When the military dislodged President Jawara from power in July 1994, the junta leader promised Gambians a new dawn. A dawn that would turn the country into a heaven of peace, rule of law and abundance of opportunity. It was the dawn of accountability, probity, good governance, corrupt and flamboyant free Gambia. Without dissecting what had turned out to be a rhetoric economical with truth, Gambians in their large numbers danced on the street thinking a saviour had arrived. Of course, some people raised eyebrows. Their argument centered on Thomas Sankara’s (assassinated president of Burkina Faso) saying that “a soldier without political knowledge is a virtual criminal.” Indeed, Thomas is right because Yahya Jammeh and his cohorts are nothing but criminals.
After hues and cries, the junta agreed to a two-year transition period. And in its effort to buy public trust and confidence, the junta busied itself with implementing some already PPP approved projects. The national television, airport, hospitals, roads and schools were built. Most people believe Yahya Jammeh has since outlived his usefulness. The longer he stays in power, the more the Gambia degenerates into backwardness and crisis. Nothing seems to be working and that Gambians have been adjusting with state sponsored killings, disappearances, torture and persecution of all types. The people of this once most peaceful country are ready to defeat a government that had destroyed everything Gambian. The question becomes how. Gambians want a Gambia that is a far cry from that of Yahya Jammeh’s. But an extract of the United Democratic Party caretaker leader’s Brikama rally speech tells us the new Gambia we want. In these lines below, Mariam Secka gives a synopsis of a post-Jammeh Gambia. We would not raise any qualms had Yahya Jammeh given us the Gambia we deserve.
– The Gambia that you and I and everyone else will live in peace and security.
– The Gambia that arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance will not be the order of the day.
– The Gambia that all public servants can work freely under the dictates of the law and stipulated regulations.
– The Gambia that justice, democracy and the rule of law will be enjoyed by all and sundry.
– The Gambia that will be called as it used to be The Republic of The Gambia, not the so-called Islamic Republic of The Gambia.
– The Gambia that the Muslims and Christians alike will enjoy the religious freedom and tolerance.
– The Gambia that will give you a president as the servant of the people, not a Mansa or King.
– The Gambia that will give you a president that will respect and treat all ethnic groups as one people.
– The Gambia that will give you a president, who will safeguard the respect the women deserve.
– The Gambia that will give employment opportunities for the youths to combat the disastrous migration to Europe through backway.
– The Gambia that will give you quality and relevant education with academic freedom.
– The Gambia that will promote press freedom to international standard.
– The Gambia that will create conducive business environment to promote both local and foreign investments.
– The Gambia that will be high on the world sporting map.
– The Gambia that will be the smiling face of Africa and the world at large.”