Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Dishonesty in politics and political propaganda is nothing new, but how long will the electorates allow some party surrogates and social media political pundits to continue, lying persistence tomfoolery, and constant sophistry and casuistry to cause wreaked havoc on the rising Gambian electorates, overlooking the critical role of intelligence in ideological voting is very worrying in our electoral politics.
Political opinion surrogates or social media pundits – often famous loquacious politicians and so-called activist celebrities -are supposed to credibly articulate their party leader’s policies and defend their character against smears. But when party surrogates and pundits go off a message, it presents a particularly vexing problem for the political organization and party supporters. This political season has lifted the craft of political surrogacy and political punditry or so-called social media analyst into a sprawling Gambian diaspora entrepreneurial industry with opportunities for everyone living in partisan and ideological echo-chambers reinforcing alternative truths.
Fatoumatta: Party surrogacy and punditry are lovely in the Gambia diaspora community because being a social media analyst, political pundit, or political surrogate requires no evident skill, knowledge, or integrity. All you only need to mimic those qualities, unless you are Domorri Foday, Baba Jalinding, Jalamanding Kutufing, or even ‘Boy Baairaay,’ everybody’s weird cousin, now with even-weirder bent spectacles. They appear to be a distinct category in the ‘Sosalaso’ ‘industry.
As with all reality TV shows, Facebook livers, ‘Youtube self broadcast’ as in diaspora online echo-chambers, political surrogacy lacks reality or intellectual integrity. That sounds like a hobby or a job made just for them. As with other new industries — social media — what value this ‘sosalaso’ enterprise creates is open to debate. It’s free to scorn. Surrogates once were limited to “sexual surrogates” and “birth surrogates,” which, oddly enough, are not related careers. In the first category, someone who is very skilled with sex will practice that skill on you for a fee and make you better at the craft, too. It’s simultaneously therapeutic and educational. On many occasions, when they spent long hours pondering this odd business, they knew the difference between sex therapy and prostitution. But then, after they stop thinking about it for very long, the distinction completely eludes them.
Fatoumatta: Birth surrogates want to build their infant version of themselves; they don’t want yours. Is that generosity or barely masked arrogance? Thus, both those forms of surrogacy are unappealing to their career aspirations. They both take too much energy. But political surrogacy is ripe and rich. Though spokes folks for political office seekers have been around forever, lying for profit, cheap popularity, power and influence have become a formalized career in The Gambia’s political season. On other days, crackpots just showed up randomly on social media echo-chamber Talkshows, and Facebook lives streaming. They offered their review of their support for a political Godfather or party affiliation.
Fatoumatta: Surrogates and pundits, they charmingly exercising their free speech rights, or that’s what we thought. We didn’t know at the time they were employees like Mafia hitmen. Now, both Godfathers send small guerrilla bands into social media and echo -chamber studios to issue preposterous interpretations of what their Godfathers meant. These exchanges are so other-worldly that nobody breaks the spell by announcing the obvious.
Political advisors show the danger of having someone else, typically a massive personality in their own right, try to sublimate their views and carry a politician’s message. Surrogates at their best act as force multipliers allowing your party leaders’ statement to get out far and wide. But they are human beings, many of them prominent in their rights, who sometimes actually don’t tell the truth. Political campaigns hate that.
Pundits and surrogates can make themself into chameleon-like; they can be all things to all people lying and become effective spin doctors and propagandists.
Fatoumatta: Domorri Foday; Baba Jalinding and ‘Boy Bairaay’ offers the most accurate form of surrogacy. They are an old cocktail party more aptly because they despise every politician except their adopted Godfathers with authentic, teeth-grinding hostility to everyone. The best campaign surrogates have these deep, irreconcilable grievances and antagonisms. But with rare exceptions —Domorri Foday and Baba Jalinding and ‘Boy Bairaay’ weird, bent eyeglasses and hysterics, for example — there is not an ounce of honesty and moral rectitude to them. Nonetheless, surrogacy is a career to which they aspire. Even better, they bargain whose soul can be bought cheaply if you see Mephistopheles, Baba jalinding, ‘Boy Bairaay’, and Domorri Foday tell them to give a call to Mamudu.
Alagi Yorro Jallow