By Ousainou Mbenga, Washington, DC
The science fictions of creating monsters in the laboratory usually include a plan to kill the monster once it spirals out of control.
In the tragedy that befell our beloved Gambia; those who created the monster Yaya Jammeh made the fatal mistake of not having a plan to “neutralize” him when once out of control. Notwithstanding that, this “experiment” was conducted outside the laboratory, there were ample signs of an uncontrollable monster in the making. Out of the original five Council members, Jammeh emerged to the top through monstrous acts of outright barbarism. Captain Sadibou Hydara was murdered under custody; Captain Sana Sabally imprisoned for 9 years, Edward Captains: Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray are permanently emasculated after Jammeh soiled their hands with the blood of other soldiers and civilians alike.
A few among us raised the warning alarm from day one about these traitorous “soldiers with a difference” shrouded in “transparency, accountability and probity”. But his creators were afflicted then and now with a broad “political blind spot” which retarded their ability for insight and foresight. The “anything but Jawara” slogan became the “anthem” of the foolhardy creators who lifted the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) onto the “saddles of power”. And the downtrodden –meddlesome masses, misled by the euphoria of the empty promises for change became the cannon fodder for their lighting “ascension to power” and ultimately, the formation of the civilianized Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC). Plans to control Jammeh’s monstrous actions came a little too late from soldiers and their civilian allies who naively took Jammeh for granted.
From the AFPRC to APRC; a span of 22 years of Jammeh’s tyranny has brought us to another crossroad far more dangerous and volatile than the crossroads we found ourselves in 1994. In fact, the wretched conditions in our beloved Gambia have degenerated to unprecedented levels. The social and political conditions under which monsters could be created still present themselves. With escalating uncertainty, the youth see no future to look forward to but the perilous “Back Way” for the “not so greener pastors” of Europe. Our women folk, mostly the mothers of these youth, have come to realize that they have been used and discarded by Jammeh and his APRC. Worst still, are the young women who share the same fate as young men but have been reduced to sex objects in return for jobs and other menial favors from the APRC.
Remnants of Jammeh’s creators are still around, notwithstanding, some have regretted their association with the Jammeh regime. Many are jumping out of the rudderless APRC ship on the brink of sinking. On the other hand, the willfully ignorant “loyalists” are desperately clinging on to the monster’s tentacles hoping for another election victory for Jammeh on December 1, 2016.
The ominous slogan “anything but Jammeh” must not be part of our discourse just as “anything but Jawara” wasn’t. It is an insult to settle for “anything” after 22 years of rudderless leadership. This is the moment to make demands of our leaders and put them to the test; not giving them a chance. We must not leave anything to chance with endless wishing.
We must cultivate the society that creates leaders whose “humility is their strength and integrity their greatness”. We must choose from the best sons and daughters of our beloved Gambia for leadership. Putting leadership to the test and challenging their wrong decision are the only guarantees against the abuse of authority. The masses of our people must become more probing in the affairs of government and not leave it to the whims of presidents and their cronies.
In conclusion, our “nation” in anguish is at a critical juncture of our history, demanding for leadership to rescue us from Jammeh’s tyranny. This is the ultimate test to the opposition parties of our beloved Gambia. The vast majority of Gambian voters are poised for the final offensive against the Jammeh regime and ready to cast their lot with a united opposition on December 1, 2016. Are you leaders of the opposition parties ready to make history with the Gambian voters? The political terrain is now more fertile than ever before, let’s plant the seeds and cultivate the upright leadership now and forward into subsequent generations.
One Gambia! One nation! We will win. No more monsters in our midst!