By Pata Saidykhan
First things first! CONGRATULATIONS to honorable Omar A. Jallow and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for a very successful rally celebrating the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary. It was not only fitting considering it was the Party that led us to independence, but very timely and necessary. With all its weaknesses, it’s long overdue for the PPP to defend its record against all the smear campaign, the mudslinging by Yaya and the APRC. Time and time again, OJ has consistently done that with high velocity and degree of vehemence.
What we’ve heard from the rally in Brikama was the fiery, brave, committed and unapologetic politician taking the battle to the doorsteps of the dictatorship. Challenging and exposing the regime in a fashion so uncharacteristic of an opposition shackled in a poisonous den. He asked about the the president’s riches, the illegal arrests and disappearances. ‘Go tell him I said it!’, he roared. He challenged them, pitching their record against Jammeh’s and came out on top! That’s what was expected!
But what’s even more salivating was the aggressiveness and boldness of a top opposition figure that Gambians longed for, to continue the demystification crusade against a coward who is preying on a very innocent, peace-loving people. A people whom over the years have been terrorized and almost rescind to fate that the chains are unbreakable. Layer by layer, Yaya bark’s gets peeled. OJ galvanized Gambians. He has reawakened the hope that the Gambia is only a few brave politicians like him away from salvation. It was impossible for anyone to not be proud and happy for the PPP and their interim leader for their latest assault.
Just like any other time that our Struggle Train gained momentum, there’s always a mechanical failure to take the steam out of it. The fault is always a self-inflicted one. OUR OPPOSITION PARTIES again! UDP, NRP, PDOIS all stayed away. GMC didn’t get an invite which Hon Fatty made clear. And from OJ’s radio interview with FatuRadio’s Mamalinguere, I sensed a baffled man who was still bewildered by the unexplained absence of his comrades. That’s gotta be lonely but Mr Jallow wasn’t deterred.
Although there’s not been a formal reason advanced by those invited for their absence yet, does not lessen the bitter taste of disappointment. We expected a show of solidarity from ALL parties for what the occasion was. So we await. I hope we’ll be given answers. Until then, I’ll remain ashamed, disappointed and hurt the realization that we’re indeed far from the top of the hill than we thought. That a serious look, diagnosis of what must have been the deep tetanus wound that remains incurable. A serious disappointment of course for UDP’s absence and the silence is deafening. They’ve been the longest allies going into all previous elections. So it begs a tangible official reason for staying away. Gambians deserve one.
It scares me that we’ve not even started talks of political union to go into the coming elections under one flag bearer, but that potential marriage is heading for a divorce before they walk the aisles. In a normal marriage, counseling would have been a must. This isn’t an exception if we’re to retain the slim hope of a serious fight against the incumbent. Our political parties are not oblivious to this fact but the diaspora should be battle-ready as partners to do all we could to summoned them to the table even if that means rolling the dice. It’s worth the try.
This is why I’ve always asked that we be partisan but still be cautious not to be overly partisan if our goal is to forge a United Party Alliance. Considering the history these parties have, if we openly take partisan positions from the jump, we’re bound to dig holes for ourselves as every party would come out swinging to avoid being buried. The diaspora Will make and/or break what we have at stake. We’re a very significant constituency even when we’re disenfranchised. It’s best we impartially maneuver thru the barbed wire in pursuit of political unity than face them head-on wearing party colors. That might work for the fringes and the insignificant voices like me. But those who already command the respect and notoriety of being able to get the folks on the table must tread lightly. That by no way means avoiding the truth.
But what do I know?! This malaria must have gotten to me. 🙂
Good Morning And Peace To The Planet!