It’s 2016, an election year in the Gambia, and political activities for the December 1st polls have already began. It’s a year that marks twenty-two years of persecutions in the form of arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, kidnapping, disappearances and extrajudicial killings by the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh. However, it’s also a year that offer hope and opportunities to see an end to tyranny in the Gambia. I hope for the Gambia to see the dawn of an end to the bloody era of despotism!
It’s obvious more than two decades is enough for Gambians to think, analyse and realise that the APRC regime is not a regime to be desired. We have heard enough empty promises from Jammeh dating back to 1994, when he spewed the words of accountability, transparency and probity into the ears of change-aspiring men and women at that time. It was around the same time when he vowed to eradicate corruption and end self-perpetuation in power.
It’s 2016, and Jammeh, who abhorred self-perpetuation in power when he came into power over twenty-two years ago, is still in power and is gearing up for another term in office. The issue of ending corruption is apparently out of reach, for Gambians have no idea of how he amasses his wealth over the period of his rule. Where is the transparency?
We have seen over and over opponents of the regime being killed by Jammeh’s henchmen without holding them accountable. The public are often misled to believe that Jammeh and his government are acting in the best interest of the country. In essence Jammeh only cares about himself and his family but not the Gambia. Where is the accoutability and probity?
It’s an election year and Jammeh’s surrogates are already on the field canvassing for support ahead of the election. But this is what I will say, that the APRC regime is not to be trusted. The Gambia does not have future under Jammeh, because he has squandered the chances. It’s time to stop Jammeh playing with our minds with unrealistic promises. Considering the false promises and declarations he gave when he came to power and many more afterwards, it’s time to ask ourselves: What is Jammeh taking us for?
Remember when he said the Gambia will surpass Singapore in terms of development by the end of 2015. And remember when he promised to construct a railway in the country; what about the promise for the Gambia to be food self-sufficient by the end of 2016? And the cure for HIV/Aids?. These are all nonsense and I wonder if any had believed him. We have seen nothing of such promises.
Instead, we have seen the economy falling to its knees without any credible plan or policy from the Jammeh administration to revive it. Prices of basic commodities have been skyrocketing, while incomes of civil servants remain stagnant. Many households struggle to make ends meet. The youths have no hope in the country they love and cherish and often embark on perilous journeys to Europe. Where is the development Yahya Jammeh brags about?
It’s important to know that the development Jammeh is boasting of are made possible as a result of development aid the Gambia was benefitting from the EU under the Cotonou Agreement. The EU is an important development partner that the Gambia is set lose as a result of the persistent human rights abuses by Jammeh.
It’s time to believe that Jammeh’s rule is long overdue, and can’t achieve anything other than despair and destitution for the country and her people. His administration cannot deliver any promise. The things that he promises and deliver are not to the interest of anyone but him. When he says he will send people to his hotel which is mile ll prison, he does; when he says he will bury people nine-feet deep, he does. But for how long are we going to allow him to inflict such pain and sufferings on Gambians.
As I write, there are political prisoners languishing in mile ll for exercising their constitutional rights; or just for being a victim of dictatorship. We have just celebrated Tobaski. Ousainou Darboe, the UDP supporters and others are parents and grandparents, who should have been with their families on Eid day, but they didn’t. The reason is because they are victims of tyranny. There are families still mourning the death of their love ones who died in custody as a result of torture by the NIA personnel, under the instruction of Yahya Jammeh.
This is an election year in the Gambia and has giving us an opportunity to see an end to persecution in the Gambia. If one is thinking of voting for Jammeh, well I respect one’s political choice. But I would not hesitate to urge you to think of the families which fall victim of Jammeh’s despotic regime. I urge you to remember the families of Solo Sandeng, Solo Nkrumah, Deyda Hydara, Daba Marena and others who were killed by Jammeh and his Jungullars. By that I wish you have a second thought of not voting for a dictator, but vote for an opposition/ (Opposition Coalition I hope to be formed).
To the opposition leaders, in your negotiations in forming a Coalition, with humility, I urge you all to have deep thoughts of the political situation in the country; have a sincere consideration for what’s happening to Gambians; and share the pain felt my Jammeh’s victims. In my humble opinion, I believe, you would come to an agreement, if you have these in mind. I look to you in salvaging the country from the grip of tyranny.