President JammehBy Janko Camara

“There is a time when we should heed a certain cause
‘Cause the world, it seems is riding it’s line
‘Cause there’s a chance for taking
In needing our own lives
It seems we need nothing at all” from the song We Are The World

Like in the above song, there comes a time in our lives when necessity requires a dispassionate review of our past to chart the future. Without doubt, this is where we are today, as a nation. Mr. President, I am not sure in what state of mind you have been for the past two weeks. Anyhow, whatever is currently going on in your mind, I want to say that this is the time to get rid of those sycophants around you, who would only be telling you want they think you want to hear, and focus on resolving the issue at hand. The Magi of Manding, and I assume of other tribes too, have used signs and events to reflect on and interpret the cause of action to take at certain times. The issue at hand requires that you put aside all emotions and take a deep breath to reflect on the events of the past few days in order to make decisions that would save the integrity of The Gambia, the only place most of us have as home. I know for you, Mr. President, after 22 years in power, you are not short of places you can call home, besides The Gambia.

Mr. President, for avoidance of doubt, the events of the past few days, clearly indicate the following:-
Gambians have started to summon courage to challenge your leadership. They are tired of you and your style of leadership. Thus, the signal being passed to you is to leave. To me, you have remained on stage for so long that you have missed in taking advantage the proverbial saying that one must leave the stage when the ovation is high. Though you have missed that first opportunity, events of the past few days appear to be providing you a second such opportunity to leave before the curtains are drawn. Will you take heed or you will remain obdurate? Time will tell.

Mr. President, If you decide to leave without putting up any resistance, that would be the most noble thing for you even though I believe you have now lost all sense and capacity to think and act noble. If you decide to show pride and arrogance, you risk plunging the entire country into some kind of turmoil I do not even want to imagine. Mr. President, all patriotic and peace-loving Gambians (including your very self) should avoid the second option, as there is not going to be any winner.

The Events That Should Be a Forewarning for you to Leave
For the first time in exactly 16 years, Gambians peacefully took to the streets to claim for electoral reforms and basic freedoms. This was inconceivable just six years ago. The message that is being passed but which you have missed is that people have been pushed against the wall, with no more place to turn for sanctuary. You did not get this profound message because your ill-trained and undisciplined security forces responded with brute force. That means neither you nor your security forces have learnt any lessons from the events of April 2000.

For the very first time, the most peaceful and overly law-abiding Ousainou Darboe was forced by your actions to embark on a peaceful procession with his party executive. Instead of recognizing that this was a constitutionally guaranteed right, you again relied on your thugs in uniform to attack them as if they were criminals. If Ousainou Darboe, who is known for his civility, decorum and respect for the Rule of Law, could take to the streets, you should be very clear in your mind, Mr. President, that Gambians have had enough of you.

For women (your best friends as you claim) to come out en masse to show their anger and disgust with the symbolic calabash in their hands, in open defiance of your thugs in uniform, that should tell you the end is not far and a wise leader would take a wise decision to leave instead of going berserk as you are currently doing.

The emergence of Ousainou Darboe as the hero Gambians have been looking for. Don’t you notice Mr. President that all of a sudden, everyone, including Ousainou’s own political arch enemies in the Diaspora, have now turned to praise him as The Gambia’s Nelson Mandela. Even the prisoners in Mile II, we have been told, have seen the man as awesome. When a man’s time has come, none can stop him. This is a classic case of “JAL MU YALLAH JAL”. You can no longer douse the flames. All your attempts at humiliating the man by bringing him to the courts in handcuffs, have only succeeded in making him even more popular and well admired. That tells you something divine is unfolding before your very eyes, which, if you were wise, you would not attempt to stop.

At this stage, the honorable thing to do is:
Drop all charges against Ousainou Daboe and his co-accused. The charges brought against them are a terrible derision to the national legal system. Similarly, release all the political prisoners and detainees.

Arrange a meeting with Ousainou Darboe and admit that on your orders, your thugs in uniform indeed slaughtered Solo Sandeng. And since neither of you can bring him back to life, tender an apology to Solo’s family and appeal to Darboe that in the interest of the country, both of you should find a way out of this crisis which has all the potential to explode into something more catastrophic. Mr. President, I know you always have a challenge overcoming your ego, but you would be better off if you prevail on that bloated ego of yours this time because there is a lot at stake should the contrary happen. The Gambia is ours, we must all preserve the peace.

The NIA/PIU or any other parallel force (the Jungulars) accused of involvement in the Solo Sandeng torture and murder should face justice with immediate effect. Similarly, the three ladies – Ms. Jawara, Njie and Camara – should not only be released, if they are still alive, but also, the state must take full responsibility in restoring their health and compensate them, including the family of Solo Sandeng. All those alleged to have participated in their torture must also be brought to justice with immediate effect. Impunity should now be a thing of the past in tiny Gambia.

Mr. President, I know some of your sycophants may suggest that you invoke your usual Solidarity March. However, I will tell you here and now that these marches are devoid of substance, as we all know the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. Do not fall for the trick. Most of the young men and women parading before you will be doing so either out of sheer pressure or just out of sycophancy. Gambians now mean business not distractions.

After 22 long years in power, you have now done and given your “best” and I believe there is no more value you can add to that country. In fact, in your case, the Law of Diminishing Returns, as they say in Economics, has set in since 2000. Therefore, the country should be better off without your leadership. Hand the “calabash” to someone else with fresh ideas. This is the message the women, your friends, are sending to you. The calabash those revolutionary women carry in their hands is symbolic. Therefore, please offer your resignation to avoid chaos. You do not have to wait for the December polls to do that.

Mr. President, the Presidential sun is setting and you must not allow the sycophants around you to becloud your judgment. Take leave of them all before they take leave of you because, sure they will take leave of you when the battle is won (by the people) and lost (by you and those who pretend to be behind you). Therefore, a stitch in time saves nine, Mr. President.

Ends

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