In the wake of the Banjul failed December coup aftermath, many were in grandstanding that the 50th nationhood celebration will be evoked in history not for its imposing rituals but its impressive political resuscitation. Nevertheless, as predicted, Dictator Jammeh saddled his unbridled tomfoolery in his exclusive with GRTS DG Kebba Dibba. At one point, one was tempted to conclude, “That is it”; Jammeh will leave his sceptics’ mouths ajar by decongesting the prisons, freeing all political detainees and extending a blanket amnesty to all Gambian nonconformists in the diaspora. That would not only have rejuvenated the abating political system but also give a facelift to his awful human rights record.
Some will argue that he has pardoned some prisoners on the occasion by using his presidential prerogative of mercy bestowed on him by the constitution. Yes, he has. The fundamental question is what crime has those pardoned committed? No single one of them was a political prisoner. In other words, these people were sentenced not due to their political view or membership of a civil advocacy group but felonies they committed and served three-quarters of the time of their sentence. Would such a gesture reconcile a politically volatile society? The dead bodies of the failed Banjul December coup are still in the hands of the dictatorial regime. Some siblings of the plotters are still languishing in prison for a crime they have never committed. Amadou Sanneh, Mamburay Njie and many other vulnerable Gambians are enduring daily the sting of the brutal regime’s lashes in dark cells all over the Gambia. Instead of cleaning his own backyard, Dictator Jammeh tries to reach out to Diaspora Gambian nonconformists by dishing them selective amnesty
on lacerating uranium plates, “Falai Baldeh has insulted my mum and Sam Sarr wrote a book full of lies about me. Some of them have done things I will never forgive. I will forgive some of them in the diaspora to come home if their intentions are genuine. Those who personalize it, they know themselves and they are less than ten. If they come here, they will go to jail. The others can come back but if you want to destabilize this country, I will wipe you out”. Peace is not attained by issuing threats. Moreover, national reconciliation has certain precedence without which it become futile, waste of time, resources and lives.
What is worse than unlawfully arresting, detaining, torturing and killing an innocent person? Deducing from Dictator Jammeh’s unapologetic stance, insulting his mum and writing false stories about him out weights any of the crimes he has committed against the rest of us. Ironically, I am reminded of what Malcolm X said to his comrades about the two types of slaves: the house Negro and the field Negro. “The house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negro gets too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put them back on the plantation. The house Negro could afford to do that because he lives better than the field Negro. He ate better. He slept better and he lives in a better house. He lives better next to his master in the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and wore his same clothes and he can talk just like his master. Good diction. And he loves his master more than his master loves himself. That is why he didn’t want his master hurt. The master gets sick; he said what is the matter boss, we sick? When his master’s house caught fire, he tries to put the fire out because he doesn’t want his master’s house burnt. He never wants his master’s property threatened and he was more defensive of it than the master was. That was the house Negro. But then you have some field Negroes who lived in huts. They had nothing to lose. They wore the worst kind of clothes and ate the worst kind of food. They felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master. Oh yes, they did. When their master gets sick, they pray for him to die. When their master’s house caught fire, they pray for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two and today you still have the house Negro and the field Negro. I am a field Negro”.
Slave Master Jammeh has systematically and successfully turned us into house Gambians Negroes and field Gambians Negroes. Unfortunately, the house Gambian Negroes are worse than the house Negroes. Unlike the house Negro who was protective of his master and cleaned his mess, the house Gambian tortures and kills his fellow Gambian for Dictator Jammeh. ANSU BADJIE caught my attention when he asserted on his Facebook page “this struggle is turning into a mafia jungle…fuelled by personal issues, attacks, grievances, protectionism, emotions, egoism, despotism, tribal, name-calling, vulgarity…the strong and loud mouths muscling out the weak, were the loudest and most aggressive rule, cults springing up at every corner and families protecting their interest…becoming less about Gambia and her political woes..” I will hasten to add the house Gambian has become a beast of burden that is uninterested on the Gambia and her political woes and more driven by disturbing fondness for his lord Dictator Jammeh. He thinks his Master Jammeh-the spiteful oppressor and murderer is the victim of the oppressed field Gambian. Consequently, both the lord Oppressor Jammeh and his house Gambian Negro believed the oppressed field Gambian Negro owes Oppressor Jammeh an apology. Thank you very much Dictator Jammeh for the offer, but I would rather die standing than live on my knees.
Dictator Jammeh’s selective amnesty has ripple effect. Primarily, as a President of a nation, you have a duty of care towards your citizens which incumbents upon you to always think and make informed decisions which embody the interest, security, freedom and wellbeing of all Gambians irrespective of their political opinion. You alluded in your speech that Allah is forgiven so who are you not to forgive. Be reminded that Allah will forgive all sins repented before one meets his dead. Allah never said I will forgive Bilal but not Umar. A true Muslim does not pick and choose what teaching of Islam he has to uphold or discard Mr President. Listening to you, I concluded that you need to make peace with yourself first. Once you admit that yes you have wronged Gambians in your quest to develop the Gambia for all Gambians, and only then you will understand all we want is for you to respect and uphold our basic rights as citizens. Owning up to one’s errs is manly. Next, you decongest the prisons, close all dark and torture chambers and free all political prisoners unconditionally. Then the whole world will be convinced that you are ready to sit on truth and reconciliation table.
The threats issued with your selective amnesty have rendered it insignificant and elusive. Actions are predicated by intentions. You said some of us in the diaspora think we are safe where we are but we are not. That is a worrying threat. Do you intent to abduct and/or poison us from our comfort zones? Furthermore, you said when they come let them not ask me for jobs. How do you expect them to survive without employment? “I will wipe them out if they come and want to destabilize the country”, you threatened. Do you mean that when we come, we should become house Gambian Negroes? What we are doing is challenging your inadequate policies, disregard for the due process and enforced disappearances. Is that destabilizing the country Mr President?
In conclusion, those who are apologizing to you are only saving face but not reconciling with you. You can do the math to decipher my point.