What is happening in The Gambia is an egregious crime against defenseless citizens by the murderous tyrant Yaya Jammeh – a man who has imposed himself on the people. Despite conducting sham elections many times, HE knows very well that he hasn’t won a single election in the past twenty years he’s been running. That is the real reason why he cannot countenance the idea of his opponents proposing changes to the Gambia’s antiquated electoral system to bring it to par with regional and global standards. As it currently is, the Gambia’s electoral system is a conman’s dream as it was designed for a different electorate with different value systems and honor codes. which is what allows Jammeh to easily rig the elections in plain sight. Now that the opposition has finally summon the determination to plug the loopholes that allow him to make a fool of them in the open, he feels outraged. So he is ready to kill as many as we let him.
For those naïve about the import of what electoral reforms signify, Jammeh’s quick and savage reaction against the protesters has all the answers one might be looking for. What manner of an elected democratic leader would be intolerant of citizens calling for an improvement of the process of electing their representatives? The reaction itself is an affront to ALL known civilized norms and values. Not that I’m surprise at all by any of these. A person cannot give one what he or she does not have. Yaya Jammeh is an uncivilized and uncultured semi-literate from a background where ironically he is one of the bright lights. So in a way, expecting the kind of decorum and humane treatment Gambians experienced under Jawara from Yaya Jammeh is foolish. A couple of years ago, I wrote a series titled “Square Holes, Round Pegs; Round Holes, Square Pegs” to demonstrate the foolishness we engage in trying to do the impossible or expecting others to do what they’re inherently incapable of doing. If you truly desire to have a child, marrying a fifty-year-old woman is NOT the best way to go about it. Get it? Such is Gambians’ predicament under Yaya Jammeh. And to think that we all have to keep lying our tails off just so we don’t say publicly what we know Yaya Jammeh has been planning to do for years. This man is not a leader. He is a bigoted homicidal maniac capable of mass murder. It is noteworthy that even as leaders around the world condemn his despicable action, he is busy rallying his supporters based solely on tribal sentiments. Yaya Jammeh is simply obsessed with the Mandingo who want to take power from him. The problem is, Yaya Jammeh does not know a darn thing about these people. I have always said to haters: if you want to hate, know your enemy first; don’t be ignorant of who it is you hate! To those that still support Jammeh – overtly or otherwise, I ask this: is one man’s ambition worth pulling an entire country back seven centuries? I ask because both the so-called Mandingo (a misnomer) of Gambia and the Jola were integral parts of historic Manding. Manding isn’t a country call Mali as Yaya Jammeh claims publicly some times. For centuries, it was almost EVERYTHING west of the river Niger to the Atlantic coast of west Africa. And Mandingo just means “someone from Manding. It’s in Gambia that we have this small-minded fixation on this tribal label for obvious reasons. The rulers of Manding – from Sunjata Keita to Niani Mansa Mahmudou’s three sons who brought down the Mali empire, didn’t care about ethnicity. It was all about CULTURE! The Manden had and still have a solid culture that was codified by a council called the Kurugafouga around 1240. If Yaya Jammeh would care to research, he might learn that none of the most populous Manding ethnicities we call Mandingo in Gambia are actually called “Mandingo” in Mali: Bambara; Joula, Malinke, Susu, Kagoro, Marka, etc. So unless Yaya Jammeh’s ancestors were fooling around with gorillas in the jungles of Cassamanse, he too is Mandingo! In the next dispensation, it is utmost that Gambian children be taught African history generally, but especially regional history. We’re all living witnesses to how deadly ignorance of history could be when an idiot gets to a position of power without any sense of history or perspective on African relationships. This should be of deep concern to future educationists.
Anyhow, I have been writing about this ugly exit of Yaya Jammeh for twenty years now – because when the dust clears that’s what it will amount to. There will NEVER be a normal Gambia again until Yaya Jammeh is gone. Even by the “new normal “standard courtesy of he – Yaya Jammeh. The people are no longer afraid of dying! People who only weeks ago whisper on the phone now scream obscenities at the top of their voice on the street and the markets. More importantly, Mr. Ousainou Darbo, the UDP leader who is a consummate lawyer has done what some of us have been hoping he would years ago: stop dancing to Yaya Jammeh’s tune by filing endless suits in courts where Jammeh dictates to judges what to do. Instead, lead your supporters and take to the streets and show the world who Jammeh really is. I salute Darbo! I only wish I was the man I was a few years ago. If I were, I’d be on my way to be with him. This is my kind of leader. It would be a blight on our collective conscience to let Mr. Sandeng’s death be in vain.
This is new in The Gambia.
Make no mistake about it. This Yaya Jammeh issue is akin to a rotten tooth. It’s NOT going away by itself. Neither will it get better – EVER! Therefore, the sooner Gambians stop fantasizing about foreign saviors and realize that the Burkinabe accomplished a similar, but harder task by themselves, the better for all of us. Let’s look at it from an actual record or realistic angle:
In the past five years alone, it would be save to estimate that several hundred Gambian youths have died trying to go to Europe through the “Back way.” (In one tragic incident in 2014 alone, 90 Gambians drowned.) Some were killed by criminals on the way in Mali, Niger or Libya; many more drowned in the Mediterranean. So do I honestly believe we would have lost that many young souls had we confronted Yaya Jammeh five years ago before movers on the regional and world stage pull the plug on his tyranny as they did to Blaise Campaore’ in Burkina Faso? No. I believe it’s our fear – our cowardice, that’s holding us in bondage.
This to me is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. As sad and tragic as it is, unless Yaya Jammeh is stopped, we’re headed for a catastrophe. Part of the problem is, compared to some of the people around him like Ousman Sonko, who I know very well, Jammeh is a genius. Another thing I know for a fact is, Yaya Jammeh is like a very scared little boy despite all his loud chest-pounding. Much of what he says is bluff or propaganda bullcrap. But the danger is, when you have idiots for aides or employees, careless talk could get lost in translation especially when you want to hide the fact that you’re really not as brave as you pretend to be. This is the precarious situation the Gambia is at. If Jammeh says the wrong thing to Ousman Sonko, Lawyer Darbo and company could be harmed. If that happens, all bets are off. I don’t even want to imagine what the consequences will be. I know Yaya Jammeh thinks he is ready for that scenario because he has been preparing for it for a long time stocking weapons in strategic locations, training a hand-picked ethnic militia, etc. That behavior alone speaks volumes about Yaya Jammeh. But like someone I know always say “man proposes, god disposes.” God works in mysterious ways. the best thing for the Gambia is to avoid any such conflagration. we’ve already had enough bloodshed in that tiny country in the past twenty-two years.
Thanks as always. Man proposes and God disposes…. says it all.
Ignorance is worse than mental illness. We all the same people Indeed.
Look! Jammeh Is after Mandinkas specifically. Don’t down play this. It is serious.
The historical narration about mandingo is distorted and not accurate. Mandingo is a diverse ethnic group. It does not include the susu. the susu always maintained their independent identity despite the fall of Sumanguru and the susu kingdom
Bambara is only known in senegambia and this due to the thick accent these people possesses. In Mali, they are call Mandinkaa, not Bambara.
Mandingo means the people of Manding Empire which comprised of Ghana, Mali & Songhai empires & all the countries situated in the present day countries in the areas covered before by the Manding Empires….
The literal meaning in Gambia today might include you & I speaking the dialect today which varies even in regions of Gambia itself, & as one travels outside Gambia; hence the dialect in Kombo is spoken slightly different from Niani, for example, & other places in different places outside Gambia….
Realistically Mandingo doesn’t only mean the people speaking the dialects as it’s known today but it includes all the people & the offsprings of the empires which truthfully includes all other tribes, & alternatively referred to differently in different countries & regions…
Hence Steve Bantu Biko was indeed a Mandingo born in South African, which isn’t situated in the regions covered by the great Manding Empire; ask anyone in South Africa, Steve is differently referred to as Bantu which doesn’t make him less or non-Mandingo…
Bajaw, the mandingo language and ethnicity existed before the founding of manding/Mali as an empire.
Mandinkas were having governance structures in Kankaba (in present day Mali) and Naini(in the present day Guinea Canary) were Sundiata Keita father, Nari Makang Conte, was presiding as a mandingo chief.
The point is, although the term “Mandinka” literally means somebody from manding, Mandinka is actually an ethnicity defined by language and culture. The Tuaregs and the susu/Serehules have always lived in Manding alongside with mandinkas but nobody call them Mandinkaa, and that is because they don’t share the mandingo language and culture. They have their own.
Jammeh has targeted Mandinkas in The Gambia for a very long time , it is time we reverse this trend or else there will be ethnic cleaning . I have no doubt in my mind , Jammeh has speacial hatred for Mandinkas and he will instruct his security forces to target Mandinkas and to kill large number in the near future across country as it is happening now in the small scale. Today if you speak Mandinka in public around serekunda or west field , you are a target . How can we allow him to target 45 % of the population ? Denial of Jammeh’s tribal hatred has resulted to his continued target of this tribe. It is part of his policy to systematically purge Mandinkas in The Gambia . This is the fact we cannot deny .
The Murderous kanilai DEVIL have been targeting Mandinkas from day one; that’s an established fact; I think, we can handle it, & sensitize our fellow compatriots as we are doing, without overreacting, whereby some might misconstrue as intolerance to other tribes; as collectively all tribes stand to loose should we go down that assumed route….
The logic is, if Gambia today comprising of all tribes, collectively referred to as Gambians, equally the people of Manding are all generally Mandingo despite comprising of different ethnicities….
The collective approach, NOT political correctness as some of us might term it, will enable us an inclusive approach to cut the Murderous kanilai asp’s head that tries to sow discord amongst our cohesive Gambian family fraternity who lived together all along, & intermarries without troubles….
Arabs & Jews, for example, are offsprings of two brothers who were the same blood & of the same father; due to devilish instigations & injustices, have been at each others’ throats from times immemorial up till today & into infinity….
The tribal animosity is also evidently rearing it’s head into our body polity which should only delve around the best amongst us to serve the community…..
It is time patriotic Gambia start using other methods to teach dictator Yaya Jammeh and his enablers a lesson they never forget. Target anybody collaborating with him including his family members and businesses. Use any methods necessary to dismantle this Jola harmony he being working on since 1994. Enough of the peaceful demonstration, some have to look into other ways like in Ivory Coast when all peaceful methods have been tried. Yes, some of us believe in non violet way of solving our problems but it has passed that now, the only option left is using the same method they are applying on us.