RE: FONI – The Current Gambian Situation, an emotional battle between winning trust and maintaining loyalty.
Mr. President, it is with humility and utmost respect that I write first as a citizen of our beloved motherland, The Gambia and second and most importantly as a peace advocate questing for global peace which, will enable us as citizens of the world fight the ever challenging battles of dying health institutions and increasing famine particularly in Sub Saharan Africa where we dwell as a nation.
Sir these problems affecting us directly or indirectly need urgent and robust solutions, which are attainable only under an environment of peace and stability.
However Sir, the current problem facing The Gambia and Gambians is a question of our emotional response to our recent political change, which affects both sides of the political coin of our small country for which we as Gambians and particularly the people in authority should and must allow our minds lead and our hearts (the most emotional part of our body) to stabilize this rolling coin to ensure that our collective wish for a better and prosperous nation remains as our unique endeavour, as a people of one nation.
Sir, it is very true that many have had a very painful past under the government of our former President (Jammeh), but many have equally had memorable moments under the same leadership, which is common with every government in the world.
One such example of the existence of opposing evaluations of government performance in the eyes of its people, is the government of former President Obama of the United States of America, a president and a government that landed overwhelming praises globally was equally accorded a farewell of numerous regrets to carry in his and its history by other Americans and other citizens of the world.
I’m not into creating a theatre of praises nor blames by bringing such an example, but the purpose is making a humble request for us as Gambians to revisit the past pains of history not with pride, but with regret because the former can often result costly when given the opportunity.
Moreover Sir, a moment of revisiting Gambia`s political history will remind us that President Jawara has had very challenging moments with the people of Baddibu and by extension NCP supporters at a time when policemen (the most fearful force then) were always sent to beat the loyal NCP supporters, but it did never work well and he later resorted to approaching them with benevolence like bags of rice particularly at NCP strongholds.
Though, young then, but I can still vividly remember the ordeals of a village mate in Jarra who used to plant a very tall poll with the NCP flag with it in his compound. However, President Jawara’s later approach did work out well for him in three decades and similar strategies but with different approaches were used against the PDOIS.
Moreover, the same scenarios confronted President Jammeh as well with the people of Baddibu and Kiang with need to mention a prominent name like Babanding Kk Daffeh in the early years of the transition towards the infantile period of the second republic.
Those were moments when Baddibunkas will leave for their farms when Jammeh arrives for meetings in their villages. We’ve also heard them say then that “even if he did make the roads of Baddibu all with gold, they wouldn’t support him” and same stories with Kiangkas to, which some attributed the delay in the finishing of the Mandinaba- Soma road but it later rolled out in his wish by him using their own people to win their trust and here it appeared the rise of Suku Singateh with the lowering of the voice of prominent KK Daffeh.
Mr. President, politics is all about strategy particularly in Africa and it’s he who does it well that thrives. It is like the famous game of football, although with fewer players and a same entourage of supporters.
Sir, you being a staunch football supporter like me makes me plead for your pardon for us (Gambians) to view the people and situation in Foni with a relook at the end of that memorable final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich on the 26th day of May, 1999 at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain with consideration of the emotions of the players and supporters of Bayern and one such player I want us to kindly remember on this day is Sammy Kuffour.
It was indeed a very painful moment for them (including me which laid the foundation for my dislike for Man U) but one such interesting thing I immensely admire in football, a game in which fouls are committed and decisions are made, is seeing the winning team/club most often if not always approaching the defeated side(s) and embracing them which in itself instils hope and strengthens the courage of the defeated side for upcoming matches.
This, I always wish and pray for its wholeheartedly happening in politics particularly in Africa from both the politicians and supporters to ensure the existence of an environment of hope for the future.
The point I’m trying to make Sir, is that your government under an un-interfered leadership of yours should learn from the turbulent experiences and strategies of the previous governments to win the trust and support of the people of Foni and it’s only by engaging them which wouldn’t merely mean ‘ne’hal’, while allowing them to let go their belief, which I’m very sure with time adaptation will be nourished in your wish of leading a peaceful Gambia as the President.
Sir, we should all remember that hatred can be created abrupt but support and trust comes gradually and it is the later that would star your name high up in the good books of Gambian history for eternity. Hence do not always listen to us but don’t also be deaf to our voices always; for it’s the ability to play this puzzle that makes THE Leader!
And, sir I’ve this to say – ‘the friend that helps you burn down your house with the promise of shelter, will one day send you out at the expiry of his patience!’
In conclusion Sir, I would like to say that do not lose hope and do not tire but be mindful of your surrounding because it will be an experience that future governments will battle as resistance which is part of the phases of political change.
Yours in the service of our nation,
Dr Muhammed Teks Tekanyi (MBChB)