New face but same old body- case of The Gambia

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Its been one year since we ushered in a new regime headed by Mr. Adama Barrow and his cohort ousting out a 22 year old dictatorship. Gambia has had a history of coups, most of which has been peaceful with almost no blood shed, well apart from the 1981 episode and thus this removal of Mr. Jammeh through electoral processes is the breakthrough of the century.

Its a new Gambia they said; the old system of repression is done away with they said; its a democracy they said. But what we are seeing is the same beat with slightly different lyrics. The most prominent indicator was the electricity crisis which prompted the creation of a dynamic movement called “Occupy Westfield” comprised of young Gambians fed up with the system. They had complied with the constitutional requirements (Public Order Act) of obtaining a permit to hold public gatherings where a microphone would be used from the IGP. The IGP however thought it best to play a pingpong game of refusing, then giving it and then refusing finally at the dire minute.

Quite interesting and familiar non? Dictatorship or systems or repressions do not just spring up on people, it creeps in ever so slowly, occasionally testing the waters to see what it can get away with and what it can’t. Strange enough the previous leader had made promises right at the beginning of his tenure but we let him get away with too much as time went on.

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We are seeing a growing trend of public officials most notably Ministers squandering money at public gatherings; one of such is an event with one of the biggest Kora singers in The Gambia and Ousainou Darboe (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Hamat Bah (Minister for Tourism) were seen splashing money like nobody’s business. Again, sounds familiar? Yes, I thought as much. An eye witness was seated at Hamat Bah’s office for close to 5 hours waiting for her turn because of the number of visitors he receives on a daily basis. Does that man ever do any serious work at all? Henry Gomez, Minister for Youth and Sports has been heard saying this government was planted by God himself and any attempts at placing obstacles would not go through. Who says that? And by the way this is a man who has not brought forward any form of incentives or programmes for the youth. Infact, personally that was the first time I heard him speak since he took the portfolio and its not a great impression.

On my department which is the judiciary, that is fish to fry for another day! The list goes on, on how incompetent and reckless these public officials are in less than a year. But the silver lining lies in the fact that, Gambians are so “woke” (slang for we are aware), we know what we want and what we do not want. And hopefully, we will not allow what happened over 2 decades to repeat itself because that would be unfortunate. It would be calamitous!

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Because we did not only decide and vote for a new regime, but we decided for respect and dignity as human and the attainment of our basic human rights and aspirations! We decided for an integrated society where it does not matter what tribe or religion you belong! We decided for equality and equity!

We decided! No more of what was!

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