Without fail, every time there is an issue of national concern since January 2016, we are forced to put up with the vindictive comments of bitter folks who can’t seem to get over the fact Halifa and the PDOIS were trounced in favor of Barrow. The hypocrisy and insincerity to that regard has been on display for all to see since the inception of this gov’t; that’s the truth.
“If only Halifa were nominated to lead; wait until PDOIS assumes power, Barrow should admit his incompetence and step aside.” These are a few of the lines we’ve been hearing since Barrow was entrusted with our affairs.
At a time when all are concerned about our fragile security situation, some are out with their vindictive comments yet again. It is one thing to say One Gambia, One People, Gambia First, and all the flowery one liners, but truly believing and upholding that mantra is another thing.
The people made a choice; it was Barrow, not Sallah. “Gambia First” would mean despite your personal feelings or views of another, as long as the choice was democratic and fair, until the mandate of the chosen one expires, we all join hands to find solutions to common problems through sincere exchange of ideas.
Democracy would mean respecting the people’s choice even if you have your misgivings by contributing workable ideas. The constant vindictiveness is not criticism or dialogue; it is a manifestation, a symptom of the bitterness within. What would you and your camp do different? No; we won’t say! Pay the ransom (vote us in) and we will show you, yet you claim sole proprietorship of patriotism!
The same ‘Gambian people’ you claim to care so much about made their choice, instead of respecting that choice you come up with all manner of insults and condescending remarks accusing them of factionalism, sectarianism, tribalism etc. because to your mind their choice is incompetent and so they must suffer collectively for their choice just so you can massage your ego and say we told you so.
The protection of the rights of the APRC and her members to assemble and say all manner of outrageous things in the face of the revelations of the atrocities committed under their watch, even though a ban or simply a denial of permit will be largely supported; THAT is the spirit of One Gambia in practice. Telling the general public to be tolerant of the APRC exercising their rights without provoking them, THAT is the advancement of the concept of One People.
Now, if APRC chooses to be provocative and drive around town hailing the man who is responsible for many an aggrieved citizen and celebrating him, they should equally be responsible enough to exercise restraint in the face of the inevitable harsh comments they are bound to encounter. That is people expressing their disgust at such blatant disregard for our collective plight and the sheer remorselessness of such a venture as brazen as a countrywide tour; one devoid of any admission of guilt, regret or even an apology for being at the very least, complicit. That expression of disgust on the part of citizens, THAT too is democratic, it’s free speech. You know that concept you so dearly flaunt around, yes that and it must be protected without recourse to violent response.
Somehow, yet again it is UDP; the be-all do-all culprit of anything the self-anointed patriots are not desirous of. That is the issue; the fact that one can so blatantly ignore all that we went through as a people under that butcher, only to turn around and blame the victims so soon after his banishment, and by victims I do not mean UDP, there are many an aggrieved citizen unaffiliated with any party.
What that inadvertently is telling us is that the APRC should be left alone to go around doing whatever they want, saying whatever they want, about whomever they want and worse; tell us all how great Yaya was and how those killed, raped, and maimed deserved their fate. That entire contemptuous disregard for what transpired is to be met with mute lack of concern from all, for it is the APRC’s right and the constitution guarantees it. Meanwhile, the victims cannot come out along the highway to tell them to their face how disgusting it is to celebrate a man so callous as to put an infant in jail, because doing so is provocative. What about the victims’ freedom of speech guaranteed under the same constitution, isn’t that position restrictive of their right?
In a situation as polarized as ours, thanks to the machinations of the butcher of Kanilai, navigating with caution is prudent, but any such attempt is viewed as suppression, any response pursuant to a breakdown of law is labeled as heavy handed. We saw it in Kanilai, when natives tried to impede law enforcement from carrying out a COURT ORDER only for tragedy to strike. When the authorities raised security concerns we all scream foul play. Why, because “the police are there to ensure security so use them and not give the lame excuse of national security which is what dictators hide behind.” The police act, we cry foul for heavy handedness, yet never bat an eye at the constant physical attacks on them. We are not in an ideal situation as a country, and that is not an excuse it just means it will take a while to get to a point where we can do things as would obtain in a conventional democracy, we are not there yet.
And that is not to say do not criticize either, for that will be our collective failure. But if from the get go you displayed discontent and never made it a secret, any attempt hitherto to criticize will be viewed with suspicion. Let’s say you cried wolf too many times when there was none. If a wolf does emerge, do not blame people for not responding or being sympathetic to your cries of help. APRC is the only one to blame here, but yet again some try to twist it to seem to be in favor of democracy deliberately ignoring the powder keg that is APRC hell bent on setting the country ablaze because their god has been banished.
That is where we are as a country; some of us will fault-find anything this administration does because we’d prefer a different set of people. Some are relieved at seeing the back of the tyrant and want to be the wind in the sails of the new ship until we reach safer and more pristine shores. Sure we could use a steam engine, but we do not have one so help man the sails, when we dock on those shores, we can all go our separate ways; if you want sit on the beach and look across the sea to that wretched land we left behind.
Right now, we are all in the same boat; kulung bula laa beh nganiya killing. If it sinks, there will be no new stable ship to captain. You cannot build a ship in the middle of a turbulent sea, you have to dock first; so let’s dock and on the other side you can help your favored ones to take over. Enough already!