By Suntou Touray
Understanding an Enigma
Jammeh deviated from Sir Dawda Jawara’s peace and love style of governance to become the biggest monster in Africa. The use of divide and rule, fear and open atrocities subdued the population. However, on a control level, he utilises the old fashion traditional politics. He betrayed his mentor’s national reconciliation approach into casting Gambians against one another, where hatred penetrated the country to an extent that only the grand coalition we have now is our only hope.
Jammeh’s art of governance is through Intelligence (NIA cells) and local expertise (Alkalos, Seyfos, Governors, councilors, Mps and Imams).
Gambian dictator Jammeh served close to 8 years of being a close protection officer for former President Jawara. During that period, the reclusive and elusive would-be dictator studied the nature of liberal politics and movers of the Gambian society.
Among the young men he seized power with, Jammeh was the only one who had high experience of how the Gambia operates, whilst the rest of the junta were naïve soldiers who missed detecting the ‘green snake on a green grass‘ in their midst.
Jammeh prepared himself in liquidating all his friends to be a fearless dictator and unpredictable tyrant who spares no one. No one is safe from his long hands, not even close family members.
Whilst close to Jawara dictator, Jammeh observed the movers and shakers of the government. He knew who came in and out. He knew who controlled every region of the Gambia. Jammeh paid keen attention to the power structures of the Gambia, from the highest level of the Jawara Presidency to the lowest level of the village Alkalos and Local Chiefs power dynamics.
By the time the 1994 militaty coup d’etat took place, Jammeh was fully schooled as to how to control the different layers of government. The local government control mechanism is to mobilise votes through making the occupancy of village alkaloship unstable and less permanent.
The historical method is for alkaloship to pass down from father to son or from one clan elder to another, and there was no issue of replacing living alkalos. No such issue arises unless during village feuds or conflicts. Founders of villages remain Alkalos all over the Gambia.
Jammeh changed that. He replaces Alkalos so often, villagers don’t know who will be the next alkalo.
Similar style is adopted for constituency local Chiefs. No position of chieftaincy is permanent, Jammeh controls and have a say as to who became chief or Alkalo, hence all those local power players are beholden to him. They owe their allegiance to him and this means, controlling the area votes to remain in a position.
At the regional level, Governors and local councilors and MP mobilises votes for him, since all those positions are not merited but given based of loyalty and sycophancy.
The local rulers control the villagers, constituency and district elders who also control their people’s votes.
Thus, Jammeh worked to create misinformation to divert attention from his real source of power.
Votes can remove him, however, he creates the aura that, he careless about it. Whilst in reality he does and he work hard at night to secure votes with money and threats.
The strategy is for young Gambians is go out on December 1 and vote for the broad-based coalition 2016 candidate Hon Adama Barrow which will end fear, hatred, disappearances, killings etc. There will also better relationships with the outside world, Aid and grants to the Gambia will increase many fold, job creation and real academic freedom the order at our university and schools. No more fear!
Imagine the Gambia where NIAs look after criminals instead of listening to gossips and people’s conversation. Imagine a Gambia where we have strong institution rather a dictator whose name you cannot mention. Imagine having many more embassies coming back to the Gambia. Imagine our reconnection with commonwealth. Imagine all the inflow of development aid and job opportunities. Gambian youths imagine!!!
Jammeh is weak and he uses our Alkalos to deceive their people through family and village loyalty. Let us say to Alkalos and Seyfos involvment in politics. We can end tyranny once and for all.