We all love the Gambia, but many of us despise and hate that regime, but we MUST NOT cherry pick our criticisms of this Monster and his regime, based on whose sensibilities we want to, or do not want to offend.
The Gambian people deserve to know a lot, post-Jammeh, so that her history will record that, and our future historians will research and debate these burning issues of our time, and judge where we failed, complicit, succeeded, or complacent. They will write about us.
In spite of all our differences, one thing, and one thing ONLY we all can agree on is this: Yaya Jammeh MUST GO. This is our shared and common objective: Jammeh Must Go. Where we do differ though is this: By what means. Some say “force”, some say “by any and all means”, some say “dialogue”, some say “constructive engagement”, some say “the international community, such as AU, ECOWAS, America, or maybe even the UN”. Of course, some of these proposals, no matter how lamb, laughable or even comical they may be in some respects, they are nonetheless on the table for discussions.
This piece/article is neither the place nor the forum to debate the pros and cons of whose method is “right”, “wrong”, “feasible, “impossible”, “possible”, “practical”, “impractical”, or just outright “whacky”.
On the CONTRARY, this piece is about our shared and common objective, hence the compelling reason and logic for us all to sit ourselves down, at a time and place we all can agree on, be it in D.C. or in London, and talk, talk about our differences and commonalities, keeping in mind the broader picture and the only, ONLY thing we all have in common and share. Thanks to technology nowadays this task of meeting to “talk” can be arranged and done through technology, such as teleconference calls and so on. Of course, there are time zones differences and commitments and engagements of participants, but with adequate planning, it is not impossible.
I must make a disclaimer here that this author, given his own participation in this process, in addition to his own qualification, training and experience, DOES NOT support, condone, advocate and will never, ever be part of anything and everything that involves “force” or “use of force” to effect regime change in The Gambia, though he does not discount it. For crying out loud, Yaya Jammeh himself used “force” to effect regime change, so the position of this author is that if you want to “use force” to effect regime change, go right ahead, knock your socks off, but he will not condone it, advocate it, support it, and or be part of it, in any shape, form and or design. SO, the position of this author is that “anything” is possible, though he does not include nor exclude the “use of force” by some quarters, though he will not support it, advocate it, condone it, or be part of, in any shape, form or design.
This author believes and subscribes to the belief that The Gambia must break this cycle of “use of force” or “violence” to effect regime change. This author believes in using the barely existing election process that barely exists in the Gambia to effect regime change, within a framework of Unity of Action at home and overseas, a framework he has articulated in his previous public statements and writings.
Speaking of election process, this author understands the logic and reason for electoral reforms prior to 2016. However, we all know that is impossible, in other words, under the circumstances, and in all events, that is highly unlikely. HENCE, we are left with Unity of Action by the Opposition parties, to use the barely existing election process to defeat that Monster. Election is all about numbers, and when the numbers are crunched up, a UNITED OPPOSITION will defeat that Monster, free and clear. Of course, it will take and require enormous resources and manpower, hence we, in the diaspora, MUST be united as well to offer such needed and required assistance, in all arenas. And time is of the essence here, since 2016, the time of next elections in the Gambia, is just around the corner.
After former “enablers” blended themselves in this diaspora crowd, disguising and masquerading themselves “to fit in”, may God help the Gambia post-Jammeh. BUT whatever we do or don’t do, let’s don’t forget this: ACCOUNTABILITY to the Gambian people, for yesterday, today and tomorrow, for all the misuses, and abuses of office, power and her limited, meager resources that were borrowed and or secured in the name of the Gambian people. Failure to do so, our future generations will judge us, and write our history. DO the people in this so-called struggle, or diaspora, including, former “enablers”, can they tell the Gambian people on the ground that they need change OR tell them how to run the state of affairs of government post-Jammeh?
In addition to the self-centered and twisted agendas, and pursuance of personal and group’s interests at the expense of National interest, we also have people in this so-called struggle who run online on Facebook, social media and online radios saying they are fighting for “Freedom”.
This author wishes to make clear that the people in the Gambia, particularly the Opposition, are operating under extreme conditions under that dictatorship, and they are doing their best under the circumstances. And so, Folks in this so-called struggle have a Duty and Responsibility to understand that, and give them all the credit and support, instead of claiming or taking credit for that.
I submit that Folks in this so-called “struggle” do not need to take credit for any “little agitation” in the Gambia, so that they can inflate their egos and increase their already ballooning, self-centered, twisted personal or group’s agendas. And the posturing or pre-posturing for fame, glory and other material gains post-Jammeh in this so-called struggle MUST also be toned down. The Gambia is bigger than any and all of us combined, and the National Interest of the Gambia supersedes all, and is secondary to none; it is FIRST, LAST and ONLY.
Once again, for the thousandth time, and for the sake of the Gambian people, I call upon some of our people here in this so-called “struggle” to set aside personal and groups’ egos and twisted agendas and come together under Unity of Action, and link up with the vital and crucial opposition players on the ground in the Gambia, encourage and support them to likewise UNITE, to confront and deal with this shared and common predicament facing The Gambia.
Our children, grandchildren and future generations are the STAKEHOLDRS here, not us, and they will review our actions, inaction, complicity, complacency or lack thereof, and they will write about us, our history, and judge us for that.
UNITY OF ACTION is effective and eloquent.
BY Abdul Savage
Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.