Alagi Yorro Jallow

(Jollofnews) In one of my class lectures to my students, entitled “Our dignity is priceless,” I told my students this: your innocence, integrity, dreams, potential and dignity are things that what older folk admire, especially because the older people lost them a long time ago. When our older people buy your vote, or do worse to you, it’s because they realize you have character, which the power and money they the older ones cannot buy.

Our Parliamentarians has stolen this precious commodity – reputation, and the possibility of legacy – from unknown political prostitutes.

Our Parliamentarians accepted gift cars from older political operatives. Now their reputation has taken a hit by accepting a gift. But in politics, sincerity isn’t enough. In politics, the road to hell is even more paved with good intentions.

And this is a life and death issue. It is truly tragic when young Gambian men who make a mark by being selfless, serving justice, and working hard against the odds, go on to receive handouts from, older political hacks of the political class.

And these older politicians are nothing compared to the young men; the older men have been selfish, they have wallowed in impunity, and stolen public resources, rather than sweated and toiled like real men.

And when these great young men hang around these old dogs, they surely get fleas. Their innocence is selfishly absorbed by the old guard, and their potential to be even greater men than they already are is stunted before it completely matures. It is truly, truly sad. It is a great tragedy.

We want a Gambia of upright men in all ways, as Thomas Sankara wanted for his country when he renamed it Burkina Faso. We want a different breed of Gambian men, but every time they start to rise, they get burdened with the sins of the elders.

For now, until our hearts get broken again by the next young Gambian men who gives away so much of what they accomplished for so hopelessly little, I will remember the words of Ossie Davis about the great Malcolm X: “Malcolm X, even when he was wrong, was the rarest thing in the world among us Negroes: a true man.” The Gambia needs true men in leadership, and this goal is proving harder to reach than we thought.