Monday, November 10, 2014

Gambia is bigger than Yaya Jammeh and Amadou Samba

Sidi Sanneh 
This editorial comment is triggered by the skewed and disproportionate reaction of the weekend malaise involving Amadou Samba and the security detail of Sedia Bayo - an incident that occured at the Radisson Bleu Hotel in Dakar.

At the moment of the altercation between the private security team hired by Sedia Bayo, a 32-year old French national of Gambian decent, we commented that while the photos depicting an obviously distressed Amadou was a propaganda coup for Sedia and his supporters, it may have other unintended consequences that may adversely affect the Gambian exile community in Dakar.

Family and friends of Amadou Samba have every right to support and defend him, especially during times like these.  What happened at the Radission Bleu must have been the most traumatic experience of the past 20 years for one of Jammeh's most influential and staunchest supporters who also acts as Jammeh's business partner

While the Radission Bleu experience was traumatic and stressful for Amadou - something we wish didn't happen to him - we can say that it was not the most traumatic experience of his life.  He had endured more traumatic periods of his life, and he seemed to have survived them alright which brings me to the core issues of the incident.

Amadou Samba, whether friend or foe, is a symbol of a heinous regime.  No one recognizes this better than Amadou.  He is the face of Yaya Jammeh whether one likes it or not.  Rightly or wrongly, Amadou is viewed as the epitome of Yaya Jammeh who has traumatized the Gambian people for 20 years, and who has maimed, tortured, murdered, judicially executed, disappeared and jailed Gambians and non-Gambians alike.

Gambians must never forget that Jammeh seized power illegally and then proceeded to use force to subjugate 1.8 million Gambians by denying them their basic fundamental freedoms of speech and association.  His rule of terror has led to international probe into his record, leading to the United Nations Rapporteur Mission to the Gambia that was denied access to the security wing of the Mile II Prisons.  Why?  What is Jammeh hiding?

These are questions that should engage Gambians especially those ready to rush to defend injustice when it involves family, relatives and friends but stay mute when it is against their individual interests.  Hypocrisy of this kind must end, and it must end now if we are to free ourselves from one of the most repressive and corrupt regime Africa has ever seen.  

Jammeh's list of victims is too long to enumerate.  There is not a single Gambian who has not been affected, including those critical of opponents of the dictatorship, by the vicious and tyrannical governance strategy of Yaya Jammeh - rule by terror.  To enumerate would mean to personalize which would be inappropriate for this editorial piece.  We deal with individual cases separately.

Finally, we'd like to say that the public display of support of Amadou that included television, radio and newspaper coverage is the same right and privileges we wish extended to all Gambians and not just to a select few who must necessarily be staunch supporters of an awful regime.   Amadou's life is no more precious than my own or that of a villager in Busumbala.  We must, together, fight for a free and just society for all Gambians and not only for the cronies of a repressive regime.