Occasionally, the excesses of a dictatorship get so outrageous that people get tongue-tied as to what else to say. How do we make sense of a consistently senseless pattern of behavior of a man who prides himself in going his own way, even if that way is patently self-destructive and destructive of so many innocent lives? The unfolding drama in Banjul over the Jammeh regime’s murder of Solo Sandeng and its subsequent arrest of UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and members of his party executive is revealing. The saying that fools hang themselves when you give them a long rope may be manifesting in the Jammeh’s determination to deal with this sensitive situation the only way he could possibly think of – with heavy handed insensitivity. Rather than manage the situation sensibly by allowing Gambians to protest peacefully and go home peacefully from the very start, Yahya Jammeh has ignited and is fueling a firestorm that would hopefully consume his tyrannical regime and rid our dear country of a political cancer that has been spreading in its body for the past twenty-two years.
Apologists for the regime’s blatant injustices have argued that members of the UDP had broken the law by not seeking a police permit to hold their peaceful call for electoral reform and subsequent demands for an explanation as to what happened to Solo Sandeng. That law would have deserved respect in an environment of law and order – an environment where the police and security forces are not mere appendages of a callous dictatorship. In the Gambian situation, the police have repeatedly denied requests by the UDP and other legitimate applicants for permits to hold peaceful rallies for the simple reason that Mr. Jammeh does not approve of them. The idea of seeking permission to hold protests and rallies is legitimate only under a system characterized by respect for human rights and the rule of law. In a situation of utter disregard for human rights and the rule of law, it is well within the rights of the citizens to go right ahead and hold their peaceful protest and rallies without suffering the pain and indignity of applying only to be refused their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression. Let the unjust regime eat its heart out or do its worst. Moreover, if the ruling party needs no permit to hold its rallies, why should any other legitimate political party or group of citizens need any such permit to express their legitimate public opinion? The idea behind permits is merely to inform the police so they could provide security and maintain order while the protests unfold. In Jammeh’s Gambia, protests are considered privileges that may or may not be granted and enjoyed by the citizens as the government – which to say the head of state – wishes.
By trying to prevent people from even attending the court hearings of Mr. Darboe and Co., the Jammeh dictatorship is finally completing the process of political suicide it started back in 1994. The more it bullies people who choose to attend the hearings, the more people find the bullying and insults they have been subjected to for the past two decades unbearable. Jammeh had always banked upon the notion that Gambians were cowards who were so afraid of dying or going to jail that they would take everything and leave everything in the hands of God. That is precisely what the dictatorship hopes would happen again. But this time around, things are likely to get out of hand because the UDP-inspired crisis happens at a point in the country’s history when people are sick and tired of the suffocating stranglehold of the Jammeh regime. Thus, rather than drive people into their customary silence and passivity, the bullying will elicit exactly the opposite reaction. More people will get emboldened, more outraged and more determined to insist that The Gambia does not belong to Yahya Jammeh and his security forces – that it is a mutually owned and mutually shared home for all Gambians regardless of party affiliation or status. And the harder the regime cracks down upon the people, the larger the crowds are likely to grow.
Of course, the bottom line is that Jammeh has long been a victim of hubris – which is the fate of all tyrants and demagogues in history. For over two decades, hubris has rendered him deaf to the voice of reason and blind to the light of truth. He has doggedly chosen ignorance over knowledge, darkness over light, injustice over justice, and truth over lies. Hubris has caused him to commit heresy and utter such blasphemies like “I will rule The Gambia for a million years” – a statement he knows to be manifestly false and against the natural laws of the God who created him and his power. Hubris has caused him to ignore exhortations to observe justice in dealing with the human beings under him, to allow Gambians to enjoy their God-given rights, and among many other things, not to attempt imposing Sharia law on the Gambian people. In “Gambia: Why Sharia is not an option” (2013) we outlined the many reasons why it was a very bad idea for Jammeh to attempt imposing Sharia law on The Gambia, one of which was that people – Muslims and Christians alike – would kick back against the idea. But of course, being afflicted with blinding hubris, his arrogance wouldn’t stop itching until he proved all his critics wrong. He had to show that his critics always lie about him; that in fact, he could do whatever he wanted to do with our country and all its people. Now we have seen the backlash against his ill-fated declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic state in the fact that current protesters include people carrying banners saying “no to an Islamic state” among other manifestations of refusal to comply. Scanning the crowds of protesters, one notices a few women wearing the veil, which they perhaps wore before the Islamic state crap, and one notices women wearing their traditional head dress or no head dress at all.
Now “the genie is out of the bottle” as one writer recently put it. The spell of fear is broken. Jammeh has reached what we may call “beyond crisis point”. The only way he can go now is down and out. Whatever the outcome of the current UDP case, Jammeh is doomed to historical infamy and notoriety. He joins tyrants and demagogues like Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Muamar Gaddafi, Augusto Pinochet, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Sani Abacha, Jean Bedel Bokassa and all the evil dictators and tyrants in history’s hell. He has willfully carved for himself a cold, perpetually nose-offending niche in the infamous dustbin of history where he, of course, will forever languish. He probably never heard Aristotle say “Man perfected by society is the best of all animals; he is the most terrible of all when he lives without law and without justice.” And he had refused to hear those who heard Aristotle convey the unassailable truth of the ages to his hubris-afflicted ears. Well, we just say all praise is to God, the Lord of Truth and Justice, to whom all power belongs, now and forever.
Baba thanks for a masterpiece. The only question I have for Jammeh’s pundits is thus: Did Jammeh ask for permit to topple a democratically elected government of Dawda Kairaba Jawara?
What dictators never factor in their thinking is that they also have a life. In behaving like GOD, they forget that live and death are one in a whole but they cowardly choose to take the unholy route of taking pleasure in terminating hated lives whiles protecting those of their loved ones. They are hypocrites who will cry so dearly and invoke GOD when they lost a loved life.
There is a time in one’s existence that life and death are equal in value and the UDP executive, militants, supporters and sympathisers have reached that stage. No one, no gun, no torture, no rape, no court can make us relent in our quest to FREEDOM, Democracy and rule of law.
Thank you Deyda. Jammeh sees with his eyes, but his heart and mind are blind. The holy scriptures talk of humans whose hearts and minds are blind as the worst afflicted of the human race. Tragically, they never realize their blindness and so can never save themselves from the dire consequences of their affliction. Yahya Jammeh deserves no pity but he is a pitiable character.
Indeed Baba; the Gambia can never be the same as long as yaya jammeh remains in charge of our State affairs; liberation is inevitable & no matter how it takes, will be in peasantry population victory as always in anywhere else; yaya jammeh is a pure Satanic DEVIL in human flesh; that’s why yaya should be addressed (as) “it” in a pronoun, & not “him” as human being; yaya has no standing in humanity & decent communities & societies……
The so-called police permits proposed ( supposed) for security & protection of the citizens’ & humans’ convergence at meetings were only been applied & used as oppressive manipulation for yaya jammeh’s persecutions of opposition politicians, citizens & human beings; take the infamous Femi Peters persecution & incarceration in kangaroo courts & last UDP Fass Njaga Choi persecution, the shameless aprc where touring the country in blatant antagonizes of ‘who can do a damn about it?’…..
Yaya jammeh have been profiling our scenario by siding, identified & (in) dealing with evil forces before; (such as) Gadaffi, Gbagbo, Charles Taylor, etc, & recently championing Burundian-killer’s refusal to accept international mediation for peaceful coexistence amongst others….
Yaya jammeh’s evil will subsequently consume it & handful devilish cohorts & elements sooner; yaya from devilish whispers in (its) head, is (been) hoping for civil war scenario which has been planned with our state & individual resources from day one…..
Started playing individual against each other starting from within their treason committed afprc so-called council itself, to (open & clandestine) manipulative tribal incitements; (which are) attempts in embroiling the Gambian people of one same family fraternity, against one another; it now just culminated it by recently entrusting & funded proxy tribal elements, in pretentious tribal “honorary father”-ship enthronement of a Jola “AJAMAT” (community) king called “jola-morrow or Ayiaw” in person of one Salifu Jammeh in Makumbaya village; who is remote-controlled by yaya & whom all jolas must pledge unflinching allegiance to…..
At the ceremony, like all others before in the random jola tribal meetings purposely initiated & conducted since advert of July 1994, the coded messages are “all jolas from Guinea Bissau, through Senegal cassamce down to Gambia are the same & must stick together behind yaya KILLER Jammeh”…….
I personally have blood cousins, friends & colleagues in Jola & other tribes; the Gambia is closed-knitted & intertwined community where everyone are interrelated; other tribes aren’t allowed except jolas in these so-called meetings & initiations; how do we come to know what transpired behind the iron curtains; nobody must mistake & misconstrue me for suggesting that there are no other issues culturally concerning the noble Jola tribe addressed alongside; jolas just like any other tibes for the matter, have been organising such peaceful convergences for cultural awareness & advancements…..
Yaya jammeh will have the shock of its life if it thinks the patriotic jolas, just like late Momodou Shynggle Nyassi & the rest, will side with devilish satanic devises which aren’t sustainable against truth & God; whilst some, particularly the cassamce elements will play along, majority of the Gambia jolas will rather die for Mother-Gambia instead of lies, falsehood & materialistic greed….
Thank you Bajaw. Playing the tribal card is just one of the countless crimes Yahya Jammeh has inflicted upon The Gambia. Let’s hope and pray that as a people we are able to neutralize this inhuman aspect of our cultural fabric at the earliest possible opportunity.
Bajaw, he has no choice but ultimately refer back to those kinsmen to keep him in power. But you cannot rule with such a narrow following.
All the more reason, all of us , on the ground and abroad must close ranks to defeat such an incredulity. All it needs is solidarity.
It is not anymore about the December polls or jola hegemony. It is about bringing out Solo Sandeng dead or alive! And revenge the wrongs meted out to fatoumatta Jawara and co.
Galleh – Thanks for this powerful and truthful opinion.I couldn’t agree with you more. The only thing about the Jammeh phenomenon that really kills my spirit is how totally AVOIDABLE this whole mess is. This man, and consequently Gambia, does NOT have to be this way.If only he would listen to reason. But like you put it, what can one say after a point? God bless you.
God bless you too Saul. Indeed, it is tragic that Gambia didn’t have to be this way. Bad choices fed by Jammeh’s greed – for both wealth and power – is what led to this ugly mess. In any case, there is no way he can escape the consequences of his deeds – no one does. Thanks for the feed back.