By: Ousainou Mbenga
On January 17, 1893 Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii characterized the imposed U.S constitution upon the indigenous Hawaiian people as the “bayonet constitution”, which led to the subsequent overthrow of her queendom. The “bayonet constitution” laid the groundwork for the theft of the Hawaiian archipelago, first as an annexed territory, and ultimately, into a state within the U.S imperialist empire. Such aggressions have been the representation of constitutions in colonies up to the present-day neo-colonies.
In the case of the Gambia, the 2020 draft constitution crafted by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), was the axe grinding agenda of the dismembered Barrow / UDP hegemony against the 2016 coalition and its ultimate destruction and betrayal of the Gambian masses. The United Democratic Party (UDP) leadership was at the helm of all the important government appointees and the commissions inaugurated to guide the beginning of the sham and bogus “New Gambia”. The CRC might have been of “good intentions”, but the “road to hell is paved with good intentions”, as the fate of their draft constitution was meted out at the not-so “National Assembly”. The current political manifestations in the country represent the blow back of UDP’s intentions for hegemony.
And just in passing, the other inaugurated commission, the Janneh Commission was on the opposite pole to “good intentions”. It turned out to be the most shameful exercise of tracking and exposing the trail of looting by the Jammeh regime’s 22 year tyranny and in the end, the same courts that were given the “constitutional authority” by the Barrow/UDP regime to investigate, declared that “they don’t have the mandate to enforce or execute” the findings in their report. This despicable act proves our contention that, “the courts are the highest expressions of politics”. According to the Janneh commission, over 1 Billion Dalasi was allegedly recovered in monies not including other unreported assets. So, where are all these resources kept and who has access to them? To put it bluntly, the courts have undoubtedly given Barrow and his National People’s Party (NPP) easy access to campaign money. Now, the Barrow regime, the inherited carbon copy of the criminal Jammeh regime, can sink its fangs into the stolen resources of the country for his campaign while telling the masses that follow him on the dusty trails to stay home, not to spread the COVID-19.
For the moment, let us allow the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to run its rigmarole course. But hold not your breath to great expectations from the TRRC, because the same courts that cannot “enforce or execute” on the findings of the Janneh Commission are the same courts that will make a determination on the findings of the TRRC.
Back to the “supreme law of the land”, the constitution. It is important for the masses of our people, who have always been mere spectators in the process of crafting this document, to have a profound understanding of the recent and unprecedented nation-wide and “diaspora” consultation initiated by the CRC. The outcome of the consultations has proved to be the historic “illusions of inclusion” of the masses in the so-called “democratic process”. How else can this constitution be characterized other than a “toilet paper” for the impotent ruling class across the African continent? The history of bourgeoise constitutions gives the masses the illusions of inclusion in the decision-making process, when voting them into office is the only action they allow you to participate in. The “people’s will must prevail” will remain a myth under these neocolonial constitutions.
The masses of our people must understand that every neocolonial constitution was “plagiarized” from the colonialist’s constitutions of the Greek, British and American empires. The slogan: “For the people, by the people” is an illusion. The oppressed masses have never been represented by constitutions. The oppressed masses have historically been relegated as canon-fodder voters for unscrupulous politicians and their law makers. Once in office, you remain in the same wretched conditions of poverty until the next election cycle. Until we come to the necessary understanding that these “toilet paper constitutions” are crafted to maintain the neocolonial borders of false sovereignty, we will forever remain as fodder for these blood sucker presidents and their lackeys. Until we carry the African revolution to its logical conclusion, and craft the real people’s constitution, we will continue to make political storms that blow down the wrong trees.
Don’t lose any sleep or shed “crocodile tears” over these theatrics at the National Assembly that have been bought and sold by the Barrow regime. These colonialists in black faces will always betray you. All the signs of betrayal are written on the wall that we are on our own, that we cannot rely on these parasites to solve our problems. The New Gambia is a sham, it will never happen under the Barrow regime, neither under his past and present allies. Notwithstanding the setbacks since December 2, 2016, we must set ourselves up for a revolutionary comeback. Only revolutionary politics can save our beloved Gambia from the hungry wolves of the Barrow regime and its enablers.
Let us build the revolutionary alternative against neocolonialism and establish the OPPOSITION that Jammeh daringly claim he never had in the Gambia. And Barrow’s actions are, clearly, signs of a missing viable opposition.