Recent violent demonstration in Kanillia, a home village of former Dictator Yaya Jammeh , is a clear warning to all genuine citizens who cherish The Gambia’s stability, peaceful coexistence and economic development that our national security is being threatened. Some people in Foni region are a threat to The Gambia’s new found democracy and freedom. The new administration must take concerted efforts to protect and preserve democracy, peace and sovereignty of the country by putting in place an effective national security measures to quickly eliminate the security threat in Foni region while embark on genuine political reconciliation.
Foni is the region that scares many Gambians. Despite its tiny nature, the Foni region has proved some violent Gambians in the past and currently is the only region that poses Existential threat to Gambia’s peace and stability. Foni produced late Kukoi Samba Sanyang and former Dictator Yaya Jammeh who were both responsible for spilling of innocent bloods, some people in this region are still bent on threatening peace and stability of The Gambia through their rebellious calls to restore former Dictator Jammeh in power and withdrawal of Ecomig forces from the region. These people have total disregard for wishes and aspirations of majority citizens who have elected democratic government in December 1st presidential election. That’s totally unacceptable! It’s the constitutional right of Foni people to remain in the opposition , which is the beauty of democracy. This right can be exercised without resorting to violence.
Truth be told, Foni is not a political heavyweight region because its number of votes is so small that it cannot decide the outcome of any presidential election. So the people of Foni must realize that without majority support for Yaya Jammeh , he would have never been president. Yaya Jammeh committed a treasonable crime when he overthrew a democratically elected government of The Gambia. Despite Jammeh’s criminal offense, he was accepted and supported by the majority of Gambians who were genuinely interested in change at the time. During Jammeh’s 22 years of military dictatorship, he has favorably brought regional development and education in Foni due to his policy of tribal preferential treatment, nepotism, loyalty, scholarship and employment opportunities, but he has also killed a lot of people in Foni and grabbed their ancestral lands.
As we speak, a significant numbers of unmarked graves which the police are working hard to unearth are found in the various places across Foni while the so called advocates for restoration of brutal regime in this region never protested , criticized or even cared about human rights violations committed in their backyards for 22 long years. The behavior of some people in Foni has contributed to the belief that the region is a troubled zone which symbolizes resistance to the government. Gambian people will recall that the first ever Gambian who presided over massive killings of Gambians and formed a rebel group against the democratically elected government of Sir Dawda Jawara was Kukoi Samba Sanyang. Late Rebel Leader had his DNA evidence linked to Foni due to his root or place of birth. The Gambia’s most corrupt and brutal Dictator who killed many of his fellow citizens and closed family members also has his DNA linked to Foni. This is not to say that there are Gambians from other areas or part of the country who did not commit violent acts but those are not leaders of political ideology or regime.
People of Foni must take personal evaluation and compare themselves to other bigger regions which equally supported Jammeh in the past. The current violent behavior by some unscrupulous individuals who have their DNA linked to three decades of tribal dominated rebellion in cassamance are the very people responsible for post election violence in Foni. These are the very people who are creating tension in these communities through their ill-conceived agenda to destabilize the country and to support tribal rebellion. True sons and daughters of Foni understand this ugly truth, unless people of Foni inculcate Nationalism in their political beliefs and get rid of tribalistic supportive agenda , they would be perceived as threat to peace and stability of the country.
Some people in Foni are receptive and sympathetic to three decades of tribal dominated rebellion based on barbarism, uncivilized and cruel violence against their own people on both sides of Senegambia borders. The northern Senegal has frown on such uncivilized behavior and act of terrorism in that region just like the rest of The Gambia refused to be dragged into senseless violence in Foni and cassamance. Elected leaders in Foni must engage their own people positively so that these unscrupulous citizens or foreigners can join the rest of the country as civilized people who disavow violence against their own people and peacefully engage in political discourse. The new administration should also continue to engage the citizens of Foni and their political leaders on community reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.
President Barrow should not shy away from taking bold and decisive actions to work with Senegalese government to end three decades of tribal dominated rebellion in cassamance which causes massive displacement of refugees, high crime, lawlessness, poverty and geopolitical threat to new Gambia and its democratization process. It is time to act now to eliminate the threat in Foni since there are clear signs that The Gambia’s current peace and stability depends on the presence of Ecomig Forces in the country. Sustainability of peace and democracy in the country must not continue to rely on presence of Ecomig forces. Therefore, we must not allow the current crisis go into waste without eliminating the threat to our democracy and lay the foundations for peaceful, stable and all inclusive Gambia.