Neither the ballot nor the bullet changed the first republic for 30 years,neither the ballot nor the bullet has changed the second republic for 20 years .How to prevent history from repeating itself?
On 30th December 2014 the people within the vicinity of Banjul woke up to the sound of firing of weapons during the early hours of the morning. The PDOIS leadership, through information passed on to Foroyaa while the firing was taking place, was alerted to the prevailing developments. It was not clear who the insurgents were.
During the early hours of the morning it became clear from the soldiers who were in control of Independence drive and who were asking the residents to stay indoors that the loyalist forces were in control of the state house and the city. This was not evident to many people in the country. Hence the rumours spread that a coup had taken place and that the state house has been taken over by the coup makers.
In the morning, Banjul was sealed by the loyalist forces. One could not get in or move out of Banjul.
We expected to hear a comment from the Vice President over the National media but none came. Since the President travels without proclaiming in the Gazette the appointment of an Acting President we monitored the international media to find out where he was and what he had to say. No direct statement came from the executive in those decisive hours.
In the same vein, no organised insurgency takes place without a spokesperson issuing a statement regarding the objective of their mission during the time of combat. We monitored the airwaves but received no information from the insurgents regarding their mission.
The public was completely kept in the dark, both by the state and the insurgents. They did not know what to believe and what not to believe.
Banks and other businesses were closed in Banjul and KMC even though no state of emergency was declared. All business and social activity in the city came to a halt. Rumours grew wings in the countryside and abroad.
To satisfy ourselves regarding the military and security situation we monitored all security and military activities throughout the country and came to the conclusion that there was no state of alert anywhere else other than Banjul and to a small extent, Farafenni.
News began to come out in drips on the nature of the insurgency and the profile of the Combatants .The name of Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh, a former state guard Commander, featured prominently as the leader of the insurgents. Four people were reported to have been killed and one injured. It was also rumoured that they were mainly ex military men who were resident in the US and the UK.
As people and transports began to move freely in places other than Banjul it was apparent that the insurgency was history and what was necessary was to know the details and the implications for the executive, in particular and the people at large.
To be continued
Bravo President Jammeh
Please allow me space to succinctly express my sense of gratitude to president Jammeh for his appointment of Neneh Mc Douall-Gaye and Sheriff Bojang as Foreign Minister and Information Minister respectively. These two people are indeed great journalists who have served this country with distinction and integrity for a sustained period of time .There is no doubt whatsoever that they will serve this country to the best of their ability.
On a final note I call on Gambians to rally behind our president and support his initiatives to turn The Gambia into a middle income country by 2020.