Of Gambia’s Barking Intellectuals

   Intellectuals with horns can only bark endlessly!

I concur with Ebrahim Jaiteh in his article “The Crisis of Educated Gambians” published on the prestigious Kairo News on Thursday 16th August 2018. It is generally believed that where there is a problem there must be a solution. Gambian intellectuals have always been eager to identify and pinpoint the country’s many problems. But that is where they stop. They never come with solutions and even if they do they are very poor in conveying their solutions to the government or people. Any tangible changes which includes problem solving has to be inclusive. If you want to implement a change or you want to solve a problem, you have to be part of the solution together with those who are going to be affected by that change or problem solving. This is scientific and there are accepted researches out there to support this theory. Our own learned intellectuals seem not to understand that such a theory exist. Therefore, they believe that by highlighting a problem they can create dissatisfaction which can even lead to a change but not necessarily solving the problem. After listening to some of our self-anointed intellectuals and university graduated elites, I have been inundated with disappointment, for their academic attitude and academic abilities have not matched. As a student of Stockholm in Sweden, I was thought not only about the method of critical thinking but that university study is all about critical thinking. This means one must never believe in what one hears or sees without clear evidence. Critical thinking goes with constructive criticism before a solution to a problem is found. As an intellectual assigned to solve a problem, your first priority is to meet with those who are affected by the problem because they know better. This is the theory of problem solving. You listen carefully and take notes before you come up with your ideas of solutions. Remember to always have the affected part in your dialogue. They have to be seen to be part of the solution if not they will never accept your proposals or solutions to the problem. This theory applies to all problem solving endeavours – even at government level. Solutions should not be seen to be imposed but accepted in consensus atmosphere. In such a way those who did not agree to the solution being presented or accepted, are given a room to maneuver, which will give the solution a chance to thrive instead of being sabotaged or defeated. An example of a problem or problem solving could simply be what can you do with a STONE. The answer is both simple and complex at the sometime. You can build a house with a stone. You can hold a bundle of papers not to fly in the wind with a stone. You make a strong concrete with a stone. You construct roads and bridges with the help of stone. You can create an artificial island by dumping a lot of stone at a spot. You can ignite fire by crushing special stones. You can protect sea erosion with stone. The list goes on and I am sure those reading this article can even come up with more ideas of what to do with a stone. This might sound very basic but those who are acquainted with problem solving will agree with what I am driving at. A problem can have many solutions hence critical thinking is vital in any problem solving. There is huge difference between criticism and constructive criticism. Constructive critic tends to lead to consciousness and attention (serving a useful purpose, tending to build up) which is very positive while criticism is more or less centered on negativity based on scavenging perceived faults and mistakes. Problem solving can be creative and innovative, it can lead to positive feedback. These are the three concepts every democratic society will welcome when it is done professionally and properly in an atmosphere of understanding and reciprocity. It is basically “You listen to me, I listen to you.” Let us remember many of our Gambian intellectuals were invited without precondition to come home with their expertise and help in finding solutions to the enormous problems the new government had inherited. Instead of acquainting themselves with the problems the nation is facing, our intellectuals set preconditions before giving a helping hand. As mentioned earlier, you have to join the team to find solutions. Sitting at your comfort zone hoping to implement changes by calling a state President lacking pedigree intellectual or having no formula for the country is nothing but pathetic. Especially if this is coming from our own intellectuals having no regards whatsoever for the highest portfolio of the nation. This because someone holding that position did not sit in a university class room. Those of us who know the history of Gambian elites know that the table has turned up side down forever.

Once upon a time, Gambian elites sent their kids and relatives to universities and colleges around the world to prepare them for a takeover of government jobs upon graduation. These people who graduated at the expense of taxpayers, especially rural folks, acquire best government jobs and continue nepotism.  Now that a son of a farmer whowh dad has never tasted what elitism is, rules over the sons and daughters of the Gambian former elites. This is the core problem and issue between the so-called Gambian intellectuals and the sons and daughters of nonl-elites. Deep in their mind, they think President Adama Barrow shouldn’t be where he is. For them, the seat of presidency with all its accolades and honey put is meant for the so-called elites or intellectuals who went into hybernation during the herculous fight with Dictator Yahya Jammeh, a heartless leader who bragged about killing stubborn Mandinkas like fetto (tse-tse fly) and go to sleep. Because they have been used to getting things on a silver plate, President Adama Barrow should do the dirty job of removing dictator Yahya Jammeh so they  (the effortless Gambian intellectuals) eat and keep the cake. Our best and respectful intellectuals are neither talking nor engaging iinany smear campaign against the government or President. These are smart and patriotic individuals with impeccable character who are contributing their quota in national development without barking. They know well that governments come and go but the nation will remain. We thank them for their silence and immense contribution. Thank you and God is with the Gambian people.

Alhagi Touray

Stockholm, Sweden



  1. Dida Halake

    Good piece. A short VIDEO over on FB @Sambagate Snr: “Intellectual” by Ibrahim Kendi @ Florida University:
    “How many of you are critiquing your own ideas as intensely as you critique the ideas of others?”

  2. seringe jobe

    Excellent contribution my bro. cannot agree with you more.

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