By: Sidi Sanneh
Threatening the peace by stirring tribal animosities, and threatening the use of force against his political opponents – primarily the UDP’ Leader – has become so standard in Barrow’s repertoire, it’s become the stump speech of an increasingly desperate despot wannabe.
Gambians will not stand and watch their hard-earned freedoms squandered at the alter of a group of clueless desperadoes who lack the rudimentary skills required to organize a political rally much less lead a country.
Barrow and his band of bumbling band of lost souls, recognizing that they could lose it all on December 4th, have decided that the only way they can turn the tide in their favor is to employ a scorched earth strategy, including, but not limited to, threatening their opponents with violence.
Barrow has unashamedly and regularly touted the use of force to achieve his political end because he’d seen the use of force, as an effective policy instrument, worked in the past for Jammeh. He concludes, it will work for him in his second term.
He cites, as proof, the 3-Year Jotna group whose opposition to the decision by Barrow to unashamedly and wantonly extended his 3-year presidential mandate as the Transitional Leader of the Coalition of 7 + 1 ended in a mass protest that was suppressed with the use of teargas.
He touted the crushing of a peaceful demonstration at his now infamous Farafenni as success, and dared the opposition to take to the streets and see what what will happen to them.
It was, at this point, that Adama Barrow quoted a saying in local vernacular that roughly translated as “a lengthy drawn-out argument can be settled only through a fight” to determine the winner. These exact words raised the adrenaline levels of his supporters at Farafenni to hysterical levels followed by the spontaneous chants of “Barrow, Ya barri dori doleh” loosely translated from the vernacular meaning “Barrow, you have all the power.”
It is a crowd of Barrow supporters enticed, incited and excited enough to encourage him and his ilk to use the power of the State to retain power. I hope, one of Barrow’s numerous advisers named Saihou Mballow, a fellow refugee, based in New York, and currently embedded in Barrow’s campaign caravan, is not advising the candidate to pull a Trump come December 4th. Why? Because this dude I’d fond of reducing any and every topic by the following “ even in America, this is how it’s done.”
In my book, as a non-lawyer, Barrow’s campaign utterances at Farafenni is my definition of “incitement”. He has taunting the opposition in the hope of pushing them to the brink to employ and/or encouraging detractors to intimidate the opposition, that can cause a reaction, that provides cover, for the paramilitary to intervene, thus causing chaos and mayhem.
President Barrow is intoxicated by the trappings of presidential power – and who isn’t – but he hates acting presidential. As leader of a country, you are expected to be the leader of the entire nation but not only those who support you, politically.
Being presidential demands a correspondingly presidential public comportment and posture. Macky Sall, President of Sénégal, had to literally untangle Barrow’s hand that he clasp over his crouch, with a slap on the wrist of my president. This humiliating incident happened in an official functions in full view of television cameras. How humiliating.
This December, Gambian voters will be asked to chose between a president who glorifies power and the use of brute force against his enemies – real and imagined – and a choice of select presidential aspirants who do not display those tendencies and are better qualified.
A vote for Barrow, in my view, is a vote for a return to the Jammeh-era violence-filled past with a level of corruption that will eclipse Jammeh’s. In fact, Barrow has achieved this feat by providing us with a daily dose of scandals that compete for space in social media.
In a nutshell, a vote for Barrow is a vote for the continuation of Jammeh’s policies with Jammeh’s henchmen lurching in the wings, led by Seedy Njie and Fabakary Tombong Jatta, who’ve ingratiated their way into the very heart of Adama Barrow and his administration. Therefore, a win for Barrow poses an inherent danger to the State because a vote for Barrow is a vote for Jammeh 2.0