By Baba Galleh Jallow
“But this is where the All Mighty Allah said, your time is up and I thank the All Mighty Allah for His decision. I will never question this decision.”
Hello Mr. outgoing President Yahya Jammeh. Please allow us to have a small conversation with you in the light of the current dangerous situation you have created for our dear country. Do you recognize the quote at the top of this essay Mr. Jammeh? Sure you do. They are your own words, uttered on Friday, December 2nd, 2016. You see Mr. Jammeh, we truly believe that God has spoken and you said so yourself on Friday December 2, 2016. So we cannot stop wondering just how, not why, you decided to deny the All Mighty Allah’s decision after submitting graciously to it. Don’t you think that Satan the great deceiver has deceived you, just as he deceived our first ancestors Adama and Awa? Anyway, let’s take a little journey back in time to December 2nd, 2016 to look at what you said on that day and what its implications are for you personally and for our dear little country, especially our women and children whom you profess to love so much that you will die for them.
In order to make sure that our history is properly recorded and that we can easily remind you, we have taken the trouble to transcribe your entire speech of Friday, December 2nd, 2016, most parts of which we will share with you as we remind you that your All Mighty Allah has indeed spoken. Here is how you started your concession speech that day, which you have since disowned as if it never came out of your very own horse’s mouth. As usual, you started by invoking the name of the All Mighty Allah and thanking him four times:
“Bisimilahi Rahmani Rahim. Alhamdulilai Rabilalamina, Alhamdulilai Rabilalamina, Alhamdulilai Rabilalamina, Alhamdulilai Rabilalamina.”
“Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia, APRC supporters, militants, yai compins, campaign managers, the women of The Gambia, the children of The Gambia, my children. First of all, I want to thank every one of you, for the support for the past 22 years. I have always made it very clear I will never rule this country without your mandate since we started elections. And I will never cheat or dispute the elections, because this is the most transparent, rig-proof elections in the whole world. You have spoken in no uncertain terms. Remember that I have always told you that even if my opponent leads by one vote, I will accept the results because they are transparent. Our system of election is winner take all.”
Now Mr. out-going president, you certainly cannot deny that you made the above remarks about never ruling the country without our mandate and that you will never dispute the elections because our election system is rig-proof? You certainly cannot deny that Mr. Barrow won the election by at least one vote. How then can you turn around and say the elections were rigged just because you lost? Just in case you failed to notice, electoral commissions do not steal elections for opposition candidates in Africa. If they do steal at all, they steal for sitting presidents, if only to save their own skins. No one has ever heard of an African electoral commission rigging the vote for the opposition, although there are countless stories of how they rig the vote for incumbents. So how can you say that the Gambian IEC rigged the elections for Mr. Barrow? Surely that is just a piece of unfunny smutty fiction in your mind that you are now trying to impose on the Gambian people? And then, how could you make those remarks if the All Mighty Allah did not will that you speak them? You know very well that you cannot open your mouth if the All Mighty Allah does not will it. You know very well that whatever happened on December 1st and 2nd could never have happened if the All Mighty Allah did not will it. It was by the All Mighty Allah’s will that the following words poured out of your own horse’s mouth:
“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Adama Barrow for his victory. It’s a clear victory because our system says simple majority. I wish him all the best and I wish all Gambians the best. As a true Muslim, who believes in the All Mighty Allah, I will never question Allah’s decision today or at any material time. I came on a Friday 22nd of the month of July 1994. Today Friday the 2nd of December 2016, you Gambians have decided that I should take the back seat. You have voted for somebody to lead our country, this is our country, and I wish you all the best. I have wished that we continue our program of development. But this is where the All Mighty Allah said, your time is up and I thank the All Mighty Allah for His decision. I will never question this decision. I believe in the All Mighty Allah. As a slave and servant of the All Mighty Allah I will never question what happens to me because nothing happens without the will of the All Mighty Allah.”
Now Mr. Jammeh, how can you say such things and then turn right around and question the All Mighty Allah’s decision? Do you know how many times you mentioned the All Mighty Allah’s name in that short segment of your speech Mr. Jammeh? Seven times! We took time to count them because we wanted to make sure that you know that you are denying the will of the All Mighty Allah; the very All Mighty Allah in whose name you like to swear, swagger and brag. We are sure you know that the All Mighty Allah is pretty mad at you right now. Beware God’s wrath, Mr. Jammeh. If you do not redeem yourself right now, we dread to even imagine what the All Mighty Allah will do to you. You are making light of the All Mighty Allah by questioning His decision.
And as you know Mr. outgoing president Jammeh and soon-to-be former Babili Mansa, the voice of the people is indeed the voice of God. And we were so proud to see that you took time to recognize that the Gambian people have spoken, which of course means that God has spoken. Here are more of your own words on the matter, transcribed word for word from your own horse’s mouth. You said:
“You the Gambian people have spoken and I want to thank you for all the support for the past 22 years. I will always love you. I will live and die for you. But this time around, not as a president but as a champion farmer. This country, I’m married to this country. I’m not moving an inch. Some of the members of the cabinet and some of you civil servants who may not have a job, come to Kanilai Farms if you want to be a farmer, because farming is in my blood and I want to eat what I grow and grow what I eat. This is a program I had for all Gambians as a president. Now that I am no longer the president, I will continue my program and vision because eating what you grow and growing what you eat makes you healthier and more independent. I want to once again that the youth of this country. I want to thank the women of this country. And I want to thank the schoolchildren of this country who stand hours under the hot son to show me their love. I will always love you. I will always love you and I will live to love you because you are the future of this country. I do hope that the free education that we promised, it was not an empty promise. Whatever I promised you I swore to the Holy Quran.” (Here you raised the Holy Quran from your desk, and then you continued) “The Holy Quran belongs to the All Mighty Allah and as a Muslim, to prove that what I am saying is not false, I swear to this Holy Quran.” (You lowered and lifted the Holy Quran up again and continued) “It is only to this Holy Quran that I swore, that I will always rule this country with the mandate of the people and I will never cheat at any election. Whether if, even if, the election system is different, I want to make sure that when I rule this country, I rule with a clear conscience without any question mark hanging over my head because if I cheat I’m no longer a Muslim. Allah doesn’t like cheating. Allah doesn’t like lying. I have never lied to you Gambian people. Whatever I have said is genuine and I live by that.”
Well, well Mr. Jammeh. ‘Nough said now. You just swore to the Holy Quran that you will only rule this country with the mandate of the people. How come you now say you do not accept the mandate of the people? Did you not swear by the Holy Quran that “Whatever I have said is genuine and I live by that”? Now Mr. Jammeh, you certainly are not living by what you said to the Gambian people on Friday December 2nd? How do you explain that? Don’t you think that Satan convinced you to lie at least this one time in your entire life? We think that Satan the great deceiver is deceiving you into denying the will of All Mighty Allah after you accepted it. We are sure you know that’s Satan’s specialty dangling seeming truths and worldly power and riches and pleasure before our eyes in order to lead us into hell and then abandon us. Beware the great deceiver Mr. Jammeh. Beware the fire of hell which as you know, the All Mighty Allah promises to fill with stones and men who deny His will and fall for the juicy temptations of Satan the great deceiver. Repent Jammeh and redeem yourself before it’s too late. Here you are again, word for word, from your own horse’s mouth. It was you who said:
“On this note once again, I want to thank the president-elect Adama Barrow. Let him forget the past, what happened during the campaign. I want you to understand that he is the president of all Gambians irrespective of who voted for him and who didn’t vote for him. And I want to assure you that he has my support in maintaining peace and security in this country. The peace and security of this country, the stability of this country is what guarantees prosperity and development for every Gambian. Without peace and security, not a Muslim, not a Christian, will be able to worship the All Mighty Allah. So I hope that he will be able to rein in his supporters; let them understand that we are all Gambians. As I said, until I hand over to him, peace and security, I will not compromise. And as long as I live also, because I’m not going anywhere I’m going to my village, the peace and security of this country is sacrosanct.”
Now, now, Mr. Jammeh. You got to be kidding us, right? You said you will not compromise the peace and security of our dear country, but is that not exactly what you have been doing since your ill-fated rejection of the All Mighty Allah’s will on December 9? You very well know that your ill-fated decision to reject the All Mighty Allah’s will threatens to destroy the peace and security you swore never to compromise and bring about fitna, the very fitna you so solemnly warned against when you continued in the following words, coming directly from your own horse’s mouth:
“Allah doesn’t like fitna and we should not encourage fitna for whatever reason, because at the end of the day, we lose. Each time we Africans fight, there are mothers carrying babies, running across. Some are raped in the process. Children are raped. Some drown, some die in the sea. That is not our wish for this country and it will not happen in this country as long as I am alive. I have no reason to interfere in the government, the new government that you have elected. You elected your government, you have your government. But the peace and security of this country I will not compromise because if there is no peace, God forbid I will not be able to worship Allah the way I want to and nobody can deprive me of that. Let us work for peace. And I want all Gambians to reconcile. We’ve made decisions. We voted. There is a winner. Make sure you all work for peace. For APRC supporters, maintain peace because this is our philosophy. Maintain peace and stability because this is what is good for this country.”
Yes indeed, Mr. Jammeh. We voted and there is a clear winner. And yes, indeed Mr. Jammeh you said it: Allah doesn’t like fitna. But you Mr. Jammeh are the very one causing fitna in our dear little country. You just said that when there is fitna, women and children are raped, mothers with their babies suffer; some drown and some die in the sea. Yet, you Mr. Jammeh are the very same Mr. Jammeh who is bringing fitna to our country by denying the will of the All Mighty Allah. We can only hope and pray that Satan the great deceiver does not succeed in making you do such an evil thing, even though he seems to have a very powerful grip on your soul right now and you are hell-bent of doing his will rather than accepting the will of the All Mighty Allah and doing the right thing.
One thing that really baffles us now, and has really baffled us for the past 22 years is that you seem to believe that The Gambia is your personal property and that only you have the right to be our president as long as you are alive and kicking. How many times have you told us to our faces that you will rule us for a billion years, whether we like it or not? How many times have you told us to our faces that neither elections nor coups can remove you from power and if we don’t like it we can go to hell? Your current rejection of the will of the All Mighty Allah is further evidence that you really want to impose yourself on the Gambian people whether we like it or not. The strange thing is that when you did the honorable thing and conceded electoral defeat on December 2nd, you reminded us that The Gambia belongs to all Gambians and not to any particular tribe and by extension, any particular individual. Yet, now you are insisting that you personally own our country and will not step down even though the All Mighty Allah says you should. But let’s hear what you said on the subject again, directly from your own horse’s mouth. It was you who said:
“This country also, let me assure you, belongs to all of us. It does not belong to any particular tribe. One thing we must avoid in this country is ethnic conflict. We have seen ethnic conflict, the devastating effect of ethnic conflict. We have seen it in Rwanda. We have seen it in Central African Republic. Let us not be tribalist. But above all, let us believe in the All Mighty Allah and that the All Mighty Allah created all of us equally. Tribalism or racism is evil. It’s unacceptable. During the (garbled word here) I made it very clear, how racism and tribalism started. Under my guard for 22 years, blacks, whites, greens whatever they are lived in this country peacefully. For 22 years of my rule, nobody was ever beaten in this country for being white, brown, Asian or whatever. Because that is what a true Muslim should be. And I thank The Gambia for being a truly, godly smiling coast.”
Now, Mr. Jammeh we need not dwell on this ugly tribalism thing. Suffice it say that before your 22 years of rule, we had no tribalism or tribal politics in The Gambia. It was you, Mr. outgoing president and soon-to-be former Babili Mansa who started insulting certain tribes and making ugly insinuations about tribal politics. We thank the All Mighty Allah that so far, you have failed to stoke the flames of tribal hatred among Gambians because we are all good Muslims, good Christians and good neighbors regardless of our ethnic or religious affiliations. We also don’t like the fact that you said “for 22 years of my rule.” Presidents don’t rule, Mr. Jammeh. They lead. But no surprise here because you are a self-described “dictator for development”, whatever that means. Anyway, after suddenly disowning tribalism, you proceeded to thank all Gambians and reaffirmed how the All Mighty Allah willed Adama Barrow and the Coalition’s victory. Here you are again from your own horse’s mouth:
“On this note, I want to thank every one of you. Those who supported us, in one way or the other, those who campaigned for us. Allah has decided. Allah has decided that 2nd, that today Friday the 2nd of December, you the Gambians have decided that I’m no longer going to be your president. I will hand over, Inshallah without fail to the president-elect, Mr. Adama Barrow in January. He can work on his transition team if he wants. If he wants to work with us also it is, I have no problems with that. For the sake of you the Gambian people and for the sake of the country, with my experience I will help him work towards the transition whilst I pack . . . (here your audience interrupted you with applause) to go and work on my farm.”
Mr. Jammeh, did you hear yourself say that “Allah has decided” and that “Gambians have decided” that you are no longer going to be their president? Did you not promise that you “will hand over, Inshallah without fail, to the president-elect, Mr. Adama Barrow in January”? Why then are you now denying Allah’s decision and the decision of Gambians Mr. Jammeh? Why do you make light of Allah’s decision Mr. Jammeh? Why did you go on to assure us Gambians that you love us, that you will die for us, and that you will always stand for us when you are now threating to bring about death and destruction to our country? And why would you wish us and Adama Barrow Godspeed only to turn around and try to bring mayhem into our country. Just in case you don’t remember, here you are again in your own words, direct from your own horse’s mouth:
“On this note, I wish you Godspeed. And Adama Barrow, I wish you Godspeed. But remember that the country is greater than any tribe. I wish you all the best. Gambians I wish you all the best. Thank you, for being with me for 22 years.” (Here you got a standing ovation from your audience. And then you said): “Asalamalekum waramatula watala wabarakatu. Alsamaday! (Here you waved your right hand as if in good bye, stood up, and started shaking hands as your audience starts leaving the big table. But then you sat down and started talking again, affirming your undying loyalty to your party, the APRC. You said): “Let me also make it clear, that I am APRC to the core. I will never betray the party. I live for the party because this is the greatest party we have ever created.” (Here your audience claps for you again, and you continue shaking hands; then you sat down again. Your audience returns to their seats and you continue talking, asking all those in service to continue serving our country. Here’s how you put it directly from your own horse’s mouth): “And for those in service, especially the civil servants, serve any government that comes if the government wants your service. Your service is to the nation. In the event that you are not wanted don’t lose hope. Whatever becomes of you is the will of the All Mighty Allah. And if you become bitter about it, if you become bitter about it, you don’t believe in God. This is destiny. Everything is predestined. Have faith. Believe in God. Thank you.” (Here there was some half-hearted clapping again. You turned off your mic and picked up the phone to talk to Mr. Barrow. It was, to use 2016’s word of the year, a surreal moment for all of us. Here you are again, in your own words, from your own horse’s mouth):
“Hallo Your Excellency President-elect, Mr. Barrow. I’m fine. I’m calling you to wish you all the best. The Gambian people have spoken and I have no reason to contest the will of the All Mighty Allah. I wish you all the best. The country will be in your hands in January, and you are assured of my guidance on your transition. I don’t mean in selecting people who will be in your government, but you have to work with me as I pack to go to Kanilai while I hand over the State House to you. You are the elected president of The Gambia and I wish you all the best. I have no ill will and I wish you all the best.” (Here your audience claps for you as you listened to Mr. Barrow speak on the other end of the line, and you say): “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Though I will be a farmer in Kanilai. Pardon? Convey my congratulations to your entire team. This is transparent. This is the will of Allah and as a Muslim I accept it in good faith. The Gambian people have chosen you. After 22 years I am grateful to the All Mighty Allah for that. I remember I came on a Friday the 22nd of July. I lost on Friday the 2nd of December. Allah is telling me that my time is up and I hand over graciously, with gratitude to the Gambian people and gratitude to the All Mighty Allah to you. Yes. What date? 1965? So you were born before independence? So you are few months older than me; all the best. I think that’s why they didn’t call you old pa.” (Here you laugh really hard showing your big white teeth. And you continued): “I wish you all the best Mr. Barrow. Okay? And you have my full support. Let us make sure that you work towards maintaining peace and stability because without peace and stability let me make it clear you cannot achieve anything in anywhere in Africa. I wish you all the best. Yes, we’ll work on it, yes we’ll meet next week. It depends on your calendar; you are the president-elect now I’m the outgoing president. So, you give us time, and, and from Tuesday I will be free. Yes. Balla Jahumpa, Balla Jahumpa. You know Honorable Balla Jahumpa my campaign manager. Yes, he spoke to you this morning as well. Oh, Mr. Barrow you are also coughing (Here you laugh and cough into your neck scarf and continued): “Mr. Barrow you are also coughing like me (you laugh again). “All the best my dear, all the best okay? I have no ill-feelings towards you. Yes, I will hand you over to Balla so that you can talk to him. I wish you all the best Mr. Barrow. And I wish all the Gambian people all the best whether they support or not. The country is greater than all of us. Thank you very much. All the best. Thank you. Thank you.”
There was more clapping as you handed the phone over to Mr. Jahumpa, adjusted your grand boubou and started talking again. You thanked everyone from your office staff to the National Assembly and everyone who served our country under what you called your “22 years of progressive rule”. You then proceeded in the following words, directly from your own horse’s mouth:
“I thank you All Mighty Allah for answering to most of my prayers on behalf of you the Gambian people. I have no regrets. I’ve done what is impossible in Africa” (Here there was some hesitant clapping by your audience). “I’ve done what is impossible in Africa in 22 years without oil, without what. I’m grateful to the All Mighty Allah. And this is destiny. Alsamaday. Thank you.” (Here you got another standing ovation from your audience which you interrupted with more words from your own horse’s mouth): “I want to thank members of the security, the armed forces, police, service chiefs. I want to thank GRTS, the staff and especially the camera men because the camera men especially Sankung, Njie and Agil. And others. I take the major part of the dust but I think they take the rest of the dust, sitting on the back of the pick-up, trying to film, whether we are on the highway or in the bush. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. May the All Mighty Allah guide and protect all of you. May the All Mighty Allah grant you what you wish in your hearts, as long as it is good for the country and good for you. And I wish all the Gambians all the best. I’m grateful that you gave me the chance to serve you for 22 years. May the All Mighty Allah reward you all. The women, the children, the youths of this country; I have nothing against men, but through the 22 years journey, in whatever field of endeavor I was involved in, if it were not for the Gambian women and youth, we would have failed. Thank you Gambian women, from the bottom of my heart. May the All Mighty Allah, grant all what you wish for yourselves. May the All Mighty Allah guide and protect the children of this country, the youth of this country, the women of this country, and every citizen and non-citizen in this beautiful country The Gambia. Asalamalekum waramatula watala wabarakatu.”
And here you ended your concession speech amid clapping as the video ends. Now then Mr. out-going president Jammeh and soon-to-be former Babili Mansa, if you love the Gambian women and children so much, why are you putting their lives and futures in jeopardy by denying the will of the Gambian people and the will of the All Mighty Allah? Why are you bringing fitna into the lives of the very women and children you call your own, the very people you profess to love so much? Well, we are not trying to make you see reason because the All Mighty Allah has already decided and you know what happens to people who defy the will of the All Mighty Allah. Alsamaday, Mr. outgoing president and soon-to-be former Babili Mansa. We hope against hope that you see reason and do the right thing by accepting the will of the All Mighty Allah. On our side, we might yet have reason to have another conversation with you again in the near future, Insha Allah. May the All Mighty Allah defeat Satan and all those who follow him and save our dear little Gambia and all honest Gambians from fitna. We say unto you Mr. Jammeh, Maa saa Allahu. La qawla walaa quwata illah Billahi. Gods will be done. There is no power but God’s.
Author’s Note: Please share as widely as possible. Jammeh cannot deny the will of God expressed through the will of the sovereign people of The Gambia. We must protect and nurture this beautiful Gambian Renaissance. #JammehMustGo!