By Mathew K Jallow
It is beneath me to devote a second of my time to these Yahya Jammeh apologist characters, and this is a one-off. To begin with, this is one more of the shocking denials of the ubiquitous, and by definition, the obvious; and comes with a very steep price in personal character assassination. It underscores the collective apoplexy, which permeates the rejection, in certain quarters, of the existential threat that Yahya Jammeh poses to Gambian society. But, for Yahya Jammeh though, the two represent the flavor of the moment; two peas in a pod with disgusting moral depravity, motivated purely by greed, and the craving for economic security and personal validation. And not unlike those who preceded them, the two are the anti-thesis of a society striving desperately to recoil from what appears like inevitable social and political turmoil; a fatalist inclination destined by the sweeping injustices, which highlight Yahya Jammeh’s reign of terror, killing spree and orgy of mindless incarceration. Nene Mcdoulle and Sheriff Bojang, undisputedly, two more less than qualified cabinet positions, are treading a road well-travelled; a mine-field fraught with hazards that embody the very soul and character of military rule. Nothing is far removed from reality than the overt, and oftentimes, subliminal propagation of a false sense of intellectual identity and social prestige in Gambian society. And as grave as the moral shallowness both exhibit, far more consequential is their crippling lack of empathy, as so cavalierly displayed in the sobering denials of the prevalence of pervasive human rights violations in the Gambia. Once the victims of Yahya Jammeh’s reign of injustice, Nene Mcdoulle and Sheriff Bojang’s sickening efforts to undermine the dissident cause, crossed the line of simple fear of Yahya Jammeh, and entered into the realm of willful ignorance. The duo’s complicity in deceiving and misrepresenting last week’s prisoner release, is a manifestation of the regime’s descent into a state of senseless anarchy, which continues to hinder Gambians’ ability to live free, unburdened by the regime’s heavy-handedness and disregard for their humanity. The withering criticisms of the anachronistic regime has metastasized into a full-blown out international challenge that taps into the regime’s incapacity to honor Gambians’ inalienable human rights as enshrined in the United Nations and African Union founding charters.
As impotent as their attempts to distract from the Gambia’s grave rights abuses, Nene Mcdoulle and Sheriff Bojang have morphed into tools of sadistic repression as powerless extensions of the crushing rigidity of a regime in decay; a regime that has reached the peak of its power. This, after all, is not Gambians first rodeo with selfish deniers of violent human rights abuses, and not even intellectuals of the preeminence and caliber of Nana Grey-Johnson could stave off the onslaught of a dissident movement unapologetically opposed to the dehumanization of citizens by a regime with a nauseating history of manufacturing discord, and engineering adversarial relationships with Gambia’s historic friends and allies. And not unlike Yahya Jammeh’s moribund vision of a Jola hegemony that stretches deep into Guinea-Bissau territory, Nene and Sheriff’s denials of the presence of human rights violations in the Gambia will collide with reality once their shameless efforts to mainstream Yahya Jammeh’s barbaric regime, comes crashing down on them like a ton of bricks. The delusion demonstrated by Yahya Jammeh and his minions is center stage, as he, once again, pushes two new lapdogs to the front of the line in an unyielding effort to legitimize his rogue regime, and not unlike the intellectuals that preceded them; Nene Mcdoulle and Shefiff Bojang will fail, and choke up on their own vomit. For even when their integrities are on the line, Nene and Sheriff have shown a surreal incapacity to rise above their selfish terrestrial pursuits, plunging themselves, instead, deep into the dangerous vortex of apologizing and justifying for Yahya Jammeh’s crimes against the Gambian people. This latest effort to rewrite Gambia’s tragic history under Yahya Jammeh’s reign of terror represents one more unthinkable slippage from polite society, and it will not be the last as long as there are Gambians willing to trade their honors with the superficiality of materialistic gains. Economic interests and insatiable hunger for recognition are powerful forces able, effortlessly, to obscure the moral truth, and turn our common humanity into reptilian savagery; the very foundation of Yahya Jammeh’s military regime. Intermittently, and since 1994, many Gambians have been lost, both literally and figuratively, to the despair of a military regime, which has repeatedly sought to silence citizens by exploiting their character flaws. But, this time around once again, Nene Mcdoulle and Sheriff Bojang’s impossible task of breaking through the fortress of unvarnished truth will, like all the other previous and infamous attempts; devolve into shameful failure.
In this late hour of the game, the remaking of a regime in deep denial of its own atrocious history, is akin to resurrecting Gen. Idi Amin’s image into Ugandan’s new folk-hero; and even far worst, consecrating Adolf Hitler with Mother Theresa’s insignia; both completely impossible tasks. The history of Yahya Jammeh’s military regime is written in the blood of Gambians and non-Gambians alike; innocent people whose dying will, forever, haunt Yahya Jammeh and his cabal of enablers and collaborators, and any effort to obstruct the widespread dissemination of the regime’s vexatious history of cruelty, is doomed to shameful failure. Yahya Jammeh’s fixation with obliterating his regime’s past is premised on the growing chorus, in and around Africa, of ordaining a new kind of political dispensation, in conformity with the new paradigm shift sweeping across the globe. And unlike the pedantic dogmatism inherent in socialism, this shift is more than just a fad; it is the pragmatic reorganization of the universal political society in which the supremacy of the people’s voice is absolute and unchallengeable. The movement toward a new political trajectory has been slow in coming to Africa, and Gambians, like other countries in the region, are obliged to force change for themselves and posterity. The tragedy in Gambia is of a regime morbidly terrified of political change, because, with the unilateral imposition of imperial leadership across the continent, since the 1970s, the short-sighted calculation never contemplated the concept of a political system that veered sharply towards a shift that vilified Africa’s imperial regimes as obsolete and redundant, for our day. And as a matter of principle, Gambia’s dissident movement stridently rejects any attempt to rehabilitate the sullied character of a regime that belongs to the age of the dinosaurs. After twenty years of raining hell on the Gambian people, political change has to happen. And the binary efforts of Nene and Sheriff to sanitize the regime’s broken record is less than benign; it is destructive and helps justify the regime’s impunity in a way rarely heard of in Africa. Time and again, Yahya Jammeh has exploited the willing participation of gullible Gambian elements, not averse to his crimes, in the effort of minimizing and exculpating his regime of the egregious crimes against Gambians. Nene and Sheriff are only the latest examples of desensitized Gambians ever slowly drifting from sanity to borderline political demagoguery, and in that sense; they are sliding into the bleakness of lawless stupidity. In the coming new Gambia, no one will be sheltered under the destructive forces of tribal affinity, from accounting for their involvement in crimes; direct or tangential related, in one of the deadliest military regimes Africa has ever known; under Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh.