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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Like rats fleeing a sinking ship

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The idiom like rats fleeing a sinking ship, used to refer to people leaving a place, organization, activity etc. very quickly and in large numbers, because it is failing in some way. The former president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was bragging some months ago that he will never become a deserter. When the Talibans overpowered Afghanistan, Mr Ghani fled the country faster than a whistle. Mr Ghani, his family and some advisors entered a helicopter and have saught refuge in the U.A.E, United Arab Emirate. It is said that Mr Ghani fled with only the clothes he was wearing, the poor guy didn’t have time to pack a suitcase.

What he did have time to do, though, was to make sure that he brought as much cash as possible with him. He didn’t do like others who have to flee; hide his cash in his socks, underwear or some other creative place. No, Mr Ghani brought so such money with him so some of it fell out from the helicopter in the hurry. Oh dear, poor Mr Ghani, I hope he managed to save enough money so he doesn’t have to worry about how to buy food and other necessities for his family. I wonder if he even for one second considered the situation for his countrymen and -women? On every news broadcast we can see horrible scenes from the airport in Kabul. Desperate people try to enter the area, climbing over fences, climbing up on the planes. Two men even fell down from a plane that was up in the air. They tried to hide under the plane but it was impossible to hold on so they fell to their death.

Afghanistan’s former president didn’t have to bother to get to the airport and risk his life. The helicopter that fetched him, his family and the others landed outside his residence and flew away, nice and safely.

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As in the idiom I began this article with, the president fled like the rats who flee a sinking ship. He was so cocky before the Talibans took over the power, but that was only talk and no action. Actions speak louder than words once again! Former president Ghani has said in an interview that he left Afghanistan because otherwise it would have led to more suffering for his people. Isn’t that sweet of him? So thoughtful to run away, bringing enough money that could have supported a whole town for a year, knowing that now no one of the citizens in Afghanistan has to worry about his wellfare.

It is so typical of this kind of leaders to stand, often with firearms in their hands, bragging about their power and courage. When suddenly the shit hits the fan, they are the first to flee. Before these guys flee, they make sure that they can rob their countrymen and -women on as much wealth as possible. Just look at what a similar guy did: Yahya Jammeh, Babili Mansa, Master of the Universe and Beyond, Doctor of the Hocus- Pocus, Nestor of the Hypocrates.

A soldier who had high thoughts of himself and who somehow managed to convince others to join him. What is it with this kind of people that is attracting others? Surely people didn’t follow Jammeh because of his great intellect and his convincing visions for The Gambia. Perhaps I am wrong about the vision part. Jammeh had some visions and did some good for the country – in the beginning, but things changed.

The power aroused him, as well as many others, and for some reason the Gambians didn’t see this through before it was too late. Please learn from your mistakes and be careful this time when you are going to the presidential election in December. Make sure that you have done your homework before you go to the polls. Don’t allow anyone to blow dust in your face. Beware of those who promise too much and keep in mind that if it sounds too good – it often is. Be a difficult listener and ask a lot of questions. When the candidate is making a lot of promises, you need to ask him HOW he is planning to achieve all these great things. If he is short of answers, then rest assured that he has no plan. All the promises are only hot wind, nothing else.

I pray to God Almighty that Barrow and the NPP doesn’t win the election, it would be a disaster for The Gambia. You are in deeper debt than before, but because Barrow and his ilks are masters in blowing dust in your faces you will not see what they are trying to hide. Make sure to have a plan for the transistion from one president to another, that it will be transparent and controlled. The State coffers were empty when Yahya Jammeh left the country with his tail between his legs. You can’t afford that once more, or you will be pronounced a vassal state under China. In the school world, where I am working, we have a saying: ”Do it again, and do it right.” By this we encourage our students to try again, not cutting corners, but do things right.

When you are going to make an investment; buying some cattle, a car perhaps or a piece of land so you can build a house for you and your family; you don’t just buy the first example you see. You ponder on the task for a long while, you ask others for advice and you compare prices. You don’t buy a cow because the seller is telling you that this is the best cow and that you must trust him on that. No, you check the cow properly, look at her hooves, check that she is not too old and that she can give you a lot of milk. Buying cattle is a large investment and you want to make sure that you won’t get fooled. The more the seller is praising the cow, the more suspicious you get.

Why don’t you react the same way when a politician, a presidential candidate, is praising himself? The presidency is not about him, it is about you and what he is prepared to do for you.

You are investing your time and money in a president. He is your servant, you pay his salary, and therefore you have the right to expect him to work for you. You need to change your mindset and let go of the old fashioned approach to people in power. Of course there must be respect, but the respect must be mutual.

Do it again, and do it right! In December 2016 you managed to vote out Yahya Jammeh and for many of you it was considered a miracle. No one, at least HIM, believed that this would happen, even if you prayed for it. Jammeh was so sure of himself, he knew which strings to pull to make things go in his direction. This time there was a ”scissor” that cut off the strings, Jammeh lost the election and suddenly the world opened their eyes for what was happening in little Gambia. Keep your own eyes open, ask questions and demand answers. Let us thank the current president and the government for their try, but let us encourage our new president to ”Do it again, and this time – do it right!”

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