Gambians jubilant after defeating Yahya Jammeh in the polls in Dec. 2016
When I was a kid, there used to be an old preacher who would always say, “You don’t need to die to know some of the things coming ahead, in the next world. If you are observant and follow up with consistency, you will connect the dots.” It helps to understand that I have long been a staunch pessimist about the future of this country. Not that I don’t want a progressive Gambia. I simply observed that the future of this country is continuously being raped at broad daylight.
The only time we united and won, as a nation, was in 2005. Yes, with the soccer U-17 national squad of Modou Ceesay and Ousaman Jallow. I don’t know the tribe of Modou Ceesay (we have Ceesay in both Wolof and Mandinka tribes) but him and Ous put away their tribal differences to lead a country that was at a threshold in football. They imposed their presence on the global stage by beating the mighty Brazil of all people. That was the star-studded Brazil of Marcelo and Denilson.
That was in sport. But in politics and other contentious national issues, it’s different. We seem to be under a political curse. Some of these curses are true. Ask Benfica fans about the curse of Bela Guttman; since 1962, they cannot win a European title. Those that witnessed 1981 coup owe us an explanation. When all other countries are developing, this country, our Gambia which can perhaps be a street in America, does not even build the foundations.
But like I always say, ‘we should not be surprised.’ We are all integral players of the system; the system that’s leading us to a stark failure. We cannot only be putting the lion’s share of the blame on our leaders because they are a cut from the same clothes with us. In as much as we have leadership deficiencies, we also have followership problems. When shall we stop blaming our leaders- the chosen ones and those that we handpicked? Maybe… When we also sit at that round table! Because we have accepted that it’s rude for one to be speaking while eating. The queue is long. Those at the verandah will soon stop complaining when the aroma finally reaches them as they hope to make it to the dining table. It’s a show of “giraffe” into the main room; if you recognize anyone, you just whisper the name and get squeezed inside. Even if you have a place on the floor is fine with you. If your colleagues sitting outside do not “fit in” is their fault for not being “connected.” This step behind you, it becomes a taboo to poke your nose into the affairs of he who gave you a space on the floor. Even if he says his “poo” is yours, you will be quick to tell him let me wash it for you. His wrong is always right.
Architects of our own misery! I choose misery instead of failure because Amadou Ceesay said to brand The Gambia “A failed state” is harsh. We are always given the leverage to gauge the competence of the people who should govern us but we chose to focus on trivial issues. It’s either tribal politics or myopic individual interests. In fact, there is no politics in this country.
It is ironical that the man whose campaign platform was to deliver us reforms becomes the obstacle for his own promises. If you think that’s not a sign of a “cursed state” then we need another reality check.
None of the campaign promises had been fulfilled. The Janneh Commission ended being a selective justice process, the fate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is under a microscope. The once promised messiah, the prospective savior of a Crumbling Nation and yes, the “bus driver“, is driving us to nowhere. Wait, what about our free Wi-Fi in Brikama? Was that not part of the promises? Maybe, before the end of the year, we will have a router. I will settle for a pocket router.
We know the rejection of the draft constitution is a big blow for our hopes of a better Gambia; but if we can “kill” the lion against the odds in 2016, why not now? We don’t care whose arrow put the lion to the ground because the hunter from Mankangma Kunda said it was his sole efforts. I can also beat my chest and say it was me and I won’t be wrong because I did not run to Senegal. We need to dust off ourselves and prepare for the bigger battle in 2021. For the 2021 election will certainly be a defining moment. The making of decisions that will either make or break this country. We have reached at a crucial stage where politics should not be left in the hands of opportunists and mediocres. Like one of my “kotos” will say “grade six” and “grade twelve“. I don’t know who the new grade six graduate is. The last time I checked, it was David Colley. Okay, I remember Dou Sanno; a candle without light trying to light another candle. When shall we walk out from the dark?
In 2016, we wanted anybody apart from Jammeh and failed to prepare for life after him. Today in our corners, we murmur that it was even better to have left Babili there. But I am afraid after 2021, if we won’t be staying, “nko Barrow is even better than…” when we have a new leader. I don’t know what is wrong with this country. It is not the country but its people. Not everybody but the so-called educated elites. The poor farmer in Kunting is innocent. He can only differentiate the colors of the ballot box. Sometimes you ask if we had angered the gods of politics.
A staggering amount of 116 million Dalasi has been swept under the carpet. The energy and resources that has been put in to usher us a third republic becomes futile. Though, I have swallowed my basic mathematics, but a simple division of that money to a population of less than 2 million. I am just imagining. But in reality, I would have the financial wherewithal to buy money. Yes! I will literally buy money. And my Fula friend, Mr. Alpha Omar Jallow said he will buy another wife. I don’t know what Fulas’ obsession with many wives is. But didn’t Halifa Sallah warn them? I don’t “trust” that man with his usual white kaftans in that room. He seems to be an oracle. Before we squander another millions for the next election, he should foretell us the solution. Because anytime we made a decision; it backfires on us.
For more than fifty years, we have been victims of poor decision making and the latest drama at the national assembly was another unfortunate one and will always be remembered for the wrong reasons. When the speaker casted the final dice; you could see faces of different interpretations. It was like a day after the Judgment; you reap what you sow.
Kalipha Jabbi alias Karl D Poet is a student at the University of The Gambia. He is a prolific Poet, an online reporter and a blogger. His greatest passion is writing stories about the rural-poor and issues affecting ordinary Gambians.