If you have travelled to, or lived in Europe, Asia or the United States, you might be familiar with the phrase “mind the gap”. Some platforms on the vast London Underground train system are curved and the rolling stock that uses them are straight, so an unsafe gap is created when a train stops at a curved platform.
In the absence of a device to fill the gap, some form of visual and auditory warning is needed to advise passengers of the risk of being caught unaware and sustaining injury by stepping into the gap. The phrase was coined in around 1968 after it had become impractical for drivers and station attendants to warn passengers.
The phrase “mind the gap” was chosen for this purpose and can be found painted along the edges of curved platforms as well as heard on recorded announcements played when a train arrives at many of the underground stations. The recording is also used where platforms are non-standard height. What they called “deep-level” tube trains have a floor height lower than sub-surface stock trains.
Despite its origin as a utilitarian safety warning, “mind the gap” has become a stock phrase, and is used in many other contexts having little to do with subway safety. Last year, a motley group of shadowy financiers, blowhard politicians, former starred soldiers and Ulster coat-wearing diplomats came together to form yet another party in The Gambia which they named Gap or Gambia Action Party.
Since its formation and registration by the Independent Electoral Commission on 17th January, 2019, the only outstanding thing about the party has been its uncanny ability to lurch from one scandal to another and the periodic hifalutin statements by its principals.
Its founder dubbed “Mr Three Months” who has since been redesigated secretary general, announced his arrival by asking the president to give him only three months and he would sort out the myriad problems besetting the country. Early in May this year, he told this very paper that
Early in May this year, the founder who was since redesignated secretary general, told this very paper that the Barrow Administration is Corruption Inc. and threatened and “greedy government ministers and senior officials” to return monies they allegedly used to purchase expensive mansions in Senegal.“I have concrete documentary evidence that some senior government officials have purchased luxurious properties in Senegal with stolen government money. I urge them to honorably return the money and avoid humiliation,” he fulminated. He said he gave them – yes, you guess right – three months to own up and cough up otherwise he would publicly name them.
But even before his own three months are up, he is enmeshed in another scandal accused of selling a property he did not own for thousands of dollars to a Gambian lady resident in the United States. He was invited for questioning by the police, later arrested, detained, bailed and since arraigned. Since the matter is before the court, we cannot commentate editorially on it.
However, even as the founder is entering the magistrates court room in the morning and exiting it in the evening, another scandal erupted involving the party’s presumptive presidential candidate. When the handsome young former general was unveiled as the Gap flag bearer, women were drooling over him. Now he has apparently fallen victim to a honey trap of some sort with a video of him exposing himself being shared all over the social media. This followed some impolitic statements he made which quixotically managed to upset Army HQ, UDP leader and his yellow army and some sections of the country’s biggest tribe.
Gap needs to do a reset pronto. It must realise that it is a fallacy to believe that in politics, all news is good news; that as long as you make the headlines on the newspapers and radios, you are doing well. Trust is earned and trust is what generates political capital. And before you want to use that capital, you must earn it. If it fails to put its house in order, Gambians will be wont to say, DON’T MIND THE GAP!