A Letter to President Jammeh ‘There is no Rehearsal in Running a State’


JasmmrhYour Excellency,

In life there are certain things that have to be done right the first time to usher in progress, stability, security, peace and unity.  Running a nation is one of such fundamental trusts and responsibilities which require getting it right from the word go. Mistakes, missed opportunities and omissions result in catastrophic loss of lives, wealth, credibility and the eroding of democratic institutions. As a result, there is no rehearsal in running a nation. At this juncture one may ask who is a leader of the people by the people and for the people?  An answer to such a pertinent question goes beyond name calling; it entails an embodiment of innate and acquired virtues, wisdom, skills and passion.  In a nutshell, such a leader is a person, who avails him or herself to scrutiny by the people, he or she is conscious of the fact that a nation is driven by collective responsibility and above all leads by example.

It is regrettably disheartening to see you endeavour in peddling fiction as facts to those who entrusted you with the running of their national affairs, security and development. Perhaps it is yet to dawn on you that the face is too wide for a finger to hide. Kanilai, you are on record that you will live for Gambians and die for them too. To buttress it further, you promised us that you will do whatever we Gambians want and ask you to do. If you are a man of your words who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk too, we ask you in the name of Allah, humanity, justice, peace and stability to release Imam Baba Leigh, Mambury Njie and all those political detainees languishing in detention  immediately without strings. Yes, it is an indisputable fact that there is no rehearsal in running a state but mistakes and errors made in the interest of the state and its people can be retracted and rectified. You also categorically underscored that you are not a monster but a human being. Once again I challenge that if you are really a human being and not a monster release these vulnerable and harmless innocent citizens from your torture chambers.


Those who have been murdered by your elite assassins, unfortunately, cannot be brought back to life but you can relief their families off the daily unabated agonies and uncertainties of whether to mourn or not for their loved ones. Knowing the truth about their loved ones will go a long way in soothing their indelible scares Jammeh. My hearts wept when Ndey Tapha Sosseh stated: “Heart pounding violently against my ribs; Temples throbbing and head reeling, I feel the bitter bile rising from my stomach. I wake up in cold sweat, shivering and trembling. I want to scream out my anguish and my pain…I ponder on the painful situation of Lala. I think of Maria who had to lay Deyda’s bullet ridden body to rest. Many others have been able to bury and mourn for their loved ones. Lala has been denied all of that. She does not know whether her husband, Imam Baba Leigh is alive or dead. The uncertainty of her situation haunts her every move. She does not know if she should mourn or not mourn. Unable to face her children or answer their questions, she averts her gaze as she is unable to look them in the eyes”. Kanilai I am certain that if your heart functions and feels like that of all of us, it will swell by reading this motherly reflection of Ndey Tapha Sosseh. As a Muslims, Allah reminds us in the glorious Quran that there are stones which fall and split for the fear of Allah and others that gush with water. What lesson can we draw from such an allusion Kanilai? It goes without saying that even the most evil persons have soft spots too. Equally, one can on the same vein assert that if a rock could fall and split for the fear of Allah how about the human being. Once again I will re-echo if you are truly a human being and not a monster show us that human side of you.


Jammeh you have let a lot of water flow under the bridge lately as clearly manifested by Ex-Warrant Officer Bai Lowe on Freedom Radio. One had thought with such incriminating revelations by your once trusted killer machine, you will appease Gambians by establishing a TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION to bring to account all those who have committed the slightest injustice against the other and make peace with one another in the interest of healing wounds and nation building. What amaze me most about you are your callousness and inaptitude. In your delirious mind you think that a wrong is corrected by another wrong. Kanilai, it does not work that way. Take it from me a wrong is always better corrected by a right. In other words, killing Bai Lowe, Pa Nderry Mbai and Essa B Sey will not efface the revelations made by him in the minds of Gambians. Better still, no person however powerful or wealthy you may be can kill an ideology. Yes, you can supress it only for a time but it will eventually triumph. Therefore, give a rest your fervent quest for blood and the killings of your fellow innocent and vulnerable citizen and take the path of reconciliation instead. Then and only then you will convince us that you are really not a monster but a human being.


Remember the Gambia belongs to all of us Gambians. As a result, it does not augur well when you childishly issue empty threats to those who have the guts to tell you white is white and black is black. Have you ever seen someone attempting to conceal an elephant? May be you have but no other person can attest to seeing it. It therefore only hurts more if you peddle fiction for fact. You become a slave of your egoistic desire and a prisoner of your own folly. Our senses and sensibility are to arm us with the wisdom to draw lessons from our mistakes and the successes of others to avert similar mistakes recurring in our lives. That is precisely why history continually records the rise and fall of leaders. You unlike Jawara had all the opportunities to draw lessons from his regimes pros and cons and register successes in all the areas he failed.  Unfortunately, your regime is the devil incarnated. If only Gambians could have foreseen you Kanilai, you would have been nabbed from the bud long long ago.


However, I hope and pray that Allah grand you the aptitude to distinguish the wrong from the right. Please permit me Kanilai to end my letter with the note of caution: with great power comes great responsibility. While counting on you reflecting on my humble observations and acting on them, I remain a true son of the Gambia.


Yours in the service of The Gambia,



Sulayman Jeng, UK.



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