While military coups and armed struggle are being increasingly delegitimised, almost all avenues of peaceful political change are being liberalised. Considerable confusion, despair and even disgust have been caused by the recent ‘terrorist’ attack on State House in Banjul. Those of us who opposed military coups in Africa can take no comfort from the kind of civilian rule perpetuated by corrupt African presidents and its potential catastrophic consequences.
Probably this explains why the recent developments in my beloved country attracted condemnation from the international community including the United States, African Union and the United Nations. Given the failure of regional organisations to bring about political change the major contribution of Africa’s peace and security architectures have been in the realm of preparing the subjective conditions for peace and democracy. The norms, values and principles adapted by the AU over the years, to some extent, helped to positively influence the behavior of the African state. Prominent among which is the uncompromising position taken towards military coups in Africa. Indeed, the AU’s greatest achievement so far has been to convince African leaders, democrats and tyrants alike, of the need to outlaw unconstitutional takeover of political power. But this might have had the occasional perverse and paradoxical outcome .Since many African leaders have grabbed power through unconstitutional means; they have become the last to take advantage of it, thus, barring others from effectively using that route to oust them. It is like first graduating to the nuclear club and then show a considerable distaste towards others who want to come in.
Ostracising military regimes didn’t automatically lead to any improvement in governance in many African countries. Outlawing military coups is one thing, and scrutinising civilian governments and making them respect their own constitutions and democratic principles is quite another. And here in lies the main failure of the African Union. Many civilian governments that rose to power through ‘democratic ‘elections have acted in a weird way, changing constitutions and introducing new laws that make it a lot harder to effect peaceful transfer of political power. And yet it isn’t so simple. In many instances it led to political crisis and anarchy. Indeed, it mutated into a predicament of a continental scale .The tragedy of the recent “terrorist” attacks on our beloved country lies in the fact that The Gambia has enjoyed considerable democracy with quinquennial elections.
I would like this opportunity to urge all Gambians to work for and promote peace in our small but great country.
No to Terrorism in Gambia
Please allow me space in your widely objective and impartial newspaper to condemn in the strongest terms the recent attacks on State House by enemies of The Gambia. Reading the newspapers, I was even more convinced of the evil machinations of the attackers when the president said: “We have a comprehensive understanding of what they [the attackers] had been planning. They had a ‘literature’ and this was the final stage of their plan; they staged 1, 2 and the final stage which was the attack. What is so interesting is the fact that we were able to get all that they had in their computer; we had all the information about their plans for which we will release very soon. Investigations are still ongoing and I want to wish every Gambian and friends of The Gambia a happy New Year”.
This, without more shows the president as a leader who cares for the well-being of Gambian and appreciates their support. President Jammeh is a dictator for development not a dictator for suppression and plunder of our resources which has endeared him to many Gambians.