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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Politico-mayhem: A menace to national cohesion

By Batou Saidy

In contemporary Gambia, politics is apparently the universal set of all these frequent frenzy fusses. Avalanche of attacks, avatar of disarrays, jibes and jeers, we’ve seen them all. Political party formation is escalating like COVID-19 cases. Even comedians have their own political party. Perhaps musicians will also form theirs very soon. Such is the Gambia we are living in.

Aside all these political party enterprises, the language with which politics is spoken is a dirty one. Quite vulgar and disgusting. So obscene and invasive and penetrative. Gambian politics has evolved in such a way that, insults have become part of the game. If you’d overtly pledge your loyalty to the party of your desire or interest, you’d not be surprised to receive insults and intimidation on legitimacy.

Is there any loyalty left in politics, in Gambian politics? Well, positions and bucks undoubtedly bought the remainder. Were the NAMs not cashing out from the national coffers courtesy of the Bus Driver? Didn’t parties sack their representatives at the house for not bidding the loyalty they demanded from them?

What about justice? Legality? Well, it’s in this country where:

You’d go behind bars if caught with two baggies of Marijuana, but you’d be free if you were to be caught with 5000kg of cocaine!

A domestic thief would go to jail if he steals 1k, but a government official would go scot-free if he steals millions from the national coffers!

You can be in the civil service without a degree, but with a degree, you’d struggle to be in that same civil service.

People holding governmental positions are looking for degrees whilst those with degrees are left unemployed!

A land dealer who sells a plot of land twice to two different people is a criminal, whereas a minister who sells a government position to his allies is clean.

People in the Cabinet and their families would travel abroad for treatment, but an ordinary Gambian could die in a regional health center out of neglect and unavailable service.

Children of the Executives could attend universities in the West, whereas an average Gambian would struggle to go to UTG.

A Minister’s wife would travel to the West for delivery, but an ordinary Gambian could die at EFSTH of a mere lack of blood.

A Minister’s sister and wife could have a Diplomatic Passport, but a headmaster’s wife is just an undiplomatic

wife.

Here, we have them all: political animals, political drivers, political lecturers, and even commandos. There’s allegedly a political bus that people are boarding – a bus that’s driven by the Bus Driver himself – a bus that’s on the move but certainly has no destination. It’s quite sarcastic and annoying to limit the steering of the affairs of our beloved country to merely ‘driving the bus’. What’s the bus, The Gambia? Who drives it?

Politics will continue to split opinions amongst the citizenry, but splitting relationships, compatriotism, bonds, respects and tolerances shouldn’t be the case. Sadly, the splitting gets worse, aggressive and even extensive. Family members that share different political loyalties, spouses that aren’t in the same political dimensions, tribesmen in opposite parties and suchlike; all tend to upkeep a fair degree of resentment and politico-contempt for the other party.

Say something about the alleged Gambian Mandela, large number of people in yellow would heave assortment of insults on you en masse thereafter. Talk about the Bus Driver, his half-baked allies and partisans would send you unending insults of penetration a la ‘Enpeepee’.

Elsewhere in the tourism industry, there’s a commando-like someone who speaks with zenith volume of overt arrogance and implied ownership of his fellow tribesmen, as if he’s the ability to dictate people whom to vote for. How long will he continue to yell at people, potential supporters of his own political godfather in the Bus Driver?

Apparently, Gambians do politics with their hearts. We give very little regard to competence and vision, education and goodwill. The past would corroborate that. We all know people who are capable of ruling this country like Paul Kagame of Rwanda, but sadly, egocentric predicaments wouldn’t allow us to vote them to power.

At the National Assembly, it’s sad to hear some members speak. Quite disheartening. Maybe they should just tell us what ‘furufurundum’ and ‘Anthony General’ mean. Maybe some of them should be charged for raping Queen Elizabeth. You see – this is what happens when you put square pegs in round holes – as they’d say.

If party leaders could go on stage and insult their counterparts, without any remorse whatsoever, then there’s something to start worrying about. That something is national peace. Unless insults like that, bigotries of that kind, sarcasm of suchlike, and attacks of melancholy are buried in the very depths of Banjul; politico-mayhem would continue to be a menace to national cohesion.

Batou Saidy holds a degree in Public and Environmental Health. Aside his profession, he is also a writer and a football fanatic.

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