Politics in general is a dangerous and dirty game, nowhere more so than in Gambia today. If we haven’t learned this from the last 22 years, then we do not deserve to be free. One amazing fact of human behavior is our inability to learn from the past. Mr. Barrow wisely employed a Senegalese security firm for his personal and family protection immediately after his victory. Given Jammeh’s track record it’s amazing that nothing has happened so far. Indeed, the Senegalese military should have provided strong covert (secret) protection on a 24-hour basis. If Jammeh were to abduct or kill Barrow now the outcome would be catastrophic. His security and wellbeing should be the highest priority of every Gambian and that of ECOWAS etc.
The first need is of course for his personal safety on a day to day basis while appointing his cabinet. Various people are coming and going, as are coalition members around him. Not all the coalition members or their supporters may be happy with developments, and some may be disgruntled with current appointments. Are all these people being vetted whilst around Mr. Barrow and other coalition members? Given the current situation, without a loyal trained presidential security detail they are highly vulnerable to attack or abduction. Yesterday the Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot dead by an off-duty policeman who used his police ID to access the hall and shoot him in the back. This complacent attitude, of “this is the Gambia, it will not happen here” is unacceptable if we want to see ANY transition. The current security services are loyal to the incumbent president and have openly declared their support to him. This situation needs to be addressed and corrected immediately!
I neither know, nor need to know the personal hygiene of Jammeh. However, his spiritual and moral habits are filthy beyond normal human understanding. Bai Lowe described his “jalang worship” from the beginning and much of his power is said to derive from it and the continual human sacrifices over the years. Indeed, Bai Lowe described this as the source of his power when Jammeh described it as “The Black (satanic) Way. Whilst these things are not discussed in public and rejected by many of the Diaspora, they are the bedrock of African politics and the source of our troubles. One of the founding principles of Islam was the rejection of Idol Worship and the killing of Idol worshippers. How Jammeh can be called a “good” Moslem by those who should know better is beyond understanding. Whilst freedom of worship is enshrined in the constitution, it reflects personal beliefs, and has no place at the heart of the nation- in the State House. How can Gambia call itself a Moslem country and allow this situation to continue?
My Point? President elect Barrow CANNOT be expected to move into or conduct state affairs in a State House so spiritually and morally polluted. Who knows what Jammeh has buried there, which could affect him or his family. Jammehs’ attitude is well known. If he can’t stay in power, no one else will enjoy it in peace, certainly not Mr. Barrow who has humiliated him so publicly. Inauguration is less than a month away with Heads of State expected. Alternative accommodation arrangements need to be put in place immediately for Mr. Barrow and to host his guests elsewhere.
Jammeh is said to have spent his first nights after the 1994 coup in Sir Dawda’s bed. Mr. Barrow would be most unwise to spend his first nights in Jammeh’s bedroom, no matter what any religious leader says. Apart from hygienic considerations (HIV?), every item the president incumbent has touched or used needs to be removed and burnt. The whole property needs to be checked and anything that is ungodly removed and burnt or destroyed. State House under Jammeh’s occupancy has become worse than a hyena or crocodiles hole. It is full of dead bones, immorality and spiritual filth. In my opinion, it is time our “State House” was moved elsewhere and a modern or purpose-built for the incoming president. Funds are of course short, but given its age and situation they could be found from willing donors as a matter of urgency.
IF we respect the incoming president and want him to meet our expectations, then we as Gambians owe him no less.
Lastly irrespective of tribe, religion and political choice, we need to pray for Mr. Barrow and the incoming administration. They need our prayers for their protection, wisdom and moral courage to form a new government and rule us wisely. The lack of such prayers led to the evil of the last catastrophic 22 years. Many of us Gambians believe in God and His power for good. We should not only pray for peaceful transition, but the continued peace, security and rebuilding of our country. We CAN have a great and prosperous future ahead for ourselves and our children, but only if we focus on rebuilding our country for the benefit of all who live in it, not just a selfish few.
We need not just political change but a deep moral change. Otherwise the past will repeat itself as it has elsewhere. It has been said that politicians should be forced to study history because there are so many lessons to be learned from it and so many mistakes that could be avoided.
On a personal note. I left Gambia in 1977 because of the moral climate. Good was called evil and evil called good. There was no place for an honest or sincere person in the culture of the day. To be either was to risk shame, humiliation or poverty. 39 years later, 22 years under the lord of misrule, will things change for the better? Have we learned anything from the past? I believe so, judging by the pivotal decision by Alhaji Mamar Njie, but the price of peace is constant vigilance against wrongdoing and political abuse.
Written By A lover of Gambia and Gambians