Please kindly allow me to respond to Mr Pa NJie Girigara’s article on why President Barrow should consider appointments of lawyer Mariama Denton and Femy Peters in government positions or as an advisers . I want to first highlight what I know about Pa Njie Girigara as a citizen in the struggle to liberate our country from military dictatorship. Mr Njie has been writing so many articles with different aliases before the new government was elected . There is no problem in using pseudonyms to express one’s view but my concern is that one need to be consistent in using pseudonyms if you want to be respected. Mr Njie used aliases such as Deyda Hydara and Baboucarr Bojang during the struggle. He has never been consistent in his political positions or belief. Mr Njie was strong advocate for opposition coalition before the opposition convention to chose a flag bearer. He has even promised to give one million dalasis if our opposition leaders come together to form a coalition. But as soon as a new political party GDC was formed, he switched allegiance and support to Mr Mama Kandeh who supported dictatorial policies and laws for ten years to entrench Jammeh in power.
Mr Njie and I used to be great ally on Kaironews where we engaged in substantive debate in the fight to end military dictatorship in The Gambia . We wrote countless articles or commentaries to expose the former dictator jammeh and urged the opposition leaders to form a coalition . Unfortunately, I have discovered that Mr Njie or Deyda Hydara has never been consistent in his political beliefs or strategy though I respect Mr Njie’s constitutional rights to support any political party of his choice.
However, Mr Njie is dead wrong to indicate that president Barrow should consider Lawyer Mariama Denton and politician Femy Peters for government positions or as special Advisers because according to him , these two citizens were among the founders of UDP and were first victims of opposition political activism. Lawyer Denton is an outstanding citizen with great qualifications who has demonstrated her patriotism during the most difficult period, likewise Mr peters whose sacrificed has put UDP in better political leadership positions. This doesn’t mean that anyone who sacrificed for our country should be rewarded for political positions. We must honor , appreciate and recognize their selfless sacrifices in the fight to restore democracy and freedom in our country.
I want to remind Mr Njie that there are thousands of citizens who are equally victimized by the military dictatorship under the leadership of Dictator Yaya Jammeh. There are many citizens who sacrificed their lives for the betterment of our country but they have not done so because of political positions or individual personal gain . Those patriotic citizens have sacrificed their lives because they believed that it was moral responsibility to fight for what was right, that is democracy , rule of law and justice. Therefore, it is not wise thing to single out lawyer Mariama Denton, Mr Femy Peters or anyone as the first victims of political activism who should be rewarded. I believe that lawyer Denton and Femy fought for justice, democracy and rule of law because they love the country and they want to leave a better country for their children and grandchildren. Their patriotic sacrifices are appreciated and honored by decent citizens who believe in rule of law and constitutionalism. Many heroes who contributed significantly are today silently observing our political leadership because their efforts was simply based on love for country but not seeking political position.
In the history of fight for political freedom and democracy in many part of the world , those who did selfless sacrifices do not usually enjoy the freedom they fought for. True freedom fighters are never concerned about benefits of political positions but they are genuinely concerned about better living conditions and freedom of their fellow citizens. It was the same reason , Gambians in diaspora participated in the fight to liberate our country from clutches of dictatorship. It was also the same reason that Solo Sandeng led peaceful protesters even though he knew the danger at the time when he embarked on peaceful protest as constitutional rights to demand electoral reforms. Mr Njie should also remember that there were 14 Gambian students who were massacred in the broad daylight when they demonstrated for the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens to be respected. These examples and many that I did not mention here indicate that selfless sacrifices by patriotic citizens has always been part of our country’s history.
The families of all these victims are living in pain because they can never get back their loved ones while the survivors of repressive regime could rebuild their lives through making of career decisions or personal decisions. We must do away with our attitudes of honoring and rewarding only people of highest political connections or elites with intellectual, social and economic privileges. We must instill in ourselves the idea of selfless sacrifices so that young people will recognize that selfless sacrifices bring in freedom, justice and democracy. This will also promote patriotism and standing up for what is morally right for our country. Fighting over political positions is not a conduct of true freedom fighter who want to see democracy, rule of law and justice prevail in his or her country.
Thank you .