BY Ousainou Mbenga: Based on a picture taken of me and Omar Faye, the ambassador of the Republic of the Gambia at the commemoration of Father Anthony Gabisi’s 30 years of service to the Catholic Church in the Gambia, the Freedom online newspaper posted an editorial titled: “DUGA, what’s the difference between Omar Faye and Yaya Jammeh”? Well, I will leave that to Freedom’s editorial board to answer. But I will pose my own question: what’s the difference between the Freedom Newspaper editorial and me?
Let me reaffirm my position once more. I am a revolutionary. I am not a “head hunter”.
I am in this fight for the long haul to ultimately transform our beloved Gambia in particular and Africa in general into a new society with revolutionary insights and foresight.
We have come a long way to allow a mere picture to take us off our path of resistance against tyranny and our “eyes off the prize”. I honestly don’t need to defend myself or DUGA but rather drive home the necessity of attaining political maturity in this period and into subsequent generations. In order to build a proud future Gambia, we need a highly sophisticated citizenry capable of exhibiting political maturity. The picture can only sway the politically naïve and those who choose to remain willfully ignorant.
I have always abhorred injustice and repression, wherever it raises its ugly head. My abhorrence spans the African world, from the Gambia to Washington DC and beyond. That invitation was an honor by the Gambian Christian Association, which I gladly attended. The picture is just a picture, nothing more.
Putting the Omar Faye issue aside; was it not my own flesh and blood that served as the first Minister of Agriculture in the Jammeh regime? Didn’t my niece serve in the Jammeh regime? Didn’t a comrade of mine join the Jammeh regime? In all these instances, did I give up the fight against the neocolonial Jammeh regime? Absolutely not! I have maintained my unwavering stance against the Jammeh regime since their “lift onto the saddles of power”.
The fight against Jammeh’s tyranny to me has nothing to do with family, friends and neighbors (waa Banjul). But also, Jammeh cannot in any way destroy my principled relationship with family, friends and neighbors.
It reminds me of when comrade Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton crossed paths in the corridors of the United Nations and shook hands. The incident achieved “breaking news” status and got highly debated in the US media for days on end. Many willfully ignorant republican and democratic leaders chastised Clinton for shaking hands with their “enemy” and a “dictator”. Fidel exhibited absolute political maturity and shook Clinton’s extended hand.
We are in this fight to win on our own terms; not Jammeh’s. Therefore, we will not leave any arena or terrain the APRC operates within goes uncontested, even within his support base. The Jammeh regime is standing on a “two legged stool”, we have broken two legs of the stool, which explains the balancing acts to keep steady from falling, such as the “massive prisoner pardon”, the subtle signs of “meaningless reconciliation” and “meaningless peace”. Even though the regime is dying but not yet dead, we will continue to fight for a politically conscious proud- future Gambia as oppose to a country of “blind patriots” at the service of one tyrant, Jammeh. We must win the vast majority of the people to eradicate the social backwardness that came with the AFPRC – APRC regime. Most of his support base knows the end is near; you have nothing to lose but Jammeh and your chains. Discard him into the dustbin of history and redeem yourselves.
I want to thank all the sons and daughters of our beloved Gambia who refused to be swayed from reality and keep their “eyes on the prize”, particularly my comrades Pa samba Jow and Ngange Demba Njie, likewise the Gambian Outsider, who weighed in on the matter. We must cultivate the terrain for political maturity and social responsibility. A proud – future Gambia is on the horizon, let’s build it from the bottom – up. Gambia cannot coexist with Jammeh.
WE WILL WIN! JAMMEH MUST GO! JAMMEH IS GOING!
Editor’s note: Thanks Mr. Mbega for the rejoinder. Like you have denied being a head hunter, the Freedom Editorial too is after the facts and nothing, but the facts. We are not head hunters either. We are only after the facts!
If expressing one’s editorial opinion means being a head hunter to you, then so be it. That statement of yours is indeed troubling.
That said, we also don’t see the connections between your story and that of President Clinton. Ours was not to soil your reputation in anyway. We respect you as an honest activist. That will never change brother Mbenga. It is healthy to agree and disagree. Thanks for your attention.