By Bakary Sanneh
My lovely Gambians,
The outcome of the just concluded elections has made me very proud of Gambians. Today I can lift my head up with pride and majestically say that I am a Gambian for the profound victory against tyranny, injustice and political slavery. Kudos to those brave men and women who have in one way or the other consistently and acidulously fought for this new Gambia.
Although the victory brought so much euphoria but after careful study and analysis of the post victory events, I am beginning to develop mix feelings – on one side elated for the change but rather concerned about the possibility of a Jammeh come back or interference. Jammeh’s demeanor during his concession call to Barrow and even his commanding tone proves to me that he is not apologetic nor remorseful of any of his actions or inflammatory rhetoric. He is still full of hatred, disappointment and disgust for certain groups of Gambians and would do anything to wipe them out if he has a second chance. For those advocating total amnesty for Jammeh, forgiveness comes with two conditions; remorse for your wrongs and resolve to abandon forthwith with the intent not to repeat same again. I am not very much interested in that tangent, let the leadership of the new government and team decide on amnesty or justice for him. However, I am greatly concerned about Jammeh’s cynical motives. He preyed on Jawara for years in order to be able to hatch a successful plan to topple him, preyed on our naivety for 22 years and while we are busy merrymaking for the victory now, he continues to take advantage of our same naivety and kindness.
Fellow Gambians, a believer is not bitten in the same whole twice. I am now convinced that Jammeh’s victory concession is strategical and tactical as it offers him the opportunity to resettle in Kanilai with his weaponry, loyalist, junglers and more so maintaining his command of a certain fraction of the Casamance rebels. I don’t want to pre empt what the new government should do, but allowing Jammeh to remain powerful is going to be a recipe for disaster and subversion. The security implications of this must be thoroughly evaluated and the risks adequately mitigated; I couldn’t agree more with Essa Sey in his post victory analysis that Jammeh (government) is gone but his system is still in place which we need to neutralize come January. We all agree that Gambia cannot afford another Jammeh come back or even similar.
I therefore urge one and all to tread cautiously when dealing with Yaya Jammeh. The man cannot be trusted and would to continue to be cynical. The prophet peace be upon him said in a hadith (on the authority of Salman (RA)) ‘Allah will not speak to three people, neither will he bless them and a severe torment awaits them’; “one who makes Allah’s name as his merchandise by frequently swearing without no cause”. The other two are not relevant for our purpose here. It is also mentioned that too much swearing also makes a person a liar: this is very salient in Jammeh so do not trust or believe him.
Finally, I advise the new leadership to be careful and ensure Jammeh is contained even if he is granted amnesty. I also remind President Elect – Barrow to ensure that he lives by the spirit and letter of the coalition MOU and not allow anyone to turn him into a dictator. We don’t need the cities of the Kombos full of his portraits, self agrandised accolades etc. We expect him to serve The Gambia and its people selflessly so we can also make GAMBIA GREAT AGAIN.
TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE GAMBIA GREAT AGAIN
LONG LIVE NEW GAMBIA