It’s better for you to target laws and policies that promote oppression of Gambians
The approach taken by Dr. Momodou Sallah in regards to Gambian struggle. He described The Gambia as a country “where there is adequate food, clothing, shelter and the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness. A Gambia where the ordinary people are the custodians of a free and democratic society underpinned by the principle of social justice.”
The above statement or approach is what every decent and patriotic Gambian wants to see in The Gambia. This is why majority of us are contributing to help our families, friends, neighbors and employ thousands of Gambians in our various developmental projects so that they have food on the table, accesd quality health care, good shelter and pursuit of happiness as described by Dr Sallah. This is a vision of all political parties, militants and even some ruling APRC supporters. In other words, it is a universal vision which we all ascribed to, aim and want to see The Gambia in that position. This is my personal visiprootherwie I can sit here comfortably and enjoy my life to the fullest since I am lucky to have good education and great career. But each of us see The Gambia where we all belong no matter where we are. Diaspora is playing a huge role in this Vision which I highlighted in my article”Gambian Diaspora Holds The key to Ending Dictatorship” published on August 3, 2015.
We all know that oppression is seriously connected to poverty, and underdevelopment which are all interconnected to personal, cultural and strutural factors as was rightly pointed out by Dr Sallah. Poverty, ignorance, and lack of opportunity are also problems which contributed to institutional and political oppression (military dictatorship) we currently have in The Gambia. However, these are also the same issues along with lack of political rights, freedom of speech, bad governance, poor economic growth, corrupt judicial system, and human rights abuses which resulted from political oppression i.e military dictatorship.
Majority Gambians prefer nonviolent resistance which is why we engage in peaceful demonstration, civil disobedience, education, raising awareness and information warfare.
The structural or institutional oppression is what is more pronounced in The Gambia today than ever. Never in our history, we have seen such an institutional or authorities abuse of citizen’s fundamental and human rights as well as massive corruptions with total impunity. Institutional oppression has greatest influences on all other forms of oppressions such as personal and cultural oppression because there is no adequate laws or policies that would encourage social justice or address these issues. Better government or institutions will help in this effort to eliminate or discourage oppression. This is because when we have right authorities in our government, they can come up with right policies and laws which will help in good governance, better human rights situations and better economic development for all. Better laws and policies can be become overriding strategic regulatory and effective means to greatly reduce some of personal and cultural oppressive forces we inherited. This is because these personal and cultural oppressions are learned behaviors which could change over time with appropriate laws and policies. The military dictatorship essentially contributed to this personal and cultural oppressions more than anything because it is in the interest of the dictator to divide, discriminate, intimidate and instill fear so that he can continue to oppress us. As a result, Tribalism and preferential treatment becomes new cultural norm or new normal.
I do not believe that oppressed people can quickly change their conditions through “sustained capacity building at the personal and cultural level” without changing the very system which essentially contributed to their oppression. Therefore, it becomes fools errand to engage in such endeavors when laws and policies which promotes such a backward and oppressive system are in placed. Such sustained capacity building should be part of policies when oppressive system is changed. This is why despite numerous efforts by international development partners there is no significant progress in the lives of ordinary people in The Gambia and Africa at large.
Therefore, I would call on Dr. Sallah to think about strategic vision targeting the laws and policies that contribute to the oppression of Gambians. Engaging in works such as education of young people and serving disadvantaged groups are all good things. I am proud of you and I commend you for that. Thank you.