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City of Banjul
Saturday, June 19, 2021

The beginning of a familiar Yahya Jammeh tactic; and it’s troubling, to say the leas.

By Mathew K. Jallow

The Facebook wall of my friend and good brother, Saihou Mballow is replete with adulations and lauditory views about President Adama Barrow. So much so that it’s transitioning from normal to cult worship. Of course, political support is a personal decision we each have a right to, without being judged for it. That’s not my intention here. I was instantly concerned when, this morning, I read a story on Mr Mballow’s Facebook wall about chiefs, alkalolu and other community leaders coming from the URR to Banjul to pay respect to President Barrow. This is what’s so troubling. When people lack understanding of politics, as most Africans, they easily create the conditions for cult worship, power grab and state impunity. Nothing is more out of line and dangerous to African politics than the absence of accountability and holding the political leaders in reverence due to limited understanding of politics and the purposes of government.

At a time when Adama Barrow ought to be thinking about exiting the State House, it seems he is digging in, thanks to folks like my friend and brother, Saihou Mballow. This is the season of politicisation of community leaders, for political advantage. It’s an unfair political practice that ought to be outlawed in Gambia. State institutions must remain neutral and true to their lack of a particular political bend; committed only to the state. It also seems like I am beginning to see the outlines of a splinter between the Adama Barrow camp and the UDP wing. The two are mutually exclusive, as they’re not necessarily the same; instead, pursuing different political agendas. The Adama Barrow agenda doesn’t seem the same as the UDP party agenda; at least that’s how it appears to me.

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