The question ‘where were you’ has become a catchphrase used by Gambians to point out that someone was not talking or active in politics during the past twenty-two years. Thus, it is being used to insinuate that if one was not heard when Yahya Jammeh was here, one should not question anything the current government is doing.
With the president joining the fray by questioning where Dr Ismaela Ceesay was during the past regime, it has taken a new meaning as it has the potential of depriving certain citizens the right to hold their government to account.
The truth is that, during the past regime, Gambians were deprived of the right to air their opinions or speak their minds on issues concerning them. There was a gag on the media and on freedom of expression. Thus, Gambians came together to fight it and ensure that they change the government and (re)claim their nation.
Democracy is participatory, and all citizen have – should have – the right and the space to question their elected officials. Citizens have to exercise this right in order to make sure that their leaders do not commit any abuses or that they do not omit anything that they are supposed to do.
It will therefore be prudent and progressive if people stopped asking each other where they were and ask instead: What are you doing for the nation? This is more relevant as we cannot be stuck in the past when the world is moving forward