By Madi Jobarteh
Just as the true carnage of the Tyrant Yaya Jammeh is gradually being exposed, members of the Killer Party APRC gathered themselves together to celebrate a so-called birthday in Kanilai. Apart from the bodies that were exhumed, we now know that Yaya Jammeh has in his name 131 landed properties, 88 bank accounts and 14 companies. Even without such disclosure, it is an open secret that Yaya Jammeh had spent his entire time to illegally confiscate, seize, appropriate and steal uncountable private and public properties of all sorts. This is apart from the fact that under his reign, hundreds of Gambians endured torture, rape and summary executions for which tens of his henchmen have now been charged in court. Yet members of the APRC could not see reason and truth to disassociate themselves form this evil man, but chose to celebrate such a corrupt and murderous tyrant like Yaya Jammeh.
At the celebration, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Yankuba Kolley and Musa Amul Nyassi had nothing to say but to claim that Yaya Jammeh was good for the Gambia and they were ready to bring back the APRC Cartel to power. To hear a Gambian speak in such terms about Yaya Jammeh and APRC raises the question as to want values and principles do these people truly believe and uphold? Do not they realize that Yaya Jammeh was nothing other than a violator of the laws and the norms of our governance system? Do we need to remind them that Yaya Jammeh flouted the very norms and values of our culture and religion? Do these people truly have any conscience that they can celebrate an individual who has directly caused the killing of fellow human beings and plunder of public wealth?
It is only in the Gambia that we could see such a direct affront to morality and decency, as no one would imagine a group of Ugandans to celebrate Idi Amin nor would anyone ever hear a group of Chadians ever celebrating Hissene Habre. Certainly no one is thinking of a Sani Abacha birthday bash in Nigeria just as no one thinks of a party for Mobutu in DRCongo. Yaya Jammeh is no different from any of these immoral and murderous tyrants but in the Gambia there are still people who can close their eyes and hearts to the atrocities of Yaya Jammeh and celebrate him!
When Fabakary Tombong Jatta said Yaya Jammeh brought development to the Gambia, what exactly is he talking about? Until1994 when APRC came to power, the Gambia has never witnessed the level of mass exodus of young people out of this country? The level of brain drain this country experienced under Yaya Jammeh has been unprecedented. Records have shown that the Gambia, small as it is, remains a top migrant-producing nation with one of highest levels of brain drain in Africa. In its 22-year misrule, APRC has only succeeded in increasing the level of poverty significantly, while making cost of living reach unbearable proportions. It is under Yaya Jammeh that the Gambian economy dropped so severely that not only has the dalasi depreciated tremendously but the country also became one of the first to be identified as ‘Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)’ by the World Bank and IMF. In fact by July 1994, the exchange rate was less than 10 dalasi to the dollar but by 2016, the rate shot up to more than 40 dalasi, which should have in fact reached D100 to the dollar had Jammeh not consistently interfered with exchange rates every now and again for his own selfish interests. This clearly shows the level of mismanagement of the national economy by the APRC. Yet Fabakary said APRC brought development to the Gambia. Which Gambia?
How these dudes could have the audacity to tell Gambians in their face that APRC and Yaya Jammeh were good for the Gambia truly exposes their distorted moral compass. In fact it was only under Yaya Jammeh and APRC that citizens had to live in a state of fear under a culture of impunity never seen in the history of the Gambia even under the colonial period. Just because a government built a university, television station, hospitals, schools and roads does that mean therefore such a government has the authority to abuse human rights and kill its citizens? Are Fabakary Tombong Jatta and his fellow APRC misfits telling us that the killing of Gambians by Yaya Jammeh was good for the people of the Gambia? How could they hate their country and people so much yet love so much the man who has tortured and killed their own people with such impunity?
The track record of Yaya Jammeh was such that each and every Gambian should feel ashamed that there was indeed such a regime and president in this country ever. Yet to have a body of citizens get together to celebrate such a certified rapist, torturer, thief and killer is indeed a severe affront to the dignity and intelligence of Gambians. One would imagine that APRC and Yaya Jammeh supporters would be seeking the forgiveness of Gambians but not to mock the victims of their so-called leader. One would expect APRC folks would be in a state of remorse to offer apology and seeking to mend the divisions and enmity in Gambian society caused by Yaya Jammeh but not to provoke citizens.
These APRC folks know very well that the fact that they could hold such a celebration and happily speak about Yaya Jammeh is simply because somebody different from Yaya Jammeh is in power. Under Yaya Jammeh no party has such liberty to celebrate itself without incurring the wrath of the tyrant. Just a year ago, when Solo Sandeng and his party members decided to embark on a peaceful demonstration, Yaya Jammeh unleashed forces of violence on them to rape, torture and murder fellow citizens. Do we need to remind Fabakary, Yankuba and Amul that since 1996, opposition parties in the Gambia had to endure consistent abuse and intimidation at the hands of Yaya Jammeh and APRC? But today they enjoy such freedom and space that UPD, NRP or PDOIS among others never enjoyed. Should that not prick their conscience therefore to seek forgiveness and apologize? Is it that they lack conscience and courage to face the truth such that they can disregard the violations of their party and celebrate their leader as if nothing ever happened?
One thing is clear from these APRC folks however, i.e. they are showing us the same message that Yaya Jammeh had consistently manifested in his 22-year brutality. That is, APRC never ever have the supreme interest of the Gambia at heart. By this celebration, APRC have further confirmed to Gambians that they do not love the Gambia. They have proven once more that this is a party of selfish, unpatriotic and dishonest citizens who will do anything and everything even if that means burning down the Gambia for their selfish interest. This is what Yaya Jammeh manifested and represented for the Gambia. He was only interested in his own interest. He was prepared to annihilate the Gambia if that is what stands between him and his diabolical interest. This was why he rejected the election results and this was why Fabakary and Abdoulie Bojang led the parliament to illegally extend their term and then impose a state of emergency. They never saw the interest of the Gambia. They only saw their own selfish interest even if the Gambia will burn down to ashes. If one is looking for any bad citizens, look no further than the APRC and Yaya Jammeh.
God Bless the Gambia.