Gambia: Letter To Coach Pa Samba Jow!


Pa, first of all let me acknowledge your untiring efforts and sacrifices to bring about change of leadership in the Gambia for the longest time. I thank you and DUGA wholeheartedly for being the pioneers in the struggle for liberating our country from Jammeh’s dictatorship.

Pa, I have been listening to your reactions over my article on elections in the Gambia on Freedom Radio. First of all, you, I, and everyone else will accept that there are two sides of the Gambian struggle. Those of you who are in the diaspora and those of us who are on the ground facing dictator Jammeh and his repressive machine. Those in the diaspora are free to talk, criticize, demonstrate, march, protest and go to bed and sleep peacefully without fear of being arrested, tortured and jailed. Such is not the condition for those who are on the ground. The political parties and people on the ground cannot advocate for coup d’état, violence and insurrection. They are not legally allowed or mandated to advocate for such drastic moves for change. Hence the difference in approach and method. The political parties’ only weapon legally available to them is elections. The opposition parties know they are not operating on a level playing field as far as electoral laws are concerned. You know it, we it. As such, it is your duty and our primary duty to fight against these draconian electoral laws.

Since we are in this fight together for these bad laws to change we should not in the process antagonize each other as partners in the same cause. That was the whole purpose of my article to remind the diaspora that we should be on the same level of understanding on issues. Each time Jammeh arrest people, we know we can count on you the diaspora to expose him and fight him until those people are released or their physical integrity safeguarded. In many cases we know you and us have done so much to have people released but to no avail and Alhaji Ceesay and Cham is a case point. This in essence means that people and parties at home face an extreme RISK and DIFFICULTY in carrying out their political activities and demands for democracy, rule of law and justice.

Having said the above the onus now lies on laying down the blame game and complains and strategize the way forward. What is the way forward for the people and opposition parties on the ground?

  • We should all fight together for electoral reforms.
  • When electoral reforms are difficult to obtain we should try to field one candidate against Jammeh.
  • The notion that that elections cannot remove Jammeh is only effective if no Gambian vote for the opposition. We know that people vote for the opposition in all past elections hence people will continue to vote for the opposition even if the numbers go down. That is an irrefutable FACT.
  • Therefore if people will certainly vote for the opposition then it is our duty for all of us to encourage more people to vote for the opposition. Saying or doing otherwise tantamount to discouraging people and the opposition parties and encouraging voter apathy for those who will never vote for Jammeh but prefer to abstain and stay home. This in essence is what we are fighting against. This is exactly how Jammeh wants it to be.

Elections and results are like the farmer and his farmland. The farmer will have everything in place to rightfully expect a bumper harvest but there are many adverse affects that if taken place will destroy all his hopes. Fire, animal intrusion, too much or too little rain, locust invasion etc. are all risks that the farmer takes for making a living. The legal political parties also invest in the people by meeting them, talking to them, exposing their plight, opening their eyes to the injustices and bad laws, encouraging them to vote against the incumbent, and promise of better administration if voted into office. After doing all these, they will have to wait to see if their message to the people is translated into a winning vote cast. They cannot force people to vote neither can Jammeh force them to put their tokens in his box. It is a secret ballot as such each is left with his or her conscience to put their token in the box of the CHOICE.

All said and done Coach, please help us do what we can legally do on the ground that is encourage ALL Gambians to vote against Jammeh in 2016. Failing which we are aiding Jammeh in encouraging voter apathy and Jammeh knows he can only bank on voter apathy to win.

I cannot conclude without thanking Alhaji Sow and Lawyer Assan Martin for their compassion and understanding of the realities we face on the ground and the their intelligence in doing everything possible in any event being for drastic change or legal electoral change. Every occasion to remove Jammeh must be exploited to it FULLEST. That’s the bottom line in the struggle against any dictatorship.

Finally if we succeed in beating Jammeh in the polls and he refuses to stand down, then there will be legal and spontaneous INSURRECTION to force him out of office and there is nothing he can do about it. You can take my humble word for it Brother.

Assan Martin is very right in highlighting this fact. The international community witnesses elections and the world will have its say in the outcome.

Thank you for all your sacrifices for love of country Brother Pa Samba Jow and hope to hear from you.

Written By Baboucarr Bojang

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