Editor’s Note : The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author. The Gambia Inquirer does not necessarily share them.
By By Ebou Gaye
It goes without saying that many people have breathed a sigh of relief and rejoiced over Jammeh’s fall from grace to grass. This is not because people hate him as a person, but because they hate his bad manners as a brutal, blood-thirsty dictator. It is a pity that Jammeh was oblivious to this fact and hence regarded his critics, rivals and opponents as unpatriotic citizens and criminals who deserved death or severe punishment. He committed heinous crimes and unpardonable sins in his earnest but futile efforts to suppress dissent in order to perpetuate himself in power. Consequently, he earned himself a lot of enemies and incurred the wrath of God.
Now that the table has turned, one would expect Jammeh to humble himself or swallow his pride and apologize to his compatriots. Let me hasten to note that this is not the case. While announcing his decision to relinquish power, Jammeh behaved as if he doesn’t owe his numerous victims and their loved ones an apology. Pompous and arrogant as he is, he pretended to be brave, telling us that he was stepping down of his own accord so as to avoid bloodshed. We all knew that he was preparing to flee The Gambia to save his life. He was scared to death. He realized that the ECOWAS meant business and that bullets would rain on him if he refused to give up power and leave The Gambia as dictated by the ECOWAS. This is the guy who claimed that he owned The Gambia. He is the very one who insulted the ECOWAS, posing them the rhetorical question “Who the hell are they to tell me to leave my country?” He has now gone into exile after sending many of his compatriots into exile. Good riddance to bad rubbish! What a coward! What an irony! Jammeh’s situation lends credence to the saying “What goes around comes around”. As he tastes his own medicine, I urge him to close his eyes and try to swallow the bitter pills of exile.
I guess Jammeh has regretted why he was born, just as he used to tell people mockingly and scornfully. I think he is now cognizant of the fact that no condition is permanent and that power belongs to the people as we used to tell him. Given the way and manner in which those who claimed to be his ardent admirers and loyalists ditched him after his election defeat, I also believe he has now come to the realization that love and loyalty cannot be bought or forced.
In this connection, I would like to reproduce some paragraphs from my article entitled Perpetuation of Dictators: What Factors Are Responsible?, which was published in December 2011 and 2015:
To those who advance arguments in favour of dictators, I respond thus: Dictators are neither intelligent nor wise. Their tactics and wicked deeds backfire sooner or later, leading to their downfall and disgrace. Dictators dig their own graves with their irrational, irresponsible utterances and cruel, despicable acts which provoke, agonize, antagonize and alienate people. We are all living witnesses to the tragic, wretched, miserable end of powerful dictators. Dictators are mentally retarded. How can one brutalize his compatriots for his selfish interest and expect comfortable life on earth and happy, dignified end? Brutalizing one’s compatriots for personal interest defies intelligence and wisdom. Any dictator who thinks that he can brutalize his people continuously and go scot-free or get away with it is living in a fool’s paradise. He is bound to perish the same way he makes people perish.
Dictators are not brave, nor do they have supernatural or magical powers as they want to make people believe. They are mere mortals and big cowards. If they are brave or have supernatural powers, why do they need tight security or escort? Why do they kill people secretly and deny it? Why do they back down or flee for their lives when the going gets tough? They pretend to be brave because they are always surrounded by guards armed to the teeth. Simple logic! Without guards, they would not dare to oppress or offend people. This is evidenced by the fact that those dictators who portray themselves as brave leaders were not known for heroism or bravery before they came to power. They were not courageous enough to treat people with rudeness or disrespect as they do while in power.
Dictators are insincere, unpatriotic citizens. They are immeasurably greedy and selfish. Even if they succeed in bringing development as they and their defenders and flatterers claim, that does not give them licence to kill people or deny them freedom and liberty which are fundamental, God-given rights. Development cannot be equated with human life, freedom and liberty. After all, the money spent to realize what they refer to as development comes from state coffers, not from their pockets. Besides, it is an open secret that dictators who claim to be patriotic and development-oriented steal astronomical sums of money which they spend lavishly on misplaced priorities. It can rightly be stated that the acts of dictators are geared more towards enriching themselves, catering for the needs of their families or defending their selfish political interest than developing their countries, even if some of the acts are beneficial to people in some cases. In summary, dictators care much more for themselves and their families than they care for their compatriots and countries. Otherwise, why would they brutalize or kill people as a means of clinging onto power while endeavouring to provide security, safety and comfort for themselves and their families and lead flamboyant lives? A leader who brutalizes or kills his compatriots to consolidate his power cannot rightly be called a patriotic citizen. Such a leader can only be qualified as a sadist, a monster or a brute. Pure! It is sheer credulity and gullibility to believe that such a leader has the interest of his country and people at heart.
Dictators are not loved by their people, for human beings want freedom and liberty by their nature. The support dictators enjoy results mainly from opportunism and fear, not from love. This is substantiated by the fact that people rejoice and tear the photos of dictators or pull down their statues when they are ousted. That many supporters of dictators try to dissociate or distance themselves from them soon after their downfall further buttresses the point. The fact many people who defend dictators use pseudonyms or hide behind pennames shows clearly that they don’t love them or believe that they are patriots as they claim. These people are opportunists who just want to defend their interests by helping to keep such dictators in power, knowing very well that they are defending a wrong cause. That people who have been victimized or brutalized by dictators can publicly sing their praises amply demonstrates the fact that dictators are feared, not loved. No right-thinking person would interpret the praises of a victim as love for his victimizer.
Dictators are tormentors and scourges. Therefore, they should be fought tooth and nail. Dictatorship is a form of slavery, and it is disheartening, disgraceful and shameful to be enslaved by one’s own compatriot. I urge all well-meaning, patriotic citizens to contribute their quota to the noble cause of combating dictatorship.
Now that the “mighty” Jammeh has fallen and left our dear motherland, I unreservedly commend all those who stood up against dictatorship in our beloved country overtly or covertly and pray to Allah the Omnipotent to shower His blessings on them and reward them abundantly.
To conclude, I would like to welcome Jammeh’s former chief spin doctor Sheriff Samsudeen Sarr to our camp with open arms. That is the camp of those who detest dictatorship and embrace democracy; the camp of those who love peace and justice; the camp of those who recognize human dignity and respect human rights. I personally accept Sam’s apology as one of his co-debaters who received shots from him. I highly appreciate the fact that he has the courage and courtesy to apologize to the public. He is quite different from his former master in this respect. With the emergence of a new Gambia, I am confident that Sam Sarr will be accorded the opportunity to live freely in The Gambia and allowed to conduct his business and express his views unhindered as he wishes. That is the type of Gambia the members of our camp envisaged; a Gambia with just, righteous, tolerant, merciful, kind and compassionate leaders who do not deny people their rights; a Gambia where people can live with peace of mind and given their dues without having to behave as sycophants and praise-singers of their leader with a view to ingratiating themselves with him or gaining his favour; a Gambia which people residing abroad can visit without having to castigate or caricature perceived enemies, opponents and critics of the leader as a way of seeking his pleasure and recognition; a Gambia where people are treated fairly without bias or favouritism, regardless of faith, gender, tribe, ethnicity or social origin.
As my brother Sam Sarr has done, I humbly ask for forgiveness from innocent Gambians who feel offended by my comments during the course of our crusade to uproot the dictator.
Long live The Gambia!
God bless The Gambia!
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