It is obvious to all that Judgement Day is very close for Jammeh and his evil government. For all his threats and machinations it’s all over. He knows it, his enablers know it and most Gambians know it. An Aku proverbs says ” he’s dead, all that’s left is the burial”.
All his threats and accusations are more of desperation and fear than serious reality. He still has die hard followers and enablers who will carry out his orders, but they are a diminishing number increasingly fearful of their own end. Sulayman Leigh wrote an excellent article on this topic as did “a concerned Gambian” yesterday.
The question is how will the end happen, and how will it affect the Gambia and the post Jammeh area? In the short term the fate of Ousainou Darbo and his fellow detainees is vital. What will happen to them? Left to himself Jammeh would dearly love to vent his hatred and fury on them, but he is restrained by fear of a major uprising among other issues. However, he has lost all sanity and capable of anything so they need to be protected by those charged with their imprisonment. If they hope to survive the transition they MUST protect those in their charge. If they cannot produce Ousainou Darbo and all the remaining detainees after Jammeh they could face mob violence as happened to Samuel Doe, Ghaddafi and others. Eventually, all should be judged in a court of law, but history suggests that mob violence and personal revenge could rule for a period of time. The 1981 coup is a terrifying reminder of what can happen when law and order breaks down.
There are various scenarios for the end of the Jammeh regime:-
1) He dies in office – either of sickness or at the hands of his own military. This is the most likely scenario given the present circumstances. This could be called a Palace Coup with the strongest contender taking control. Saul Badjie could be a likely candidate since he has allegedly survived more than one assassination attempt. He is is reported to enjoy considerable support in the army although his influence has been greatly reduced. He is very familiar with the Gambian security apparatus and chief trouble shooter, as seen in his recent trip to check out helicopter sightings in the Fatoto area, and instructions to check out recent arms movements by General Joseph Bassen.
In some ways Saul could be a desirable interim replacement to Jammeh because he is in a position to secure Gambia and prevent mass looting and destruction of our already depleted infrastructure. Kanilai, for all it’s infamy is a valuable complex which could be of value in future to the Gambian people as an agricultural development site. Even in the heart of evil there is good. Jammeh has done a lot of research and development there in terms of agriculture notably rice. It should not be destroyed but put to good use by and for the Gambian people.
I don’t know Saul at all, but reading between the lines he seems to be a very effective operator and a good leader of his men. Arguably he could be the best person to take over but he has his limitations and should not aspire to be the new president. This would be a major disaster which Gambians would not tolerate, and could plunge the Gambia into chaos. He would need to get rid of Jammeh, stabilize the security of the Gambia and IMMEDIATELY hand over to a transitional government. Perhaps in return for negotiated immunity.
All this is speculation, but it holds the possibility of a relatively peaceful transition without the destruction of an uncontrolled uprising and threat of civil war.
2) Jammeh leaves Gambia for Morocco or another destination. His escape plans have already been revealed. What would then happen in Gambia? Would the remainder of the Jola hegemony fight it out among themselves for power with the winner trying to take over and become president? If so this would be very unwise, since Gambians would never tolerate this outcome and it could easily degenerate in a brutal civil war mainly between the Mandinka and Jola. The battle lines have already been drawn and are just waiting for the spark to ignite it. Ousainou Darbo is NOT a tribalist but many Mandinka seem to be lining up behind him on this basis. The Mandinka mindset has always been that Gambia is a Mandinka country; they are the biggest single tribe, but they do not form a majority in the Gambia. Unless I am mistaken many Mandinka feel resentment, shame, and a deep anger at Jammeh’s take over and repression. It’s like a boiling pot just waiting to boil over. Late President Jawara was able to keep this tendency under control and diffuse it, but now it’s ready to explode. Ousainou Darboe may not be able to keep it under control, being the lawyer and gentleman that he is.
If unchecked, this threat of a tribal based civil war is very real, and even genocide -the Jola being a small minority who have provoked the majority Mandinka. Ethnic cleansing of Jola could evolve as happened with the Hutu/Tutsi in Rwanda for similar reasons – a minority oppressing a majority tribe,
ISIL thrive in these environments of chaos and hatred bringing a new set of problems.
3) There is a mass uprising to overthrow Jammeh and his government. Some believe this is the only way to get rid of this regime, a view widely held among the diaspora. However for those familiar with international affairs it is the last thing Gambian needs. A raging bush fire can be lit by a single match, but can burn out of control destroying everything, good a bad. For those who watch international news we have seen several bush fires in recent years the latest being Fort McMurray in Canada. It destroyed a 5th of the town threatened the neighboring State of Alberta. For Gambia it could destroy the unity of our country, its infrastructure, and eventually lead to a Senegalese take over to save their own country. Or it could mean years of war, famine and disintegration of our nation.
Many would say this is just scaremongering!! Yallah Bahna, this is the Gambia it cannot happen here. True, it is a pessimistic view, but none of us thought in 1994 that we would be brought to the point we are today. So much has happened that was unimaginable 20 years ago, but it has. We have always regarded Gambia is blessed, untouchable, easy going, “the Gambia, no problem”. Too many Gambians live in a fool’s paradise thinking everything will be OK, don’t worry, Yallah Bahna. Evidence all around us is proving the very opposite. It’s time for every Gambian, (man woman and child) to wake up and consider their position. Especially on the ground. The diaspora are largely fine, if homesick and concerned. Those in the Gambia are in the line of fire. It is up to THEM to decide their future and take control or suffer the consequences. Running away is not an option nowadays as those who have left know too well. Ask those in Senegal. You must take control of your destiny and build your country or lose it.
Lastly a word to our “would be leaders”. A Chinese proverb says “Let he who would start a revolution first consider if he is capable of the task ahead”. Edward and co thought so, but look where they have brought us to? They started with great hope and confidence back then, but were they capable? Today we have the answer. No finger pointing, but you are faced by the same decision today. If you are not capable, please join together and support the best man for the job! Gambia is more than a single ego who would like to have a go and get rich. It means taking responsibility for the lives and futures of over 1 million people and the future of your country. History is judging Jammeh right now. How will history judge you?
Written By A Concerned Gambian