Lawyer Ousainou Darbo, Gambia's main opposition leader to Yahya Jammeh to the woodshed with a scathing and powerful take on his 17 years of tyranny and its consequences on the average Gambian. Win or lose, I think this is a serious document that needs wide circulation. The document was originally posted at UDPGambia.com
I am reposting it here in it's entirety. Fair use be damned.
I am reposting it here in it's entirety. Fair use be damned.
It is with great humility and abundance of honour, that I address you, once again, as your nominated presidential candidate in the forthcoming November 24th Presidential elections.
Most of us Gambians, we are appalled, horrified and shamed by the tyranny, abuse and buffoonery of Yahya Jammeh. We are often at a loss, to understand, how we ended up with the terrible Jammeh government. We wonder how our small and beautiful country, our Smiling Coast, lost all its early hope and promise of peace and prosperity. We despair, about how a megalomaniac as uncouth as Yahya Jammeh, managed to drag our beloved country into the gutter of bad governance, state violence and treachery at every turn.
Most of us Gambians, we look at what has befallen our nation and we weep in pain and in sorrow. We are appalled at the way our elders are disrespected, disgraced and dismissed. We are horrified at the way the good people of this land are violated, vilified and victimised. We are shamed by the fact that for 17 years, we allowed our county to be turned into a pariah state and laughing stock, divorced from the community of civilised nations.
Fellow Gambians, ENOUGH is ENOUGH; you know it, I know it, we all know it; enough is enough, it is now TIME for CHANGE; it is time for DEVELOPMENT with DIGNITY for our beloved country. Everywhere we look, we see tyrants who proclaimed unrivalled mightiness, fall from power, and cower in sewers whilst the citizenry reclaim their rightful sovereignty.
You, me, all of us; can play a heroic role on 24th November 2011 by voting for a UDP unity government. Verily, to every curse endured, there is a blessing waiting; to all suffering, there is respite and reprieve; to the doom and gloom of Yahya Jammeh, there is the waiting glory and grace of a UDP unity government. You too can be part of Gambian’s AUTUMN REVELUTION by make your pact with destiny and vote for a UDP unity government on 24th November.
For most of us Gambians, we suffer the everyday pains and humiliations of the curse of the Yahya Jammeh misrule. We suffer in silence. In our own little ways, we try to survive without calling attention to ourselves and our families, lest we are visited with unjust and vindictive retribution. Yet in our pain and humiliation, our souls are battered, our self-respect depleted, and our honour as human beings is quashed.
Once upon a time, all Gambian citizens were treated with civility and honour. Rightly, we all basked in the glory of human equality that Allah has bestowed upon us as human beings. Yet today, grown men are compelled to behave like emasculated servants – whimpering, bowing and submitting to this tormentor Yahya Jammeh and his bullying agents.
Today, our womenfolk, our mothers, aunties, sisters and daughters are compelled to behave like helpless supplicants – flattering, appeasing and begging this predator Yahya Jammeh and his scavenging henchmen.
Today, our esteemed elders and religious leaders are compelled to behave like delirious sycophants – validating, encouraging and praising this tyrant Yahya Jammeh and his small clique of collaborators.
Today, judges, senior officials and decent men and women are compelled to beg, prostrate and crawl before Yahya Jammeh, who holds himself out as a tin-pot monarch. As a nation of decent people, we have been disgraced, demeaned and demoralised. We are treated, spoken to and chastised as children. A wicked and contemptuous tyrant, with his small band of minions have subdued, subjugated and subverted the freedom and dignity of 1.7 million citizens.
We have allowed this vile oppression to subsist, because we fear that Yahya Jammeh will visit us with violence, abuse, insults, humiliations and deprivation; yet everywhere I look, I see citizens drowning in poverty, trembling in fear and humbled by daily indignities. Even for the agents, henchmen and collaborators who do some of Yahya Jammeh’s dirty work, I see them end up as his victim, languishing in prison, dying in mysterious circumstances or ostracised into the jittery wilderness of disfavour.
Poor Gambia, how have we fallen so low? Why are we trapped in this debauched cauldron of venality, dishonour and decrepitude? How have we ended up with a vengeful government that deprives and depraves its people?
My heart bleeds in pain for the suffering of our people. Fellow Gambians, as Allah is my witness, enough is enough; you know it, I know it, we all know it. Let the truth be spoken, loud and clear; Yahya Jammeh is the national tormentor, bully and predator. For his continued oppression and humiliation of Gambians, the shame is on all of our heads. For the action to end the curse of Yahya Jammeh, the weapon is in our hands, in the form of our voters card.
QUESTIONS ASKED BY THE ELECTORATE
In the past 15 years, I have travelled up and down the country, I have visited towns and villages, I have spoken with thousands of men, women and youths. In recent months, I have heard from honest and decent Gambians who have never voted for me before. These people, many of whom did not vote at all at the 2006 elections, have asked some fundamental questions. They say to me:
“Lawyer Darboe, we are sick and tired of the wicked government of Yahya Jammeh, and we know that you are a good man, BUT:
Would my single vote make a difference and can Jammeh be removed through the ballot box?
- Are you strong enough to remove Jammeh?
- Do you accept that Jammeh has done some good things?
- What will you actually do as president to improve opportunities and prospects of citizens?”
I am very grateful to all of you who have taken the trouble to speak with me directly and the thousands of you, who have contacted my colleagues about your concerns and queries. Today, I shall give you my answer.
I want the whole country to listen to me very carefully, as I give you my simple and honest answer and my eternal pledge of commitment. I want every Gambian, irrespective of party affiliation to know what I, Ousainu Numukunda Darboe, stand for. I want those of you who have voted for Yahya Jammeh before, to listen to why you now have to change your vote and vote for a UDP unity government.
This moment is our appointment with destiny. It is beholden to every citizen to listen to the facts, accept the truth and do the right thing. As your candidate for president of the Republic of The Gambia, it is my humble duty to make my case to you. As a citizen of this sovereign nation, it is your duty to vote for the national interest. This is the democratic pact, fellow Gambians. This is the mark of civility and enlightenment. This is the start of development with dignity for The Gambia. This is the beginning of Change from the Yahya Jammeh tyranny to the progressive and compassionate UDP unity government that awaits the nation on the 25th November 2011
THE POWER OF YOUR VOTE
There are many Gambians, who believe that their single vote and individual effort is a waste; that their vote will not result in actual change of government. For those of you who doubt your democratic potency and your individual electoral power, lend me your ears and your minds, for I want to remind you of key logistical facts and eternal truths about the civilise force of democracy.
On the appointed day of 24th November 2011, it is you as a citizen who enters the polling station. You will be alone; your card in your hand; the future and prospects of your children in your hand; the salvation of the Republic of The Gambia in your hand; the all-seeing eyes of our Lord Allah watching you. Yours is a solemn duty, to vote for change, to vote for a UDP unity government, to vote for development with dignity.
It is the single individual drops of rain that together waters the earth that yields the bounty that springs forth. It is the minute single individual grains of rice that together makes up the meal that nourishes your family. It is your single individual votes that together will deliver electoral victory for UDP and its alliance parties; mandating us to form a unity government, under my leadership.
This is a simple logistical and irrefutable fact. Therefore, when schemers, liars and enemies of democracy tell you that, you are being watched when you vote; or that your single individual vote is a waste; or that Yahya Jammeh cannot be voted out of office; you will know better. Anybody, and let me repeat this, anybody who tries to interfere with the operation of this simple logistical fact, this fundamental electoral rule, this eternal democratic right and reality, be it the Independent Electoral Commission itself, or Yahya Jammeh and his party, or any random enemy of the people – they will be committing a crime in law and a gross offence against the entire nation. Fellow Gambians, I beg you to listen to me carefully. Neither me Ousainu Numukunda Darboe, nor you, the good people of The Gambia, will tolerate any hint or smidgen of electoral fraud or democratic crime.
Your single individual secret vote for me Ousianou Darboe and the UDP alliance will bring to an absolute and final termination of the wicked government of Yahya Jammeh. Nobody can do anything about this eventuality. Allah Almighty is with the Gambian people. The old adage is true; vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God. It is with Allah’s help and will that the era of Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny will end on 24th November 2011, and when you wake up on 25th November 2011, you can bask in the glory of a new unity government and a new enlightenment, emerging from that powerful single individual vote of yours.
Do not be complacent about your democratic rights and your electoral power. Democracy is not a fancy ideal and a fanciful aspiration. Your democratic rights are predicated on your very humanity, and your electoral power allows you to determine the future of your family and your nation. It is Allah the Almighty in his eternal wisdom who created us human beings as equal. No amount of worldly influence or affluence makes any man or woman superior to any of us. Neither the powers we think we have, nor the towers we build for ourselves, make us more human than our humble neighbours. Thus, it has come to pass, that within the democratic settlement, power lies in your single individual vote. So fellow Gambians, whenever you are again troubled by self-doubt, as to whether your single vote can cause the change we need and want, just remember your God; the gift of individual humanity bestowed upon your person; and your inalienable equality to every other human being.
Through the ballot box, and the power of the single individual votes of the citizens, heroic Africans like you, have voted out sitting presidents. Fellow Gambians, please beware that perceptions may not accord with reality. Irrespective of what we think of the particular politicians, here in Africa, there is a long list of opposition leaders and independent candidates winning elections and forming governments. In the past 18 months alone, opposition leaders have formed governments in 6 African countries:
In September 2011, opposition leader Michael Sata won in Zambia.
In August 2011, opposition leader Jorge Carlos Fonseca won in Cape Verde.
In August 2011, former president Manuel Pinto da Costa won in Sao Tome & Principe.
In January 2011, veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won in Niger.
In November 2010, veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde won in Guinea Conakry.
And in June 2010, even in Somaliland, east of the failed state of Somalia, opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo won the elections and governs the country.
In July 2009, opposition leader Malam Bacai Sanha won in Guinea Bissau, where nine years earlier in January 2000, another opposition leader Kumba Yala had won against the ruling party.
In December 2008, opposition leader John Atta Mills won in Ghana, where eight years earlier in December 2004, another opposition leader John Kuffour had won against the ruling party.
In September 2007, opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma won in Sierra Leone.
In March 2006, independent candidate Thomas Yayi Boni, won in Benin.
In July 2005, former Prime Minister and opposition leader Navin Ramgoolam won in Mauritius.
In August 2005, opposition leader Pierre Nkurunziza won in Burundi.
In March 2002, veteran opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade won in Senegal
In December 2002, veteran opposition leader Mwai Kibaki won in Kenya.
Way back in 1994 when Yahya Jammeh overthrow the elected government in The Gambia, in Malawi, former President-for-Life Hastings Banda, was defeated by opposition leader Bakuli Muluzi.
Zambia, the country that elected an opposition leader recently in September 2011, elected another opposition leader Frederick Chiluba in October 1991, defeating Kenneth Kaunda, the father of the Nation and hero of the independence struggle.
Whoever says that Africa does not remove its presidents and leaders from power through the ballot box knows nothing of modern day politics. If you still have any doubt as to the power and potency of your individual single vote; look around the length and breadth of our continent for answers and reassurance.
Democrats and freedom lovers throughout the world have used democracy and peaceful means to create their velvet revolution, their jasmine revolution, their spring revolution. For Gambia, this is time for our AUTUMN REVOLUTION. Be part of it; such that in the future glory of a prosperous and meritocratic Gambia under a UDP unity government, you too will say to your progeny, I was there on 24th November 2011, I was on the side of Gambia, I voted for Darboe and for a UDP led unity government, and you can be rest assured that your sacred votes will be protected and your will enforced without hesitation or doubt!
Fellow Gambians, now I ask you:
Do the Zambians love their country more than we do?
Are the Sierra Leoneans wiser than we are?
And our Senegalese brothers and sisters, are they better than us?
Yet none of their leaders defeated in elections behaved with the venality, vengefulness and viciousness that have characterised the Yahya Jammeh government.
Make no mistake and allow no one to fool you; Yahya Jammeh CAN BE and WILL BE DEFEATED on 24th November 2011.
MY VALUES, PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES
I speak softly and quietly, in public and in private. That is my nature, and I am at peace with myself. I speak softly and quietly, to prince and pauper, to men and women, to young and old. As your president, I shall remain to my character, and will continue to respect and honour every human being that Allah has created.
Some of you may not like my calm and collected manner, but I have to be honest with you; that part of my character will never change. As your president, I shall not start yelling, berating and haranguing officials, elders or political opponents. I shall always remain calm, collected and respectful to everyone. I am at peace with the character Allah has given me.
My fellow Gambians, just as some of you doubted the power and potency of your single individual vote, there are some people who may have mistaken my calm disposition as sign of weakness and timidity. For those people, I again beg you to lend me your ears and listen very carefully.
Fellow Gambians, it is true that there are certain phenomena that I Ousainu Numukunda Darboe, am afraid of. Yes, I am afraid of God; I am afraid of dishonesty; I am afraid of treachery.
I am afraid of God, because the Almighty is our creator and wise people have instructed from since I was child, that the more you fear God, the closer you are to His Eternal Mercy. Yes, I fear God.
I am afraid of dishonesty; the telling of lies, the payment of bribes; the committing of fraud. In public and private affairs, dishonesty is a fundamental cause of mistrust, conflict and retrogression. Yes, I fear dishonesty.
I am afraid of treachery; breach of duty, criminal plotting, subversion of law and order. In community and national affairs, treachery undermines the fabric of civilised organisation of social relationships. Yes, I fear treachery.
But, let me make it very clear that I am not afraid of any fellow human being; I am not afraid of challenging and telling the truth to those in power. I have done this throughout my life and I will continue to do so as your President. I am not afraid to make tough choices for the good of our nation as that is what leadership requires and I am ready and willing to deliver on that for you at any time.
If you look at the population of our country, many people fall under the class of vulnerable people. This is why my political philosophy and my personal values are so closely linked. Having enlightened values is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is what I believe every modern nation should have.
My principles and values on society and politics are not alien or exotic, they are rooted in the type of upbringing I share with many of you fellow citizens. I learned my values and developed my principles from the elders and madrasas of Niani Dobo Karanbantang; from the dedicated teachers of St Augustine’s High School and Gambia High School Sixth Form in the City of Banjul; from my studies of humanities and the liberal arts, and my training in law and jurisprudence in Universities in West Africa and North America; and from my 35 years of experience working to uphold justice in our country and society.
Fellow Gambians, a Darboe presidency and unity government shall be based on five principles:
1. An enterprising economy; whereby national resources, systems and processes are used to promote innovation and creativity aimed at the development of commercial and social enterprises and the growth in sustainable jobs for citizens.
2. A meritocratic polity; whereby appointments and promotions in the public services are based purely on ability and aptitude, knowledge and experience, commitment and competence.
3. An egalitarian society; whereby genuine equal opportunities are afforded to all citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, caste, religion, class, social or cultural background.
4. A facilitative State; whereby the resources of the country and the systems and processes of the civil service and parastatal bodies are focussed on giving citizens the opportunities, guidance and assistance for the pursuit of socio-economic and other productive ventures and activities.
5. An ethical culture; whereby the tenets of fairness, justice, civic and personal responsibility shall be entrenched in every aspect of society.
Fellow Gambians, a Darboe presidency and unity government shall implement policies, based on our five principles. After 17 years of Yahya Jammeh’s misrule, our country needs a great deal of work. As such, UDP and its alliance partners are ready with a reform programme, to be implemented within our first 100 days of government. The priority policies of our unity government are as follow:
1. Restructuring of the Ministries of State; facilitating fundamental reform on agriculture, employment, education, health, power and water. Today, we have published a full statement on Ministerial restructuring.
2. Constitutional Reform; including introduction of presidential term limit of two 5-year terms, and reduction of the president’s power in relation to dissolution of the National Assembly.
3. Social Enterprise and Job Creation; including development of cooperative and social franchising schemes in agriculture, and involvement of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in capital projects and the maintenance of physical infrastructure.
4. Civil Service Reform; including salary and productivity review and programme for mobile phone and electronic-based government and public services.
5. Disbanding of the National Intelligence Agency; including reform of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police force and the end to harassment and intimidation of ordinary citizens. .
6. Diaspora Engagement; enabling Gambians abroad to engage more easily in the productive and development activities in the country.
7. Foreign Policy Reform; including establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and to end Gambia’s status as a pariah state in the world community.
There are some of you who are impressed with buildings Yahya Jammeh has erected and are satisfied that he has brought development to the country. I too have seen the buildings and projects and do not claim that he has been entirely idle. Yet, I challenge you to wake up to the fact that Yahya Jammeh is a cause of Gambia’s underdevelopment.
Just think for yourselves; here we have an unsophisticated and ill equipped President who has distanced our country from the rich and civilised nations and institutions of the world; who restricts projects to a small coterie of his Gambian and foreign cronies; who intimidates and dismisses able technocrats and professionals at will; who achieved nothing of substance before he used force to overthrow a legitimate government; who now claims to be personally wealthy beyond comprehension.
Think about it; if this man can claim to have achieved some development, how much more can a unity government achieve, with a team of the most able and talented Gambian professionals, working within the enlightened development principles we have introduced you to? Think about what talented Gambians within international organisations and corporations are achieving for other countries. Look at the commitment and achievements of Gambians at home and abroad, despite the current challenges resulting from Yahya Jammeh’s misrule. Think about the goodwill that awaits us from around the world.
Let us take the right step on 24th November 2011 by electing a unity government. This will open up a whole new world of opportunities and resources for development.
And for those schools he has built, do they have good teachers? Do they produce excellent results? We all know that the answer is ‘No’; that is why private schools are thriving and we scrimp and save to send our children to fee-paying schools; but alas, most citizens are too poor to choose that option. Under my presidency, public primary and secondary education will be free and quality of education improved to meet the needs of the 21st century.
And those hospitals and clinics he has built, do we get quality medical attention? Do we get free or affordable medicines? We all know that the answer is ‘No’. If you can afford it, you go to private clinics, but alas, most citizens are too poor to choose that option. And then he proclaims to me a medicine man, providing treatment that he does not even belief in enough to use for his own family. Fellow Gambians, enough is enough. Let us make the change we deserve.
On the appointed day of 24th November 2011, go into that solitary pooling booth; with your God, your conscience and the future of your country at stake, make your choice; continuation of tyranny under Yahya Jammeh, or a unity government under Ousainu Darboe. It will be only you, your God, your conscience and your country.
For all of you who did not vote at the 2006 elections, I plead to you; go out in your thousands and vote for a unity government. This is your pact with destiny. You are the ones who will decide the very future of our beloved land. This is a solemn call by your nation; go out and vote and use the power of your vote to ensure a brighter future for the people of The Gambia and the generations yet unborn.
Fellow Gambians, you do not have to attend meetings and rallies of UDP and its alliance parties; you do not have to display our posters; you do not have to be a member of our party. Your duty on 24th November 2011, is to use your secret vote to ensure that you are part of the positive change sweeping across the world. With your own deed, you can end the curse of Yahya Jammeh, the wicked culture of deprivation and depravation. Your vote is what will bring about the meritocratic unity government under my presidency.
For APRC supporters, I know and understand the predicament some of you face. Some of you are under peer pressure, some of you fear that you will suffer the wrath of a vengeful Yahya Jammeh, if you do not go out and support him. You too have a role to play. You can dance all you want in the streets; you can flatter Yahya Jammeh with all manner of empty titles, but you too have a secret vote; you too know right from wrong; you too have a conscience. At the solitary moment of the pooling booth, remember your God and side with your conscience and free yourselves from the trap of Yahya Jammeh and his APRC machine. Vote for a unity government under Ousainu Darboe, because you will be voting for the betterment of the future of all of us. I have said it before and I will repeat it; in the unity government I lead, there will be no retribution, revenge or recriminations; instead, there will be abundance of appetite for reconciliation, united purpose and collective action.
For the loyal supporters of UDP and the alliance party, this is time for steadfastness and discipline as a movement that will deliver development with dignity to all citizens of the country. This is the time to welcome our brothers and sisters into the unity for national interest, as many of those who do not attend our meetings will still listen to reason and will, with the Grace of Allah, vote for unity government on 24th November 2011. This is time for magnanimity, coupled with single-minded purposefulness, to ensure that through the power of democracy and the potency of citizen votes, Yahya Jammeh’s government is finally terminated, and a new era of development with dignity begins, including all Gambians irrespective of their party affiliation.
Let us all pray that the Almighty Allah helps and guides us towards a peaceful change of government and to help us deliver DEVELOPMENT with DIGNITY. The Gambia deserves better.
Long Live The UDP Led Alliance!!
God Bless the Republic of The Gambia!!
(Reporting by Sulayman Darboe, editing by Fatou Gaye)
Publisher; United Democratic Party"