge his words, in borrowed rob. Whatever his reasons may be I am convinced that in his quiet moments, he will beat himself for going down in the history of the Gambia as a journalist who not only misinformed his fellow citizens but attempted to distort reality. For example, he has this to say, “A new wave of consciousness and awareness among the masses was evidently conspicuous in the political and socio-cultural terrain of the country”. I wonder what exactly he meant by this. For I believe a conscious and aware masses will not compromise their freedom. How many Gambians are persecuted just because they said “the country is hard”? An informed citizenry will not be afraid of its government. They will compel their elected representatives to deliver what they tasked them to do. Is that the case in the Gambian? Is the Jammeh regime accountable? Oh, hell no!
The July 22nd Revolution has only succeeded in systematically suppressing Gambians with tear-jerking impunity for the past twenty years instead of empowering them. Of course any revolution ushers in change; either for the better or worse. And the Jammeh led 22nd July 1994 Revolution has robbed Gambia of its sovereignty and dignity. Politically, the Gambia is potentially more catastrophic under Jammeh’s watch as opposed to Sir Dawda’s. The unprecedented record of human rights abuses, killings, tortures, enforced disappearances and banished have never been a Gambian phenomenon prior to the advent of Jammeh into the presidency. Former civil servants are immediately arrested and slammed with laughable doctored charges and incarcerated for no other reason than expressing a different view to Jammeh’s. That is the type of revolution Jammeh dished out to Gambians. A revolution devoid of any significant and meaningful change.
What is development without the freedom of expression? Can development be sustainable in a volatile and insecure atmosphere? Politically, the Gambia is unstable. Jammeh has carved so many enemies for himself such that the Gambian political environment is likened to a ticking bomb which can trigger off any second. Certainly that is not what development entails. On another hand, has the living standard of Gambians improved or worsen? Twenty years ago, five dalasi could avail one a lot of things in the Gambia like a loaf of bread, sugar and a tin of milk and still have some change. Can five dalasi afford you the same in the Gambia today under Jammeh? Needless to say the value of the dalasi has so much depreciated that what one dalasi used to purchase twenty years ago a hundred dalasi cannot get today. Well, a development is meant to augment one’s life but not to retrogress it. Therefore, I can opined that the Jammeh led Revolution is a complete failure. The reasons for my assertion are written on every aspect of Gambian life. Majority of Gambians are more impoverished today than before July 22nd 1994. Electricity and water supplies are still inaccessible and unaffordable by majority of Gambians.
The so-called hospitals that Jammeh often brags about are white elephants. You pay D25 for consultation fee only to be told to go and buy your prescribed medicine. The wards are dirty and lack privacy. Beds are deplorable and medical care is the worst you can get anywhere in the world. Both nurses and doctors are arrogant and uncaring where you find them. At least there were only two hospitals during the PPP regime but they were never short of medication or doctors. So what development has the revolution brought for Gambians? Education is now exam oriented rather than equipping the student for life time challenges and productiveness.
Now you portray Jammeh as being humble, compassionate, truthful and faithful. Will a compassionate person kill 9 people just to prove a point? A compassionate person forgives those who err against him but not retaliate. He cares and values human life. How many people have Jammeh ordered to be killed, tortured, incarcerated with impunity or banished? That is a man you call compassionate? A compassionate man does not violate a woman. And Jammeh is a perv. He is far from being humble. Because a humble person does not ride on the backs of his fellows like Yahya does unabated. Jammeh carries himself as the only human in the Gambia and everyone else is a beast of burden. Surely such a person cannot be said to be humble and compassionate. Furthermore, he is neither truthful nor faithful. He persistently lies through his teeth. Thus, Jammeh is an embodiment of evil, hence a monster who derives insatiable pleasure in the sufferings of others.
The Gambian economy is saddled with high deficit and mounting debt rates. Foreign investment has become rare gold dust for the government as potential investors are shying away for the volatile political environment. What has the tourist industry turned into? Beaches filled with armed uniformed men and women like a war zone. That is definitely not the revolution Jammeh led junta promised Gambians twenty years ago.
Babucarr Darboe, Chelmsford, UK