Can We Trust Elite African Leaders?

pixlrWhen the junta in 1994 announced they will rule for four years, it caused such an uproar that they have to blame the English grammar for the confusion. They said they meant For Years but not four years. The “u” was the confusion. They made restatement without duly admitting to succumb to the public. The junta retracted and planned only two years for the transitional government. The AFPRC was replaced with APRC. Like how “u” was omitted in “four” , “F” was omitted in AFPRC to deliver APRC just for jammeh to undress the military cloth to a white garment with a Quran and a sword – Sultan of the Gambia.

A similar development is in the offing by an African intellectual who is instead of promoting democracy, trying to hijack our nation in the name of a coalition and as an independent candidate.

But is she alone in this endeavour? No. We have Abdoulie Wade in Senegal. As an African elite, he mutilated the democracy which he was all the time fighting for. His son became the super minister and tried to change the constitution to let him rule further. Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast went even further by refusing to step down when he lost the election. The former university lecturer ended up plunging his country in a bloody war that claimed over 3,000 lives. All were African elite turned presidents. Can we trust our elites? As we cannot trust our militaries in coups so we should not trust our elites when they talk about democracy and the rule of law.

When we come back to Dr. Isatou Turay, we should put her in the group of Africa’s “other” elites or intellectuals. The manifesto of Dr. Touray is overspread. Someone with such a large ambition cannot hand over power in five years, not even in ten years. Gambians wake up.

As a president, Dr. Touray will end up doing the following:

1) consult the elders to plead to her to stay and finish her projects

2) will end up having a new party with “I” in her acronym

3) like Wade to change her constitution to rule further or

4) may even plunge our land into chaos like Gbagbo.

We have a candidate who said she came to unite the opposition to rally behind her but never said what will happen if they refused to accept her. Will she resign and dissolve her independent candidacy and rally behind another party or carry on to steal more votes from the opposition by increasing Yaya’s margin?

Be careful of African elites. They never end up doing what they preach. The symptoms are already visible in Dr. Touray. Her end might be “obnoxious”.

Happy Eid to you and your families!

Foday Jawla



  1. Mr Jawla , I think you made very good analysis about African elites . Dr Touray’s five year term proposal is problematic in my view and I think if she truly want to rescue the country as a geniune leader , she should serves only two years transitional government after which period she should not be allowed to contest for presidency no matter who appeal to her . Her transition government should form a government of national unity with main objective of political reforms such as changing the current election act 2015 and also to ensure that good governance and democracy institutions are set up within this two years period . Dr Touray’s unity government should also ensure that political parties have better standard and independent electoral commission must be reformed so that elections are credible and its integrity acceptable by every geniune obsevers and political parties .
    Dr Touray should embarks on quick reforms with the objective of handling over the country to democratically elected government which will do more reforms . The idea that Dr Touray will serves the full five year terms is form of entrenching her in power . She will quickly establish her own party during the five years and further violates the agreement why she is chosen as coalition leader . If Gambians allow untested new political player to freely install her will on the people who has been fighting for justice and democracy for the last 22 years , they will live to regret it .
    Dr Touray must personally set better standard so that there will be transparency and accountability during her transition government. She must first declare her assets and income for the country to know. This will serves as an encouragement for other politicians to follow after her transition government ends . Nepotism and tribal favoritism must not be seen in her politics and associations as we are currently seeing new political party GDC’s party officials majority of who are fulas and also jammeh’s appointments of his tribemen in top leadership positions . Dr Touray herself must acts as shining example and beacon of hope in terms of fair treatment , justice and equal opportunities for all citizens. Her education should not be used as best citeria for the job of presidency but her personal integrity , empathy and honesty must be the most important cornerstone for her to lead our nation in this difficult period of our history.
    Looking at all the candidates , I think the most important deficiencies majority have is lack of honesty and integrity in dealing with national issues . Mr mama kandeh is a political opportunist who care less about human rights and rule of law . Mr Ahmat Bah is a political prostitute who has no coherent policy to talk about while mr Halifa sallah has hallmark and character traits of excellent dictator who might be worst than Dictator Jammeh if given the chance to control massive bureaucratic transactions . If he is not control freak I will say he will be a good leader since he has the experience and education but his self righteousness character is a traits of a dictator without power . So I am hoping that Mr Barrow will lead the nation in better direction considering his down to earth nature and willingness to listen as well as ability to extend olive branch to other leaders for collective and common good. In a similar note , I think Dr Touray will might also good leader but she needs to revise her current policy and clearly state that she want to lead the transition national unity government only for two years period after which period she will never be allowed immediately to contest for election except for National Assembly election.

    • Dictators and dictatorships thrive in Africa, partly due to educated individuals like you (Max), who sacrifice truth, in order to further their personal and/or group ambitions, to achieve their goals in life.. which, for many, are unattainable without such subservience and service to dictatorship.

      Here again, in your blind loyalty to your cause, in support of the UDP, you are promoting the suitability of an individual for president (Adama Barrow); a novice and a completely unknown “quality and quantity”, until his selection by his party, against a man (Hon.Halifa Sallah) who has selflessly dedicated the best part of his life, 30years of which was, with prominence, in the public service, for the betterment of the Gambian People in particular, and humanity in general.

      In your usual futile attempts to promote your individual or group cause at the expense of PDOIS, and without providing a shred of evidence, you have, once more, regurgitated your blatant lies against the person of Hon.Halifa Sallah : a man respected by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, for his principled stance on those ideals he believes in, and for whose attainment he has dedicated much of his life, either as a politician or just a decent human being..

      Again, whether from sheer ignorance or being of short memory (a sure sign of dementia), you have suggested what a successful (president) Dr Isatou Touray could achieve in office, failing to realise that these ideas you recommended to her, are borrowed ideas that form the very basis of the PDOIS, non partisan alliance proposal; a proposal you have rejected vehemently, only to borrow ideas from it now for another candidate, thus exposing your incompetence and/or hypocrisy.

      Let it be known and chanted by all sincere people, that Hon.Halifa Sallah is a principled leader, who will never shy away from taking decisions when they are needed, even if it meant “throwing the book” at people, and if he was at the helm of state affairs in the first republic, I am pretty certain that we would have been spared the agony of Yaya Jammeh today, because his behaviour, in both the defunct Gendarmerie and the GNA, would have earned him the sack well before 1994.

      If sticking to principles and adhering to standards and regulations is your idea of a “control freak”, then may Allah (swt) bless Gambia with a “control freak” as the head of state, because we need one badly.

      We still recall the CODEG incident, when a statement supposedly signed by all parties, including PDOIS, was released by them and the swift reaction of the PDOIS Leadership to put the records straight, which lead to the resignation of a prominent party member and member of a diaspora wing, from the party.

      On that ocassion, the PDOIS Leadership did not hesitate to take a decision that had the potential of alienating the party from the diaspora, especially at that point in time, when almost everyone was desperate for unity.

      Compare that to the inaction or complete silence of the UDP Executive, almost two weeks after a response to Mr Madi Jobarteh, attributed to the party, was published in this very medium.

      In his brilliant “rejoinder” on the same subject, brother Kinteh attributed this deafening silence to a demonstration of maturity by the UDP leadership, but I beg to differ, and here’s my reasons:

      We are told that the UDP Leadership was well represented at the inauguration of Dr Isatou Touray and therefore, the inference we can draw from such high profile attendance was that, not only was the UDP showing solidarity with Dr Touray, they were also indicating to the entire world, that they welcome her emergence in the political arena.

      However, the response that had to be modified when concerns were raised about its authenticity, is not so welcoming and even contains statements which are open to different interpretations, including one that views Dr Touray as a selfish individual, whose candidature has only complicated matters on the ground.

      It is this conflicting and contradictory position emanating from the UDP party that necessitates action from the main body, to dispel any doubts in the public mind, about their position on the candidature of Dr Isatou Touray. Their silence, in my view, contrary to a demonstration of maturity, is indicative of two things :

      1. Either, the UDP is in agreement with the portrayal of Dr Touray’s candidature as contained in the UDP diaspora response, in which case, their show of solidarity is hollow, meaningless and insincere;

      2. Or, the leadership is not in agreement with the diaspora’s position, but is unwilling to take action for fear of alienating it’s diaspora support..

      Either way, it is a bad sign for us because it demonstrates the kind.of weak leadership that lead to July 22nd 1994..

      Gambia needs a leader who will not hide when decisions are needed to be taken, and like him or hate him, Hon.Halifa Sallah has demonstrated that he is such a leader.

      • I don’t consider it prudent for the UDP to respond and/or rebuff Madi Jobarteh and Alkali Conteh respectively. Both men have the inalienable right to throw their proposals or contraindications into the public domain. What was highly inept, was for Mr. Conteh to imply responding in an official capacity, which you and me disputed and demanded correction of the headline and signature.

        To officially respond, UDP risks entangling itself in an irreconcilable web of antagonism and antitheism. Such self-inflicting zero-sum game is unnecessary because UDP has issued a 3 point roadmap, which unambiguously points the way the party is marching on.

      • Dodou Jawneh

        What ‘weak leadership’ led to the 1994 takeover? I thought we have grown above this erroneous argument that had gone on for so long. The coup was entirely the responsibility of Jammeh and his band of traitors and there is no way any part of that can be blamed on a democratically elected government. It is a sloppy thinking propagated by escapists who are unwilling to face their responsibility in the fight to take back our country from dictatorship. This is like putting the person on trial who had been the victim of theft.

    • The bias, the favoritism, the apparent tribal politics that is inherent in our political discourse this election cycle is repulsive. And many would be dissuaded from getting involve in whatever shape or form, and watch silently as the appeal to our bases instincts wreak havoc on any possible coalition initiative. It is just very disquieting what we are doing: a blatant appeal to our ethnic and partisan biases.

      But it is not going to work. The opposition presidential candidates are identified, their qualifications are before us and none of them would be favored at the expense of others as a coalition presidential candidate.

      They must agree to a process in which one of them can be elected/ selected to emerge as the coalition presidential candidate. Other than this we should all be prepared for a divided opposition.

  2. Jawla Foday

    One may also contrarily reference Abdoulie Wada’s former scenario before, to Macky Sall’s scenario currently, or Lauren Gbagbo’s to Allassan Oattara’s, which both will be reflected into the positives undeniably; for both Senegal & Ivory Coast respectively have improve politically for progressive human developments; the same can be envisaged from our MURDEROUS ALLIGATOR Tony Daakaalaba currently to say Dr Isatou Touray in future, or any chosen consensus flag bearer services, for that matter, in humility….

    I believe, with the very minimal time left, we (should) rather exert our valuable energies to problem solving, (rather) than tainting one another just for murky; I’m sure the various political leaders can put in frameworks for political sustenance beyond liberation to alley the GENUINE fears through transition period, into the third republic…

    Together we can effect colossal impacts for our collective salvation & prosperity…

    Long live the Gambia…

  3. Thankfully, a hypothesis is not yet an experimental conclusion. Likewise a proposition is not an empirical/scientific tested evidence.

    In this case, the proposition whether an African elite president can be trusted is an untested scientific hypothesis waiting to be answered. The selected presidents above are not enough to draw a conclusion. Furthermore, an essential part of experiments is the CONTROL VARIABLE that leaves out a crucial variable being tested. That control variable, for me , would be whether African non-elite presidents can be trusted?
    As long as that is not empirically concluded, I think using selective former African presidents to back up a proposition, in reference to Dr. Touray, lacks any scientific basis. Hence it is an assumption that merely has a potential to offend innocent people at no fault of their own.

  4. Maxs, I totally agree with you on the issue of a two year transition government headed by Dr Touray provided She agrees to wide ranging reforms to set the ground for a fair and free multiparty elections within two years.

    I think that will be a fair and noble thing to do taking into consideration all the hard work and sacrifices the other parties have put in to fighting for a free and Democratic Gambia for the past twenty years.

    Let justice guide our actions. Ameena

  5. Thank you, Mr. Jawla. I hope many of us will take this message of yours with us to our house, share it with our families and reflect on it. We don’t deserve another corrupt or violent administration in the Gambia. Let all of us put our feet into the shoes of those living in the villages since after independence from Britain without Basic clean drinking water, sanitation or simply electricity supply in this 21st century of Solar technological innovation. Dr. Isatou Touray has a quality of personality, no doubt about that, but I am very much concern and interested to know who are in her camp, since she can’t do the job alone, we would like to see the list of people going to be her executives then, we may take from there. The same thing applies to Mama Kandeh and the others. Yaya Jammeh’s presidency was a mistake which could have been avoided, but unfortunately, it did happen! Mistakes must be allowed but not always!

  6. Dodou Jawneh

    Max, if Dr Touray happened to lead a coalition government to victory over traitor Jammeh this should be seen as democratically elected. So I do not see any reason for a hasty hand over to, a as you said ‘a democratically elected government.’ It is expected to be a unity government where all opposition parties will be a part of and in my opinion they need to set their minds to the task of governing for the people which as you yourself has catalogued, is a heavily loaded including cleaning up all the rubbish bad citizen Jammeh would have left behind. I agree that she should remain neural in party politics, in line with what she had already promised and will not contest in the subsequent election. However, a period of two years is simply too small for the heavy workload ahead of the new government, which must put the task of governance ahead of political contest. In addition, two years will be too short a period to bring back confidence in our economy, reduce the bad blood between political parties and more importantly create a level playing field for political contest. The new government must not forget retrieving our monies from thieve Jammeh! It will also be an opportunity for members of the new government, some of whom did not have a real experience in governing a nation, to learn on the job in preparation to take over from Dr Touray. So for me the suggestion of 5 years is okay but for the purpose of compromise, if this is going to be reduced for any other reason, it should not be less than 4 years.

    • My first priority and choice in this coming December elections as far as opposition coalition formation is concerned is a party led coalition . In case we did not have such an agreement between opposition leaders , I prefer United front lead by independent candidate who has no affiliation to any political party as stated in UDP 2016 election Roadmap . If Dr Touray happens to be that person , I will wholeheartedly support her to victory.

      Transitional national unity government anywhere in the world is always short Period less than three years in most cases. Therefore two years transition period is an ideal time during which Dr Touray and her team can Make major political , economic and constitutional reforms. Dr Touray’s transition national unity government will be a temporary government that will prepare the country for general elections during which citizens will be able to elect permanent democratic government. This new permanent democratic government will represents the needs and aspirations of citizens . We must remember that the nation is in crisis which is why she will be selected to lead the coalition of all opposition parties and leadership of other political parties will only support her if she indicate that she is not interested in power but her main goal will be to save the country from civil war and tribal conflict. We must also remember that these political parties and their leaders have suffered for 22 years fighting for democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law . During these period Dr Touray was no where to be seen in action , therefore it would be foolish assumption for anyone to think that Dr Touray will be given blank check or free ride to presidency without putting in place recognizable and acceptable standard which has been consistently practiced throughout the world . Majority of citizens have suffered during the last 22 years but politically , UDP has suffered and sacrificed a lot more than anyone or any party and that must be recognized ( by all means by any geniune citizen ) if we want to change the system of military dictatorship.

      Dr Touray’s national unity government must consist of key ministrial positions head by various leaders of opposition parties. This is what UDP election 2016 map road called for because the idea is to have participation of all opposition parties in coalition unity government. The national unity government will have the constitutional mandate to regulate and reforms national crisis such as political crisis , detriotiating economy , human rights violations , poor democratic and governance institutions which has been created by Dictator Jammeh in the past 22 years. In other words , National unity government head by Dr Touray will oversee a constitutional reforms either through legislative means or national referendum. In terms of referendum they will prepare the country on the issues of presidential term limits, new constitution and other constitutional crisis if they are not able to do such reforms through National Assembly due to reluctant of APRC National Assembly members. This referendum will prepare the country for political stability and to ensure that lawlessness and lack of security created by military dictatorship will be thing of the past. The another main goal of this new government is to restore constitutionalism and justice so that Gambian people will once again feel that they have a government which is out there to protect them and their properties.

      Legislatively , the new government will embarks on reforms on issues such as electoral reforms , reforms of independence electoral commission, draconian media commission bills , second round voting if presidential candidate fail to get 50 percent of votes and set up truth and reconciliation commission as well as land commission in order to address injustices which has been so prevalent in the past 22 years.

      There is no doubt that National unity government will have the backing and support of international community because Dictator Jammeh and his regime is already isolated by international community. Therefore, Dr Touray and her surrogates must be flexible and compromise to two year transition period if she want to gain support of opposition coalition. In the coalition agreement , Dr Touray must be prevented to contest immediate presidential election following the end of her transition government. This will ensure fairness and give equal opportunity to all other political parties to contest in free and fair election. It will also prevent abuse or advantage of incumbency which has tainted democratic process in our country for the past 22 years . If Dr Touray is given five full year term , she will have more advantage than other political leaders and at the end of her term she will quickly set up her own political party. Therefore , two year transition period is the best ideal time to save our country from further political crisis which might turn into civil war or tribal war. During this period , Dr Touray’s experience and education and the help of her team will play a major role in order to make best decisions and sound policies for our country’s future.
      All these above factors and great intentions need compromise and sacrifice on behalf of our country. Dr Touray need other opposition leaders more than they need her in this process. It is time to put the country first than the selfish interest of any political leader.

      • I think the main task of the coalition government will be to revise the constitution in order cleanse it of impurities caused by prostituting and abusive decrees. This task in my presumption shouldn’t take four years if they (the entrusted) take time precious. So I would indeed opt for a three year TRANSITION government whereby early elections can be called, for Isatou Touray, incase she leads a coalition government or all others it concerns, to have their chance to be openly involved in the Gambia’s political play field.
        It is important in my view, an early elections be conducted as soon as possible once the dictatorship is trashed if the Gambia to be gone clear of getting haunted by its horrible past. I think we the ordinary Gambians and those in the public offices, especially the presidents, should adapt to the possibilities of even impeachments in broad day light, when such needs arise.
        It is a very small country. Gambians could have been people who only travel to the west as ‘ready travellers’, i.e, tourism, studies, work, etc., instead by other ways such as, take the open sea to get to the west for most of them to end up in the wrong parts of the west for them to be vunerable to being exploited as voluntary modern slaves in a time of global crisis cries.

  7. Thank you Mr. Jawla. Very cute and good for the health. Just look at what happen to the U in the FOUR and the F in the AFPRC. No, we don’t necessarily want an acronym/abreviation like iUDP. I think writing to the aspiring leaders’ consciences is very important at this point of time.
    Thanks bro.

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