Opinion: Chairman Yanks Darboe and the Gambian Conundrum
Every failed government needs an enemy to blame for their failure. The Gambia’s is no exception. And for President Barrow, there is no fertile ground for enemies than United Democratic Party “UDP”.
UDP, once a political home of President Barrow, is the main opposition political party that proffered Barrow as their candidate in 2016 coalition that defeated dictator Yahya Jammeh. Then, Barrow resigned from the UDP to lead the coalition. Inebriated with power, President Barrow made a remarkable volte-face on the three years coalition agreement and refused to honour to step down.
To consolidate his grip on power, he jettisoned his political home and political father to form the National Peoples Party “NPP”. Up until the formation of the NPP, there was an intense relationship between a political father and a political son secured in a political home.
It was a relationship that empowered both men before a spectacular divorce.
From there on, they engage in a brutal fight to the detriment of the country. The president pushed his former political party out of his imaginary bus unceremoniously and with vengeance. Thus, for President Barrow, survival is not enough, and his grip on power cannot be consolidated enough without putting UDP to sleep, dead, and buried.
With this, conspiracies and plots proliferated. Incurably debased by self interest, Barrow decided to welcome and appease the APRC and multiple small political parties in order not only to defeat UDP at the 2021 general presidential elections, but also to over-crowd the political space to suffocating UDP.
Through this self perpetuation, Barrow uses the system to pit self-interested individuals against one another and create chaos of all against all. Hence, Barrow’s obsession to destabilise and dismantle UDP explains why he is going after the budding generation of UDP leaders.
For President Barrow, since Chairman Yanks is not affected by the so-called Commission looking into financial dealings of Councils, they have to re-ignite trumped-up charges to undermine him.
Need I remind you that after his indecent comments, Chairman Yanks Darboe was fined 150,000 Dalasis by the General Legal Council. He also publicly apologised. Why going after him now, if not a political witch-hunt?
Nevertheless, if president Barrow succeed in destroying Yanks and if we do not stop him in this trajectory of going after potential future leaders being UDP’s or others, that is where we will end up soon.
We should not be surprised to see Talib Bensouda, Rohey Malick Lowe and other potential UDP leaders to be dragged down to kangaroo courts in order to squeeze the energy, resources, demobilised and slowdown UDP’s momentum in Barrow’s calculations.
UDP is a resilient political party with years of experience fighting a brutal dictator for twenty-two years.
However, the party have to honed their political skills, re-strategise, and adapt to deal with an enemy who crashed out from them and knows the party well.
However, Barrow advertently or inadvertently is ignoring Denis Healey's first law of politics: when you are in a hole, stop digging.
With his government mired in uncontrollable corruption, youth unemployment, cost of living crisis, the so-called backway deported migrants hopelessly loitering, the unhappy military, the flowering of narcotic barons and all the man-made challenges of the country. One will think President Barrow will be cautious to trigger the country into chaos.
It is my contention that president Barrow is toying with fire to go after a very popular Chairman who won with a landslide and delivering as never before seen in the political history of the Gambia for the people of West Coast Region.
Any leadership of any country that wants progress will celebrate Chairman Darboe’s unique leadership foresights, ingenuity, discipline, and selfless services to represent the West Coast Region.
Therefore, the president, his government, and the judiciary, especially, should think twice before going after Chairman Yanks for what many believe is a politically motivated witch-hunt.
We are governed by laws, not by the edicts of the executive. The judges have to be strong in the face of executive overreach. The police and the paramilitaries should be careful and resist brutalising citizens in order to salve the ego of the executive.
Barrow’s government appears to have no proper understanding of the damage it is doing by their obsession with the UDP, illegally going after perceived political opponents and, in doing so, trashing the country’s reputation.
There is no doubt that President Barrow is plunging into authoritarianism. Despite his declared intention to learn from dictator Jammeh, Barrow has blithely alienated friends and key partners in favour of dictator Jammeh’s rule book and fortifying himself with dictator enablers.
But the overwhelming uncertainty in the country, the apparent lack of direction, and the environment in which all the above have been allowed to happen is a recipe for disaster for The Gambia.
There is not one aspect of our public life or public realm that is better now than it was 20 years ago, and that is a shocking indictment of the government.
The Gambia is broken in the sense that for many Gambians, jobs are hard to get, and education and health are dismally poor. Drug barons moved in and settled with the connivance of the leadership.
The country is dying. And it is not clear that things are going to get better.
Above all, people have simply stopped listening to Barrow, as the public has seen enough; and no longer seem interested in what he says.
Any effort to change the narrative is consumed by bad news, gaffes, or scandals, which seems to epitomise the decay. Barrow is his own worst enemy. He has his fingers in his ears, not listening to genuine Gambians, obsessed by UDP, conspiracies, and lies.
And going after Chairman Yanks Darboe may have potential consequences and they should be factored in the face of a gig economy and freelance insecurity.
Editors note: Ebrima Scattred Janneh “EB” is the Anchor of The Dialogue With The Youths Show on Gunjuronline TV. Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjuronline.com. Got an opinion article for publication? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com