Saturday, 26 January 2013 15:28(Column) – So Members of the Gambian National Assembly have approved a petition drafted by group selfish individuals-who claimed to be representing all Gambians- against the European Union's Article 8 Political Dialogue with the Gambia Government.
Well, I am not surprised by the decision of the National Assembly which is dominated by members of President Jammeh’s APRC party. Our National Assembly is just like an APRC bureau where members in their blind support of Mr Jammeh, fails to distinguish between him and the Gambia.
The EU demands are fairly reasonable and should not be confused as interference in the Gambia’s domestic politics. The EU is not asking the Gambia to enact new laws, but to respect the very laws that are in the country’s constitution which Mr Jammeh has sworn by the Qur’an to defend and protect.
But instead of recognising the Jammeh regime’s lack of respect to the constitution and violations of the rights and freedoms of the Gambian people, the National Assembly members competed against each other in the House to condemn the EU and the private media.
Our National Assembly Members are definitely living in cuckoo land. In their small heads they think it is OK in today’s Gambia for one man to be so powerful that he is worshipped by everyone in the country. They believe that it is perfectly normal for Mr Jammeh to arbitrarily arrest anyone he wants, lock them up and throw the keys away. They believe that Mr Jammeh is the saviour of the Gambia - and despite all the big question marks on his attitude and conduct as president- they think that he is the best man to govern 21st century Gambia.
I find all these really sad. What is really happening in the Gambia? Can someone please help me out?
As one of the biggest external donor to the Gambia, I think the EU is perfectly right to call for political reforms in the country. Our country is on the brink of political unrest as a result of the brutalities of the Jammeh regime.
It’s really laughable to see Gambians who are the victims of Jammeh’s tyranny protesting against the EU. One would have thought that men and women in the country would have used this as a spring board to demand for more freedoms. But that is definitely not we Gambians do. Many of us would rather sit and moan in silent, while hoping for miracles to happen.
Last month, my former editor-in-chief at the Daily Observer, Ndey Tapha Sosseh wrote an article in the very pages of this paper in which she expressed her frustration at the failure of religious leaders in the country to spread the gospel of truth to President Yahya Jammeh and his Government.
Well, Ndey is not the only Gambian who is appalled and disappointed at the country’s religious leaders. Since Mr Jammeh came to power in July 1994, Gambian religious leaders especially the Supreme Islamic Council have become actively involved in party politics. And instead of speaking out against tyranny, the organisation has become the Number one supporter of Mr Jammeh and his APRC party.
While its sister organisation, the Christian Council of the Gambia always choose to maintain a dignified silence on political issues, the Islamic council is always busy using selective interpretations of the Muslim scriptures and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to defend the misdeeds of the Jammeh regime.
By becoming too involved in party politics, some religious leaders in the Gambia have fallen into temptation thereby ignoring all the brutalities being meted out to even their fellow clerics such as Imam Baba Leigh of the Kanifing East Mosque, Imam Ba Kawsu Fofana, Imam Alhagie Karamo Touray of the Brikama Central Mosque, Imam Alhagie Ismaila Manjang of Gunjur, Imam Alhayba Hydara formerly of Banjul International Airport Mosque by President Jammeh and his regime.
The decisions of some of our religious leaders to remain silent on many issues as a result of the worldly gains they receive from Mr Jammeh, has left many Gambians wondering whether some of these men are really fit to lead them in prayers.
In recognising the dangers of religious scholars associating with kings and rulers, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said: "Whosoever lives in the jungle becomes hard hearted; one who is fond of hunting becomes neglectful (of everything else) and one who visits kings frequently falls into temptation."
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has also warned that ".....You people must preach the truth and prevent the sinners from doing forbidden things and check the tyrants to bring them to the right path, otherwise you will be accursed and your hearts will be corrupted just as Allah did with Bani Israel."
In his book Faza'il Sadaqat, Shaikhul Hadith Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi, said: " Religious scholars who are concerned about the life after death keeps away from the company of princes, lords and rulers, and do not associate with them unless it becomes unavoidable. For their companionship may involve seeking their pleasure and winning their goodwill. Besides, rulers often indulge in cruelty, injustice and other sinful deeds and it is incumbent upon religious scholars to forbid them from doing evil, expose their injustice or cruelty and admonish them against transgressing the commandments of Allah. Observing reticence in such matters (instead of voicing one's disapproval) amounts to compromising one's religion.
“Furthermore, if one is obliged to praise the rulers with a view of gaining their favours, amounts to telling lies. Our worldly minded religious scholars are worst than the Devines of Banu Israel for they go to the rulers and tell them how to evade the law (Shariah) and thereby seek to win their favours. If the scholars were to tell the rulers about their responsibilities in plain words, they would never like them (scholars) to visit their palaces frequently, but their truthfulness will be a means of eternal salvation in the of Allah."
I am not having a go at our religious leaders, but I think they need to start conducting themselves according to the teachings of the Qur’an and hadiths.
As Abu Dardaa(Radhiallaho Anho), who is a distinguished Sahabah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once stated: "You must command people to do good, and restrain them from evil otherwise Allah will cause such a tyrant to rule over you, who will not respect your elders, and will not have mercy on your youngsters. Then you people will pray to Him but He will not accept your prayer; you will ask Him for help, but He will not help you; you will seek His pardon, but He will not pardon you; for --- Allah Himself says: "O Believers! if you help Allah, then He will help you, and- will make your feet firm (against your enemies).”
May the Almighty Allah protect the Gambian people from the mischief of Yahya Jammeh and his regime.
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