Gambia voted on December 4, 2021 hoping to see a new President on the morrow but more than two weeks later, we are yet to get a clear verdict. Much akin to the lyrics of Senegalese super star Youssou Ndour in his classic “Alboury”, by January 2022, we are likely to be singing that same song: ‘lamb ji fi amon daw; verdict bi lanyui xarr ba tei’ (the wrestling bout that happened last year: we are still waiting for the verdict!”
The fact is that there is no President in this country right now. That situation can only be fixed by the Supreme Court. That institution is the only one with the powers to answer the ultimate question: who shall be our next President?
The stakes have never been higher. And even the incumbent camp that tried to trivialize the UDP’s election petition case rose to a rude awakening on Friday morning as the two litigants met before the proverbial hall where there is only one hat: the court.
I have heard some religious leaders opine that those contesting this result should just let go and let God. They have a right to their opinion; but so do the UDP and GDC have every right to challenge the results of an electoral process that even international observers found faulty on many grounds.
We can, and we should, accept the will of God. But we shall only accept that when we know that to be the truth. The election result is shady and we shall zoom on it the powerful ray of truth to ascertain the reality before we can make any final decision. We would be remiss to call ourselves men and women of God and the then allow the devil to fool us.
Was it not the message of prophet Amos in the Holy Bible that we should “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”? As for those deceptively making reference to destiny. My answer to them is the eternal truth explained to us by the legendary Persian poet Maulana Jaluddin ar-Rumi:
‘’When a master puts a spade in a servant’s hand
He doesn’t need words to make his meaning clear.
Our hands, like that spade, are signs of God…
If you really trust in God, then work hard,
Sow the seed, and lean on the Almighty’s help…
Effort isn’t a war with destiny:
Destiny itself has imposed on us this effort…’’
If God so imbued us with with the wisdom of setting up a judiciary as an integral part of our Democratic mechanism, then we will be fools if we fail to seek redress in the face of compelling evidence depicting electoral fraud.
In the mean time, our institutions need to function effectively so that our ship of state does not sink. This might not be an easy ride; so those sitting at the steering wheels must hold fast with integrity. The future of this country lies in the hands of our institutions and the men and women leading them.
Our current debacle was orchestrated by only one person, and that is the incumbent usurper of power, Adama Barrow, who should not have been a candidate in this election in the first place.
He broke a thousand and one promises but if Adama Barrow fulfilled just one cardinal promise that he made as candidate of the 2016 coalition, the need to challenge this result could have been obviated.
The transitional President charged with cleaning the bugs in our Democratic processes, Adama Barrow, was not supposed to present himself as candidate in this year’s election. He would have created a level playing field and removed the problem of incumbency thereby giving us the unique opportunity of a fairer and freer election post-Jammeh.
This can be done and must be done effectively: the battle at the Supreme Court can be successfully conducted without jeopardizing our peace and stability or making the state dysfunctional. The acceptance and implementation of the verdict should also be a hitch-free process if we are all sincere and committed to our professed democratic ideals.
The process might be rough; it will certainly be tough. But it shall be worth every drop of sweat as our democracy goes through yet another state of gestation to usher in the much needed maturity that will make it thrive for generations to come.
I repeat: The men and women in charge of our institutions are the ones responsible for the proper functioning of our governance infrastructure as we try to debug our democratic ecosystem.
We pray for the emergence of truth and nothing but the truth in this foggy electoral haze that we are trudging through:
“My Lord, judge [between us] in truth. And our Lord is the Most Merciful, the one whose help is sought against that which you describe.”
– Surah Anbiyaa, 112
God bless The Gambia.
Former Presidential Affairs Minister, International Speaker