The political fear-mongering of the APRC regime, one presumes is to instill fear and terror on the Gambian population has been a strategic agenda item for Yahya Jammeh since 1994 to continue ruling Gambia. So using brutal force on citizens and using one segment of society against another isn’t new and neither is the “crisis” it creates for the rest of us. One segment of society — most in dire financial straits but still vote against their interest. They have different conception of Yahya Jammeh because they refused to learn from others mistakes and are often holding prayers for him despite everything he has done against citizens. Not everyone is angry about happenings in the country, but honestly, we also have some misinformed troglodytes “deliberately ignorant” people among our midst who love power and wealth more than anything. They often find themselves doing the wrong thing to please people.
This leads us to ask: Do people believe that life is a bouquet of roses in Gambia or the pain of economic stress, loss of identity, community breakdown, ethnic bigotry, loss of social status, loss of lives, injustice on citizens and self-worth are not felt by them. They pushed too hard even though history is moving in the opposite direction as the pendulum swings to the end era of APRC regime. Everything we stood for once before or pride ourselves have vanished, making it easy for the regime to prey on the weak. How do we restore dignity and faith in our Government again— to be transparent and honest with the people? For example, when you decide to oppose the regime or run for a leadership position within a community, the regime will nervously send you imams, use your family or influential people to prevail on you.
The prestigious cultural values —that once made it possible to have self-respect, honesty, integrity amid difficult moments or when needed most is missing in most people. The previous PPP government had some flaws but they let society instill a social culture in which you are able to count on people. Back then, the people were empowered in such a way that pains of economic stress, community breakdown, loss of social status and self-worth where tackled as a family matter, hence, we all walk through them gracefully. Growing up in Gambia, we were touched by the character and conduct of certain people. They honored the poor among us and those who worked under them. We used to then envy two types of peoples but it was done in a permissible way. Those granted knowledge and wealth. We prayed for their knowledge to increase and at the same token, we pray for ourselves to have such knowledge, so that we can put it into practice to covey it to our people in the best ways. Likewise, for wealth, we also prayed for those whom were granted it, for theirs to increase and for us to have such wealth so that we could take care of our families or spend it in right cause to help our people.
When bread money, school uniforms, hardship knocks on a family’s doors steps, you can count on your neighbors, relatives or the “Uncle”. Yes, that’s right, the uncle who lives at top of hill and will allow you to live among his kids for shake of your education or progress. Our parents didn’t have money but able to make ends meet and live comfortably with smile on their face. Aggregates of people in a society will be assigned “Kunda” at the end of their last name best exemplify by “manjaikunda, Dembakunda, etc.” as collective pride of something they were known for which gives meaning to our childhood. Our parents might be so poor or living on the edge, but their children never felt disrespect or unwanted in society. Any act of disloyalty — like looking down on people, avoiding people, sharing personal secrets of families with outsiders — maybe felt acutely or nonexistence.
That loyalty culture helped a lot of people today whom where strangers on family homes. Any five minutes’ conversation you have with people then, they take pride talking about someone in their family making difference. That is what Yahya Jammeh enjoyed among Gambian as a teenager. He too, he stayed with relatives and enjoyed government scholarship or sponsorship throughout his life. This is exactly what he denied Gambians today to tackle a major problem, his regime. Today, Gambian approaches such problems quite the opposite. The culture of fear created by the APRC regime over the years has changed the fabric of our society. This was what the loyalist of Yahya Jammeh never get to understand when people missed Gambia of yesterday. Everything we stood for before as a country is devalued.
Today, you can’t go five minutes without having a conversation on anything without learning about injustice against people, hardship stories, and crushed hopes. For APRC regime, It’s all about intense personal patriotism culture force on people which awards status to the individual after committing an act against your morals in most cases. Henceforth, it is not entirely surprising, the bricks of hope, faith, love, peace and believe in oneself, which once built our society, now seams it is sold out in the second republic and replaced by personal patriotism culture. The truth is that, what they offer builds nothing for people and society today because we are led by immoral people. The outraged you see today in our society is as a result of APRC regime abandoning traditional and Gambian values to build their own society of patriotism culture. It’s too hard to explain APRC many accomplishments.
By Habib (A Concerned Gambian)