Friday, November 2, 2012

Regime change without attitudinal change in The Gambia is meaningless!

Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh is often criticised by rights agencies as authoritative/here he speaks to journalists in Nov 2011/PHOTO/AFP

Genuine Gambians and lovers of The Gambia who have been following my provocative commentaries on our national discourse can attest to the fact that I made it known to all and sundry that my goal is fundamental attitudinal change and not superficial regime change in The Gambia. 

I find myself at different wavelengths with some toothless bulldogs though. They have the short-term objective of removing President Yahya Jammeh from power for reasons best known to them. Gambians, sane or insane, dead or living, have not given me the mandate to liberate them from President Jammeh and I see no reason why I should usurp or join insincere people who will betray one and other before even taking off. I do not also have the mandate to stop anyone who feels he or she should remove Jammeh by democratic or undemocratic means. It is a free world, after all.

So far all anti-Jammeh projects of the last 18 years failed for the simple reasons that some of the lousy spoilers involved are not genuine. They don't care about Gambians as they claim. They just want to find ways of sharing the national cake among themselves without serious sacrifice. Otherwise they would have succeeded. The successful independent NAM (National Assembly Membership) candidates of March 29, 2012 came from nowhere to prevail against all odds as they cared and put the interests of their electorates first. But for the last 18 years, self-appointed “liberators of Gambians” have been dancing round their own tails in their oversized sambakuka dresses. Whenever they make noise, you feel Jammeh will run away within the next 24 hours. You wake up the next day only to realize that it was all hot hair as usual. Jammeh's luck, as I said in the past that he is a lucky chap, rests in the laziness, divisiveness, betrayals, hypocrisy, lies, jealousy, blackmails, greed, denials and bickering in the anti-Jammeh camps at home and abroad.

Gambian voters are not fools. Until the day they are presented with reliable alternatives, they will continue to rally behind Jammeh till the moment he dangerously isolates himself out of power through repeated defiance of international standards of good governance. Going back home to face the reality and galvanize change on the side of the people seems too difficult and risky for the self-anointed “brave” liberators of Gambians. They will rant for bloodbath from their comfort zones just because they are desperate to occupy positions in post-Jammeh government(s).

Diaspora Gambians have apparently given up the fight for their rights to vote and be voted for in domestic elections through democratic means. Some of them in the anti-Jammeh camps will idle with fantasies of undemocratic regime change with the help of aliens and zombies until the announcement of the next election dates before disturbing our peace over last-minute enfranchisement. If the fatalistic Gambians at home are waiting for the Muslim Allah to free them from Arfang Yahya Jammeh, then some of the Diaspora regime-change fanatics are readily prostituting themselves to false prophets and cargo-cult messiahs who promise them paradise on earth once Jammeh is gone. 

You now understand why I said last year that both the Diaspora and domestic Gambians are not serious. Don't mind their anti-Jammeh noise abroad or their domestic complains of socio-economic hardship. Gambians, be they anti or pro government, just love to gossip. They, I mean both pro and anti Jammeh folks, are generally satisfied with the Jammeh status quo. Otherwise, Jammeh could not succeed in entrenching himself in power for 18 years and counting. Don’t tell me Gambians are born eunuchs, yapats, whores and curse children of Adam who surrender their dignities over a long period of time without them condoning or putting as stop to it. How many of them are seriously stopping their families and relatives from taking Jammeh's jobs, contracts, gifts and monies? How many of them are suspending their Diaspora remittances as a way of putting indirect economic pressure on Jammeh even it means their domestic families will consequently go hungry for some time as sacrifice for the common Gambian purpose? Dirty hypocrites! Mbangwulenke. I will scold them, diyakuya!

I don't want regime change without sustained extra-ordinary street mandate of the people's power or reasonable constitutional means. All I want is just attitudinal change. My mission is to help free society from the germs of religious bigotry, cultural hypocrisy, mental slavery, backward practices, innovation lethargy and the likes. I don't therefore need to waste my time with people whose daily prayers are just: Jammeh must go. Jammeh this, Jammeh that. Since 2006, I made it sincerely known that attitudinal change is more important for me than raw regime change. For regime change without attitudinal change is meaningless. Governments come and go but the stagnant and archaic attitudes that keep society backward do not go easily.

I deliberately refuse to behave like the people who use big academic words just to prove they went to school and I proudly call myself illiterate to protest the brainwashing education system and to show solidarity with the marginalized stakeholders of the vibrant African informal sectors. I settle for the modest humorous informal education and entertainment methods of making sure people internalize what I am explaining without crying for the dictionary. I can write in other styles that can make you cry or strangulate the person sitting next to you but I choose the style that would make you feel good and fresh after reading. Articulating and getting your messages internalized is a sophisticated high art that you cannot just learn with catalogues of college degrees.

Gambia/Africa is in a mess today as we have an oversupply of egocentric people with colourful academic titles in decision making positions but are not even competent to work as garbage collectors. You give them positions of responsibility, they would turn out to be more arrogant, vindictive, unpatriotic, greedy and wasteful burdens on society than the people they replaced. They commit worst crimes against their own people more than the colonial powers! Lawyer Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, medical doctor Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi and university professor Laurent Gbabdo of Ivory Coast top the list of so called educated civilian leaders who turned out to be more corrupt, wasteful, blood-thirsty, power-hungry and dictatorial than the typical dictator with military background. South Africa's civilian President Zacob Zuma and Brazil's former President Lula da Silva don't even have primary school leaving certificates but they performed better than many educated elites who believe their briefcases of degrees exempt them from accountability, humility, performance, tolerance and responsibility.

Replacing Yahya Jammeh with “educated” palaso-addicts who arrogantly promote the backward tribal, religious, caste and regional politics and mentality is like replacing the Devil you know with the Satan you don't. I would therefore prefer to keep my bad boy Brother President Yahya AJJ Jammeh with all his human shortcomings until his real time in power is irreversibly over than turn myself into a cannon fodder or sacrificial lamb for political desperadoes who believe their Stone Age social structures, ethnicities, lineages, religions and truckloads of empty university degrees give them the celestial rights to rule over their fellow Gambians/Africans for posterity. Feel free to insult me as a devil’s advocate. Do I care?

Some of them who brag about their lineages to seyfolu and sering/scholars/shriffolu owe their outdated social elevations to the British indirect rule system and the brainwashing Islamic jihad propaganda. They are ever-ready to lick the buttocks of their White and Arab mental slave masters but would shamelessly turn around to behave as if they are of better human blood than their fellow Sene-Gambians. We live in a modern era of the democratic rule by the free common men and women of merit. This why someone like Barack Obama can become President of the world's leading political economy without prior blood lineage/linkages with the king-makers. I mean his progressive U.S. American voters and campaign donours. The backward folks, who cannot recognize this universal paradigm shift towards pluralistic civil societies and inclusive equal opportunities, can jump into river Gambia.

Any person who has some dignity left in him or her should be proud of being fired from a public or private position for standing firm on principles, ethics and standards of social justice and progressive nation building. Joining Yahya AJJ Jammeh brings with it the risk of being used, dumped, fired, framed, jailed or killed. Joining the anti-Jammeh camp carries the risk of being abused, insulted, blackmailed, attacked, slandered, betrayed, killed, maimed or slapped with treasonable charges. There is nothing like free lunch in this world. Every Gambian at home and abroad has the democratic human right to choose the type of risks he or she is willing to take. This individual right of political choice must be respected without descending into the nasty Gambia attitudes of character assassinations, tribal arrogance and petty personal transgressions.

Thanks to the barako blessings bestowed on me by my African ancestors, I need not dabble into hypocrisy just to occupy or glue myself in public positions in a Jammeh or post Jammeh Gambian system as I have reliable alternatives in Europe. My cool day job as a bona fide filmmaker already generates me enough professional nobility, respect, prestige, self-fulfilment and quality living than a Gambian public sector job that any idiot can use as excuse to show me yabateh just because his or her tax Dalasis could be somehow collected to pay me a monthly peanuts salary. 

Serving the Gambia in government positions at any given time of human existence will mean painful limitations in my personal standard of living. The greedy detractors will not recognize this personal sacrifice and would instead be calling me names since their contaminated brains see only cars, allowances, palaso, makamo and vanity. Am now used to an enlightened and mature political culture that is more progressive than what we have there in The Gambia. Here in Germany we debate sincerely, agree and disagree without killing or destroying one another.

If those who work with President Jammeh are ridiculed as opportunists then those anti-Jammeh folks who try to bulldoze the legitimate democratic causes of credible civil rights group like say, the Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG), are lazy blood-sucking parasites just like the religious extremists who exploit the poverty and fatalism of the people to advance their hidden agenda. We are seeing how the legitimate revolution of the brave domestic Egyptian youths is being stolen by the insatiable parasites of political Islam and their foreign-based Jihadist allies. Some Arab kings and emirs are secretly pumping million of petro-dollars into the projects of religious fanatics to sabotage the secular democratization process in the Middle East. 

They are aware of the invertible reality that the Jasmine revolution will, sooner or later, sweep away the absolute dictatorial hereditary monarchies there. In their futile effort to avoid a domino effect between the Kingdom of Morocco and Emirate of Qatar they are using the religious parasites as human weapons against their secular and republican adversaries. They are just wasting their resources on their doomed pacts with devils parading as religious scholars and purists. For the example of the Mujaheed in Afghanistan who now carry the Taliban and Al-Qaeda labels shows the chickens will always come home to roost. What assurances can the anti-Jammeh folks make that the parasitic rogue elements of their armed rebellion will not abuse their access to weapons to engage in extra-judicial attacks on Gambians or terrorize people far and wide as we are seeing with the armed bandits in Libya and northern Mali?

Who knows? May be some of the people calling for bloodbath and armed rebellion in The Gambia have already freighted their most valuable family members and belongings out of the country but would cajole the brainwashed and gullible Gambians to risk their lives on their behalf so they could comfortable come home to rule over their widows, widowers and children. They are so obsessed with palasolu and statuses that they quickly pounce on anyone who partakes in our Gambian national discourse with even a nano-gramme of moderation and reasoning towards the Yahya AJJ Jammeh status quo. In their narrow mindsets, they feel anyone who smiles towards President Jammeh wants the positions or money they so desperately aspire to grab.

Without a publicised UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolution as in the case of Libya, reported grass-root revolt as in Tunisia, official sub-regional African endorsement as in the case of Charles Taylor of Liberia or visible geo-strategic interests of important world powers as in the cases of Saddam Hussain of Iraq and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, any illegitimate armed uprising against Yahya Jammeh is doomed to fail and the culprits could face charges of treason and war crimes. Jammeh is digging in already and no serious country is yet to show signs of withdrawing its recognition of his government any time soon.

Those who therefore believe they can provide financial and logistical support for armed aggression and violence in The Gambia without domestic and international legitimacy and then remain anonymous or get away with it, are living on a fantasy island. If they are found wanting for directly or indirectly sponsoring war crimes against Gambians, the international criminal justice system with track them down and bring them to book. They can collect zillions of law degrees or pay the most expensive attorneys in the universe as they like but once they pick up arms without credible domestic and international endorsements of their armed rebellions, they will be in the same company as the wanted eastern Congolese rebels or the Islamic zealots in Mali. Ask the shadowy sponsors of the Rwandan genocide who wanted regime and tribal change by force. They thought hiding away in some isolated corners of the world would save them from international judicial manhunt but they were dead wrong.

The then Libyan rebels got the endorsement of prominent intellectuals like Bernard-Henri Lévy of France who was flying in and out of the capitals of the world powers in a private jet to help mobilize support for the anti-Ghadaffi fighters. I am yet to see brave, responsible and serious members of the Gambian intelligentsia at home, in USA (United States of America), UK (United Kingdom) and France with the requisite pedigree to call for the forceful removal of President Jammeh from power and get dual domestic and global nod for it. I don't think any responsible Gambian intellectual who is worth his or her salt and sophistication, will also be that myopic to commit political and credibility suicide by jumping to endorse armed rebellion without first digesting the real mood of domestic Gambians between Kartong and Koina. The riff-raffs are free to do it as they, after all, irrelevant. They can bark online and offline till the end of time and not even a cock with crow over it.

The former French President Nicholas Sarkozy clique that was instrumental in the overthrow of Ghadaffi after buying the arguments of Bernard-Henri Lévy and pursing its crude oil interests, is no longer in power. It cannot therefore readily use the French Force de Frappe to carry out illegitimate regime change in and out of Africa as in the heydays of the murky Franceafrique master-client geopolitics without UN resolutions. There are no diplomatic indications that the new socialist French President François Hollande, the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel who is currently the most powerful woman in the world or any other responsible world leader in the EU (European Union) or USA will support undemocratic regime change in The Gambia as long as President Jammeh honours his international obligations under the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement and similar protocols.

The barbarities of the Islamic fundamentalists in Mali with spill-over effects across West Africa have more priority on the agenda of the international community than some copy-cats' hunger for power under the guise of liberating the Gambian people from Yahya Jammeh without credible popular domestic uprising to bank on. Germany has already expressed willingness to provide adequate logistical support to a West African intervention force in Mali through the EU system. Remember that the domestic Malians took the initial risks of challenging the new religious dictators with massive disobedience and resistance before the world decided to come and fight on their side.

Until and unless the sovereign Gambian peoples at home who are living through the daily realities of President Jammeh's rule get up from their asses to stand for democratic change as with the precedence of the voters of the independent NAM candidates or conquer the streets with the critical mass of civil disobedience and popular power, I will not waste my time with demented folks who believe they know better than the farmers in Fatoto or Barra.

A sincere warning to all those who believe turning The Gambia into a rebel's battlefield is the only way of ruling over Gambians after Yahya Jammeh: for almost a year now, I have been diligently working behind the scenes on a serious progressive nationalist project of building a film industry that will benefit Gambian performance arts talents of all religious, political and ethnic extractions. So if you don't want to have me as an enemy, make sure you keep your lethal weapons, thugs, rebels and blood-letting agenda away from my project locations, actors, actresses, equipment and other creative teams wherever they are found within the jurisdiction of The Gambia. I am not going to suspend my patriotic projects for any entity that feels killing people and destroying property is the panacea for political change. 

The late Malian intellectual Amadou Hampaté Ba once said that in Africa when an old person dies, it is a library that is set ablaze. Some of the old people who would die in the cross-fires of your intended anti-Jammeh gun-battle could have priceless wisdom relevant for film and other creative work that could benefit future generations. They cannot flee like the youths. Can you bring the old human libraries back to life once you kill them as collateral damage in your mad rush to kick Jammeh out of power? Starting a bushfire is always easy but putting it out is not a boy-scout jamboree.

If you are too stupid to precisely overthrow your hated Jammeh government without even wounding a cat in the process, that is your funeral. Don't just forget that if you cause damage to assets, be they human or material, you will pay for them heavily. Live and let live. As I have been tirelessly saying, the Gambia belongs to all of us and to no one's family's private lineage property. You have the right to pursue your interests by any mean you deem fit and be held responsible for it. I and others too have the right to stand by our respective interests without compromising the common denominator for social cohesion and nation building.

On a related matter, the Freedom Newspaper's reported police hunt for the managing director of that obscure INVEST GAMBIA who signed a deal with Nigerian actor Jim Iyke, once confirmed, would not surprise me. Any lousy fellow, be him pro or anti government at home and abroad, who feels he can just challenge or lock horns with me out of malice or arrogance and then celebrate, will share the fate of Icarus; the Greek mythological character that ignored reasonable warnings by flying too close to the sun only to be charred. See this piece I wrote on The Standard Newspaper: THE INVEST-GAMBIA-JIM IYKE MOVIE DEAL: AN INSULT TO OUR INTELLIGENCE, PATIENCE AND PRINCIPLE OF FAIRNESS.

My Brother President Jammeh, I am keeping to my bad boy exuberance and solidarity with you by providing you adequate intellectual fire cover against folks at home and abroad who want you out by all means. Please do not embarrass me with a new series of irrational defiant actions against the progressive good governance standards of the international community that The Gambia voluntarily agreed to ratify and domesticate. 

Otherwise, I could be pushed to wash my hands off you. Then you will not readily get another sincere bad boy to tell you the useful truth and at the same time defend you accordingly with quality laid back humour. My firm stance that I will not kill or lie for you no matter how much I reasonably, passionately and sincerely endorse and defend you before your enemies and adversaries, is sacrosanct, priceless and non-negotiable.
The days when the ruling elites of our modern world can tell their peoples to just cast their votes, pay their taxes and shut up, are gone!

Lovely Professor Dr. President Jammeh, I cannot help but protest the apparent discrimination of our African Traditional Religions (ATR) in high places. In most of your officially written or verbal speeches so far, you addressed Gambians as Muslims and Christians as if the country belongs to them only. We the Voodoo followers are Gambians too with equal constitutional rights. LAKUM DEENI KUM WALIYA DEEN/to you your religion, to me mine (Qur'an 109:6). Our traditional sciences, medicine, hunters, feasts, holidays, seminaries, societies, worship locations, heritages and rites deserve respect or recognition too. All religions in the universe are exposed to aberrations and abuse by radical extremist elements and the African ones are no exemption. The fact that some greedy people are abusing traditional faiths for evil purposes does not mean all traditional worshippers should be subjected to collective punishment and blanket caricature.

As a minority in The Gambia, we deserve at least state protection against the big mainstream monotheist bullies and hate preachers. High level discrimination against us in a secular setting makes us vulnerable to abuse, ridicule and stigmatization by some of the intolerant followers of the Abrahamic faiths who feel that their imported belief systems are superior and should be imposed on everyone. South African and Benin Republic set a positive precedence in-line with the African Cultural Renaissance by recognizing ATR and medicine. I will not hesitate to sue any Gambian Islamo-Christian scholar, imam, missionary or preacher who goes about propagating hatred against us the followers of native deities. 

They cannot be complaining about Islamophobia and Christianophobia when they are not looking into the mirror for their regular hate sermons against us the Voodoists. If you cannot henceforth be saying “Muslims, Christians and Native/Traditional African Believers” when addressing Gambians/Africans, please drop the religious references in your presidential pronouncements for the sake of fairness, secularism or neutrality.

My dear Gambians at home kindly accept my belated Tobaski greetings. So you people had enough executed human meat and blood for your sumptuous feast meals this time? You bloody cannibals. Hahahah!


Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu is a Gambian filmmaker based in Cologne, Germany

Film Director and Producer PRINCE SANKANU (Africa's Next Sembene Ousmane) shooting a documentary on a 300-year old violin (studio takes)/PHOTO/FACEBOOK

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The North Bank Evening Standard's editorial policy.


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