Madison, WI, USA. March 5th, 2013
Dear military and security forces,
For the last two years, as political revolutions across North Africa and the Middle-East freed many countries from decades of one-man rule in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen as well as forced dramatic Constitutional and political changes in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, it is becoming evident that the hunger for political freedom is trumping the fears of the repressive regimes that once welded limitless power. In Libya, one of the unlikeliest places to experience a popular revolution, the regime of Dictator Col. Mumar Ghaddafi, a man who once unabashedly supported Yahya Jammeh, is long executed and gone. Clearly, the world is turning a new page, but more importantly still, nations around the globe are turning their back on dictators whose senseless rules have created untold hardship, economic ruin and social degeneration in their countries. It is in this context that fellow countrymen and women who cherish the opportunity to live in a society and country free of fear, intimidation, arrest and incarcerations, and murders and executions, urge the Gambia’s military and security forces in particular, and the civilian population in general, to work together with a determined Gambian Diaspora, to help mitigate the suffering of our countrymen and women and work in unity for the immediate removal from power, of the cancer that is ruining our country, Yahya Jammeh.This has to happen as a matter of utmost urgency as we can no longer allow our innocent fellow citizens to continue to suffer the way they do, the arrests and detentions that know no end, the massive incarcerations of innocent citizens, the high and unaffordable prices of food commodities our women are faced with each day, the unaffordable high cost of living that even people who work and get paid can no longer afford, the constant disappearances of citizens who end up dead in wells across the border in Casamance, and the hundreds of Gambians and non-Gambians whose skeletons are piled high in dead wells and unmarked gravesites all around our country and neighboring Casamance. Of course, by now everyone has heard the former military officer, Bai Lowe, confess his roles and that of other military and security agents on Freedom Radio, about how Yahya Jammeh ordered and Ousman Sonko and others enforced, the murders, executions and poisoning of hundreds of innocent Gambians and non-Gambians, which includes my own two nephews, Sgt. Illo Jallow, the military and Jaata Jallow, formerly of the NIA. The Gambian people want assurances of protection from their military and security forces so they can express their Constitutional rights and desire for the immediate removal of Yahya Jammeh and his murderous thugs.
The utter fear and terror in the hearts of our fellow citizens which Yahya Jammeh has been able to exploit and rule like an imperial king of two hundred years ago, can no longer be permitted, especially in a country, such as ours, which adopted a Republican Constitution, not the imperial kingships of many centuries ago. And throughout the last two weeks, Gambians were remained stunned and shocked by the details of how one Gambian after another was brutally murdered and executed on the direct orders of Yahya Jammeh. We already saw Yahya Jammeh admit to the executions of forty-four Ghanaians to the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the ECOWAS, but he blamed the military and security forces, not himself, for these gruesome atrocities. Beside, Gambia is the only country on the face of the earth where the military and security forces are targeted, selected and marked for death by a dictatorial regime, without doing anything about it. But sitting down and doing nothing is no longer an option, because tomorrow the one marked for death could be you or someone you in the military any one of you deeply cares about. Everyone who was murdered by the regime had someone who loved them and cared for them and certainly my own family cannot get over the pain of the poisoning and murders of Jaata Jallow and Sgt. Illo Jallow whose only crime was to serve their country.
With that in mind, and with the wind of revolutionary change sweeping all across the Arab world, there is no better time to free our country than NOW. We therefore urge our patriotic military and security forces to work with us to save our country from descending even deeper into anarchy and chaos. We call on all Gambians irrespective of tribe; Manjago, Jola, Mankanyi, Serere, Mandingo, Wollof, Serahule, Aku and Fula to put aside the differences caused by Yahya Jammeh’s long reign and reunite as one family again to remove the evil in our midst, Yahya Jammeh. The Gambia’s popular revolution need not be violent or chaotic and it can happen without a single shot being fired, by taking control of all the military camps and installations around the country, rounding-up all Casamance rebels within our borders, and arresting Yahya Jammeh and all his less than twenty true loyal supporters who are all bribed with money and promotions in the military and security forces. But, one needs reminding that before both Lang Tombong Tamba and Omar B Mbaye were arrested, detained and charged in 2009, both were promoted three times in the same year to the ranks of generals, because Yahya Jammeh does not care about anyone’s rank, if he wants to get rid of anyone, he will create a false charge against them and once anyone is promoted, they are put under constant surveillance by secret agents.
It is a well-known fact that no one in the military or security forces is immune to being fired without reason and worst, being killed and ending up at the deep bottom of a well in forests in Casamance. Just last week, Yahya Jammeh again promoted another group of military and security forces and he does this whenever he is scared and need to bribe those he promoted to be loyal to him. The military must instead live up to what they swore to protect; the country and its citizens and to uphold the Gambian Constitution, NOT Yahya Jammeh. Gambians will count on the military and security forces working together with the civilian population to efficiently and fearlessly carry-out Yahya Jammeh’s removal. Gambians, even in the Diaspora, know by now that Yahya Jammeh has no support among the Gambian people and very little in the military, and why many still fear him, is beyond comprehension. Yahya Jammeh’s power after-all power is in the hands of his protectors; the very military and security forces who fear him the most. If our young man and women in uniform remain so fearful of ONE man, where does that leave the rest of the population who have no weapons to ransack the State House and drag Yahya Jammeh out by his heels? So fellow men and women in uniform, the time to emulate the Arab countries is now. It is an open secret that all the leaders in West Africa are shamed by what Yahya Jammeh is doing in our country; the students’ massacre in 2001, the Ghanaians massacre in 2005, the witch-hunting around the country in 2009, the executions of Mile 2 prisoners in 2012, and the hundreds of deaths and disappearances since 1994.
And even though Yahya Jammeh placed and promoted only Jolas in highest positions throughout the administration, by the same token, he murdered more Jolas than any single tribe. For now, Gambians want a country ruled, not by ONE SINGLE individual, but by the truly elected representatives of the people. Gambians want a country where everyone has equal opportunities, regardless of tribe and regional origin. Gambians want a country to proudly return to from all around the world, not a country to run away from by the thousands. Gambians in the Diaspora want to copy other emerging African economies where the Diaspora returned to invest and rebuild their battered economies. Gambians want a country where the media is free and vibrant and holding their government to account to the people who elected it. Gambians want a country where true sons of the country, not foreigners are in control of the economy. Gambians want a country where the schools have teachers who teach well, where the hospitals and health centers are adequately provide for in terms of staff and resources, where people are free from the constant harassment at countless check points throughout the country, and where everyone is free to participate in the democratic process. In short, Gambians want a country without Yahya Jammeh. Eighteen years of the same suffering is more than Gambians can any longer tolerate.
Let is bring peace and sanity back to our country again. Think about the hundreds of human skeletons piled high at the bottom of deep wells in Casamance; the unknown gravesites all around the country, in Casamance and at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, the hundreds of Gambia’s best and brightest minds who fled their own country, and the one-man, Yahya Jammeh of course, who monopolizes nearly the entire Gambian economy through his company, the Kanilai Farms International Group, the Jolanization of the entire civil service, the herding of all Gambia’s young men and women into the military and security forces for the SOLE purpose of protecting Yahya Jammeh and his murderous regime, the high and unaffordable cost of living and the resulting hunger which causes poverty and creates the social disruptions of crime, prostitution, beggars, sale and dependency on illegal drugs and growing mental illnesses among the population. The list of what is terribly wrong and what is ruining our country is endless. Now the time to end this regime is RIGHT NOW. The whole country, except some of those being bribed with money and promotions in the military and security forces, want the Yahya Jammeh nightmare to end. Enough suffering; enough pain and enough death and dying! The time is now. Fear is no longer an option. It is Yahya Jammeh against the whole country and we know he makes threats whenever he is scared to death, fearful and about to defecate in his nasty underwear. We must win this battle against tyranny. Our suffering countrymen and women can wait no longer. To the men and women in the military and security forces, act with the love of fellow citizens and your country in mind, act with determination and act fearlessly to make history, rather than end up a mere statistic at the bottom of an old dry well in the forests of the jungle of neighboring Casamance and Guinea-Bissau.
Mathew K Jallow