Gambia: Beyond Politics As Usual: From Piecemeal Resistance To A National Revolution!


Time and again the need for a revolutionary party comes to the surface for all observers to see. So far all the conditions for the birth of a revolution had been met, yet it remains in labour. Almost everyone is talking about the impending collapse of the oppressor. For this I do not dispute but a fundamental question looms in the air. Do we sit and wait for the oppressor to die a natural death or do we switch off the life support system and save ourselves the pain of living under him and paying his bills as he remains in coma? The Kartong uprising is not different from many of its predecessors; it is a piecemeal resistance like the students’ uprising in 2000, the defiant of the youth to adhere to the “nawettan” ban in the provinces in 2014 and the recent UTG uprising.

Their common bond is that they are all directed against agents of the oppressor. The UTG uprising was not directly geared against the oppressor but his delegates, just as the current Kartong uprising is. These are all piecemeal resistance taking a regional, an institutional or a village character. In such cases the definitive role of the oppressor was sidelined, some reactionary elements try to detach the injustice in the institution from the oppressor’s mechanism. I can remember people telling me that the UTG case is an academic issue forgetting that it is the ruling ideology that directs education in every epoch. But once the resistance threatened the oppressor’s longevity; then we saw the long hand of the oppressor intervening to curb the dissent. In kartong the same thing will happen and we can see the signs, the oppressor will be detached from the ills or more rightly he will detached himself of it. The flow of the oppressor’s agent in the form of “goodwill” ambassadors to the village is the manifestation. As long as these resistances in different parts of the country are not united, they remain piecemeal and localized.

But of particular concern are the brutality and the spiritual losses of patriots that come with piecemeal resistance. In every piecemeal resistance that takes a regional, institutional, municipal, village dimension, the oppressor either uses force or negotiates a settlement through third parties. But once a settlement has been reached, the patriots who appear as enemies to the oppressor are targeted. They are either jail or the threat level forces them into exile. The consequences of piecemeal resistance can be averted and the conditions leading to the piecemeal resistance can be united to activate the national revolution.

This requires the adoption of tactics beyond the current modus operandi. If the grievances can be united and of course they are neither separate nor is any unique from the other; then we are likely to see a national revolution of the masses. Only a unification of the piecemeal resistances from the villages to the towns, from institutions to the farms, from the gender activists to the democratic proponents, can salvage the country. Otherwise village boys and activists will be arrested, jailed and the resistance would go into coma. Thence we have to sit and wait for another to surface again. This was the case in the provinces when the youth resisted against the ban of the “nawettan”, the students’ uprising etc.

 However for this unification to take effect, a revolutionary party is needed. A new party must be born or one or all of the parties be transformed into this new requirement. The contemporary approach of the political parties is deficient to play this role. For so long, the parties had been delivering statements of condemnation but refused to confront the oppressor or actively support those who do. The oppressor had been long exposed and his brutality needs no further exposure; it has been as naked as the visibility of the sun. It burns so much that the visually impaired who have not seen it knows that it exists because of its blazing rays. The current parties are not willing to actively stand with those resisting. In many cases they just show passive support as if they are running from a confrontation with the oppressor. Observation shows that in many cases, the parties had distanced themselves from the piecemeal uprisings.

This is how the students uprising in 2000 died, and unless one of the existing parties changes approach, the Kartong uprising will be sent into coma. The desire of the masses to confront the oppressor cannot be killed but it can be sent into coma. As long as the opposition is not activating any uprising, they must show up their faces in person when it happens. In as much as the uprising is a civilian one, they must actively support it. This will motivate other people in other parts of the country, institutions and villages to also put their demands forward. A sense of having a backup is reassuring for one to engage an oppressor like ours.

An active support of the people in Kartong would have meant the opposition parties taking up the case of the youth. They can sue the government or the miners to court for violating the social contract with the villagers. They can visit families and offer counsel. They can give the government an ultimatum to release our compatriots and if the government fails they can stage demonstrations. If they are afraid to go that far, let them go on hunger strike and urge their followers nationwide to do the same.

This is may not immediately strike the oppressor much since he is a heartless human butcher but it can show the masses that they are being watched and being empathized. This would surely motivate those behind to keep on fighting. Likewise parents can confidently let their children take part in the struggle for rescuing the homeland from the oppressor. In many situations, parents do caution their children because they feel that the brunt will face by the immediate family alone. Starting in this manner can convince people that, the parties or party means change. Unless the current parties change their approach or a new party comes with a different approach, the piecemeal resistance will keep on going into coma. Again, the trust for the opposition being the vanguard of the people will remain in doubt. And more importantly, a serious confrontation will show that the opposition will not let Jammeh dictate the 2016 election if there will be any.

Written By A Concerned Student

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