Kairo News and Radio is congratulating Gambians for taking the courage in their hands by standing tall in their quest to take back their once Sweet Gambia. It has taken them more than 20 years to get to this level of defiance against one of the world’s brutal dictatorships. Since 1994 when Yahya Jammeh seized power by force, Gambians have not known peace. Everything Gambian has been corrupted by a man who promised heaven and earth during his heydays in power. A promise that turned out to be nothing but a set of lies. Instead Yahya Jammeh has been busy entrenching himself in power. Like other dictators before him, Jammeh relied on aggression in the form of torture, disappearance or murder to stand firm. His officialisation of brutality created record number of Gambian asylees. The streets of Dakar are filled with Yahya Jammeh’s political refugees. He has shut down opportunities for investors and denied youths employment, forcing them to sacrifice their precious lives in the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
Despite being the smallest country on mainland Africa in both size and population, the Gambia today has more asylum seekers in Europe than even Nigeria. How does any country fare with the youths? No country can. Yahya Jammeh doesn’t care as long as civil servants, security officers and ordinary Gambians till his land. All he cares about is to get these immigrants deported in exchange for economic package that benefits only him.
To top it all, Yahya Jammeh has established a police state. His greatest tool of has been state machinery. Jammeh had pushed Gambians to the limit to the extent that all options have been put on the table to dislodge him from power. We at Kairo believe in the power of ballot box. We have become advocates of free and fair election. How do we get the desired results when the electorate is ignorant. The simple answer is to turn the radio into a civic education bantaba with the conviction that will seal the deal. Slowly but surely the message has filtered down. Our friends and family opponents became our greatest fans and sustainers. Our audience became addicted to our content that they kept demanding and adding value to our work.
In the midst of our campaign another miracle was discovered. The social media – Whatsapp, Viber and Facebook – took over the fight. Groups were soon created to facilitate easy, comfortable and timely communication among Gambians across the world. News started traveling like wildfire in a country where the press is muzzled. Brilliant ideas of how to defeat Jammeh floated. Gambians have now known the value of their civic and political rights. The next step becomes reclaiming those seized rights.
Tell Yahya Jammeh that the Diaspora has already inflicted unhealed wounds on him and the government. Shutting down the Internet and international phone line on election day came too late. Who hasn’t heard the message? Kudos to all the cyber activists for investing your invaluable resources, time and energy for your country of birth. We salute individual donors as well. You have all proven that there is no place like home. The mission is accomplished; we are all waiting to reap the fruit of our labour.