The Gambia’s former military Spokesman has put his mouth where most of his colleagues dare talk, let alone write about. Retired Lt. Col. Lamin Gano blogs about why President Yahya Jammeh must not run for a fifth term. Gano’s article – which opens serious intellectual discussion – is published on the retired career military officer’s blog www.lamingano.com. Find below the article written by the right person, and at the right time.
My Challenge to President Jammeh
I have written 22 articles on why the Gambian needs a new President and her Armed Forces a new Commander-in-Chief. I do hope that you will accept my challenge so that there would be no need to publish them.
My Dear President and Godfather,
Some political scientists, analysts and commentators have argued that a long tenure in office by a head of state erodes the balance of power between the people and the government thereby weakening the authority of autonomous legislatures, independent judiciaries, neutral electoral authorities, and competitive political parties. Overstaying in power distracts a president from implementing important policies, it contributes to political polarization and leads to authoritarianism/ dictatorships. Overstaying in power also promotes corruption and is a significant obstacle to economic development.
On the flip side of the coin, when leaders serve for a limited term in office, politics ceases to be viewed as a zero-sum game. In this way, ruling parties are able to cultivate new leadership which can carry on the successful policies of their former leaders while at the same time also correcting for past missteps. They can remake themselves in the public eye and adapt to the dynamic challenges of the world around them. As an advocate for fixed presidential term limits and good governance, I also share these views.
Your Excellency, I am aware that you have just been nominated by our great party to run for a fifth term in office. However, in a world where two term presidential limits is very much the norm, I urge you to reject this nomination as it is not binding/mandatory on you. There is still adequate time for the party secretariat to nominate another candidate to lead our party while you preside over a free, fair and peaceful election in December and then to hand over power to whoever the Gambian people choose as their next president. I do believe that 22 years in power is more than enough for any individual to lead a country in this 21st Century.
This course of action would juxtapose Your Excellency on the list of the few African leaders who voluntarily and peacefully relinquish power thereby earning you a niche in the enviable club of the respected elderly world statesmen like Abdou Diouf of Senegal, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Tijan Kabbah of Sierra Leone just to mention a few. I believe that the goodness of such a move would outweigh all the shortcomings that your critics levy against you and I have absolutely no doubt that the kind, religious, forgiving and peaceful nature of the Gambian people would overcome whatever rancor, grieve or disappointments that they may have encountered/endured during your 22 years in power.
Personally, this is what I will do if you accept my challenge Mr. President. I will give up my ambition to become a Secretary General of the United Nations and immediately return home to campaign for the new APRC presidential candidate. Then after you have handed over power following the elections, I will continue to be your Aid de Camp/Security Officer and follow you to Kanilai or wherever you choose to go in the world. I am still reminiscing the two years we spent together serving our homeland. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Your Excellency and I recognize that you have made tremendous impact in the lives of many Gambians including my self and have brought about unprecedented developments/ improvements on various sectors of the country. But for your own peace of mind and the continuous well-being of your family; for the sake of the Gambian people; and for the sake of the patriotic and gallant men and women of the Gambia Armed and Security Services, please do not run for this year’s elections.
Howver, if you reject my challenge and really run for a fifth term, then you will lose a very loyal supporter in the person of my humble self. I have written 22 blog posts on why the Gambia needs a new President and her Armed Forces a new Commander-in-Chief. I hope that you will accept my challenge so that there would be no need to publish my posts. Long live the Republic of The Gambia and long live the Gambia Armed Forces. Together, we can make The Gambia smile better by working for a Third Republic!!!!