Gambia: When Are We Going To Learn Our Lessons?

As a Gambian who cares so much about my country and its people. As a Gambian who wish very well for my country and its people. As a Gambian who is concerned about the wellbeing of my country and its people. As a Gambian who wants improved standard of living for my country and its people. As a Gambian who hates injustice and corruption. As a Gambian who hated the twenty-two years of Jallow Kanilai dictatorship. As a Gambian who contributed his little in removing the Jammeh dictatorship. As a Gambian who experienced several false hopes under Jawara and Jammeh regimes. As a Gambian who had high expectations about the changed we all fought for in our country. I AM NOW VERY SCARED FOR THE FUTURE. I AM SCARED BECAUSE I BELIEVE I AM RE-LIVING THE SAME FALSE HOPES THAT I EXPERIENCED UNDER JAWARA AND JAMMEH REGIMES. Being an ardent supporter of the Barrow-led Coalition Government and a hardcore hater of everything APRC/Jammeh fraudulent regime, I had to convince myself over the past few months that certain things that I read about or was told were mere distractions or part of failures resulting from human imperfections. After all we are human and it is human to be imperfect and make mistakes. However, I believe it is also human to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating same errors over and over again, unless you are crazy. It is a known fact that our president, Mr. Adama Barrow does not talk that much to Gambians. There is virtue in not talking too much as a president. But it is not a good virtue if you fail to talk when you are supposed to talk to your people as a leader especially when your people desperately need to be informed. Recently, I read President Barrow’s interview with Fatu Network and after analyzing that interview I nearly fainted. I was shocked, disappointed and felt deja vu all over again. In that interview the President was asked questions regarding some very burning issues about our country. The President’s answers, to put it mildly, make me sick to the stomach. At first I thought he was misquoted but since there has been no rebuttal or rejoinder up to this point in time, the words must be exactly his own. The president was asked about the 52 vehicles given to the National Assembly Members. He said they were donated by some ‘philanthropist Gambians and non-Gambians who also supported him during the presidential campaign’. He said nobody asked questions about the vehicles donated during his campaign. Really? Is the President trying to play with our intelligence like Yaya Jammeh did for 22 years? Can someone remind Mr. Barrow that during the presidential election campaign he was just a mere candidate among many but presently he is “The President” of a nation of two million people and should not pretend to behave like an ordinary person? In addition, during the campaign, most Gambians were so fed up with the corrupt Jammeh dictatorial regime that they would not make any noise about where your campaign finances come from. We just wanted to be liberated at any cost. Ironically, the source of these vehicles and the way President Barrow and his handlers refused to come plain despite legitimate queries and concerns expressed by numerous Gambians reminds me of Yaya Jammeh’s “Allah’s World Bank”. Mr. President, the Janneh Commission you set up tells us “Allah’s World Bank” is not what Yaya made it out to be and in the same vain the source of these 52 vehicles is not what you are making it out to be. Whatever is preventing you from coming clean about these dubious donations is going to remain a scar on your presidency. This is a slippery slope, you take one bad step and get away with it and you will take even bigger steps next time around. Mr. Barrow should also know that Gambians did not vote for him because he was the most qualified person, but rather we were desperate for change and we would vote for any candidate that the then Coalition put forward to remove Jammeh. Even if “The Coalition” had put forward a monkey against Jallow Kanilai, we would have voted for the monkey. The vote would not necessarily have been for the monkey but rather against Jammeh. That is how desperate we were. You won because Gambians were tired of monster Jammeh and voted against him and NOT necessarily for you. Regarding Mai Fatty’s removal as Interior Minister, The President hid behind the constitution by claiming “the constitution empowers The President to appoint and dismiss a minister”. Did we not fight against the abuse of the same flawed constitution by Jammeh Kanilai? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. What is the difference between the two presidents in terms of hiding behind the constitution in abusing their power? Mr. President if you cannot tell Gambians, the people who elected you and the people you are presiding over, the reasons you fired your most prominent minister, then you are hiding something dirty. We the Gambians have suffered enough and we deserve better! Finally, the president was asked if he was going to form his own political party or return to UDP. His answer was he will discuss that issue when the time is right. Really? Since silence mean consent we will conclude that Mr. Barrow intends to contest next presidential election betraying the gentleman’s agreement he has with his coalition partners and the Gambian electorate in general. With the setting up of Barrow Youth Movement and the dubious Foundations, it should be clear to every single Gambian that we are back to square one in our struggle. We will never achieve the real change we all crave. A president with future political ambition can never bring a genuine and drastic change that the Gambia needs right now. This is because his every move will be based on his future political calculus and not necessarily building the strong and unshakeable foundations for future prosperity of the country. There will never be “The Botswana of West Africa”! This whole idea of “Change” and New Gambia” will be a lost opportunity. We expected the Barrow government to build high standards of governance based on transparency so that the future governments will have no choice but to maintain those standards for sustainable development. President Barrow’s heart may be in the right place but he may be gullible because he surrounded himself with vultures who are misleading him. President Mugabe did a lot for Zimbabwe but he ended up being possessed by bad elements around him including his younger wife and that ended his presidency in humiliation. When [Laurent] Gbagbo lost presidential election in Cote D’ivoire, it was the bad elements around him including his wife who misled him. We all remember Madam Gbagbo’s infamous challenge to her husband: “If you are not man enough and wants to accept the election result, then take your trouser off and give it to me. I will be the man and you will be the woman”. The advice of those bad elements around Gbagbo landed him where he is today….not a nice place at all! Mr. President it is never too late to change course. We do not only support you but we want you to succeed. When you succeed, we all succeed and the Gambia succeeds. If you fail Mr. President, which is not an option given our sacrifice and what we went through, we will all fail and our country be the biggest loser. If you follow the interest of the Gambia and do the right thing by laying down unselfish foundations, you will forever be remembered as the father of “Modern Gambia” and there is no better reward than that. Mr. President the choice is yours and we are humbly waiting for you. Sadibou J.


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