Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:41(Column) – The continuous arrests, detention and disappearance of people in the Gambia should indeed be a cause for concern to every Gambian living in the country and abroad. A week hardly passes by without someone being picked up and detained by the state security agents for one unexplained reason or another.
These arrests have gone far too long and many people are languishing at the Mile Two Prisons, Janjangbureh Prisons, NIA headquarters and police stations across the country without being charged or told the reasons for their arrests. Chief Ebrima Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi, among many others are a good example of Gambians who are being arbitrarily detained for months and years without been brought before any court of law. These men are being punished for crimes that only Yahya Jammeh knows.
The Jammeh regime is becoming more and more powerful by the day and has ceased to be a government of the people. Forget about democracy and the rule of law. We are only a democratic country by name. The Gambia is owned by Yahya Jammeh and we are all his subjects.
You may disagree with me but we are not a free society anymore. The notion of living in a free Gambia is out of the window because we have allowed Yahya Jammeh and his cronies to snoop into our peaceful lives and violate our space while we all stood aside and watch with open eyes. As a trusting and I would even go further and say gullible people, we believe in him and never question anything he does.
As president and head of state, Jammeh has become so intoxicated with power. All what he talks and dream about is POWER. He rules with the motto that, he as president should be good sometimes and be wicked on most occasions. He believes in god and the god he believes in wants him to be filthy rich, successful and reign over us forever and his opponents and critics dead and buried six-feet-deep.
Jammeh has grown bigger than the Gambia and he therefore expects everyone to bend their knees for him. Blinded and absolutely corrupted by his powers, today Jammeh maintains that he has the right without any basis in the constitution and laws of the Gambia to sack anyone from his job label anyone a criminal, saboteur or detractor then lock him up and throw the keys into the River Gambia. He is the boss and cannot be challenged.
Despite the fact there exists three chambers of government with different duties and responsibilities as spelt out in the constitution, yet these chambers of government are far from being independent. They are directly under the control of the president and as a result, they do not live up to their responsibilities. They all dance to the tune of the big man.
Like Napoleon in George Orwell's Animal Farm, Jammeh regards anything that goes against him as an enemy. An enemy that deserves to be punished severely. Surrounded by an ever loyal military that sees him as the saviour of the Gambia, Jammeh’s orders are always final and are carried out to the fullest.
It is therefore not surprising that the bodies of hundreds of Gambians and nonGambians are today full of scares of torture while the unlucky ones are decomposing in marked and unmarked graves across the country. Like angels guarding the fire of Hell, Jammeh's henchmen do not have anything call sympathy in their hearts. They don't flinch a bit when commanded to do something by their master. As a result, these men are committing many heinous crimes against people with impunity in the name of the president.
Today in the Gambia, despite the fact that there exist a book called the constitution, that was supposed to make us live in peace and unity; people are being governed according to the law of the jungle - survival of the fittest. The president and those close to him can do anything they want to the poor masses without being held accountable.
The country is now a nanny state and we are all being watch. Our daily activities are being monitored and recorded not by Close Circuit Televisions (CCTV), but by informers and the secret police. We cannot say anything about the government or Jammeh in the streets because someone elsewhere is listening. Our phone lines are tapped by NIA officers in the name of national security. Political debates are now out of our school curriculum because so many students are serving as the eyes and ears of the regime. Criticise the regime and you will never see the sun again.
These bullies have sown fear in the hearts of everyone in the country. So much arrests and disappearance have left people wondering who is next on the men in black's list.
All these evils are happening every day in our lives and yet we are doing nothing to stop it. We have accepted them as part of life and do not give a monkey as to who is bundled into a tinted glass pick-up and banged up in a filthy and mosquito infested cell or killed by the men in black.
The only time we seem to care is when a family member or someone close to us goes missing. Like a former colleague of mine (name withheld) once told me after his arrest and detention at the NIA headquarters, he never believed in the stories people say about the brutality of the NIA officers until when he landed there.
Like my friend, we should not wait until we have all become victims before we start doing something. We should not continue sitting down and allow Jammeh and his cronies to rule us any how they want.
We are a country and not a village. It is time to say enough is enough. Far too many wrongs have been committed by the regime and we must all not sit down and accept these evils and wrongs the way they are. We are a talk and do nation and those who can talk must talk while those who can do must do every little thing we all can to change things for the better.
The political madness that has gripped our peaceful country can only be eradicated if we come together and form a united political front that will flush out Jammeh through the polls. Let's stop looking low upon ourselves or doubt our abilities. We are not a bunch of dummies. We are all literates and our labour power is a force, which when fully tapped can bring about the much needed changes in our land of birth.
This is the only way out. The Gambia belongs to each and every one of us and we must all do everything we can to restore democracy and the rule of law in our God bless country. We are all blessed with different skills and we should use our skills to let Jammeh know that we have had enough of his brutal regime. Our spirit can never be crushed as long as we have the self belief that our dreams are attainable. Like my late grand dad (may Allah bless his soul) used to tell me during my primary school days, when treads unite, they can even tie and elephant.
Sitting down with folded hands and a sorry face or praying to the heavens for miracles to happen will get us nowhere. God's help only descent on a people who help themselves.
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