Gambia: Who is Using Who & Where Was Our Judgment?


When we serve our country by working for the Gambian government, are we being used by President Jammeh or are we using our positions to impose or suppress the Gambian people by making policies that affect the ordinary Gambian and use our tax dollars to enjoy the benefits of power, prestige, a car, housing, and other small privileges to travel outside? I am sure many would say that the President is using the Gambian people to get what he wants done, but why do they find themselves working for him after they were fired? There is nothing wrong with serving one’s country to implement changes, but one would ask where was your judgment to serve under the Jammeh administration if the government is so corrupt and that it is led by a dictatorship

     How many people have served the government since 1994 and how many of our so called intellectuals did actually join the administration knowing what they knew then? The reason why I said what they knew then is how many unfortunate atrocities had taken place even before they served? Some even openly said that they voted for President Jammeh in 2011. Now, with all honesty Gambians, even if we were to go by the argument that those who served just after the fall of the PPP in 94 were trying to maintain order or revive the system, we can give them a benefit of doubt, but it was still a military regime which ended up legitimizing then Captain Jammeh. After 1996 Presidential elections, many of the crimes committed could have still been called not on the surface because many were attempts to remove the government. However, in April of 2000, 14 students were killed and yet still, how many Gambians went to serve? Where was their judgment? Many high profiled and senior officials are now abroad living in exile and calling all the wrongs of this administration, but they never acknowledge their lack of judgement and credibility. Instead, they become defensive and try to hoodwink the people into believing that they are all victims, and they never did wrong. Some may have been wrongfully jailed, tortured, or sent into exile out of fear, but to never acknowledge of any wrong doing especially the lack of judgment and incompetence of their abilities to perform speaks volumes. What we get instead are people defending the very same people responsible for electing President Yahya Jammeh. When we let our emotions cloud our judgements, we don’t speak the whole truth and cover up others because there is a mission in purpose which is getting rid of President Jammeh. When you speak about the overall problem we have, you can tell that even when reading news, it is read in a way to suit defense and not by accuracy.

      The people who are smart enough know that there is propaganda everywhere, but if we cannot be honest to each other and only speak off what people want to hear, we would be misleading the Gambian population. Under President Jammeh’s government, many atrocities have taken place. Many have gone missing and many are languishing in jail even after the President pardoned about 275 prisoners in July of 2015. Under the PPP government many enjoyed freedom but the disparity between the haves and have nots were huge. When President Jawara announced of his resignation in 1992 and then was reversed, that decision or error in judgment would hunt us for the rest of our history and could be a learning moment for all that when you sincerely want to leave, just leave! Even the National Security Service (NSS) was harassing and intimidating others. An article by a prominent Gambian writer who fled for exile later on spoke about “the crocodile tears” and was forever intimidated.

     After 50 plus years of having only two leaders, Gambians deserve better by passing term limits. The love of the Gambian people for President Jammeh in Gambia even after he humiliates or locks them up at his favorite hotel in Mile 2 is evident. After they come out, they go back to serve him cause as many would say, their loyalty is with him. I strongly believe that one has the right to support whoever they want and we need to recognize that people have their own individual rights. It is up to them to recognize that their loyalty should be for country. Patriotism is not to man but country. I do strongly support the security forces for maintaining the peace and stability of the Nation. It is really unfortunate that our perception of securing the nation may even fall to our blind eyes because our families are involved. I hope and pray that a commission of inquiry will be created to make sure that lives are defended and not carelessly taken away at few people’s will because of power. The April 2000 victims and other victims that happened in Gambia must be thoroughly investigated to give them the proper justice they deserve. That is why I still believe in a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission to get to the bottom of our predicaments. As for the people who said you can’t reason with Jammeh please tell them to go and find that same judgement call they made years back to work with him and slam it on their deaf ears. As a matter of fact, what I and others are calling for is something more principled than their souls which they sold long time ago. Too bad we are living in denial that there are many in Gambia who genuinely love their President even when he is killing them.

     There are no easy options, but we all deserve to try and take huge risks if our Gambia is worth saving. At least we don’t want a position just to hold power or be relevant, but we want to genuinely give Gambians hope for the future. We want to make sure that the Gambia can survive a peaceful transition in the long run and that justice will prevail for all Gambians and not just a few. The recent announcement of the FGM ban is positive news, and would eventually make its way to the Parliament I hope. Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh, Dr Isatou, Imam Baba Leigh with GAMCOTRAP has done a phenomenal job. Everyone should be given credit but the last efforts of Jaha Dukureh to revive the dream has definitely given it the push it needed. I hope that she will continue to sensitize with others the rights of all women and continue to give us all hope. Also, I recognize that not many will like the fact that her standing with President Jammeh, and will do whatever it takes to discredit her efforts, but all emphasis should be the bigger picture which is Gambia. No one is to be forced to give people recognition of their efforts in this struggle, and if Jaha is doing her work; let her be. The jealousy in our hearts is overshadowed by our reasoning. Whether it is Senegalese Artists, American Artists like Chaz Guest, Ben Vereen, Ndume Dube, or any other person doing anything with this administration is tarnished by trying to force them to recognize the efforts of activists. This type of strategy is what alienates others from joining the struggle because it is vindictive and prematurely irrelevant. If people are genuine in their fight, just do you and let others be. The lack of confidence and believing in one’s ability to perform is what is chasing these people to attack them. A reply from Jaha attacking people in the struggle that they don’t want to say anything good about Gambia is evident in their behaviors, and has forced Jaha to reply in a suffocating manner. The entertainments have been going on for so long and that is why others loose track. Why is it that every day people are reacting to what President Jammeh does or others? The day that the struggle stops being reactionaries and craft sensible strategies with leadership, and policies to implement, the International Community and others will see an influx of people standing with them to promote democracy. Until then, all we will continue to see are celebrations here and there when the White House writes a statement, or the LGBT community sends tweets.

     By the way, have the people really followed up on why the U.S decided to send an Ambassador to The Gambia after all these many years of neglect? It’s about time people get serious and start being progressive and let others be. The struggle is filled with many who lacked the judgment and still do. As evil as President Jammeh is, where was your judgement is what am asking? If you lacked the judgment then and you were a grown adult, why should we trust you now? The reason why there can’t be victory to celebrate is because the struggle has been hijacked like many would say. If we cannot clean our messes up from our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, Uncles, Aunts, etc., how we can be trusted. It’s about time the people who served tell us who is using who and were was their judgment!!!

Written By M.Njai

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