Tata’s analysis is an excellent application of a business tool to the current political situation in Gambia. He breaks down the parties and candidates into very simple terms making it easy to understand. In this he has done an excellent job.
In most western democracies this works fine, but in the African and most 3rd world countries it is the military who have determined the outcome. This is particularly true in Gambia given that Jammeh came to power by a military coup and has maintained power through military force without reference to his democratically elected government. Tata has completely ignored the military components in Gambian politics which are so obvious. In the coming election, irrespective of who wins the result will be determined by military power from within or without.
To start with does anyone in their right mind, contrary to 22 years’ experience of Jammeh rule, imagine that he will simply accept the result and walk away peacefully? His political maneuvering is to gain a shred of legitimacy to his rule and head off external intervention. If his intention was to walk away he would have listened to Zeinab and retired to Morocco long ago. The only thing Jammeh understands is force and money. This man has no conscience or respect for any person or principle. He does not even fear God himself, and has no morals whatsoever. What makes anyone expect a peaceful out come from him?
Saul Badjie is alleged to have a significant armoury under his control within Gambia. He appears to have inspired a degree of loyalty within the army and although Jammeh has seriously undermined his power remains a significant military force for good or evil. For good if were to succeed in assassinating Jammeh, which is probably his best option in that he could eliminate the main problem and offer to guarantee a peaceful and support a coalition government. How he will play his cards is an open question, but Saul is a significant military player who could seriously influence the outcome on election day.
The possible role of the MDFC is a dormant but potential threat. They are reported to have a significant cache of arms and men trained to use them. Jammeh has long hosted them and they could see it to their benefit to fight to maintain their safe havens in Gambia through military force. While apparently inactive Jammeh could potentially mobilise some or all of them. So could Saul Badjie if he did a deal with them in the right circumstances.
Senegal has long tried to CONTAIN the conflict in Casamance, but it could not tolerate civil war or even serious instability in Gambia. This would be like cancer in their bowels. The resulting chaos could result in hundreds of thousands of displaced Gambians pouring into Senegal overloading their already stretched infrastructure and economy. The millions of refugees fleeing from the Syrian, Iraqi and Yemen conflicts is on the news daily and this lesson is not lost on Senegal. As the world powers are learning at high cost the best thing is to nip it in the bud – i.e to take preventive action. Intervene militarily right at the beginning before things get out of hand. The Rwanda genocide in which 800 000 perished is still fresh in many presidential minds.
Then there are Ecowas and the AU, who are struggling to contain existing conflicts and police failed states. Gambia is very small and relatively manageable, bordered as it is on three sides by Senegal.. From a European perspective it is highly likely that France would pressure Senegal to intervene to avoid a fresh migration towards Libya and Europe. They did this successfully in Ivory Coast over the Gbagbo/Ouattrera elections with a positive outcome from their point of view.
Finally there is the influence of the diaspora through media such as Freedom, family and friends. Although we the Diaspora have neither political nor military influence our moral and political ideas carry more weight than we imagine. As someone said there isn’t a child in Gambia who does not know about Pa NDerry. He is the most credible source of information and ideas from Jammeh down to the beggar in Serrekunda market. Love him or hate him, Pa NDerry has significant influence at all levels of Gambian politics.
There is an old saying that if you cannot sort out your differences then someone else will, often not to your liking. Reading between the lines while our leaders seek to maneuver and claim the prize, there is no guarantee there will be a prize to claim. First get rid of Jammeh then see how things work out and who gets what. I respect all our party leaders and their genuine sacrifices. As Tata’s analysis shows they all have their strengths and weaknesses, with no outstanding outstanding reasons why they should lead. Together they could form an excellent coalition. For example Mama Kandeh is very charismatic and has mass appeal but little or no serious experience of Government and administration. Dr Isatou Touray has educational qualifications and administrative experience but little or no political experience or natural power base.You would think they would make a good team, with Mama Kandeh as president and Dr. Touray as VP. Personalities permitting of course. However to use a football analogy. There is too much focus on who will claim the prize and not enough concentration on how to win the match. NO VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY, NO PRIZE TO CLAIM.
The December elections will certainly trigger change but there are no clear indications of how or when things will change for the benefit for the majority of Gambians. It’s like bursting a boil on the skin. A lot of pus (deta in Wolloff) has to come out before full healing can occur. We as Gambians need to focus our prayers on God to forgive AND heal our nation. A simple story to illustrate the power of prayer. A bush fire was rapidly approaching a mosque. Of the 4 people there, 3 went out with branches to beat out the fire. The fourth went into the mosque and began to pray. After a little while the wind changed direction and blew the fire in the opposite direction away from the mosque. Question: who took the most effective action? The answer…both. Those who beat out the fire slowed it down and gave the other time to pray for preservation.
The moral? We all have a responsibility to do what WE know to solve the problem. Every effort counts so long as we co-operate towards a common goal – the removal of Jammeh and those like him THEN rebuild our nation. United we will succeed, divided we will most certainly fail ourselves and our generations to follow. Like the human body, every organ has to fulfill it’s function for the whole body to function effectively. Cancer is when the individual cells in the body begin to destroy each other and eventually kill it.
In the words of Stokely Carmicheal, civil rights activist in the civil rights movement. “If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.” What are you?
Written By A Concerned Gambian