By Dida Halake
In Dying Like Biko, Solo Sandeng Frees a Nation
Let the day be etched in the minds of Gambians and Friends of The Gambia everywhere.
Thursday 14th April 2016:
The day Solo Sandeng led some forty colleagues in a peaceful demonstration carrying nothing more dangerous than a clothe banner calling for “Fair Elections” and met his death at the hands of Gambia’s security forces, will be remembered as the day that awakened a nation and changed The Gambia forever.
Just as that other day thirty-nine years ago has been etched in our minds forever.
Monday 12th September 1977:
When Steve Bantu Biko perished at the hands of South Africa’s notorious security forces, having accomplished the task of freeing and awakening the minds of a generation of South African School Children: the Biko Generation that finally won Freedom for their country.
It is tragic that President Yahya Jammeh, the man who so eloquently became the 1st African Head of State to advise Libya’s Gadaffy to resign for the sake of Libya, has ignored everyone’s advice to level the electoral playing field for the sake of The Gambia. Even my call for “A Govt of National Unity” back in 2011 received barbed rejoinders in the pages of the Daily Observer – and the Daily News which put it on the front-page was soon banned.
And so here we are at a tragic cross-roads. Brave Solo Sandeng has taken the bull by the horn and bravely asked for nothing more than an electoral playing field. Gambia’s security service have over-reacted – and killed the defenceless young man. And the result is completely the opposite of what the security services intended: the young and old in The Gambia will, inspired by Solo Sandeng, rise up and demand their freedom.
President Jammeh now faces the Solo Sandeng Generation, Gambians young and old who, inspired by in memory of Solo Sandeng will settle for nothing less than a “Free and Fair Election” – and a government of The Gambia that they freely elect without fear.
Like that other African Great said: “It is a prize worth dying for”. Cry not for Solo Sandeng’s memory; just make his dream of a Free Gambia come true.