Alagi Yorro Jallow
Mamudu: I do not know why the sight of a he-goat visiting inside the wolves’ den reminds me of my grandmother whenever she was inside her kitchen and the ferocity of a he-goat’s horns caught by surprise getting stuck its head and horns in her cooking pots and scratching its ass with its base tail. My grandma would shriek and scream: “why is this he-goat in a hurry to inspect its final resting place”?
In the Gambian politics and Orwellian regimes, propaganda is adopted as a strategy and is advertised with such unashamed brazenness. No doubt Gambian politicians studied the techniques of Paul Joseph Goebbels with great devotion!
Mamudu: The politics of personal destruction and politics of defections! Gambian careerist and power addicted politicians had come to install a permanent psychosis whereby the political clock’s tyranny trumped all priorities. More crucially, those mercenary politicians are expected to enter into the phenomenon of ‘political – transhumance,’ coined or popularized by a Senegalese political pundit, where members of a dethroned Govt join the reigning Govt to keep privileges, which vitiates the rules of the political competition and make a mockery of people’s choice.
In a nutshell, what is expected of political defectors or cross-carpeting politicians is a new form of governance, a more ethical and opportunistic approach to public money, and a return to political orthodoxy. The phenomenon of ‘political – transhumance’ means disaffection to defection from the opposition to the ruling party, defecting smaller parties to bigger political parties expecting either intrinsic rewards and extrinsic motivation, like expecting Ministerial or diplomatic appointments as well as to access to political power and influence. The evil of political defection has been a matter of national concern. If not combated, it is likely to undermine our democracy’s very foundation of our democracy and the principles that sustain it.
Mamudu: Be it defection, decampment, alliance or merger, most Gambian politicians are power mongers, restlessly and desperately searching for power without accountability and authority without responsibility. They are always obsessively hunting for platforms that will catapult them to political power, which they often use for primitive accumulation of capital. For them, the end of politics is power and plunder. No power, no change, we are told. However, their creed is no power, no plunder, and no politics of servant leadership. Moreover, this cuts across the entire spectrum of Gambian politics of thievery of the country’s resources and persistent eroding impunity.
Mamudu: Deplorable defectors lost their conscience and the beautiful soul and never in search of a panacea. An eloquence and defection of political ‘transhumance’? Absconding; decamping to the opposite. Abandonment of a cause – the loss of compass, balance, eloquence, and morality? The collision between the right to exist, to be a citizen in a state, the right to live in freedom and dignity. This, the right of the ‘political transhumance’ phenomenon – a century-old ethical and moral dilemma that will not be resolved by political correctness, contempt for reason, and ethical, moral standards. Power addicted and careerist Gambian politicians do not seem to operate within a set of any known principles or ideology. Those Gambian political prostitutes are akin to the Gallinae kind of ancient Rome: whose political survival centered on political prostitution, racketeering, practitioners of cash-and-dash, and profiteering; of robbers who lure men and women into political traps.
Mamudu: Most Gambian politicians are power addicts, political mercenaries. They are not servicing or act as change agents. They use people. They do not serve them. The gale of defections from the opposition political parties to President Adama Barrow Peoples’ ruling party, the National People’s Party( NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP), raises a fundamental question about the strength of our democracy and the established core of democracy, which is choice. Democracy has no meaning and power if there are no guarantees for the individual’s right to freedom of choice, association, and dissent. At the same time, defection is a fraud on electorates. It impairs democracy because the electorate’s decisions, as expressed in their votes, are overturned by the unilateral conduct of an elected person, who becomes interest-driven in a power game.
In the last few years, defections have been stretched to farcical limits by political players who feel shortchanged in the power equation. When careerist politicians are threatened with the loss of power or diminished influence, they defect to another party, abandoning the platform on which they got their mandate and political influence. Defections and cross carpeting due to disgruntlement is now part of the Gambia’s political culture, and regular party shopping is expected of our politicians. Once again, these defections underscore why we should always respect the rule of law as a necessary condition for our democracy to develop and strengthen.
What happens next will be attractive to Gambian students of politics because the opposition’s defections have not been unexpected; the splinter was long in coming. What it has done is that it has contributed to the general unease caused by the economic anxiety of the land. From the onset, both President Adama Barrow’s new political party, the National Peoples Party ( NPP), and Ousainou Darboe’s UnitedDemocratic Party (UDP) is an amalgam of disunited interests and a victim of its success, intrigues, and planned hijack. No party can achieve its goals where there are plots with many conflicting individual and group agendas. No party can succeed when the party leader, the leader, cedes his mandate to a cabal of his creation.
Mamudu: A good party must keep its members united, maintain a coherent policy platform, and avoid situations that can damage the party’s reputation with voters, who may withdraw their support from a divided party. Knowing how the National People’s Party( NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) were formed and the intrigues plaguing it from birth, it is fair to acknowledge that it is a legitimate strategy for oppositions and political gladiators to deplete the ranks of the political parties. Dr. Demba Sabally, Moriba Suso, Seedy Njie, and Suku Sighateh’s and their gang have their game plan. They seem confident their bold gamble will pay off. Are the defectors facing short-term fame but long-term obscurity? Time will tell. We can only wish them the best of luck.
Mamudu: President Adama Barrow and opposition leader of the main opposition Ousainou Darboe are busy and guilty of recycling and recruiting members of the ousted Alliance for Patriotic, Reorientation, and Construction (APRC) Gambia Moral Congress( GMC) Gambia Democratic Congress( GDC), National Reconciliation Party( NRP)and other smaller parties “top brass,” supporters to defect. Prominent members and supporters of former president Yahya Jammeh’s cronies and enablers are currently serving in diplomatic positions and top senior government civil service positions. Some of them occupy the top executive positions in the United Democratic Party (UDP) too. President Barrow and Lawyer Darboe are the main protagonists respectively to encourage political defections and partisan desertions to their political parties, especially elite defection, and political handshakes by killing smaller political parties like the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) and the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC).
Mamudu: Those political defectors mostly represent a select crop of Gambian politicians who have perfected the art of “personal opportunism.” Furthermore, most of them have served in virtually all administrations by changing their allegiance in tandem with the political spur of the moment, just like the proverbial chameleon. They have never stood for anything apart from cheerleading the regime in power for personal gain. They have never made any real or imagined sacrifices for the nation. The nation has always bent backward to accommodate them to save them from political oblivion – posh diplomatic assignments, cabinet positions, to public jobs for kin and friends. This is why Cabinet Ministers in the Government do everything to be appointed. Political hacks are known officially as government advisers decamp to become political sycophants and possibly have the latitude of power to control and steal government finances, secure contracts, and empower proxies fronts to engage in corrupt self-enrichment.
Those political prostitutes know “when to use” and “when to dump.” Free agents in every sense of the word loyal only to self and stomach. They have perfected the art to a divine fault. Time is nigh for every careerist politicians to join the “change” bandwagon. The only change in their political sphere is time. The players remain the same. Same forest, same monkeys irrespective of who wins. So, expect the same problems post-2021.
Mamudu: The politics of shamelessness. Please give it to power addicted politicians and those who believed in belly politics. Trust them, entice; to convert nakedness into a smart suit; to redirect opprobrium into an opportunity.
Mamudu: Was it not Momodou Alieu Bah, former Interior Minister of Yahya Jammeh, Speaker Abdoulaye Bojang, Suku Sighateh, Lamin Teddy Jammeh, and other APRC senior members defected to the UDP, and the other members of Yahya Jammeh’s supporters deserted to President Adama Barrow. Moreover, was it not the National Assembly members of the APRC party who voted to extend Yahya Jammeh’s term of office for three months after Gambians decided and declared the State of Emergency- a Constitutional coup: those enablers of Yahya Jammeh now turned to Adama Barrow and Ousainou Darboe with Yellow tags and dark gray tags occupying top executive members both in the NPP and UDP? (was not Speaker Abdoulie Bojang, Seedy Njie, and Suku Sighateh, many of them defected and sold their souls ). Those transhumances will rationalize violence; sanitize theft of public resources; deodorize impunity. Because they wear the suit of no pride and dignity, have no sense of guilt; does not possess a moral barometer; has developed the art and science of not feeling pain about oneself. Give it to those careerist politicians without any badge of honor?
Mamudu: Rushworth Kidder proposes that in ethical dilemmas, politicians ought to embrace honesty, moral responsibility, magnanimity and, fairness (“The Ethics of Right versus Right”). Yes. The Political transhumance or defection phenomenon will not be resolved by preaching hatred and demonizing others as children of a lesser God. From now henceforth, the empty promises industry of political transhumance is driven by inability.
Mamudu: To act? Do not throw stones! A factor of living; in glass houses? Because, in politics, cooking bloated, broken promises is the opium of the masses? The empty promises industry—a disrespect for values. And people. A blot to leadership? “Those who make promises they do not keep end up powerless and frustrated” (Paulo Coelho). Because the empty promise industry does not last: Mamudu: Listen to James Freeman Clarke? “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman of the next generation”. The next election; the next generation. Ours in the Gambia, an abdication of patriotic duty – desertification of politicians