|An empty Independence Stadium|
Words repeated by the 29-year old bachelor Chief of the Revolutionary Council that promised Gambians a new dawn of accountability and transparency.
It was a ploy, a cruel joke conjured by a group of twenty-somethings of the lowest rank in the military who have never managed a household budget much less a national budget.
They came to loot, steal, kill, maim, torture and extra-judicially execute their way to a permanent state of dictatorship that is a far cry from anything Jammeh and the initial group of "soldiers with a difference" promised an unsuspecting citizenry.
Jammeh and his Council of Revolutionaries justified their illegal usurpation of power, just like previous military juntas before them, on corruption of the previous government they replaced. They turned out to be the biggest of thieves and human rights abusers that Gambia has ever witnessed. Immediately upon seizing power, their first move was to loot everything that was movable at the State House, including the personal effects of the previous president - a sign of things to come.
Interestingly, the Inaugural Speech by the leader of the "Revolution" ushering in the 20th Anniversary of the event was more about pleading for divine intervention from Allah The Almighty instead of accounting before the Gambian people his 20-years at the helm. It was his Foreign Minister and Secretary General of the ruling party who attempted, in his usual clumsy and idiosyncratic manner, to outline the regime's achievements.
The Hon. Minister's television audience was subjected to the usual long list of so-called infrastructural developments from passenger terminal to hospitals to school buildings at a time when the incidence of poverty has reached an all-time high of 70% of the total Gambian population and where 600,000 of Gambia's 1.8 million population go to bed hungry.
The omission of these three words which were the mantra of the Armed Force Provisional Ruling Council and subsequently the APRC political party both led, uninterrupted, for 20 years by Yaya Jammeh is a signal that the regime has finally come to terms with the incontrovertible truth that he has failed in leadership.
Jammeh cannot defend his record therefore he conveniently omitted the three words that would have been the benchmarks against which his 20-year achievements would have been measured. It is understandable if Jammeh would not like to be reminded of those three words - Transparency, Accountability and Probity - which have come to haunt a regime that has failed and decaying in the vines.