As we all are aware, Jammeh’s rule is an event receding into the past, into Gambian history, and we all know there is NO statute of limitation on murders in any civilized society, since the existence of mankind.
In addition to “murders” we all are aware of, and tracking of millions of dollars, and countless other abuses and misuses of power and government resources that must also be Accountable for to the Gambian people.
Gambian people’s homes, places of business, other properties and so on were seized, converted or apportioned without due processes, and so on.
Of late, the Gambian people, at home and overseas, have been inundated with calls from all spheres of our populace. These discussions are good and healthy, and they come in all shapes and sizes, and through all medium known, from online radios, to facebook, to tweet to, I suppose, private and public discussions.
This is indeed good and healthy, but one trend some of us are beginning to notice or observe are some quarters of our people, particularly some of our brothers and sisters in this diaspora, are NOW attempting to hijack or steer the discussions from ACCOUNTABILITY to the Gambian people to other arenas, in the hope that they will disguise their own contribution to the pain, suffering and havoc done to the Gambian people. I submit that such maneuver is dishonest, conniving, deceitful and outright unconscionable.
They conveniently want to immune themselves from any future Accountability to the Gambian people, by showing up on facebook, on online papers and on online radios that they are “outspoken” against the current Jammeh regime. True, fair enough, but that still does not immune anyone from any Accountability to the Gambian people, for all the wrongs that were done to her and continue to be done to her, including reports of torture, rape, killings, disappearances, and squandering of millions of dollars that were borrowed and secured in the name of the Gambian people, but were squandered.
Of course, anyway you slice and dice it; it was and still is wrong, for Jammeh to dish out CASH, the Gambian people’s money, to people, without accountability and due process. NOW, is it not hypocritical and double standard if you criticize Jammeh for dishing out money, cars, etc to “foreign artists” and other people, but fail to criticize him for doing the same to Gambian “enablers”, former, current and future, some of whom are currently here in America or in this diaspora?
Where the Accountability to the Gambian people stops and begins?
Is it ok to squander the Gambian people’s money on some of our own brothers and sisters, BUT not ok to do so on foreign artists? Why are we selective on our hypocrisy?
Supporters of Jammeh claim that he has the “right” to spend “his money” as he “pleases”. Not so fast, on this issue of Jammeh has the “right” to spend his “money” as he “pleases”. Let’s correct that. Jammeh works for the Gambian people. Does anyone of you know how much Jammeh is paid monthly? Does Jammeh file taxes and report his tax return OR show his tax records to the Gambian people? And does Jammeh’s monthly salary the Gambian people pay him enough to give him that much wealth he has accumulated? ANYWAY, you get where I am going with this, don’t you?
The TRUTH is the truth, and so no matter how selective we try to be on our hypocrisy, the TRUTH we must seek and speak, and the TRUTH will not change colors to satisfy or promote agendas. National Interest supersedes personal agendas, and is secondary to none.
Every Gambian and non-Gambian now knows that the Jammeh regime is an event receding into Gambian history, and sooner than later, there will be a regime change in The Gambia. HOW? I don’t know, and probably you don’t know too, but we all can now begin to see, smell, taste and feel that that regime will soon be a thing of the past. NOW, the jockeying for positions, favors, sympathy and other gains, is heating up, and speeding fast, especially in this “diaspora”.
And the stakes are high when it comes to Accountability to the Gambian people, and some among us are hell bent on dodging Accountability to the Gambian people.
Some quarters of people are now embarking on diversionary or distraction strategies that are self-centered, misleading and agenda-driven. They have developed this game through social media, such as Facebook, and online radios, calling Yaya Jammeh“criminal” and other names, which we all know he is, BUT how about they start with themselves FIRST, and examine the part they played in this “criminal enterprise”? If the Gambian people can and will hold Yaya Jammeh accountable, how about his entourage of “enablers”, former, current and future?
And please, don’t tell us they were serving the Gambian people, or The Gambia. NO, they were not. And when it backfired on them, they now profess to be a “victims”, and “fighting” to restore democracy and rule of law in The Gambia. Really?
BUT then again, some “enablers”, former, current and future, will find SAFE HAVEN in this diaspora, and claim that they will not appear to testify or give statements from a subpoena by any future commission, or investigation in The Gambia. Such move will be a great disservice to the Gambian people, and her Posterity will record that, both in her current and future newspapers and in her history. Imagine headlines in Gambian newspapers post-Jammeh saying that Peter, Paul or Jane refused to appear before a commission of inquiry investigating the murder of students, or the misuse of millions of dollars that were borrowed but squandered?
This has reached the peak of hypocrisy. Can it get any higher than this? Hold yourselves Accountable FIRST to the Gambian people, for the part, no matter how “insignificant”, you played in the havoc, pain and suffering done to the Gambian people, and the abuse and minuses of her money, millions of dollars.
Are there not honest, upright and dedicated Gambians at home and in the diaspora who were never part of that regime, even when they could have? Yes, there are. And they are equally or more qualified.
SO, why not entrust these honest, upright and dedicated Gambians to steer the state of any future Accountability exercise?
Beware, The Gambia, of wolves in sheep clothing masquerading or parading this diaspora airspace, or landscape, professing to be anything and everything. BEWARE Gambia. And post-Jammeh, the Gambian people MUST use all the arsenal of mechanisms at her disposal to hold people accountable for the misuses of her meagre resources, and money that were secured for and in her name, as well as other crimes committed against her.
“I work for the Gambian people, not the government”, they say. Really? Didn’t you know and don’t we all know Jammeh controlled and still controls virtually every branch of government in the Gambia? YES, you did know that, and yet you joined or will join his bandwagon, but when it backfired on you, you come to the diaspora and say Jammeh is bad. There are many other Gambians who could have joined that bandwagon but they did not. Do you see where I am going here?
What a cowardly, inexcusable excuse. When it was all sweet and nice for them in the Gambia, they proudly ran around in the Gambia and overseas, sometimes in government vehicles, properties and resources, saying they worked for the government, or directly worked for Yaya Jammeh. However, when it backfired, they would come to the “diaspora”, join the “struggle”, take to the airwaves, and online social media, and profess themselves “saints”, “victims”, and so on, and blame Yaya Jammeh and his government, but stop short of blaming themselves.
Yaya Jammeh has been in power for over 20 years now. Didn’t they know Yaya Jammeh was erratic, vicious and controlled The Gambia ten years ago, five years ago, or right before they joined his “bandwagon”? YES, they did. And did Yaya Jammeh put a gun to some of their heads to join him? NO, he did not. Many, or all of his “enablers” voluntarily joined that regime, and they participated in, known of or about “crimes” that must not go unaccountable to the Gambian people.
I submit here that under the circumstances in The Gambia, if you work for that government, especially within close proximity to Yaya Jammeh, such as within his cabinet, or within the executive branch of government, you work DIRECTLY for Yaya Jammeh.
Yaya Jammeh controls every branch of government in the Gambia, including even the civil service and the judiciary, which are supposed to be kind of non-governmental or “independent”.
Of course, the intent of any future Accountability measure should and must not be to hold Accountable every Paul, Jane and Peter that ever worked for Yaya Jammeh. But complicity to any and all “criminality” done to the Gambian people must be accounted for, as well as other misuses and abuses of power and office, not limited to the meagre resources that were squandered.
I SUBMIT that there are tens of thousands of Gambians, currently at home and overseas, who could have been part and parcel of Yaya Jammeh’s “entourage” but they did not; they decided not to be part of it, even though they could have. And they are likewise as well highly regarded, honest, upright and dedicated Gambians.
There are also tens of thousands of private Gambians at home who do not support the existence of that regime from the first day it came to power through a coup, but nonetheless are doing their “best” under the circumstances for the last 20 plus years to ensure peace and development. And they are doing so for love of country, not for personal agendas, and they neither seek fame, glory, or praises.
Is it okay for every “enabler”, prior, current and future, to come out on online radios, and print social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc, and say they were working for the Gambia, not Jammeh, and as such should not be held accountable for all the havoc, pain and suffering inflicted, and continues to be inflicted on the Gambian people? Is it okay?
Yaya Jammeh and his “enablers” must be held accountable to the Gambian people, even in ABSENTIA, and that must be recorded in our history books, so that our Posterity will see that the Gambian people held accountable all those who were responsible for this traumatic blimp in our history, called Yaya Jammeh and his reign of terror, abuses and misuses of meagre resources. Millions and millions of Dollars were secured for and in the name of the Gambian people, and every penny must be accounted for in our recorded history, so that our children and grandchildren would know how we spent their money, in addition to how their parents and grandparents were killed, or disappeared.
ON an unrelated, FINAL NOTE here, since many of our brothers and sisters profess to use religion and other faiths to disguise their complicity, or to immune themselves from Accountability, allow me to make this observation, relative to using Islam and other religions to ensure
Every religion, including Islam, sanction revenge and retribution. SO, who are the Gambian people to say they cannot seek retribution? Of course, every religion encourages us to forgive and forget, but we are the only creatures on earth that God gave choice, that is, God said this is the right path and this is the wrong path, and we have a choice to choose which path to follow. Hence, we must take responsibility for our sane actions and words, rather than blaming everyone and everything but ourselves.
Hence, we MUST hold ourselves someday to the Gambian people and her future generations, for all the wrongs done and continued to be done to her.
That is the least we can assure and give to the Gambian people, her children and grandchildren. Our POSTERITY will judge us and write our history.
Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.