A MODEST PLEA TO PRESIDENT YAYA JAMMEH AND ALL STAKEHOLDERS IN THE GAMBIA: WAGE THE MORAL EQUIVALENCE OF PEACE AND NOT…
As the saying goes, “now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of… their… you fill in the blank. Mr. President, you came to the aid of the Gambian people with the youthful exuberance and energy that is characteristics of most young men. Arguably, your bloodless Coup, unconstitutional as it was, was for the most part welcomed with open arms by a population that wanted change, but could not get it through the Ballot Box.
The population and the country were young and the Winds of change was blowing accross our Continent, Africa. However, the leadership was “old” and set in their ways. New and young blood was needed to stear and Captain the Gambian Ship and you and your Colleagues took up the Talking drums call. You described your bloodless Coup leaders as “Soldiers with a Difference”. There was huge need for reassurance and you provided it to a Nation that recently experienced the most Traumatic and Painful Civil Disturbance of the 1981 Bloody Coup, which demonstrated the unmitigated ability for man’s ability for Senseless bloodletting and Wanton Destruction of Persons and Property.
Gambians who lived through that Intervention by Senegal in as well as those lucky to have been away during the 1981 bloody Coup (I am one such Gambian), extend their gratitude and appreciation to both the First Republic’s leadership, especially President Jawara and you and your Colleagues’ determination and decision to avoid blood shed. I don’t know, but I am of the opinion that your goal and objective as was those of your colleagues and the Jawara regime was for the Maintenance and Fostering of a Peaceful and Bloodless Coup and transfer of Power from the Old Guard to the “Young blood” with a “Can do” Spirit.
At the time, a local University education was a dream deferred. High School education was to many Gambians, a “previledged affair” especially if by birth and happenstance, you were born in a Certain Region and or Rural area, as well as be among the unfortunate majority without Political connections or Economic means. Electricity, Piped water, Highways and Good Feeder Roads were but non existent out of the Banjul, Bakau, Serekunda Metropolitan area or happened to be one of the “Political and Business Class” or resided at a Government Entity such as a Government Hospital such as the one at Bansang or Mansa Konko. The Airport was nothing to talk about. It was simply, Decrepit and not near any International standards. You and your Colleagues, “the 1994 “Soldiers with a Difference”, have brought in Modernity and Infrastructural development that is the envy of many a citizen of many bigger and more endowed African countries.
You have done your part and the Nation Salutes you and all your colleagues who made such Achievement possible. You built upon the foundation laid by the old guard and now the Gambian people who have been with you during the Years of Duty and Uncompromising focus on achieving a comparative Modern and Developing Gambia, need you to be MAGNANIMOUS and Rise Above All Human deficits and Pass the Barton to other Members of the Gambian Relay Team for them to “Run the third stage of the Gambian people’s race to the top. Resolve and dig deeper into your Resouvoiur filled with the love of Gambia and Gambians, and Retire from the Management of the Gambian State. Examine your Values and Sense of Self, can you say that your Sacrifice and Devotion to the Country in the past can be surpassed by remaining in the Presidency? I think not. In the Affairs of State and Men, the danger is not in achieving Power and Authority, but in knowing when to give it up.
The next Fourty-eight to Seventy-two hours should be filled with Reassuring and Reaching out to all Gambians and Stakeholders including ECOWAS Negotiators that you will depart from the Presidency travel out of the Gambia. I pray and hope that you will Dispassionatly and Passionately your Allah/God Fearing Inner Voice to guide you in the Urgent and Time Sensitive Decision to let go of the Gambian Presidency.
It can be argued that the “Revolutionary Mangoes” were ripe for the picking and you and your Colleagues helped yourself to the Opportunity presented to you by the Dereliction of Duty as well as Negligence of the “Old Guard” under the First Republic. In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess I was Conflicted about the Coup. Half of my thoughts were one of joy, premised on the Potential Progressive development both Political and Economic that was presented by the Occasion. Yet, I was sad, troubled and depressed by the personal and emotional feelings and af the Old man, President Jawara, and especially, the affinity I had for two of the Members of the Cabinet. One was a long term family friend and the other became a friend through my friendship with his brother who I met in the States in the 1980s.
I was also unsettled and worried about the faith of President Jawara who was by then of advanced age, especially considering the life expectancy of Gambians at the time of the Coup in 1994. With the exception of P. S. Njie, the First Minister prior to Independence, and Sir Farinmang Sigarteh, the Governor General and the Queen’s representative the years leading to Independence, President Jawara was all Gambians knew and had celebrated for good or bad for decades. He was our Mandela and Nkrumah rolled into one body, even though he was more of the “West Minster Conservative Politician” brand and as a consequence the Gambian State of Affairs as stated above.
It is the Pride and need for Self-actualization in men of Consequence and the capacity for them to remake themselves by putting their need last and the need for their loved ones first, which has catapulted such men into the Annals of History. A history that would last and be recited by many yet to be born.
Endeavor to Negotiate in good faith and with a Difference for the Gambian people and the Common Destiny you share with them. Do not let All that you did and achieved with them be for nothing. Leave a legacy worth emulating and following. Do not be a part of or participate in the destruction of THE GAMBIA AND GAMBIANS BY COMMISSION OR OMMISSION. The Clouds and Drum Beat of Civil disturbance and potential deadly Conflicts are gathering, and Statesmanship is required from you and your Colleagues vis a vie all the other Stakeholders including ECOWAS Negotiators and the Coalition Alliance Party Leadership and President Elect Adama Barrow. Would you all Step up to the Pitch and Demonstrate that you are Men and Women of Peace and of the Gambian People.