(JollofNews) – As much as “this struggle” is building momentum, it must remember or realize that its resources are not limitless, and time is of the essence or is crucial. So,
it must gear and redirect its limited resources to maximize this despot’s removal, in the shortest possible time, with little or no collateral national damage. The struggle has done, and continues to do some damage, and it must keep the pace up.
One such particular topic that comes to mind is this: no matter how “this struggle” goes in, it is the “exit strategy” that will ultimately change the course of our history. By “exit strategy” I mean how do we restore democracy, rule of law, and free and fair elections every four or five years, in an environment that will allow for, encourage and support all political players in the political processes to have a “level playing field”. This is a huge challenge, and it will certainly involve changing the Constitution, and re-writing many aspects of the laws to reflect not just the new change of guard, but also to eradicate areas or parts of the laws that were used by the current dictatorial regime to further its agendas, and its continuity grip on power for so long.
Yes, the counter-position can be made by some that they, themselves, will not subscribe to any plan that does not minimize or eliminate national collateral damage. True, but when such a position is claimed, one should be willing as well, to subject any such position to scrutiny, and if flaws are detected, one must be willing and ready to alter the plan or plans, and or change direction, as dictated. Of course, no plan is “perfect”, but any “forceful plans” that carry such words such as “rebellion”, “war” and the like MUST be given serious, VERY SERIOUS thought, Caution and Planning. On the contrary, such a “forceful plan” should have such words as “coup”, “surgical operation”, “covert infiltration”, “covert operation”, and so on.
We will have to overhaul the entire system, particularly relating to laws on the books that continue to keep that Monster in power.
Yes, true, the counter-argument can be made that the laws currently on the books are “sufficient”, and that that Monster only abused them through his security and other apparatus organs. True, these laws might be “sufficient” in many regards to allow for a change of government, and or during any transitional process, but I submit that the laws under Monster Jammeh for over 20 years now are definitely going to need a complete make-over oroverhaul. And that process will be a huge undertaking, and we will need not just all the domestic expertise we can muster, but international assistance, expertise and support as well. And this is not an undertaking that can be accomplished in just a few days or few weeks. It is a lengthy, exhaustive and inclusive process.
Here, I will not speak for any or all. But from private as well as public engagements, many will not submit to plans that lack considerations for lives, and or absent features to minimize and or eliminate national collateral damage. Nobody, me included, is implying or saying here that “details of plans” or what we used to call SI (Sensitive Information) isshared with the public or just about with anyone. But you must not, repeat, MUST NOT, run behind “confidentiaity” or “secrecy”, to not let the public know what are your agendas or general outlines of your plans. There is something called MANIFESTO. And in this Manifesto you can surmise your general outlines, such as transition length, methods or phases of the transition, processes of the transition, and parts of the Constitution that may or may not be suspended, or freedoms and rights that may or may not be granted to political individuals or political entities or players, or even individuals.
Diasporan entities or so-called civil societies hiding behind “secrecy” or “need-to-know basis“concepts is pretentious, and such moves would only hamper progress that could otherwise have been made, and will also serve as a disservice to “this struggle” and The Gambia at large. Sometimes, if not all the time, accepting criticisms to improve and or change strategy or approach is not a sign of weakness, but a display of strength and courage.
We must be very careful to not use “need-to-know basis”as blankets to disguise internal weakness, flaws or short-comings. In almost any and all public discussions of change of government, be it by democratic or “forceful means”, there is ALWAYS that OBLIGATION called public right to know. You cannot bring something to the public, and when questions start coming at you, you conveniently take cover or run behind that need-to-know concept. Of course, some information cannot, and MUST NOT be publicly divulged, but answers to details of concerns or questions must be provided, to allay fears, and dispel crowded designs or agendas.
As much as one group or entity might perceive and or present that they do have and possess both the material resources and manpower to effect change, be it peaceful or “forceful”, there are probably others out there, individually or as groups who equally have the same and or more experience and know-how. And all these entities, individuals orgroups need to, and must talk with each other, “not at each other”, and find ways to reach a consensus on how to fight a shared and common predicament in any and every way possible, not discounting force of course.
Until some or many of us realize and appreciate the magnitude of the predicament we face, its effects and the need for change, then we will continue to go in circles, thinking that we are heading on a straight path. And we will continue to have infrequentand sporadic “victories” here and there, and when the dust settles, and before we know it, 2016 has come and gone, and we are looking at 2019, or right before that or after that, we might have already gotten the KINDOM OF THE GAMBIA, and you know who will be the King, right, and you know what that will mean, right?
The Truth hurts. It is one thing to instigate people, and entirely another thing to instigate people to do something that you know you would not do, and that you also know is stupid. And at the time you are doing the instigating, you, on the other hand, are safely nestled in your own far-away cubicle of safety, and throw pretensions such as age, gender, education, careers, interests, and other outlandish pretensions, as justifications in your defense, or as reasons for staying away from the “heat”. True, in this regard, a very select fewpeople, no more than a handful,might have a genuine case, and they do not need to be in the “heat”. But then again, when it comes to national development, I submit that such is everyone’s responsibility, and that there is no excuse for not participating in national change, rebuilding or development.
And as for others, I submit that their cases are just bogus, self-centered, disingenuous and downright wrong and misleading. It is very easy to be brave from a distance. Further, it is amazing how some know the reality of facts, disguise their own cowardice, pursue their own interests and agendas, and then turn around and foolishly and stupidly instigate you to do something stupid that they will not do, or support or encourage their own children or loved ones to do, and then they turn around and profess to be “Heroes” or whatever, fighting for a cause. Are you kidding me? What kind of cowardice is that? Don’t you know what it takes?
Alright, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. But then again, when we extend them the benefit of the doubt, their track record of years of shady, mixed and questionable agendas and prior allegiance, stare at you right in the face. And that becomes extremely difficult to ignore, or just set aside, in an atmosphere where you have egos, ambitions and other agendas floating around and blending in with anything and everything.
Some of these people change their allegiances, statements, and agendas faster than chameleons would change their skins. And all these developments are happening within a span of few months, or within few years, and it makes you wonder. And when you wonder, you are branded, and when you ask questions you are branded even more.
Indeed, humans are some fascinating characters.
Throughout history, or since the evolution of civil society, great changes have only occurred when differences, agendas and interests are set aside for a common cause. We don’t need to remind ourselves here what that common cause is, and that common cause is bigger than any and all of us, and we all know what that cause is, and that common cause is The Gambia we all love. You can love your country, but hate the government.
We all know that attributes of ego, pride, ambition and other self-interests will resurface once a regime change is affected. But this diversity and divergence of different and varying perspectives and interests, when channeled and harnessed collectively in a democratic system, and in a free and fair market place will invariably benefit all, hence development and collective betterment.
Are there not genuine ones among us? Are there not genuine ones among us who have the interests of the Nation at heart, than their own interest? Why settle for ones with shady history and questionable characters? Why not agree on the genuine ones? Never put trust in that or on that which you have once being betrayed or deceived by.
Why can’t we search for, look for, and select genuine ones among us? Can we not distinguish the “genuine ones” among us from the “ones with crowded designs”? Why can’t we pay less heed to questionable “characters”, and more heed to outstanding, honorable and distinguished men and women?
Finally, and once more again, and again, for the sake of God and Country, can we have all these diasporan entities to meet over coffee in Atlanta or Raleigh, or teleconference, or even through phones or emails (though a face-to-face meeting is preferable by many), talk about how to converge, merge and consolidate themselves and their efforts, to fight a shared and common enemy/predicament in any and every way they can, not discounting force? Can they not talk about coming together in UNITY under one UMBRELLA? There is STRENGTH in Unity. And a UNITED ACTION is eloquent and effective.
Soon, in a matter of weeks or months, all this dust surrounding recent developments will settle, and once it settles, what next? Complacency might kick in, or the strides might pick up steam, or we might go back to the drawing board, or re-group in our own individual entities, and so on, but in all this background the Enemy plans too, and is likewise taking steps or measures to further consolidate and prolong his grip on power. And he will not limit such measures with just the domestic people (whom, by the way, he has a more sway over) but also with the international community.
There is this concern that this Monster might profess to some in the international community that he is the victim of an over-zealous “struggle” with no mandate of the people back home, a “struggle” bent on sabotaging a “democratically elected government”. And he might have some “sympathizers” in the international community, since such “sympathizers”, be they are governments, NGOs, other entities or individuals, would rather deal with this “barbaric government” since they have no choice and or “substitute”. Such is the nature of how things work, diplomatically and non-diplomatically. Until you change a barbaric government, other nations will continue to do and conduct business with it, and recognize such “barbaric government”.
There is a time and place for anything and everything. When and where emotions are high it becomes extremely difficult to separate emotions and sentiments from professional judgment. Emotions cloud our professional judgement. Are there some among us who can separate emotions and use professional judgment and speak up? Is our allegiance to an individual or a group or to the Gambia? Isn’t it amazing that people who you might expect some reasoning and sensible judgment from display symptoms of hypocrisy in instances where and when it seems like it might benefit their fame, glory or popularity?
We have a longer walk to Freedom and an even longer, longest walk after Freedom. What would The Gambia have to face and deal with after this traumatic blimp called Monster Jammeh? Let’s hope and pray for the BEST, lest our children and grandchildren judge us, and they will surely write our history.
The Gambia is bigger than any and all of us, and it is The Gambia we are fighting for.
May God Help Us.
Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.