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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Diaspora blunder, 2016 Coalition: Betrayal and the makings of the “political animal”

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By Ousainou Mbenga

With the regime’s calculating diplomatic appeasements of Jammeh in Equitorial Guinea and the, shameful recycling of APRC, what will the Commission of Inquiry yield but garbage? “Garbage in garbage out”. The inauguration of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to address the mountain of human rights abuses of the Jammeh era will ultimately yield the same temporary relief for the “victims” still living in the cesspool of misery and a “slap on the wrist” for the victimisers just as in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Liberia (even as Charles Taylor languish in jail) and to a lesser extent Rwanda and Burundi. The deceptive comparisons of the crisis of the Jammeh era to that of the above countries that had “Truth and Reconciliation commissions” are gross misrepresentations of history. In our specific case, it’s Jammeh and his gang of thugs (National Intelligence Agency -NIA-, the army and the savage “Junglers) against the rest of us. These commissions are just mere appeasements to give the masses in general, victims in particular the illusions of “justice”. Based on the reckless and erratic actions of the Barrow/UDP regime and its enablers, there is no evidence that these commissions are willing to turn the tables or flip the script and not succumb to business as usual.

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If the Barrow / UDP regime has not intervened in the rogue and ganster-like behaviour of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), it will be foolish to think that they will intervene elsewhere. Jammeh left us a “9 feet deep” pit, if we don’t stop this insatiable appetite of this directionless regime, we will find ourselves in a “12 feet deep pit”. Consider the oil exploration prospects shrouded in the usual “secret society” approach of the Barrow / UDP regime and the potential disaster in store when the oil starts to flow, they will bury the whole country in abject misery. We are clearly being set up for the kill. We are being sold as “stocks and bonds” again after 500 years to any unscrupulous bidder, in the name of “investments”. The Gambia is not FOR SALE!
The mighty Gambian voters and their “diaspora” allies will lick their wounds and live to fight another day. For if it wasn’t for the diaspora Henry Gomez and Mai Ahmed Fatty will not have been included in the coalition. But once included, they had to make DEMANDS as did all other parties. But we, the “diaspora” with unprecedented political naivety assumed we were dealing with honest and scrupulous partners in the STRUGGLE to flick Jammeh and his APRC over the cliff. A fatal blunder it was.

I can fully remember raising the alarm to make our DEMANDS known to the coalition before the cement was poured for the concrete foundation of the coalition but it was met with adverse naivety that it was the wrong timing. Many thought it would have been offensive or potentially disrupt the fragile coalition. Yet others championed patience but the fatal blow was that, upon victory, the coalition will “do the right thing”. And yes, they sure enough did the right thing by excluding us with a blatant snobbish attitude. In fact the “diaspora” is the enemy as opposed to the APRC vermin they have befriended and in bed with. The frequent volume of calls before and during campaign abruptly ended on December 2, 2016, onwards. So, comrades, brothers and sisters be careful who you coalesce with next time around.
Here is what we should have demanded of the coalition, in my view:

1) Voting rights of Gambians in the “diaspora”. Never mind the lame excuse of it’s too expensive, and that the government cannot afford it.
2) Revocation of the outrageous residency requirement to run for office.
3) Representation in the government and National Assembly.
4) Immediate revocation of the draconian Jammeh laws such as the “Indemnity Act” and “Public Order Act”.

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It is my strong belief that had we positioned ourselves to become functional representative of the 2016 coalition government in collaboration with the few genuine forces in the coalition, activists, honest intellectuals and indeed the support of the mighty masses, the current madness would have been vigorously challenged and at the least a path charted towards national advancement not selfish personal gains.

The genuine struggle continues
Comrades, brothers and sisters, it’s “Not yet UHURU”, meaning not yet FREEDOM. We didn’t kick Jammeh’s ass out just to remain “suffering peacefully”. To hell with “meaningless peace” and our “new found democracy” which Barrow and his “enablers”, the likes of General Kinteh are worried that it is being abused. No one handed us the long fought victory but the mighty Gambian people. If there are any abuses it is Barrow / UDP regime and its enablers, the police, army and security forces that attempt to violate our democratic rights as was arrogantly displayed during the “Occupywestfield and “Daffadoy” peaceful protests. Barrow / UDP are digging their heels to entrench themselves similar to what Jammeh did but in a shorter period of time. It comes with a sigh of relief to hear people who defended the Barrow / UDP regime expressing how impossible it is to defend the reckless actions of this government. From 2014 – 2016 all eyes were on The Gambia in our relentless fight against tyranny. After 22 years of blood, sweat and tears, we are now more than ever determined to lead the genuine struggle to its logical conclusion; power in the hands of the Gambian people.

But we must be willing to cultivate a revolutionary leadership that is in opposition to neocolonialism and steeped in revolutionary politics. Some reactionaries think revolutionary politics is beyond the grasp of our downtrodden masses but they are sadly mistaking. The vast majority of our people are disgustingly fed up with “politics as usual”, the politics that the Barrow / UDP regime is operating under.


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