Well said Pata!! The essential change is from a “Kingdom mentality”, where our president is seen and almost worshiped as a Boorr, totally unaccountable to the people. As a “king or boorr” he owns not only all the land but all the people, and all the wealth. This is how Jammeh has always seen himself and behaved accordingly. He has always promoted this image of himself as king and believed it himself. The problem has come when Gambians believed it and helped him to become the de-facto king and resulting in the evil government that we have experienced over the past 22 years.
On the edge of a new Gambia let’s not forget that many, many Gambians have benefited from Jammeh’s patronage and rose to an unimaginable wealth and power. They are the present elite, middle and upper classes in Gambian society. It’s interesting to see so many now jumping ship and lining up to present their wealth, support and loyalty to President -Elect Barrow. I know nothing about Mr. Barrow or his capabilities, but observation suggests that he is a humble man and no fool. Indications in his reference to Mama Kandeh that his Gambia does not lack manpower (i.e. Mama Kandeh) and that his will be a government of technocrats (people qualified and with experience in their field) is a very good sign.
History has much to teach us. In this case the rebuilding of Germany after the 2nd world war. It was essential to purge the post Hitler Germany of the former Nazi (National Socialists) party members to prevent a repeat of their activities. To help this each former member of the government was required to have a “Persil Sheet”. Persil is a laundry soap like Omo. The idea was that each person was investigated regarding their role and activities in the Nazi regime and if cleared of significant wrong doing issued a clean sheet to take on responsibility. If not, they were barred from holding public office. The new regime needs to bear this in mind, because as the Jammeh ship sinks these same people will, like rats, jump on the new ship and continue their selfish activities with no real change. This must not be allowed to happen. Selection and promotion MUST be based on competence and character, not loyalty and sycophancy. Otherwise it will be in the words of the late Dixon Colley “Same problem, same people equals same result”.
President Barrow is right in saying that there will be no “witch-hunt” and that our laws are adequate to deal with any proven injustices under the Jammeh regime. Our legal system is perfectly adequate if the Laws of the Gambia are simply enforced. Many laws have been twisted for evil and selfish purposes but they can be brought back to proper norms of justice. Mr. Barrow is not saying that there will be no justice or redress for crimes committed by and under the Jammeh regime. Only that there will be no extra – judicial or revenge activity. This is fair and wise. During the Second World war, many French people had collaborated with the German Occupation to gain favors from them. Much like Gambia today, others had suffered at the hands of their own countrymen. In the year following the end of the war there was much “savage justice”. Killing, beating and humiliation of collaborators by their neighbors and local towns people. Not to mention disappearances, property burned down and for the women public humiliation by having their hair shaved. All this in a nation that prides itself on “freedom, equality and brotherhood”. This is human nature if left uncontrolled. In 1946 the courts were properly reconstituted and the legal prosecution began and each individual judged by French law (instead of German Occupation Law). Mr. Barrow is anxious to avoid personal revenge and rough justice to occur and channel crimes through the courts and legal system. Let’s all exercise restraint and support him in this irrespective of party, preference or status. Let legal justice be the order of the 3rd Republic.
There is no doubt that Jammeh and his regime are finished and will go. There is the matter of how and when they will go. In immediate post inauguration period, it is essential that the same rats are not allowed to re-infest the ship. It’s like getting rid of bedbugs then allowing them to re-infest the new bed and mattress!!
As my teacher used to say, “It’s time to give chance to others. New blood, fresh ideas, and a new mentality”. If not, then it’s simple a recycling exercise, which is not what progressive Gambians want. Let’s show mercy and forgive those who have oppressed us but be mindful not to let them repeat it. In local parlance “The first fool is a fool, the second fool, a fool, the third fool is a b*****d. He deserves all he gets”. We are entering the Third Republic …
Written By Boorr Sine.