Four years into the third republic: most of us have seen nothing but disappointment, dishonesty, ungratefulness, immaturity, and selfishness in our country’s leadership. We ushered in a change in 2016, with the hope of a turning point for the country and a permanent end to corruption, self-perpetuation, deceit, and waste; however, that hope has dissipated. This President that we all had doubts about for his ability to lead a bleeding country in 2016 but ironically encouraged by his hypocritical humbleness (hindsight); has turned out to be the biggest civilian megalomaniac post-dictatorship.
From reneging on his initial three-year transition mandate, five years and now perpetuity, his insatiable greed and love for power, wealth, and fame are an open secret.
Sometimes, I wonder why our beautiful smiling coast has been cursed with such leaders after Sir Dauda’s era (RA)? However, both Jammeh and Barrow came from nowhere and suddenly became the most powerful people in the country – breeding pride, over-inflated self-esteem, and greed.
The result of this greed is the rejection of the very draft constitution that was the cornerstone of his government’s campaign and transition plan. His desire and will to remain in power for perpetuity far outweighs his resolve to transform the system and usher in a new beginning for the country that so yearned for that opportunity. All the other so-called problematic provisions that suddenly became contentious are just cover ups to the main issue (Barrow’s term limit). I have always argued that the spirit of the 10-year term limit is the desire of the populace to end self-perpetuation that supposedly culminated with the ousting of Jammeh in 2016. Gambians thus collectively decided that no President will ever serve more than the 10-year term limit beginning with this transition government.
If this President is genuine and sincere, why not identify someone else in his party as flag bearer after his 2021 bid? Why does it have to be him as incompetent and ill will as he is? Even if the constitution was hypothetically amended for the clock to start ticking on his term limit from 2021, he will still make a case for another amendment to his term. The writings about this man’s insatiable greed for power, money, and fame are all over the walls of our country.
The man’s dishonesty and deceit are beyond reason – to stoop so low to believing that “when you are campaigning you can say all sorts of things”. To quote one of our greatest Islamic exegesis Ibn al-Qayyim: “Truthfulness is the greatest of stations, from it, sprouts all the various stations of those traversing the path to God; and from it sprouts the upright path which if not trodden, perdition is that person’s fate. Through it is the hypocrite distinguished from the believer and the inhabitant of Paradise from the denizen of Hell.”
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said: “The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes an oath, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust. Sad to say but all these three attributes have manifested in this President. May Allah be sufficient for us against him.
As to his injustice, the implementation of the Janneh commission report and most recently the alleged fraud involving the former permanent secretary of Fisheries are crystal manifestations of such misplaced justice. Allah has commanded his messengers to establish justice in Hadith: “O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice for Myself and forbade it also for you. So avoid being unjust to one another.” (Sahih Muslim). Allah detests a ruler who has bestowed with supremacy yet is ignorant of justice. Allah will deprive him of His shade in His territory at the Day of estimation as Hadith narrates: Selective implementation of justice is what we have all witnessed where folks closed to the President were given clean bill of pass by association (Janneh commission report) and the Fisheries Minister whose involvement in the scandal that saw the P.S out and investigated is still serving: aren’t these travesty of justice?
For his ungratefulness, here is a man who had touted the UDP leadership including his so-called “political father” all over for their selflessness and sacrifice in leading the way to the change that catapulted him to the Presidency: now on a radical journey of undoing all that grace by claiming to single-handedly bringing about the third republic and end of the dictatorship.
I have personally witnessed the arrest, humiliation, and subsequent incarceration of these good and selfless sons of The Gambia in 2016 and how most Gambians at the time turned on them yet their resolve and determination to end dictatorship was unwavering. Mr. President unless you are dealing with amnesia, disagreeing with these heroes is not cause to be disingenuous to their sacrifice, more so shameful that you would continually use their incarceration as a means of scoring political points. Mr. President be reminded that your end is imminent whether sooner or later, least expected from you is gratefulness and good conduct.
Regarding the waste and abuse of power, the recent so-called “meet the people tour” is an effrontery and mockery of our economic predicament. That a country that pays more than half of its earnings in debt service and heavy dependence on foreign aid would spend millions in vehicles, logistics, fuel, etc. on a useless tour for political gain is very disheartening. If this was even to be done as you and your naïve or selfish surrogates claim, one would expect that the President and a few cabinet ministers not more than five would have sufficed to tour the country and listen to the concerns of the farmers for further action and thus save the country millions to allocate to other critical areas. Unless such extravagant and misplaced spending is curtailed, we will continue to beg, remain heavily indebted and impoverished. These were basic transformations we expected that a government that came to be on the promise of a new Gambia would usher in for us.
The removal of the Social Security and Housing Finance Managing Director as well as the Central Bank Governor and more recently the Solicitor General is very demotivating, to say the least. I don’t care if these folks are politicians, but it has not shown in their work and execution, so why deprive the country of benefiting from their talent, skillset, and experience. Does everyone have to be a “Yes Sir” beggar for them work for their country?
Finally, now that your self-acclaimed mouthpiece has declared all state ministers as politicians else risk losing their jobs, I am still perplexed that the technocrats in your cabinet are still serving. But no, they will not resign because they are happy to be politicians to keep their jobs. However, any technocrat or intellectual in your cabinet including the newly appointed Trade Minister who wants to fool himself that he is there to serve his country and not a politician should know that they are living a fool’s dream.
Therefore, they should be happy to admit that they accepted your appointment or continue to serve in your cabinet as politicians and not technocrats. So for any of them to claim that he is there to help you because you are a serious and hardworking leader is incomprehensible, to say the least. I don’t know of any technocrat that would accept your cabinet appointment based on your good stewardship or direction. Your records are too clear for all to see.
I conclude by saying, it is not too late for you, Mr. President to redirect your bus to meet the expectations of the vast majority of Gambians under whose blood, tears, and supplications you came to be. We need a leader who will live up to his words and promises, content, unifying, and jealously safeguard our meager resources for posterity. You are contending with so many good Gambians who are sharpening their weapons in terms of resources, activism, and most importantly supplication, therefore an uphill battle is ahead of you. The country will move forward, with or without you eventually so tread carefully and be on the right side of history.