21 February 2011

Letter from America By Mathew K Jallow

By Mathew K Jallow
As news of popular revolts continue to expand across North Africa and the Middle-East to include Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Yemen and possibly more, it is becoming evident that the hunger for political freedom is trumping the fears of the repressive regimes. In Libya, the most unlikely place to experience a popular revolution, the regime of Dictator Col. Mumar Ghaddafi is probably in its last days, as the entire eastern part of that country has fallen in the hands of the freedom loving peoples’ revolutionaries. Military installations in the eastern part of Libya have been overrun and are now held by ordinary Libyans who just want to be free. No dictator in the Arab world is sleeping peacefully these days; not even the Saudi Arabian royal family, probably one of the most backward regimes in the world, where medieval practices of cutting hands and limbs and stoning women to death are still practiced. Clearly, the world is turning a new page, but more importantly, turning its back against dictators whose senseless rules have created economic ruin and social degeneration in their countries. It is in this context that Gambians in the Diaspora urge the Gambian military and the civilian population to work together to remove Yahya Jammeh from power through civil disobedience. The Gambian population wants assurance from the military and security forces that there would not be bloodbath of civilians who want to express their Constitutional rights against the regime of Yahya Jammeh. Moreover, by the results of the 2006 election results, Yahya Jammeh is ruling by a minority vote, with less than a third of the popular vote of about 265, 000 votes out of the more than 723,635 registered Gambian voters, and even that, a significant amount of Yahya Jammeh’s voters were Casamance citizens who were illegally registered to vote in our country. With that in mind, and with the wind of revolutionary change sweeping all across the Arab world, there is no better time to free our country than NOW. We therefore urge our military, especially the young army and security officers, to work with the civilian population to save our country, if the senior officers are still too afraid. We are calling on all Gambians irrespective of tribe; Manjago, Jola, Mankanyi, Serere, Mandingo, Wollof, Serahule and Fula to put aside the grievances caused by Yahya Jammeh’s long reign and reunite as one family as we have been before Yahya Jammeh came to separate us by tribe and other social definitions. The Gambia’s popular revolution need not be violent or chaotic and it can happen without a single shot being fired; by taking control of all the military camps around the country, taking and securing the armories, overrunning and locking-down Kanilai village with a robust Gambian force and rounding-up all the Casamance rebels stationed there, and arresting Yahya Jammeh and all his loyal supporters. I am sure the professional military will laugh at my military plan, and they certainly have better ideas. I agree. But I am just a lay military tactician. We can depend on the professional soldiers and security forces working together to carry this out efficiently and fearlessly. Yahya Jammeh has no support among the people and very little in the military, so why everyone so fearful of him is beyond comprehension. After all Yahya Jammeh’s power is in the hands of his only protectors; the very military and security forces who fear him the most, because without them, thousand of civilians would invade the State House and drag Yahya Jammeh out into the street by his ankles in a heartbeat. So let us emulate Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and other Arabian countries where the militaries are in cooperation with the people. Let us free ourselves NOW. We cannot wait for another farce and meaningless election whose results are predetermined, because dictators NEVER lose elections. LONG LIVE THE MILITARY AND CIVILIAN COOPERATION FOR FREEDOM AND LIBERTY IN THE GAMBIA. In the event of Yahya Jammeh’s popular overthrow, Sir Dawda K Jawara can be offered the presidency again and working with civil society organizations abroad and at home, and the U.S. State Department and the British Foreign Office, he will be charged with the responsibility of organizing a transition to civilian rule within a 12-16 month period. That is enough time for political parties to form and sell their agendas to the people of our country for FREE and FAIR elections. Then our first president can retire in dignity and hand over the mantle of power to the younger generations.

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