Irrespective of our differences in ideology, culture, religion or ethnicity, Gambians on December 1st 2016 weathered the storm by defeating the man who hanged yoke of brutality on our necks. Defeating Yahya Jammeh – the man who singlehandedly decided who survived, tortured, disappeared and lived, claimed to have owned the Gambia – should have been celebrated endlessly. We don’t necessarily have to gather at the Buffer Zone everyday, talking and comparing the Jammeh era to the current one will make us appreciate our new found freedom. Being grateful to Allah for giving us President Adama Barrow, the leader who will not kill a fly, means a lot.
Gambians have since the departure of Jammeh been exercising their democratic rights to express themselves freely. But I’m concerned that majority of the New Social Media Warriors have either not understood what is at stake in our democracy or they just want to be heard and seen. Ours is still a fluid democratic system that needs to be nurtured, and I expect us to throw away our differences and focus on putting our broken pieces together. But I’m disappointed that some Bad Elements in our society have tasked themselves with putting sand in our already cooked soup. I’m so disturbed that hatred resulting from Tribalism, Nepotism and Favouritism have reared their ugly heads in our New Gambia. I thought the defeat of Yahya Jammeh would have given us the courage to get rid of anything that divides us.
Clearly, what most Gambians don’t know is the hidden evil plot of haters. Faces behind this plot have been revealing themselves gradually. They have left their clues on social media, online media and personal conversations. Based on their actions and narratives, the enemy is anything United Democractic Party, the party they branded Mandinka entity. In that they plan to critique, villify and lie about any UDP or Mandinka important person in the government. At first, they turned daggers at Minister of Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe blaming him for even things that were not within his control. These people have yet to criticise Mr. Darboe for the appointment of 10 ambassadors from Banjul, a city of less than 40, 000 votes. They never questioned the government for not appointing a single minister from the Kombos where half of the votes are concentrated. They will not dare say anything because Banjul appointees are non-Mandinkas while Mandinkas would have been appointed in the Kombos. These people seem to have infiltrated the UDP because they have started feeding the party’s gullible members with their message of hate and falsehood. They just throw the venom and quietly walk away because the gullible one will spread the message.
I used to respect Pa Samba Jow for his defiance to see a collapse of the Jammeh regime. But that respect disappeared when he showed us his true colour. He has spoken the language of tribalist haters. What’s he other than a tribalist hater? We will not accept their goal of rejuvenating the old tricks that worked in the PPP era. This was the era when everything good was set aside for Banjulians. Not even Wolofs from Saloum! It was the era when Gambians from upcountry (Protectorate until after the independence) were discriminated against on matters of education and appointments in the government. I think the UDP folks need to be careful of not falling prey to the haters plot to pit President Barrow against Ousainou Darboe. Because both of them are Mandinkas, they hate to see them in their positions. Almost all of their targets are Mandinkas. Alkali Conteh, the Hero whose frantic efforts dislodged Yahya Jammeh from power, has become the haters latest victim. Pa Samba first opened the gates of calculated confusion on Mr. Conteh’s appointment as a member of the Public Service Commission, a gold mine field for Pa Samba’s people. The haters have come up with allegations that Alkali murdered a student while he was a headmaster.
I want the public to know that hatred articles published on Freedom newspaper are the handiwork of a group, although one person bears the by-line. Such articles are carefully crafted and circled around for added input before being sent for publication. These haters concocted the same lies against Amie (Drammeh) Bensouda because she had embarrassed one of their untouchables Amadou Samba. As always, truth triumphed over falsehood. Amie too was attacked for being a Mandinka from Bakindick. Mrs. Bensouda never minced her words when she watered down Mr. Samba’s sister lawyer. The same haters jubilated when Agriculture Minister OJ refused to work with Ousman Jammeh, another Mandinka. Rather than advocating for truth, they went into retreat. In fact, one of them was overheard approving OJ’s mess saying, “why would OJ allow Ousainou Darboe’s Mandinka boy to directly work under him.”
This is unhealthy in a country where diversity has throughout bred understanding, unity and harmony. That’s how our country is structured, and I admire it that way. My message to Pay Nderry Mbai and haters is very plain: you will woefully fail in your plots to pit us against each other. We don’t care whoever occupies what position in the government; all we care about is the result. Stop your nonsense or else you will soon reap what you sow. We cannot fold our hands and see haters tirelessly working hard to divide us along tribal, political or religious lines.
O Allah we ask you the following:
Protect us from the evil of haters
Replace haters hatred with love,
peace, harmony and understanding
Remove tribal hatred from our hearts
Make Gambia land of absolute peace
Shower your Mercy and Blessings on us
Unite us around nation building.
Ndey Sarr, Serekunda