FIRST AND FOREMOST, I want you to, when reading both parts of this thesis, keep this in mind: This PIECE is not about you, me, any other political party or entity, at home or overseas, nor is it about any other thing, object, entity or person. It is about THE GAMBIA. The Gambia was not given to us by our grandparents and ancestors. NO, it was not. It is borrowed to us by our children, grandchildren and future generation. SO, we are holding The Gambia as a safe-keeping for future generations. Always keep that in mind, and in all our thoughts, actions and prayers we must say and do what is best for The Gambia. With that in mind, now let’s proceed.
Let’s ask ourselves some serious questions: How many “black eyes” has Monster Jammeh given this “diaspora struggle”? How many “black eyes” have this “diaspora struggle” given Monster Jammeh and his regime? How many more “black eyes” going to be exchanged? How is that “fatal blow” going to be delivered? (I am not going to ask when is this “fatal blow” going to be delivered because if we do, we will be putting an arbitrary timeline, and we do not want to arbitrarily lock ourselves down to a timeline, despite 20 plus years already, even though we all know it is well past time, in fact, it is long overdue).
So, question of when, timing, aside for now, just how is that “fatal blow” going to be flexed? Or is it a gradual knock out of fatal blows over extended periods of time, before that regime finally succumbs to its knees?
Speaking of time frame, in couple months or so, it will be one year since a certain entity came out with so much fanfare that they were primed and ready to take over the government of The Gambia by “any and all means, including force”, rebellion or whatever, but short of coup, since one does not announce to the world that you are going to stage a coup. And it has been well over years since the creation of many of these varied disaporan entities. I submit it wouldn’t take them ten months or more to come together in UNITY if they truly subscribe to that, to defeat that Monster in any and every way possible.
Just what is the strategy here? Do we even have a strategy? Or do we just have a varied plethora of diverse strategies, with no coherent or consistent consensus of unity of action amid these varied and different players? Let’s pause here for a minute, and proceed from another angle.
Twenty plus years is not 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 days, twenty months; it is 20 years. And that is a long, long time, and from all indications and estimates, we are looking at another 5 more plus years come 2016, after which time, we are looking at quarter of a century.
How many sporadic and infrequent phenomena have we tried? These recent protests are not the first, and they would probably not be the last. I don’t know, but some of us who remember we would recall that there is used to be a phenomenon such as NADD. Even ALD gatherings in Atlanta, among many other gatherings here in America, Europe and elsewhere, used to be geared towards chatter to regime change in The Gambia. How many petitions, appearances, delegations, documents and so on have been prepared, made, done or submitted over these past 20 plus years? Many years ago, there was even chatter of imposing travel bans on Monster Jammeh and his inner circle, but that chatter died out. And several months ago, the same chatter of travel bans resurfaced again, but faintly faded away.
Hence, after thorough calculations, we are probably left with FOUR options to regime change, and they are:
First, regime change through the same method he came in, and we all know what that method is. And that method is not something one announces to the world that one is going to do.
Second, is what some would call “uprising”, “rebellion”, “armed conflict”, or whatever else you might elect to call this feature, short of the first one, and the next two below.
Third, is through the legal process, or through the democratic processes. And that, my brothers and sisters, is a very dim prospect.
And lastly, the fourth route is for that Monster to make an “exit” himself. As for this, let’s keep our fingers crossed on this one.
The choice now is ours to make.
And oh, let me make a disclaimer here that this piece is not about money, or raising funds. That is an entirely a different topic. And we all know it takes resources, financial resources that is, or money. It takes money, lots of it, to galvanize support to effect a change of government, through any method, democratic, or otherwise, short of outright coup.
NOW, relative to the plight and predicament of The Gambia, I wish some of us would choke on the TRUTH, instead of just swallowing it. Some, particularly many of us here in the Diaspora, are now seemingly immune to swallowing the truth, and their conscience exhibit no traces of guilt, remorse or even empathy. The “TRUTH”, they say, they can NOW swallow it, and live with it, but wish some could choke on it. Could they not take to guilt for their prior acts, and express remorse? Isn’t accepting guilt, and expressing remorse the first step to self-salvation, and a starting step to paying for the ‘crimes” committed against society?
How can you be proud or even be arrogant of prior allegiances and associations you now know was wrong, or even knew was wrong in the first place?
Can we love The Gambia more than we love our own individual or group interests? We all have good intents for The Gambia, don’t we? And I think you do, don’t you? Intent is one thing. Capability another thing. And Execution an entirely different thing. And results may vary. Most of us hate that barbaric regime/government, but love The Gambia. We must distinguish the people of The Gambia from Monster Jammeh and his barbaric regime.
Last time I checked with the legal experts, there is NOWHERE in the world where you have a statute of limitation on murder. In other words, if you had killed someone 50 years ago, you could still be tried and found guilty today, or tomorrow, or another 50 years from now. And if you are an “accomplice” to that murder, guess what? You should, must and will be held accountable. I could be wrong, since I am no expert in legal matters, but at least that’s what the legal minds I have talked with are saying.
Now, relative to The Gambia, do you want to tell me that that Monster should be given immunity to any and all charges of murder, and other crimes, not to mention the pain and suffering inflicted on the Gambian people? And if that is not enough, do you want to tell me his “accomplices” as well should be immune from accountability, all in the name of reconciliation and peace? This is a tough one.
Now, let’s fast forward and say for the sake of discussion, or entertaining my line of questioning here, that we do dialogue, or negotiate with Monster Jammeh, and grant him and his “accomplices”, current and former, safe haven, and this Chief Monster decides to retire in The Gambia, just how is that going to manifest itself on the psyche and history of our Nation? Just how? Imagine Monster Jammeh in retirement in Kanilai during the next successive governments, living the life. Imagine the new successive government providing protection and security for that Monster while he lives the rest of his remaining life in Kanilai, Morocco, Saudi or anywhere else?
There are lots of ramifications, consequences and implications at work here, in this quagmire we face, not only for now, our own generation, but for posterity as well. They will judge us, and write our history.
And from all indications, and estimates, Monster Jammeh would not voluntarily give himself up to the Gambian people to be tried and judged for the crimes he committed, and continues to commit, against the people and the Nation.
SO DO YOU THINK HE WOULD DIALOGUE OR NEGOTIATE HIMSELF INTO ANYTHING THAT WOULD BRING “INCOVENIENCE” TO HIS PERSON, INNER CIRLE, AND MAYBE TO HIS TIME IN POWER?
NOW, facing this dire predicament, where it seems to not be an easy or salvageable exit, we ask ourselves what then would be our ULTIMATE SOLUTION? That answer, I don’t have it, and you don’t have it. That answer is a collective responsibility, hence the need to start exhibiting traces of “genuine” UNITY, not façade or patches of trust, distrust and collaboration occasionally blended, only for us to revert right back to our own individual or group’s identity.
Instead of this Diaspora using this social media, which they now seem to have mastered, to bring Unity, they are using it instead to “divide, conquer and rule”, and for other ill-advised disunity manifestations, and then disguise such maneuvers as “fighting for democracy in the Gambia”, while they conveniently dismiss gestures of unity, and claim that we cannot achieve UNITY, but we can collaborate and work together sporadically and infrequently. Then you would ask but how can they come together in Unity. In a previous article, I outlined such methodology, but suffice it to say that if they cannot physically meet somewhere to hammer out the details, they can make use of technology to lay the necessary ground work or leg work, and would eventually meet, or do not even meet, but nonetheless have a Unity body. Such use of technology could include phone calls, emails, teleconferencing and or even skype, Viber, etc. INSTEAD of making excuses why they cannot, they should find reasons and ways and means to make it happen.
However, in this background, allow me to add that Monster Jammeh himself have calculated this, and I would submit that it is a matter of time, maybe no later than nine to fifteen months after winning the 2016 elections, for him to make what I will call a “Graceful Exit”. As much as we think Monster Jammeh is sick, retarded and twisted, this Monster nonetheless plans and executes, and he has been doing this for over two decades now.
Little NOTE of caution here: We shouldn’t be in a haste to embrace or readily accept, with open hands, the recent inflow of Jammeh’s “escapees” without further scrutiny, especially when they take to the airwaves trying to explain and or justify their recent complicity to, or part of a monstrous regime. Yes, true, at this stage in the game, we would even accept the Enemy’s parents in our midst, so that we can get intelligence, evidence and other information, but in our case, ours is UNIQUE and different, and as such we must be cautious, and examine further these recent “escapees”. Of course, we must welcome and help, but that’s just about where we must stop.
So, without a doubt, I submit that Monster Jammeh himself is feeling the heat, but his preoccupation now is how to “gracefully exit” this hell hole he has dug himself into and his close, current or former confidantes into. And many of his close confidantes, former and current, are aware of this, and are genuinely unsure of how the Gambian people and our Posterity will see, assess and judge them. We are dealing with and facing an unprecedented quagmire.
The predicament and plight we face in The Gambia is a SERIOUS MATTER, not something anybody with an online audience, albeit Facebook, twitter, online radio, online papers and so on, can just write, analyze and or talk about until all the cows come home. Of course, we MUST continue to talk and write about it (I am doing that right now, and have been). However, we must not do so just so that we can see our names on print, or hear our own voices on radios. And in the process, we must speak and write the brutal truth, no matter how inconvenient that might be to us, our comrades, or even our loved ones and friends. We must exhibit and display honesty, truth and integrity, both in our private and public discourse. And in our public discourse, we must and will disagree, but we must respect each other, be civil, truthful and honest, and not engage in name-calling, hypocrisy, bickering or other disrespectful maneuvers or malaise manifestations.
The Gambian plight and predicament is a SERIOUS MATTER and unless and until we, particularly us in the diaspora, start exhibiting traces of UNITY, we face an even longer road ahead. I am not trying to appear as a pessimist here. On the contrary, I am being optimistic. Nonetheless, I will take some criticisms for putting forth these points, but I appeal to all of us to thoroughly, brutally, honestly and sincerely examine ourselves, and the plight of our people, and the predicament we face. And when we do, we will see an even more compelling reason to start working in UNISON, because only then we will begin to start to pave the way for the long road ahead of our Nation.
We have to start to begin to be brutally honest with ourselves, and stop disguising and camouflaging the realities of facts. And we must cease hoping “things will work out”, or stop “sweeping things under the rug”, or “hope and pray” to God. Of course, we are all believers, and indeed God has His own ways of dealing with us all, but my brothers and sisters, sometimes we have to help ourselves, and that we, as humans, are the only creatures on earth, throughout existence, to have what is known as “free will”. We can even choose to pray or not to pray; the choice is yours and mine, and as to who will or will not go to Heaven or Hell, no man knows. Only God knows that. So, sometimes, just sometimes, we need to stop “preaching the same sermon to the same congregation”, or “singing the same song to the same choir”. Eloquent, united action is sometimes needed to get ourselves out of any and all quagmire, and in our case, it is a Nation we are talking about here, not changing some management team of some Burger King or McDonald’s restaurant. This is The Gambia.
As much as we will learn from other African and non-African analogies, relative to coups and governance, I submit that we must see, take and confront our own predicament in our own unique way, away from other analogies, with the aim of learning and making ours better, and not sugar-coat the truth, or display hypocrisy or exhibit other manifestations of bickering and other vices.
God will judge us ALL someday, but in the meantime, we are the masters of our own fate and destiny; this does not mean that we are non-believers. Of course, we are all believers, well, most of us are, but we need to realize that some things we can do wrong, but other things we Must Not, repeat, MUST NOT do wrong, or afford to do wrong.
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