By Yero Jallow
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest,” (Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President and apartheid Hero).
Part of the reason for the recent protest in Kanilai, the Gambia, from a cross-section of Jammeh’s supporters, is that they want Jammeh back in the Gambia. Really? The question is: Do you want him back to be tried in a court of law or do you want him back as a criminal leader? That is your answer. I personally do not have a problem with Jammeh coming back to submit himself to the crimes he committed against decent SeneGambians. That should be made very clear. Anything short of that is an insult to the many victims of tyranny. Jammeh knows that much and no decent person should be sympathetic to his ugly fate. He was told and he chose criminality and arrogance over proper relationship with the populace. The same message is being passed to any person in authority, that citizens will not condone arrogance, criminality, and being divisive. You either represent or you are out. Position of power is not a family and/or friendship business, it is a national business, where all citizens belong.
What the above means to all, is that all those that worked with Jammeh, at the lower and/or higher level, must as well be ready to submit themselves through a process of screening, to be free or found culpable to the numerous crimes committed. This could all be covered by a well-constructed Truth and Reconciliation commission that will oversee matters seriously. It doesn’t require surface touch for the sake of just scoring political points. It must be thorough, fair, and done correctly to move our nation forward; it must be done in a way to teach all leaders a lesson that citizens will not accept tyranny and anything resembling it.
It is criminal to have committed a crime under Jammeh, with Jammeh, and alongside Jammeh’s tyranny. Some of the notorious enablers defaulting up in new roles within the Barrow administration must quickly resign or be forced out, as it poses serious unethical traits. For one, there is clear conflict of interest – they were enabling the ugly system, in complicit, some of them aided and abetted, as a result, they are not in the right frame of mind to double-dip, and put us into more trouble. They had their chance to lead and some of them woefully failed Gambians by betraying trust. That is too opportunistic, and their past records are very ugly, over a very long period of time. They shouldn’t redeem their souls through us, no, it is not real. It is easily seen that if such breed is not weeded out, it will impede the whole idea of Truth and Reconciliation, as some selective exoneration has already started to take center stage, all in the name of friendship and closeness ties. Additionally, the very people who enabled Jammeh, tortured, locked, and killed Gambians cannot be the very people to lead us, they cannot be the very people to arbiter and resolve the committed crimes, and it is just fair that some of them excuse themselves without being told. Their presence within midst stinks and it truly reminds us of the ugly 22 years of tyranny.
For leadership, the best thing to do is just doing the right thing, in the best possible. Best possible meaning true representation, combining good listening and behavioral traits. Leaders come and go, and the Gambia and its citizens will be here. By virtue of one’s access to power and state power, is no reason to be unruly, arrogance, or thinking that you are some super human being. You are really nothing and the day you realize that, you are done, and “Had I known, shall never be known.” Leaders should seek to unite citizens and keep a good threading line that is not divisive. A divisive leader is one that utilizes its citizenry, to please some, and annoy others, for the sole purpose of divide, conquer, rule, and promote some agenda not promotional to national interest. That is not a demonstration of love for country. One that loves country must see country and its citizens first. Such a person will not be consumed by material, name, money, position, and/or some fat ego. Remember all human being are equal before God, and if you are better, it is only because you acted better. For a leader, you are already leading; there is no need to lie, because you have access to power. There is no need to be complex, hateful, and/or jealous of others, because you are already leading. There is no need to be greedy and arrogant, because you have access to power. You have a reason to respectfully engage and preside. At the national level, we need competent leaders, not bullies. Leaders will see things right while bullies will gather dust on their shoulders. That is the difference. Whatever you do, be rest assured it will catch up to you.
In the end, citizens should refused to be used by anyone leader, or any divisive person. Just nib it off and send the person packing. Lower, lower, lower, you stamp saitan lower! Loyalty is to country and citizens first, and then you are welcome to support any other agenda that promotes interest groups, clearly not at the expense of country, because country is what should come first at the national table. Complement, and refrain from praise-singing. Our binding spirit of defiance, you touch one citizen in a wrong way, you touched all, and I do not take you to be any demi-god, rather I only take you as a representative I hired who should serve the interest of the country.
“For the Gambia Our Homeland; for the Gambia Ever True.”