My Dear Ex-Minister and Brother,
First of all, I would like to sincerely commend you for your decision to desert the government of President Jammeh and to also congratulate you on your successful escape from The Gambia and from Jammeh. This is a major achievement considering that many of our colleagues were not able to do that and thus ended up perishing in the hands of Jammeh.
Sir, on the 7 June 2016, Uncle Sidi Sanneh, a seasoned former civil servant, diplomat and a prolific writer said the following in one of his blog posts:
“According to sources, Ousman Sonko mooted the idea of seeking to flee The Gambia to somewhere with the hope of securing asylum status. The reasons Sonko advanced, according to the source, is that he is convinced that the Gambian dictator has gone over his head with the killings of Gambians which has become uncontrollable and out of hand”.
Sir, this is the true story. You were not dismissed but you deserted and this story resonates very well with Jammeh’s modus operandi vis-à-vis his relationships with civil servants and security personnel. And for many of us who worked more closely with him, we are fully aware of the difficult predicaments/situations under which our public service personnel are serving.
In the same vein, there are a lot of good but untold stories about great deeds of humanity, sacrifice and professionalism that you and others in similarly delicate positions have done for the Gambia and her people. Many a times, you and other senior military officers will often go back to President Jammeh to beg him to rescind/withdraw many a wrongful/ disastrous decisions that he is so prone to taking.
In fact, we know the reason for your disagreement with Jammeh. He wanted you to disrupt or overturn the forthcoming presidential elections in his favour by all means necessary. Even if it means unleashing similar or worse violence/injustice against a current major presidential aspirant and his supporters in the same way he did against Honourable Darboe, his party executives and supporters.
Sir, you deserve commendation for taking this bold decision to say enough is enough and for refusing to be used to deny Gambians the political change that they so much deserve and desire and which is inevitable this December. Although you could have made such a decision ages ago, it is however never too late to do good.
Sir, it is now time for you to make a critical reflection of your life’s journey. Just like every single Gambian military officer including my humble self, you came from an extremely poor family. You rose through the ranks and held some of the most prestigious and enviable positions both in the military and in government until you became one of the most influential people in The Gambia.
Sir, every single blessing, opportunity and privilege that we all had (including Yahya Jammeh himself) came directly from The Gambian people. It is their taxes and resources that is running all government machinery and paying for all our salaries and allowances. Everything is from Gambia and her people and nothing absolutely is from Jammeh.
Sir, it is now time for you and all of us to give back to The Gambia and her beautiful people. Our country is at the brink of disaster and the lives of the people who made us who we are and gave us everything we have are seriously at stake. Another five year mandate for Jammeh will be totally catastrophic and no one knows that better than you. Gambians do not only need a peaceful political change but some of them (like the Solos and many others) are literally dying for that change.
Sir, we must not turn our backs to the people who gave us everything that we have. Please do not sit down in your cool and comfort zone in Sweden and leave Gambians to continue to perish in the hands of Jammeh; we all must contribute to the efforts to end Jammeh’s regime. And with elections around the corner, there is no better peaceful opportunity to do so than right now.
Sir, you know all the plans that Jammeh have laid to subvert the elections and you must disclose these plans. It is said that prevention is better than cure and to be forewarned is to be forearmed. By exposing Jammeh’s election subversion plans and warning the candidate(s) and the whole world about the plots against them, you will be helping to safe lives, avert violence and danger. And thanks to Facebook, our Diaspora online radios and social media, you don’t need the services of the GRTS to communicate directly to Gambians. You can easily do so from the comfort of your bed.
Sir, the priority is not for you to expose any rotten skeletons of the past or to wash our dirty linens in public. The most important priority/wish for Gambians at the moment is for Jammeh to lose the elections and for us to have a peaceful transition of political power. Please help The Gambia in restoring democracy and the rule of law. That is the least we can give back to our people who have suffered so much under Jammeh’s regime.
In conclusion, do not underestimate the forgiving and re-conciliatory nature of The Gambian people Sir. We are known as the Smiling Coast for many reasons including the fact that we are among the most tolerant, religious and peace-loving people on mother earth.
Sir, until we all meet in The Gambia next year under a Third Republic, stay safe and please keep warm so that you don’t get any frost bites from the proverbial cold winters of Sweden. Your time for serving the Gambia has just started.
Long live the Republic of The Gambia and Long live our harmonious co-existence.
Written By Lamin Gano