Michael Scales

(JollofNews) – Well, short of skydiving from the plane and entering the State House unseen through the back door, Yahya Jammeh has left the building. The amount of energy needed from the navy, the war planes and some 7,000 soldiers not to mention the air miles from gallant ECOWAS leaders and others, and the involuntary displacement of some 45,000 Gambians rushing any which way to the safety of Senegal, has left everyone exhausted.

Such was the unpredictable nature of Mr Jammeh right up until the last-minute. All that is left is the cloak of fear that was the hallmark of his enforced 22 year reign. This was quite a remarkable effort on everyone’s behalf, and we must thank God that no one was physically harmed although the mental realignment will take several months.

Gambians will have to learn a whole new culture of free speech and unmasked identity. I guess the dark shadow of Mr Jammeh’s legacy to lock free thoughts and community association without being lifted by security operatives in masked black cars will take time to overcome.

Let’s all give a giant sigh of relief and welcome the dawn.. We should also remember those who would not be chained and did not make it to see this day. The list is endless and I will not name all of them, less I would misspell a single letter of some brave soul’s name. You know who they are. May there beautiful souls rest easier from Saturday night.

This is also not the time for recriminations. God willing President Barrow’s commitment to a truth and reconciliation agenda must be allowed to be formatted in the new government’s own time. For now, there are practical requirements for the government to establish and take root.

Jammeh waving goodbye to his friends, family and supporters

Gambians now have all the time in the world. Those who are still grieving must be comforted, those who have been physically abused and tortured must be reassured and those who mourn for Yahya Jammeh must be given the silence to reconsider their loss. For truth never denied is a great leveller.

Myself, this has been a ten-year journey for justice for those lost but never forgotten. I must pay particular tribute to my friends online. I am grateful for their remarkable effort and trust. The time and effort of the online media and the value of time lost with families and children and days when they were denied the day’s sun, is legendary in my eyes.

I have witnessed their sacrifice, I felt their camaraderie, and I have respected their, wisdom and judgement. To share these human accomplishments was my great honour. I should have done more. My respect for the Gambian people and the hospitality shown to me in and outside of the Gambia for over 17 years. This has been most remarkable. The choice made on December 1st 2016 is now legend.

The world will now see the true Gambia and say, you are a remarkable African people.
You have shown all of Africa the way forward. To your new government, I would say your victory was long overdue. The fact that those of the opposition who finally came together for national reason and not personal reason was the deciding factor. You should have your place forever in Gambian history.At the end of this day, it was your personal  sacrifice that made this day possible.

Finally to Mr Jammeh, let it be said that you might have been what you could have been, but today, you are a “has been”. May you find peace and quality time with humility, free of stress with your family. The renewed Gambia is finally here. Yes it is.
Long live the Gambia. Forwards ever, backwards never!