Much ink has been spilt in an effort to explain why the Gambia is in the dire straits and why the opposition alliance need to start a serious sensitization tour. Allow me, as a quasi outsider, to offer a provocative thesis. I haven’t lived in the Gambia for any meaningful time for quite a while now, having spent most of that time in the US. But you will have to detach yourself off the family and friends you left behind or stop reading the tabloids that are passing for newspapers not to notice the nightmare she (Gambia) is going through.
I’m not surprised at the palpable sense of futility. The Gambian people are steadily being reduced to a state of cringing dependence on an ever-more voracious and aggrandizing Government and a political establishment of almost unconquerable scale that supports and sustains it.
The response of our once pluralistic society has been a quasi deference to this long march to serfdom. Take the silence on the most obvious and pressing case — the growing proportion of our national income that is stolen by Yaya and his cronies. Yeah he sets up a commission to investigate every thief but Ali Baba himself. Damn he is getting good at the spin game. Lock up a few poor souls without any due process and tell folks they are responsible for your problems.
It wasn’t possible to stop this train from leaving the station, how about stopping a wreck? But what is the opposition up to? NADD say the answer is — wait for it — we’ve got to set up a memorandum first. Great idea what next? Oh but we can’t go on sensitizing the general public about our ideals until we figure out a secretariat, divisional bureaus and negotiate more on the flag bearer. All this while the election is coming up in a year and the APRC is rolling around the country in there bamboozle tours. You can’t blame an electorate if the only message they get is the APRC’s. Now don’t get me wrong I am for anybody but Yaya… but this will not be achieve in a drawn out negotiation while the biggest obstacle to un-seating an entrenched dictatorship…convincing the electorate to change course… hasn’t been given any serious effort. In a country where the average villager believe that presidents are ordained by God, it is going to take a lot more than just a drive through (the usual Campaign format in the Gambia) to convince them otherwise. Every conversation one has in that country seems to start from the premise that everything that ails us is a divine act… government policies and their effect is usually an aside thought. A concerted effort need to start now if NADD is to made any headway into dispelling some of these cultural myths and conquering APRC’s strangle hold on Gambians. You don’t need a secretariat, bureaus or dear leader (flag bearer) to start sensitizing the electorate.