“Selective civic education” is not civic education in the sense of educating an entire society but instead it becomes propaganda and a control mechanism of peoples´ mind. In a society like ours, civil education must be holistic and not selective if people are to be aware and gain knowledge and understanding of the society they are living in. A society is comprised of many complex entities or parts and to understand the whole one needs to study all the parts. Some of our self-appointed civil educationists were very critical of the recent celebration of our uprooting of one of Africa’s most sadistic, brutal and callous regimes. For 22 painstaking years, Gambians had been fighting a beast dictator that entrenched himself into power. Armed to the teeth and vowed to rule for a billion years, Yahya Jammeh was ready to set the Gambia on fire at all costs. The people who freed the nation from the York of barbarism had come together to thank each other and to remember the sacrifices that were made, and yet some amongst us have the audacity to question that. They hide behind an argument that no money should have been spent on the Coalition’s December 2nd anniversary celebration. The Gambia is an envy of many countries around the world languishing in dictatorship. Despite our size and limited population, Gambians were able to remove a dictator who was hell bent on staying in power with all means possible. They chased away a lunatic leader who swore to govern with impartiality but in reality picked and losers.

Watching and listening to the ongoing commission of inquiry, many Gambians both at home and abroad have got sleepless nights when they heard of the amount of money being lavishly spent by Yahya Jammeh for celebrating the late Michael Jackson´s 45th birthday and the subsequent tribute.

Yahya Jammeh has always shipped in foreign celebrities around the world into our country – all at the expense of poor taxpayers. And to make matters worse, Jammeh ruled with impunity. How many celebrations have taken place since this government came to power? This less expensive celebration cannot be compared to Yahya Jammeh´s countless pervert “Putampaf” [a week long annual Jola festival laden with promiscuity] and other useless celebrations not to mentioned his irresponsible dashing out of huge amount of money. This Barrow government is unlike Yaya Jammeh’s regime that lacked respect, became insensitive to others and the constitution. The same Yahya Jammeh brought in Jamine Jackson and others for partying (the people he has nothing whatsoever in common with) while hundreds of our young talented, competent and smart youths saw their future abroad. They embarked on the perilous Backway journey to Europe. Remember, here is a man (Yahya Jammeh) who boast to us as the most patriotic Gambian and a Pan Africanist. He knew well that part of his population was starving yet he dined with foreign pop stars at the expense of his taxpayers. What a heartless leader he was! Some so-called Gambian civil educationists advocated for “National Stocktaking Not Celebration”. Unlike the culture in the 2nd Republic, New Gambia provides space for real democracy where stocktaking becomes regular. President Barrow is indeed far from being a dictator.

It has never been a crime in the Gambia to wear a T-shirt of one’s choice and certainly not a crime to say Barrow is a good president and I see nothing wrong with that unless it is addressed to someone that has a different view to the current dispensation. There should be no cherry picking when it comes to civic education where fair and balance is very essential, especially when it comes to educatinh the masses on what to expect from society. After all, we have rights but we equally have obligations to our society.

Sometimes we tend to forget that we as a nation are composed of cultures, norms and traditions which if dropped will have a devastating impact on our society. These norms and cultures can be excised in a manner without affecting the democracy we are trying to nurture. Remember cultures, norms and traditions were there long before democracy. What is important here is to find a balance and separate the rule of law, transparency and accountability from our day to day societal events. Without condoning bribery and corruption I must hesitate to say our society is a society of give and take and until every Gambian can afford a decent, sustainable and global living standard we will remain a give and take society. With this new dispensation in the Gambia this is exactly what is envisaged. We want to build a Gambia that doesn’t depend on give and take but hard work and good living standard for all through decent jobs. We will hold our government equally accountable but we the citizens have to play our role and do what is necessary for the nation. Think about this next time you think of civic education.

Thank you and God bless all of us and the Gambia.

Forward Ever

Backward Never

By Alhagi Touray
Stockholm-Sweden

Ends

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