Thursday, 20 December 2012 01:47(Opinion) – Wa’bajoway? Wa’bajoway? (What happened? What’s happened?) The villagers of Foni Karunorr asked in confusion when two military jeeps sped into their village.
As the jeep stopped, heavily armed men in combat gear jumped out and kettled the terrified villagers at the bantaba where two elderly men, Wuyeh and Enor Colley were handpicked and driven to the Cassamance side of the boarder.
Minutes later, some gun shots were heard in the distance. The men were executed. It later came to light that Wuyeh and Enor Colley had spoken out against the usurping of land within Foni.
But this is just a tip of the ice-berg of what the people of Foni are going through under the brutal regime of a disillusioned sheikh. I would get closer to the bottom of the iceberg in the ensuing deliberation but for now let me put Colonel Gaddafi’s Bani walid under the microscope.
Bani Walid is a settlement of a clan in Libya, which was a strong hold of Colonel Gaddafi , they fought with all their resources to defend him and it was no doubt that the last settlement to fall during the Libyan revolution.
The Bani Walid people may have enjoyed many privileges which they knew would be stopped when the Gaddafis are topple. They therefore put their lives in the frontline, anyway small dwelling with less might they could not stand a whole nation.
Now the question is, will Foni be another Bani Walid in the event of an insurrection to topple Dictator Jammeh? Will the sons and daughters of Foni sacrifice their lives and property to protect Jammeh? The answer to these questions is a big no and I would dilate more as to why. Anyway let me put it this way, if there is going to be some resistance in any struggle to unseat Jammeh it would come from some quarter of Kanilai called Woney.
The Dictator’s strategy of divide and rule has ripped through all towns and cities of the Gambia and Kanilai is no exception. Those from Woney see themselves as the Buckingham household of Kanilai as they are said to portray themselves as royals who are assumed to have more privileges than the rest of Kanilai.
Foni is a multi-ethnic society comprising of all tribes of the Gambia thanks to the legacy of Bakary Nyassi commonly known as Bakary Bajagarr. Bakary was an exemplary ruler of Foni who nurtured the culture of different tribes living side by side and encouraged inter marriages amongst tribes within Foni.
Unfortunately this legacy is seriously threatened by the hair splitting stratagem of divide and rule employed by the ruthless regime of present day Gambia.
An outsider who doesn’t know the demography of Foni and Jolas for that matter would assume that the whole of Foni and Jolas are behind Yahya Jammeh. This is a dangerous myth.
What is happening is that the people of Foni are hypnotised. The people of Foni are the only Gambians who are forbidden from speaking out against the Jammeh regime. Speaking out against the regime in Foni is a crime punishable to death or secret detention without charge.
As Jammeh is from Foni, all the natives of Foni are expected to support him or he would make life difficult for them. Some benefits are handed down here and there to convince the people that all that is being done is in their interest and they should therefore be forever loyal to the status quo. In reality the woes that the people of Foni are going through far outweighs these paltry benefits.
Imagine many families whose livelihoods are tied to subsistence agriculture, have got their farmlands confiscated and given to the President. Instead of cultivating their own farms, they are now coerced into cultivating at the President’s farm.
If you talk to the ordinary people of Foni about the state of affairs in the Gambia and how their lands are being taken away on a daily basis by someone who barely owned a few square meters of land before coming to power, you would discern the disdain on their faces. Such a people would not stand on the way of anyone who wants to liberate them from tyranny.
If anyone still thinks that the people of Foni would sacrifice their lives for Mr Jammeh like the people of Bani Walid did for Gaddafi, he should ask the families of Buba Sanyang, Ndongo Mboob, Modou Lamin Nyassi, Marcie Jammeh, Haruna Jammeh, Jasaja Kujabie who mysteriously disappeared without trace for years now.
Ask the families of those who were accused of being witches and wizards, humiliated and forced to drink from hazardous concoctions that left some dead and others seriously ill.
Ask the families of Wuyeh Colley and Enor Colley who were shot dead in broad day light and also ask the families whose farmlands were taken away and given to the President.
Going by the foregoing narration one can emphatically assert that Foni would not be like Bani Walid in the event of an insurrection to unseat the Gambia’s despotic ruler.
The people are sitting on a very active volcano that can erupt anytime and they would surely take back what belongs them especially land on which they depend on for their livelihood.
Written by Landing Nyassi, Norway
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