By Alagie Manneh
Gambian activist and social commentator, Nyang Njie has announced his exit from political activism Wednesday, leaving Gambians astonished.
The popular commentator made the announcement in a Facebook live video, stating that he will most likely never again speak on any national or other issues underpinning The Gambia.
“I’ve just decided that I am not going to deal with issues that are of national interest and need to be lent a voice. I’m just going to take a break and most likely a permanent break from that,” the former communications director at the OIC said.
He said the ordinary Gambians whose battle he has been fighting by speaking out publicly and loudly on issues affecting them have decided to make him their “public enemy” and that is “demoralising”.
“Nobody chooses to be an activist. Nobody chooses to lend his voice to the country or a cause. It’s just a calling that is instinctive. You just don’t plan it; it’s just there. You see potholes on the road, you want to talk about them. You see corruption, you don’t like it, you want to talk about it. You look at the Banjul Project, you think things are not done the way they should be, you lend your voice to it and make it known. But during the course of doing this, you are not doing this for people; you are doing it for your conviction and conscience.”
Mr Njie said the maxim, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, propelled him to activism.
“It is what propelled Nyang Njie to make sure people’s whose voices are not heard are heard; the marginalised in our society are protected; the economic gangsters that want to take our country to the cleaners are named, shamed, and exposed. It has never been a personal enterprise, meaning, I never did it because I have scores to settle with people. Matter of fact, some of the people I have been hitting hard on are family members. I have blood ties with them, so, it’s never a personal endeavour because the interest of the greater good, that is, the interest of The Gambia, supersedes my personal relationships and personal interests. So, when I speak on issues, it wasn’t to make enemies with people.”
Speaking under the topic ‘Reflections of a conscientious objector and the price of activism in The Gambia,’ Mr Njie pointed to the lack of objectivity in national discourse, and said: “Respect is lacking in our public discourse. Civility is lacking in our public discourse… It starts becoming a problem when people want to stain you and make you what you are not… For the longest of time, Nyang Njie has put the greater good of society first before his personal and familial interest. For us to have a better livelihood, some of us had to sacrifice and I never hesitated to be one of those sacrificial lambs hoping that our country will emerge better. But if you are fighting for collective good, you expect that even if the very people you are trying to fight for, don’t appreciate what you are doing, they won’t be a stumbling block on your way to their redemption. And now I have come to the realisation that the very people we are trying to empower; the very people we are trying to enlighten and make sure they are not being exploited, are the very people making the likes of me their public enemy. One, it’s confusing; and two, it’s demoralising. These are the reflections of a conscientious objector, someone who sees wrong and wants to fight wrong but in the end becomes a problem for the people he is fighting for. It’s pathetic,” he said.