Of late, there seems to be calls for those surrounding that Monster, from his bodyguards, cooks, to his ministers, and so on, to “abandon ship”, or “abscond” and leave this Monster to “wallow”. Why these calls were not made 10, or 15 years ago? There are so many questions to that; suffice it to say that this piece is neither the forum nor the conduit to channel such provocative discussions. Those aside, now let’s proceed.
The choice is ours to make, and we must make it. If we truly believe in what we believe, then we must make a choice. SO, what is it going to be?
It might be a lengthy process, but a route that we must try (since we never tried it) and exhaust it, before we entertain any other option.
And this route is to FIRST try to dislodge him and his regime through Unity of Action of the democratic process, and once that is accomplished, then the new successive government will be in a UNIQUE position to chart and rebuild the tarnished image of The Gambia, and will hold this Monster and his regime accountable. And this route we never tried is the UNITY route, both at home, and in the diaspora.
IF the Unity of Action route through the democratic processes does not work, then we can explore other options, and at that time, ALL OPTIONS are on the table and May God Help Us All then. But first, we do not want war, rebellion, or any armed conflict in The Gambia. Ideally, we need to and must break the circle of violence in our country. If we used force, coup, rebellion, uprising or any other armed struggle to take over the current barbaric government, it is a matter of time, maybe, another fifteen or twenty more years for another group of men and women to think that it is okay and alright to take over the government by force, and we will have a perpetual cycle like that, with maybe 10, 15 or 20 years intervals. And our future generations will never see and live in peace and freedom. So, if we are going to use any “method of force”, we must have an “exit strategy” to ensure that such will never, ever happen again in our history.
Yes, true we must admire, support and encourage the opposition back home, and that they are operating under a very challenging and tremendous sets of circumstances and atmosphere. However, one thing we all know they have not tried through the democratic process is U NITY of action.
During elections in the Gambia, from Banjul to Basse, North Bank to the South Bank, in this limited space, we had, or would have, NRP. UDP, PDOIS, PPP, and of course, APRC, and maybe throw in couple or so “Independents”. And in this limited space of The Gambia, with these many political players, can you guess who controls the print, audio and visual means of communication to reach voters? Can you guess who controls the means of communication to reach voters? Your guess is right. BINGO. Now, let’s proceed.
The APRC party controls the means of mass communication to reach voters, and even outright, on occasions, will deny the gatherings or activities of opposition parties aimed at educating and galvanizing the people.
So, now, if these political players in the Gambia come together in Unity, and put up one Strong Candidate against that Monster, instead of few candidates with no ‘real successful chance”. If these political players on the ground in the Gambia come together in UNITY, put up a strong, single candidate, and with the backing, support, influence and resources of this “UNITED DIASPORA”, I strongly do believe the democratic system will effect a change of government in The Gambia, and from there we would chart our own destiny. This UNITY ROUTE has not and never been tried. Let’s try or exhaust it first. And we are running close on a schedule time frame, since now we are at the end of 2014, and these transitional elections will be taking place around the middle of 2016.
This means we have less than two years to start getting our acts together to come to UNITY at home and in the diaspora, in order to embark on this UNITY of ACTION campaign, to try first to reclaim our Nation through the democratic processes.
We need to break the cycle of violence in our Nation, and we cannot do that if we embark on yet another episode of violence, no matter the method employed, if we do not try first and exhaust UNITY of ACTION. We have tried fragmented and divisions efforts, at home and in the diaspora, and we failed miserably. But UNITY of Action we have not yet tried. It is going to be difficult and hard, but it is not impossible. It would require lots of sacrifices, and the setting aside of egos, pride and ambitions, but we can do it for and in the name of The Gambia we all love, but hate the government.
We must be concerned about the Legacy and Precedent we want to set out for our Posterity, and the kind of history we would want our Posterity to write about us.
Not to sullen the motivation and momentum of some in this diaspora, but sitting here, raising few dollars here and there, through challenges, or “gofund me”, are methods that we all know will not even come close to affecting regime change in the Gambia. If I am going to use my time and resources, I would want to use it efficiently, wisely and as smoothly as possible to attain maximum return. Why can’t we have, and adopt the same approach with a UNITED Entity to deliver that “fatal blow” in any and every way possible?
NOW, let’s say we are UNITED in the diaspora and at HOME, and the UNITED PLAYERS back home put up a single, strong candidate, in 2016, and for some reasons we know or don’t know about, that Monster still wins the elections, and is going to rule for another five more years, in addition to the already 20 plus years. If this happens, then my brothers and sisters, all cards are on the table and May God Help Us All from that point forward. THIS IS BECAUSE: Many of us, myself included, do not believe in the barrel of the gun to take over a government, but that such can only, ONLY be tried and done after exhausting all available democratic means, and we have not yet tried and exhausted a United Front at home and overseas to dislodge that regime, but instead we are busy displaying fragmented and sporadic efforts we all know, well, many of us know, are inadequate and would most likely not dislodge that regime.
A UNITED FRONT at home and in the diaspora would mobilize the enormous and required logistics, manpower and resources needed to do the trick, and that we must try and exhaust that FIRST before we talk about “force”, “rebellion”, “dialogue” or whatever. And that we have not tried yet.
In the meantime, if a group of brave men (and or women) takes over the government through the same method that that Monster Jammeh came into power, then that is an entirely different topic. And that, my brothers and sisters, if any such group is going to embark on this venture; they would not come on the air and announce it, or issue fancy statements relative to such a task. So, short of this task, we must tread carefully with the current plight and predicament we face back home.
Like I have always maintained, and will continue to maintain, it is not only how we go in, but how we get out, that is, our “exit strategy” that would make all the difference. It is easy to perpetuate the wrong thing, and the use of force in our brief history is the wrong thing, and we must not perpetuate it. We must break this cycle, unless and until as a last resort, after exhausting all available democratic means. And right now, we do have a democratic means, though it is rigged and flawed, but we must try it first and exhaust Unity of Action, before we do anything else. Until we try first and use the ultimate weapon of sequence of unity of action, then we must not rule it out, just because of the expediency of change. If we do that, that could be a catastrophic and fatal attempt for our people.
Another interesting observation is how former enablers or “accomplices” of this Monster are now showing up in the diaspora with loud speakers all over the place professing to be speaking up against that barbaric regime they were once part of, some of them as late as few months or even less than couple years ago. We do not need them to tabulate to us the transgressions of that Monster, and we certainly do not need them to tabulate all kinds of reasons, explanations and or justifications of why they were part of the team of a man they knew was a Monster.
However, they must not expect us, or demand from us that we must readily and expeditiously avail ourselves to their explanations, justifications or reasons without further SCRUTINY. There is something called Accountability. Monster Jammeh, though a significant part, is nonetheless a very small part of a barbaric system he created and perpetuate, and therefore if we expect someday to hold him accountable, it is just fair, prudent and fitting that we likewise hold accountable his “accomplices” and “enablers”, former and current. If we do not, I am afraid this is an uncomfortable precedence we are setting for generations to come, and a footnote of our history that our posterity will judge us on. So, as much as this Monster is but a blimp in our brief history, his rule was a traumatic one, with far-reaching effects to the psyche of the majority of Gambians.
Hence a moment of such magnitude in our history must be held accountable and judged, without fair or favor. I am not saying or implying here that “enablers”, “accomplices” “recyclables” and so on, both in the diaspora and at home cannot work together with other interested, genuine players. Of course, we all can work together, but we ALL must realize we are doing so for the common good of our Nation, and so if some of them happen to bear the consequences of the results of the havoc wrecked on our Nation, so be it; they must live with the consequences of their actions. Already we have “genuine” people at home and in the diaspora to take the lead, instead of turning to people with shady and questionable integrity, and unwavering support and allegiance to the barbaric regime. And these people must not be used as mouth pieces or puppets either; they must exhibit and display independence and impartiality.
And we must not run behind or take cover behind that pretext that we must forgive and forget in order to move on, and move forward. That would be a fatal precedence and attempt, and we do not want to do that. Let’s think about 20 years from now, or 30, 40 or 50 years from now, and ask ourselves some solid questions. 23 years ago, there was nothing as what we now know to be Monster Jammeh and his regime. So, let’s tread carefully, lest we set a precedence for another 25 years, or more to come, and a precedence that will marginally determine the destiny of our Nation, and one by which our children and grandchildren will judge us by. We do not own The Gambia; we are holding The Gambia as a safe-keeping for future generations. Our children and grandchildren own The Gambia, and they give it to us for safe-keeping.
Do we not have honorable, dedicated and distinguished brothers and sisters, both in the diaspora and back home in The Gambia, who were not, and are not “enablers”, “accomplices”, “recyclables” and so on? Yes, we do. Can these strong men and women not be entrusted with the state of affairs of our government in the future? Yes, we can. So, why must we settle for prior recyclables, enablers, and accomplices and so on? NEVER put complete faith and confidence by those whom you have once being deceived. And why must we not hold them accountable? Could our Nation still have been built without their contributions, albeit a “shady one”? Yes, we would have; it might have taken us longer, but at least we would have done it with honesty, hard work and fair play, not through some unfair, crooked and self-centered machinations.
When we examine ourselves thoroughly we see that among us, particularly in this “diaspora” are “enablers”, “accomplices”, “recyclables” and so on, and that makes it extremely difficult to not work together to bring UNITY, and we just cannot easily and quickly say we will forgive and forget and move on. Yes, true, we, in the diaspora can say that, and do that, but we only occupy a small part of the Gambian people, in fact, a very small part.
So, do we, in the diaspora, “enablers”, “accomplices” and all, want to use our resources, influence and might to effect regime change, so that our Posterity would look favorably on some of us for the crimes we committed against our Nation? Is this the kind of mentality planted in our psyche? Is that a fair, prudent, factual and honest yardstick to measure ourselves by? Is that the barometer by which we want our future generations to assess us, and write about us? If we don’t start calling ourselves out now, and fix our problems, Posterity will call us out, even though they will not have the opportunity to “fix” us, because we would not be there in their time, and era, but indeed they will assess us, write about us, and judge us.
On a FINAL NOTE, let me put this across: The PREDICAMENT we face in The Gambia is Unique, and as much as it is fragile, crucial and delicate, we must handle and deal with it with Honesty, Truth and Integrity, and in the process, we must face the consequences, no matter how inconvenient the truth may be to ourselves and loved ones, lest our Posterity will not look favorably on us. And here is what I finally want to put across:
All throughout existence and human history, there is something called “accomplice”, and this is recognized and accepted by all societal norms and faith, including Islam, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhism or even paganism. And that is if you are an “accomplice”, especially to a crime like murder, you must be held accountable.
Monster Jammeh knows this, and so are his “accomplices” and “enablers”, both prior and current, at home and abroad, and so, today, tomorrow, or another 50 years, our Posterity will write about that, and judge us all.
This Monster has dug himself a hole and his accomplices and enablers, prior and current, know this, and that is why they are trying now to seek redemption from the Gambian people, both at home and abroad. How successful or not that would be, that is an entirely different topic, but they, like the Monster himself, must be held accountable, if not by us, but by our Posterity, even though we would not be there for them to punish us, but they will write about us, and judge us.
Yes, true, we must forgive and forget in order to reconcile and move forward, but even in this reconciliation process, there is something called “accountability”. And so we must hold ourselves accountable in order to proceed forward and rewrite our history..
Whether we ended up having dialogue with Monster Jammeh, and he exits, or he is taken out by the ballot or gun, by God or any other method, he (and his “enablers” and “accomplices”) must be judged, by us or by our Posterity. WHY PUT for future date for our Posterity what we can do now? We must tread carefully with the Predicament we face in The Gambia, lest our Posterity judges us
And I MUST add here that there are honest, hardworking Gambians, at home and abroad, in this “diaspora” or outside, who were not and are never part and parcel of that Monster and his regime. So, why not entrust these honest, hard-working Gambians to steer the affairs of state of our Nation, than these prior “enablers”, “accomplices, and “recyclables”?
God’s speed to this Cause and May God Help Us All.
This author is scheduled to appear on Gainako Radio on Sunday October 5th at 3:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Eastern. Call to ask questions and or join the conversation on this challenge.
Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of The Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars