JAMMEH SHOULD NO LONGER DICTATE THE NARRATIVE
By: Ousainou Mbenga
From this moment onwards, we, the voices of victory on the ground and “diaspora” must dictate the narrative of the 22 year storm we just came out of and the transitional plan to straighten up our beloved Gambia. We must be willing to assert authority over Jammeh and his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC). Under normal conditions, the approach would have been different but conditions in the Gambia remain abnormal, therefore require appropriate action.
The masses of Gambian voters have spoken decisively at the ballot boxes and everyone should
listen, especially Jammeh. I strongly believe that the downtrodden masses have now discovered the “power of the people” which lay dormant and suffocated by neocolonialism, particularly the tyrannical Jammeh regime. Furthermore, the masses must take part in the cultivation of the new leadership required to construct the proud -future Gambia we have fought for since flag independence.
A new era has dawned upon us. This is the era of not leaving things to chance and wishing for a better life without struggle. Any life worth living must be created by the sweat of our brows, our intellect and unshakable determination to hold leadership accountable to our livelihood.
We must break with the notion of “give them a chance”. Most of you agreed to give Jammeh and AFPRC – APRC a chance and look at what it cost us; 22 years of abject barbarism: disappearance, detention without trials, gruesome murders, assassinations, rape, plunder and pillage. Leadership from now onwards will be tested and not “given a chance”. We didn’t come all this way only to succumb to “business as usual”.
Liberation without social transformations is meaningless.
This election is unprecedented in Gambia’s history in particular and Africa in general. All eyes were on Gambia on December 1, 2016. Voter turnout and enthusiasm superseded that of “flag independence” day, 51 years ago. A people fed up with a gangster regime and its willfully ignorant sycophants said enough is enough and that they were “fired up and wouldn’t take it no more”. In my view, the best protection to ask for is the people’s protection. And I have no doubt that the Gambian masses will defend the December 1, 2016 victory in the event of any provoked vertical violence from the departing regime. This was an extraordinary achievement for Gambia and Africa in general; we must preserve and protect it with our lives. The whole world is impressed with the outcome of the elections contrary to the senseless violence that usually punctuate elections in Africa.
We won a mandate from the mighty Gambian people, a force that must be reckoned with and not easily intimidated. The jinni is out of the bottle and nothing can put back into the bottle.
What is being manifested on the ground is a crisis situation in which the “old order changed, yielding place to the new” but under hostile conditions. The “old order” doesn’t relinquish power just like that. But this is part of the process to restore normalcy. Wherever tyranny is uprooted, its fear mongering machinery has to be in full throttle to derail the resistance and reverse the VICTORY of the people. We must remain vigilant!
ONE GAMBIA ONE NATION! LONG LIVE AFRICAN UNITY!
Not only jammeh should never dictate the narrative but we must make sure that he becomes irrelevant as far as Gambian politics is concerned. Yaya jammeh has contributed to sociocultural decay and has poisonously tainted our sociocultural values which inherently binds us together as people. In other words, he has negatively transformed our society. As soon as the president elect Barrow assumes office , we should embark on national education or sensitization of citizenry about their fundamental human rights and constitutional responsibility as well as cultural transformation of damages that has been done in the past 22 years . Civic education programs should be implemented in our national TV to achieve this goal . Mass media communication strategy Which promotes public awareness and need for attitudes and behavioral changes especially towards our fellow citizens regarding human rights , democracy and respect for due process should be encouraged in National TV programs .
Education curriculum should also be changed to include civic education from the primary school up to university level so that citizens will learn their basic constitutional rights and responsibility . Psychology courses should be introduced as requirements at Gambia college and university of The Gambia for students learning professional courses such as teaching , medicine or nursing in order to learn basic lifespan human development . Basic human qualities of empathy and respect for human dignity must be emphasized at professional education and work places policies .We should encourage introduction of Communication and leadership courses as a requirements for professional courses. This will not only help various professionals / civil servants know how to communicate with their fellow citizens but they will also be educated on leadership roles and responsibilities. Police force , NIA and military should all have basic civic education as part of their training. Introduction of civic education in the training of security services will them understand, value and respect the rights of citizenry . Gambian education system itself needs total transformation for us to be able to match with 21st century learning needs which address global economic competition and technological innovations. Our education system needs to empathize individual critical thinking skills rather than teacher’s-centered approach which encourages cramming of books without helping students the ability to develop critical thinking skills needed for decision making.
As soon as the tyrant leaves the statehouse, new Government should embark on policies that would gear towards cultural shift in favor of genuine democracy and rule of law . The good thing is that we have an opportunity to bring in democratic ideals many have learned over the years as we fight the dictatorship. In order to achieve our goal for better Gambia where democracy and due process are highly respected, we must first get rid of vestiges of slavery and destitute which Yaya jammeh’s regime has corrupted our society with in the past two decades. I believe the best way to achieve that lofty goal is to educate the masses through education curriculum reform and mass media communication strategy.