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City of Banjul
Thursday, October 29, 2020

A new Gambia is born

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Let me start by joining all who thanked and praised the Almighty Allah for rescuing us from chaos and tyranny the evil dictator and his regime intended plunge our beloved and beautiful motherland into. My congratulations to President Barrow and the Coalition. All that we must take cognizance of the fact that change is a gradual and sometimes slow process. We have been yearning for change and now we have achieved it. But what kind of change are we talking about. Is it the regime change or change of system? Unfortunately Gambians have endured 22 years of injustice, prejudice, corruption and other social vices in the hands of tyrant Jammeh, his cabinet and National Assembly which unconstitutionally extended the mandate of Jammeh so that he can continue to suppress and intimidate the Gambian people. Isn’t it interesting to have seen some of these evil people like the Vice president of the Jammeh regime and the speaker of the rubber stamp National Assembly at Barrow’s inauguration and Gambia’s 52 years of nationhood at the independence stadium? No member of the Jammeh regime should be tolerated because they are all part of Jammeh’s repressive regime. The late Kim Il Sung of North Korea said ”an enemy cannot be a friend overnight”. These people wolves in sheep clothing and should be kept at a distance.

About the Coalition, a lot of comments have been posted in the social media. Some are reasonable, others are analytic and thought provoking while some are sweeping statement and baseless. Worse still are those that are insulting with vulgar language like ‘fuck’.

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This may be the beauty of democracy. But absolute democracy does not exist any where. There are limitations and responsibility to its application and dispensation.

The Macmillan English Dictionary For Advanced Learner, International Students Edition defines Democracy as a system of government in which people vote in elections to choose the people who will govern them. This goes with freedom of speech which must be expressed responsibility.

About the Coalition
What is Coalition? According to the same source, coalition is a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together. What is the experience about coalition government? March 28 2008, I published an article “The down of a new African democracy” which way forward for the Senegalese people? In that article, I cited the experience in Nigeria on May 29, 1999, Guinea Bissau and Benin which voted out their president, thus ushering an era of democracy in their respective countries and brought pride to Africa, West Africa in particular.

This time around, Gambia’s December 1st 2016 election witnessed the downfall of Africa’s oldest and ruthless dictatorship that took Gambians through 22 years of repression and intimidation was onslaught of democracy. Television pictures showed people flocked all over the country especially at the Independence stadium in Bakau jubilating the victory of H.E Adama Barrow and celebrating The Gambia’s 52 years of nationhood. Gambian waited eagerly to catch a glimpse of the man they hope would advance Gambian democracy to higher heights. For now democracy seems palpable in The Gambia but it should be remembered that wishes are not horses. We have witnessed the impasse caused by tyrant dictator Yahya Jammeh and his cohorts. But before him we have also witnessed the absolute disregard of worse threats Charles Taylor in Liberia, Foday Sanko in Sierra Leone, Kabila in The Republic of Congo are references in point in time. Unlike Jammeh and his cohorts who wanted to plunge this beautiful country into tribal and possibly religious war. When Abdou Diouf was defeated by Wade in Senegal, I am using Senegal because they are our closet neighbor and family member in Africa. At the time Diouf could have cared less, used every means at his disposal, including an absolute monopoly of the public press to suppress the opposition. But no! He didn’t. He placed his country’s interest and prosperity in the forefront and allowed the democratic process to take its course.

In this way he demonstrated his statesmanship to the whole world earning himself honor and respect. Abdou Diouf has no doubt smiled in trouble, gathered strength from distress and grew brave by reflection.

Although there are reasons for optimism in our new born democracy, we must also take cognizance the fact that the victory is not Barrow’s but democracy which resulted from the Gambia’s fatigue of 22 years of Jammeh’s dictatorship. Harold Nicolson a historian once remarked that the coalition disintegrates the moment the common enemy is removed. In the case of Senegalese coalition which removed Diouf from office, it was not done in the interest of democracy but to remove Diouf. Signs are beginning to surface that the Gambia’s coalition was primarily to remove Jammeh and not necessarily to usher in an era of new democracy. Now that Jammeh has been removed and thankfully so, compensations are expected. The union of the coalition that removed Jammeh was not in the interest of democracy because they had their parties and the removal of Jammeh, individual differences in aspirations, character and ambition emerge. Consequently if Barrow is not careful, his government is going to be one of reward. The adage holds true that is trying to please all will end up pleasing none. The journey Barrow has decided to take in very long thorny and full of trials and tribulations. A real test in time.

Let me conclude quoting the article “The Gambia Government: is it a coalition of political parties or a coalition of interest”. By lawyer Ibrahim Jallow. Esq. Daily Observer Newspaper, Monday 20-2-17.

By Salieu John

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