“The Gambian Struggle”: Is it Much Ado About Nothing Or What?

Abdul SavageBy Abdul Savage

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.





  1. Mr. Savage, I like to ask questions when necessary and so you seem to hate questions.

    Why do you refer to the Gambian struggle as ‘ So-Called’, contradicting you concerted enthusiasm in the news forums since?
    I think you have to started telling us about enablers you know in the diaspora and stop the beating around the bush. You still lack in telling us something important, perhaps of yourself. Apart from that, it will be difficult to be able to crawl under anyone’s skin in the online forums. Here, we can only write and read in the form of disagreeing to agree in different view points.
    Really, I admire your military photo and that probably tells you how jealous and egoistic I am.

  2. Malick Mbaye

    Perhaps, hMr Savage should start with a strong advocacy of unity of action of all democratic opposition forces on the ground and with a forceful and uncompromising campaign for a level electoral playing field on the ground, without which no elections (presidential or parliamentary) can be won on the ground, Perhaps, he should tell us how to win elections whose results will always be wrigged in favour of the ruling party or maybe how does he expect an Electoral Commission, which is not independent, to supervise and deliver free, fair and transparent elections which would ensure victory for the opposition? Maybe he is not aware of the fact that ECOWAS pulled out from monitoring the last elections and why?
    If I may also ask what if the elections, for argument sake, are won by the opposition and, in that unlikely event, if Jammeh refuses to relinquish power, what is next line of action that Mr Savage envisages to free the Gambia? Let Mr Savage also bear in mind that dictators, with all the advantages of incumbency, do not go to elections to lose them. Where have elections ever succeeded in removing a tyrant from office?
    In the name of accountabilitity, didn’t dictator Jammeh and his AFPRC junta establish commissions of enquiry, albeit kangaroo ones for witch hunting? Did South Africa not establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission after dismantling the Apartheid system? The main focus and priority should remain the removal of the dictatorship by all and any means necessary or available.

  3. Malick mbaye, you have asked very relevant questions and I hope mr savage understand those questions and answer them . I admire your sense of reasoning regarding removal of the dictator by all and any means necessary. I think one of the most important question you asked is ; if opposition win the election and Jammeh refuse to relinquish power , what should be done to free The Gambia from the tyrant ?
    My answers to this question are ; there could be demonstration , civil disobedience , military coup or general political unrest which could lead to violent. So even in the best /favorable method of regime change prefer by majority Gambians that is through election , there is high possibility of violence. This is why it is naive to think that dictator Jammeh will leave power without a fight or violent. By all indications , Jammeh is setting the stage for violent to take place when he is confronted. In fact I have very little hope that election will remove him because of all the excellent points and questions raised by mr malick mbaye . However , I will continue to support the electoral process or any means necessary to get rid of the cancer of our smiling coast .

  4. Malick Mbaye

    Thank you Mr Marx. You understand very well my logic. What I equally fail to understand is what Mr Savage is driving at when he says that he “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”. To me, it seems as if what Mr Savage is saying is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps, he should further clarify. Nonetheless, I understand that being an American citizen, he must take due cognizance of US Federal Laws that do not take kindly to any call to overthrow a foreign government (that the US is not at war with) by violent means, Perhaps Mr Savage should also tell us where on earth has the removal of a dictatorship been effected by peaceful electoral means and not by violence? Jammeh will never accept defeat and then allow himself to prosecuted for his crimes. Lastly, Mr Savage should also explain why he keeps on referring to the Gambian Diaspora as the “so-called struggle”. In every struggle, you will always also find those who were hitherto “enablers” but joining the effort at a later stage. Khadafi’s Foriegn Minister, his Chief of Protocol and even his Ambassador to the UN joined the Libyan struggle at the latter stage. Amer Musa, Mubarak’s Foreign Minister also joind the Egyptian struggle after things had already started. Ënabler”or not?.Should we turn away law enforcement men joining the struggle on the ground? “Enablers” or not? Let us not put the cart before the horse by alienating hitherto “enabler” but who may yet surprisingly prove to be the most useful in our legitimate and steadfast efforts to uproot the dictatorship, once and for all.

  5. Mr malick mbaye, I agreed with you that mr savage seem to be self contradictory unless he did further clarification . In one of my previous write up , I did reminded him that we need genuine insiders to help us expose dictator jammeh. The best weapon to help us to get rid of a dictator is to have his inner circle crumble through the insiders in his dictatorial regime. This is why we need geniune people with valuable intelligence and also people of authorities to join the struggle . Examples, Dr janneh and Dr sedat Jobe were once part of the system and these individuals are Patriotic Gambians who served the country well and they continue to advocate for democracy and rule of law. If we are to ostracize every citizens who work for Jammeh and term all of them enablers , then how about silent majority who refuse to talk or criticize the regime because of ignorance, fear or simply sit on the fence , should we call them enablers? In every liberation struggle , there has to be different organizations or political groupings but the most important thing is the common goal they should share . In our case our common goal should be to get rid of Jammeh by any means necessary . I think any Gambian who work for Jammeh in top leadership position and is not implicated in commiting henious crime , abuse of citizens or highly corrupt should be welcomed in the struggle with caution until such a time his background is clear before given any valuable position . These individuals should repudiate and condemn Jammeh’s autocratic regime. As I said before if mr savage is seasoned military officer , he should understand that even military use insiders to get intelligence about their enemy so that they can carry out their military operation. This is how military intelligence works.
    Mr savage used of the term “so-called” struggle is very insulting to people who put their life on the line to restore democracy and rule of law in The Gambia . Perhaps I think he is too ignorance to understand the description of such a term he used for a cause he claimed to be part of . The used of term “so-called” struggle has negative connotations to it and I think he either didn’t believe in it or simply underestimate its significance as a force to reckon with in getting rid of dictatorship. The good news is that majority who are in this struggle are patriotic Gambians who are ready to sacrifice or have sacrificed their life for our country. I personally appreciate and honor all the efforts done by anyone or groups especially our gallant heroes who did ultimate sacrifice in last December attack on statehouse.

  6. Malick Mbaye

    Mr Marx, I remember reading on this forum some comments by one Mr Moses Jones and one Mr Sambujang Kinteh, which I noted down for my records and which were in reaction to another derisory Article on the NRMG written by the same Mr Savage. Those gentlemen articulated pertinent comments similar to the ones that you are now making.
    Mr Savage is unfortunately known on the online media and radios for sitting comfortably on the fence pointing a criticising finger and for making outlandish and ill-conceived statements, especially about the Diasporan political groupings and the Gambian struggle. He is also known for never responding to comments made on issues raised in his postings.
    I believe that he should also consider putting his military expertise, even in an advisory capacity, to the service of our Gambian cause in as much as he portrays himself as a veteran combat soldier who particpated in US foreign wars and acquired military decorations and awards which he seems so proud of.
    Indeed, I salute his role in the service of the US military but I would appreciate him more and even better if, for once, he could be of service to his country of birth, the Gambia, in the hour of her need.
    He is no more patriotic than others in the Gambian struggle, irrespective of whether they were former enblers or not. You were right to point it out in your comments above.