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Friday, September 25, 2020

On July 22nd: What can we learn?

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On July 22nd 1994, The Gambia Government led by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara was overthrown by a group of young soldiers led by then Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh.

They formed the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) which then suspended the constitution and began ruling by decrees.

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Initially, they promised to rule for only six months and return the country to civilian rule. They set out to curb the corruption in the previous government and return the wealth of the nation to the people, or so they said.

They set up commissions of enquiry which looked into the alleged corruption of government officials and departments.

They endeared themselves to many people by coining slogans which they knew the people wanted to hear.

Accountability, Transparency and Probity will be the order of day. We will never introduce dictatorship into this country, they said.

In the evenings, people were glued to their radio sets to listen to the reports of the Commission of Enquiry which revealed the corruption and nepotism of the overthrown government.

They reveled in the interest that was generated by these commissions and saw that they could therefore continue to rule.

They set up a consultative committee to ask Gambians as to how long they wanted them to stay.

The committee crisscrossed the country and came up with their recommendation.

However, they were soon beguiled by the trappings of power and thus made plans to stay and never leave.

As the leader began winning election after election, he came to believe that he was invincible and that he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it.

He became a brutal dictator who bragged about ruling the country for a billion years.

Fast forward to December 2016, and Gambians came together and said enough is enough.

Now that we have a new government which promises to be democratic and respect human rights, they should advise themselves to always stick to their promises to the people as governments come and go but the Gambia remains.

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