Madi Jobarteh

(JollofNews) – As Gambians, we can disagree on a number of things about the PPP and the Jawara Regime or APRC and the Yaya Jammeh Regime or about the new regime of Adama Barrow. But what we cannot disagree with is that between 22 July 1994 to 19 January 2017, under the reign of Yaya Jammeh and AFPRC/APRC, not only a large number of Gambians were raped, tortured, exiled and killed by the State machinery, but also such atrocities were unprecedented even under colonial rule.

The scale and gravity of abuse of the rights and dignity of Gambians and the level of corruption and plunder of public wealth including the loss of private and communal landed properties, businesses and livestock to Yaya Jammeh shall remain a scar on the conscience and the soul of the nation for a long time to come, if not forever.

The hard truth though is that one single citizen, Yaya Jammeh was only able to preside over the most brutal epoch of our history simply because Gambians allowed it in our totality. As citizens, we were the foot soldiers that gave him power, carried out his orders and even sought to impress him when he did not ask. Many acted on their own by reporting on each other leading to the dismissal, arrest, detention, torture and killing of fellow citizens. We disregarded the tenets of our religions, the norms of our culture, the rules of our constitution and our bonds of family and good neighbourliness to hunt each other down like preys and predators. Indeed this was a period of self-inflicted harm and misery.

Yet it is also true that many resisted. In that resistance many were maimed and many others lost their jobs and money and other resources. Some were ostracized and forced to live in fear in their homes, ridiculed and abandoned by family, colleagues and friends. Many were forced to flee their motherland for years upon years during which they lost loved ones in their absence. Some even died abroad but because of their resistance were denied burial in their homeland.

Today is the first day of Ramadan. Today many will seek forgiveness and forgive each other. But are we truly seeking genuine forgiveness and forgiving genuinely? I think we need to go beyond and above the usual Ramadan forgiveness exchanges and become genuine Muslims who own up to our individual acts of omission and commission in this national affliction we endured for 22 years. Let us begin the healing of the nation by being honest and truthful and own up to our acts of commission and omission in this period of tyranny in our homeland. Let us start building the New Gambia.

I, Madi Jobarteh hereby confess that I have not done enough to resist the Tyranny of Yaya Jammeh and APRC and take full responsibility for this national affliction. I could have spent more effort, give more time and more resources to further intensify the fight against dictatorship to end it much earlier. The fact that the dictatorship lasted for 22 years, which is a generation clearly indicts me for this carnage.

I confess that I never took any strategic position of power and decision making under APRC Regime. I never reported any citizen or took any decision or action that caused the illegal dismissal or arbitrary arrest, detention, torture or killing of any citizen. I never participated in any activity in anyway that provided support to APRC and Yaya Jammeh. I never went to Kanilai or any so-called farms of Yaya Jammeh to work. I never prayed in the so-called State House Mosque. I never put on Yaya Jammeh and APRC T-shirts or ashobi. I never went to grace any July 22 celebration in Kanilai, Banjul or to the beach. I never respected or condoned in anyway Yaya Jammeh or the APRC.

I never took part in any activity in anyway that interfered with or compromised the people’s resistance to APRC and Yaya Jammeh. I never used my position and status in the Gambian society, publicly and privately to benefit from the APRC Dictatorship. I worked for both GRTS and GRA at separate times, but in all cases I deliberately and willingly resigned in protest of the way and manner the Gambia was misruled by Yaya Jammeh. I confess that I had given initial welcome to the military coup and the junta up to 11 November 1994 when it became clear to me that this is a regime of predators. Since then I have never relented in my fight against the regime to the best of my ability.

But I confess that by my limited resistance I have contributed to a crime of omission for the entrenchment of the APRC Dictatorship for a whole generation. I therefore seek the forgiveness of all Gambians more so the victims, dead or alive for my limited role in fighting AFPRC/APRC Dictatorship in order to end it much earlier with less cost. I could have done much more!

I hereby challenge you, as an adult Gambian Muslim on the occasion of Ramadan to also honestly confess of what you did or did not do in the past 22 years in either maintaining or resisting the dictatorship in our country.

We hope when Lent comes, our Christian citizens will also confess to their crime of commission and omission or the lack of it as the case may be.

Ramadan Kareem!

God Bless the Gambia