The Gambia’s Image In Tatters

The man damaging the image of the Gambia

Written By Siray Touray (U.K)

Brand Gambia has been tarnished for a long time since the day unruly soldiers landed on the Executive seat of power. The Gambia’s high office is blemished and ransacked with vigour and unprofessionalism by the ruling APRC.

The brand that the world came to accept about the Gambia was once encompassing a nation of poor but happy and easygoing people. With meagre resources, multi-ethnic existence and diversity as a symbol, the people get on well throughout the country. The brand that brought tourist and visitors depict the happy nation as a ‘Smiling Coast’.

Siray Touray
Siray Touray

Well with the track records of brutality under the current regime, there is anything but smiles in the Gambia. We can all take our childhood as a benchmark, the life then and now is starkly a fascinating contrast. The reality in the Gambia in the domain of youth unemployment, lack of market for agricultural produce, low performing schools, the hike in prices of everyday basic commodities. The reality is that, what matters most to people is hijacked and controlled by one man.

Gambians by all indications have not been prepared for a struggle in the magnitude of confronting a self-declared dictator. The PPP government allow certain realities to pervade, such realities cause the unrealistic expectations in every single one of us. Youth militancy in the student union, trade union, teachers union, civil society all became an irrelevant and frown upon public perception. Such qualities and political checks and balances where further wiped out by the current government. Political opposition is seen as either treasonable or seditious. What is the alternative?

Now we have a huge task to undo, a challenge the older generations seems tired to face, whilst the youth populations are more eager to ride the high seas and dangerous terrain of the sahara than stay and fight the dictator. The image, the goodwill value of mother Gambia is in tatters and it is high time, youths are encouraged and mobilised in small to large scales. European leaders have now cut aid to boat rescuing, and we shouldn’t sit by and see our future husbands, brothers, and cousins trying in vain to get to Europe. European leaders are more interested in satisfying the needs of their people, which mean less of us in their countries.

The reality with which every Gambian have to come to terms with is, it is now or never. The menace will know nothing else but resistance to the whole scale unlawful existence in the country. The Gambia’s image can be salvaged but not with the current status quo. President Jammeh should do the dignified thing and vacate the highest office in the land, for he has now become the Gambia’s biggest liability and obstacle to peace and prosperity.

I was pleased to see our Gambian brothers and sisters bringing our cause to international attention, notably, Dr Janneh and Musa Saidykha in Geneva (UPR) and Dr Janneh, Banka and Fatou Camara in the Kennedy Centre and Yaya Dampha and Suntou Touray in Geneva. The home politicians should be linked up with outside diplomats so that our views can get the much anticipated attention they deserve.

Rest in peace Uncle Deyda Hydara who was killed ten years ago by cowards on December 16th, 2004 as he was driving home after celebrating his paper’s 13th anniversary. I am hopeful that justice will be served in your case, no matter how long it takes. I pray that Hydara’s innocent soul rest in Eternal Peace.

Written By Siray Touray (England)


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