‘Baba’ should see the stars

'Baba' should see the stars

221
image 20

Even in the dark thick cloud, there are stars. You can choose to see the star or the thick dark cloud. Sometimes, one must simply take a win — focus on the silver lining and in this case the star. For Ousainu Darboe, that could be his contribution to The Gambia’s democracy or its legal jurisprudence.

To any logical person, Darboe should now simply hang his boots, appoint an interim successor, take a fortnight holiday to the US or some beautiful island with his grandchildren and relax. Darboe must take a win. At a point in life, one has to focus on the silver lining – the positive thing.

For Darboe, that should be the fact that he contributed to the 2016 change. Leave the space. In my native Mandinka, they say “if you are told you are handsome, pass by just for once”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Because if you pass by multiple times, people see the scars and other things on your body and perhaps form a different opinion.  And even though the old man a hell of a handsome man, this must be the last time he passes by.

Just the other day, a friend of mine sent me an audio with text stating: “Can Malagen flag this as a dangerous speech?” In that audio a man can be heard saying we should have a repeat of the Rwanda genocide in The Gambia. Now, you may think this is an isolated view in the UDP.

Maybe so. However, such views are heard nevertheless. And across the board. Ousainu, just as Adama Barrow must know — the country is tethering on the brink.

And he must rise up. I have heard people calling tribes “dogs” in this country. I have heard others described Mandinkas in such language and Mandinkas described others in similar language. A genocide begins with dehumanisation.

I am not saying or even suggesting that Barrow and Darboe are leading a team of genocidal maniacs. Far from it. I am saying that this country could be heading to a flashpoint that could unleash the beast. Prejudice on both sides of the aisle is at peak.  We are simply treading around a black hole and I fear we are being sucked in.

What will follow will be terrible, unintended consequences. I am sure both Darboe and Barrow know that politics in our small country tend to take ethnic tone or colour or form, whatever that is.

I am an example. Because I am a Darboe, some people conclude that I am a UDP supporter, never mind I have never voted for a party until 2021. But that is just the way things are and perhaps will remain for sometime.

Unlike a lot of people who advocate that tribes must die or ethnic voting is terrible, I hold a different view. Politics is a game of interest groups. When institutions fail, people come together in groups to control resources, and in the case of government, that is political or interest groups. Because the general perception is that in our world where institutions are weak, the only way to benefit from it, is to control it.

A Jola man screams at the top of his voice: ‘We cannot give power to Mandinkas!’ For some, that is naked tribalism. But what the observer refuses to see is genuine fear of the tyranny of the majority.

It is called empathy of the other side’s view. Often, fear and low self-esteem —sometimes even imaginary and that may even be our case — is the basis of prejudice.

About 60% of the UDP’s own tabulation of the election results have been done, I am told. I am sure Mr Darboe is aware of that. And it tallies with the IEC results.

If the results tally in Brikama, I am sure they will tally elsewhere. Darboe must now pick up the phone and congratulate Barrow. His silence is dangerous for a country he so manifestly loves! 

The refusal of US president Donald Trump to accept the 2020 US presidential election results was what caused the riot at the US capitol building. By saying he was going to court, Darboe implies that there is in fact evidence. By saying there is evidence, he in fact says the election is stolen.

Like the great lawyer he is, he knows hope does not win a case, nor does suspicion. What is not also admissible in court is this sentence: ‘The result does not make sense.’ The greater opinion of people I spoke to in the UDP — and perhaps they are not telling him — is that there was no irregularity that could breach Barrow’s margin.

The UDP and the GDC are alone in this world of a “stolen election”. No one is there, including the observers.

Losing an election is like a shareholder losing an election to sit on the board of a company in which one owns shares. You will remain a shareholder and you can always lead from behind. The idea of a loser in an election is elusive.

The other day, I was working debunking a lot of fake news being peddled online for Malagen. “My Mum” flashed on my telephone screen. Oh boy! I was very busy. I picked. “Masaneh Darboe”, she said. Yes, Masaneh is my real name.

“Our victory has been stolen,” she said. “No,” I responded, “you have been defeated”. She went quiet for some time. “Even if we were beaten, that must not come from you,” she said and abruptly ended the call.

But it is not a secret that over her son, me the great journalist (lol) could keep hidden.

She is ridiculously enthusiastic about UDP but I knew she will be fine. It is just another defeat. I went home to laugh about it. 

Take a win, Ousainu. Please do!