Dictators in Africa tend to live longer lives than Democratic leaders. I do not know what causes this but my research have shown me that most African democratic aspirants, they mostly succeed in leading their country after their 50 to 60th birthdays. In Africa to become a young leader it is either taking up arms to make coups or inherit leadership. It is however so sad that still Yahya Jammeh remains the President of the Gambia for having come through a coup at a very young age of 29 as I said above and remaining in power with an iron fist targeting anyone who threatened his leadership, it looks like unless something is done, we are going to have him for a very very long time. There is no doubt that his regime is the most media controlling and anti-criticism minded in the whole of Africa if not the entire world.It dismays us as youth that when Yahya Jammeh came to power some of us were kids and still he is there always boasting of staying for one million years. Our generation of future leaders would be probably above fifty by the time Jammeh dies as President if he survives up to the age of 90 year as we all know most dictators live longer than democrats.
The reason for that I do not know but from my observations, Leaders who care for their people and are willing to serve according to the dictates of those very people, do not live long regardless of whether they come through coup or democratically. Example like: Thomas Sankara of Burkina fasso who was just 34 when he became President and He renamed his country from Upper Volta to “Burkina Faso” which means, “Land of the Upright People”. He himself lived and died by an upright example because of his vision for his country, Sankara died with 12 people who were summarily executed with him at the age of thirty eight (38) without betraying his cause. Then you have another Democrat Ghana’s John Atta Mills who died at the age of 68 last year at a military hospital in the capital, Accra, five months short of finishing his first term in office. Then Guinea Bissau’s late President Malam Bekai Sanha a leader who was ready to restore peace and put the military under civilian command in Guinea Bissau, died aged 64 after serving only 3 years as President. Nigeria’s Alhagie Musa Yara’dua who love his people and because he was a peaceful man, he ruled Nigeria from 29 May 2007 to 5th of May 2010 just three Years in office. Who else? Because even the likes of Lumumba who led Congo to independence in June 1960 but was allowed to rule for just less than a year. On the 17th of January 1961 just 7 or 8 months in power, he was brutally assassinated before he could put his vision for his country into practice.It was alleged that he was killed by Belgium who saw him as an enemy who would have stopped them mining in Congo.
Contrary to the above good African leaders who love and mean well for their countries, dictators in Africa and other part of the world are known to live long lives and examples in Africa from Cairo to Johannesburg: are:
Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea born 5 June 1942 and has been in power since 3rd August 1979 to date 32 years and its likely he will die in power now that he is 72 years old. Jose Santos of Angola, born 28 August 1942 and has been in power since 10 September 1979 up to date and he too intends to die ruling for he is also 72 years. Robert Mugabe born 21 February 1924, the old pa of all dictators who became leader of his country since 1980 and who is heading for almost 100 years now that he is 89 years old and is still President. Here is a man who constantly brutalize his people and rule with an iron fist. Also Paul Biya of Cameroon a man who came to power on 6 November 1982 and now at the age of 73 years he is still leader refusing to go. Denis Sassou Nguesso who ruled since 1979 well before I was born and still he is in Congo refusing to go. Yuweri Kaguta Museveni born since 1944 has been president since 1985 and now almost 71 years he still refuses to go. President Blaise Campore of Burkina Fasso who betrayed his friend Thomas Sankara and had him killed has been President for 24 years since the death of Sankara and there no sign he too want to go voluntarily in peace. He intends to die ruling. General Idriss Déby Itno is a Chadian politician who has been the President of Chad since 1990 and 20 years he still never considers retiring of leaving office alive.
Now as we count my heart sinks because after Chadian Leader, the next is no other than Yahya Jammeh of Gambia who has been in power since July 22nd 1994 and nearly 20 years he is never thinking of leaving peacefully. He wants to die in power and that is too scaring for if the trend of his fellow dictators living longer lives due to services of the best medical facilities available to them at the expense of their people, if Yahya were to live long how long would he rule for another 20 years to make it forty like his master Qaddafi of even more for among st all the above dictators Yahya Jammeh came to power younger than all of them and with that I fear my life and the lives of all young Gambians of our generation and generation coming because how many of us are to disappear,die tortured or killed for trying to overthrow Yahya Jammeh even when you are not a soldier but he just fear you might threaten his leadership?
It is so sad at my age of 27 years, to sit and think that our new generations can never intend becoming President until maybe we are 60 or above. Where on earth have we heard Leader saying they would rule for 1 million year if they do not mean it? In the history of the Gambia, we are known for our tolerance and friendliness and known to be a nation human right friendly nation, very democratic and smiling people thus earning the name the Smiling coast and all these were years I learnt,was before Yahya Jammeh’s regime Now since my childhood days at the age of 9 when Yahya Jammeh came to power, all I know is brutality, fear, and intimidation. Who would blame our generation of their youth who grew up with those doctrines of Yahya is God’s chose none? As most youth now serve in the army, with the view of Oga is mighty, it would be difficult to retrain them of how this monster has ripped them off all their rights has now turn our nations of once peaceful into a laughing stock with his so called discovery of cure for AIDS thus making headlines of the Gambia and the wider world would now see every Gambian as stupid fools who are seen dancing for a bafoon and scrambling over his biscuits while he constantly abuse them, rip them of all of their human rights, detaining them at will without regard to the rule of law and even sometimes killing them as if their lives belong to him and not God .
The must vicious leader Gambia has ever seen since the time of kings and warlords and 21st century ritualistic man who would not mind to sacrifice the entire Gambia just to remain President. As a young man I keep thinking why our elders cannot see our future and come together for us so that we too can enjoy the freedom of speech I learnt Gambian enjoyed under Jawara for it is only when people talk freely they feel they count. My granny told me before independence even slaves who are owned by their fellow human beings do have voices. So if today in the Gambia we cannot talk then Slaves are better than us. With Bai Lowe’s chilling account on Freedom of people being buried in wells oh my God Gambia’s young generation would never forgive Yahya but equally we will not forgive you our elders of today who only but argue among st your selves not thinking of what we the young generation would go through because of your constant disagreements for one reason or the other.
On the 48th independent celebrations of our country, I was so ashamed that I was thinking what is there to celebrate anyway? If this man so called President would use independence celebration to issue threats and threats without highlighting what he aims for his people, then I do not know why celebrating independence for all Gambian today are under captivity and we are all prisoners in the Gambia. It is just that our Prisoner status are better than each other. it is so immature to learn that the nation’s leader or dictator issued treating words to human right activists not to make the mistake of setting foot on the Gambian soil as if Gambia now belong to him in that he can choose who comes and who stays always but in reality that is the truth the Gambia truly belongs to him, for the simple reason is that we the young writers who decide to write about the situations affecting people especially our generation in the Gambia on online newspapers do receive constant calls from people who are close relatives in and outside the Gambia advising us to stop writing for we are according to them we are too young and Yahya is very dangerous. Sometimes it sends chilled fear run through our spines for yes we know Yahya is Dangerous but for the simple reason we want to see democracy succeed in the Gambia no matter what threat comes our way, we would continue writing so that the battle our elders, uncles aunts, brothers and sisters are fighting which is for the future to be better for us, I feel we should be part of such struggle and that is why I write and always will when ever I can for it is only through writing I can express my views outside the Gambia for in the Gambia no one dares say anything when you are my age. Your family would eat you alive for fear of what would happen to you. But all the same I belief the time has come to overcome that fear and challenge the dictator head on.