The Politics of Mysticism The Political Husbands, Fulfillment Through Comtempplation of Merit And Identity Politics

Mamos Media

Alagi Yorro Jallow

Fatoumatta: Let us say that double standards and hypocrisy are the spice of Gambian politics. People are allowed to change their minds, aren’t they? Maybe they believed in power and identity politics. Political tribalism has reached a new peak and leaves the Gambia in a unique perilous situation. Nevertheless, a few years ago, we had seen the light and are now more interested in merit. The battle against identity politics to inclusion and keeps the Gambian society healthy. Perhaps those who preached value and did not want to indulge in identity politics in the past are now persuaded that power politics and identity politics are a time to end and the surest way forward in the Gambia without hurting liberalism. It is saving it.

Only a fool does not change his mind, according to late Desmond Ford, the Australian theologian. Lord Maynard Keynes, the renowned English economist of blessed memory, said he changed his mind when the facts changed. Fair point. I do not begrudge those who are genuinely pragmatic when they see the evidence. My grudge is with those Gambian with the “Kakatarr syndrome” the chameleons: they go with the flow that favors their interest.

Fatoumatta: A single debate has characterized the 2021 presidential election campaign. “Merit and Identity politics and Superstitious belief. What does that say about the state of the Gambian nation? Lower, meaner, duller electoral campaigns in this presidential election may end mercifully come after December 4, 2021 polls but never one in which so many issues were treated with such studious avoidance by the presidential candidates. Moreover, this election has brought a noticeable shift in how certain politicians surround themselves with magical powers and the use of juju that has magically morphed from a subject worthy of serious debate to a political football best kicked under the bleachers forgotten about. However, two decades later, with magical powers, strong inclinations towards mysticism will be the most memorable moment in this election as a punchline.

Politicians are talking to a paper-thin sliver of the Gambian electorate. However, unfortunately, at times, it seems they have forgotten that the rest of us in the US and the world are still listening – not for an argument that will determine our vote, but for some sign of the leadership that either of the presidential candidates will have to display.
On the one hand, it is to be expected that this election cycle would be an inward-looking one. When economies go down, voters shift their attention to domestic policies. On the other hand, with unemployment at 9.64%, the presidential election should have focused on job creation and perceived threats in the market.

On the other hand, politicians’ silence on job creation, youth unemployment, and youth migration to the Mediterranean sea is baffling. Also, the disappearance of environmental issues from election-year rhetoric directly results from the sharp swing to the rise of sosalasso politics—with no electoral gain from supernatural beliefs and in jujus.

The result is what the US television reporter Chris Hayes called an “asymmetry of passion.” Those who feel vaguely that “someone should do something about improving the living condition of the people are drowned out by the vitriol of those who believe wholeheartedly that politics is a man’s avocation or a waste of time. As a result, politicians do not expend time or resources on issues voters care about in presidential campaigns like this 2021 election.

At its best, the Gambia is an inspiring place of bold innovation. What is upsetting about this election cycle is that some of the presidential candidates seem to be campaigning for the country that is turning inward, lacking the moral leadership to go after complicated challenges of domestic and global importance that shrinks from responsibility with a reflexive assurance of its greatness.

Fatoumatta: The robust debates of the December 4, 2021, presidential election have become dialogues of thoughts on the controversy over politically correct speech, silence, merits, identity politics, and superstitious beliefs of mysticism. The best that we have now are repeated instructions on how to keep quiet. When the political class starts shouting down the people, know there is a huge problem. When witchy Janhanka marabouts and Serere soothsayers replace, potent words with slimy saliva have exhausted their trove of incantations. These days, the message from our husbands in Banjul and rural Gambia is plain abuse. Even the media that drove the bridal vehicle five years ago have become agents of darkness. First, two influential and powerful persons were seen with disagreeable gesticulations. The scene was reported. Reporters then became, to the presidency, “fiction writers” repeatedly failing “to exhibit a sense of responsibility in their reports.” They churn out reports which are “fabrications that could only have been conjured by reporters who would probably make better fiction writers than journalists.” Furthermore, I wanted to ask why, but a friend said I should keep quiet. He wondered how I could easily forget how the man next door behaved every night his unsatisfied wife denied his dinner.

I do not know why we cannot see the parallel between what our politicians do to us and what the abused wife suffers. The wife that suffers violence has no social solvency. She is as socially bankrupt as she is in finances. She must not have friends; otherwise, they plant rebellion in her mind. She must not have money; otherwise, she starts having ideas of independence. Did you read the manifestoes of those sosalasso political parties on Communication and Information and Technology moving to block a long list of websites that “threaten national security”? Can you remember that insecure husband who must monitor his wife’s every telephone call? The terrified woman must disclose who every caller is and exhibit the identities of all receivers of her calls. The abusive husband suspects everything around him, including the wife’s image in the mirror. When a man has failed in his duties, he loses all sense of security.

I once heard of one who will not feed his wife but must sniff at her underwear for alien scents. It is that bad, even worse, for a government that has broken its marital vows with the people. It monitors calls, combs through websites and the blogosphere in search of dissidents. During late President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, a minister monitored and regulated WhatsApp and other social media messages. May God not let that kind of husband be our portion in the Gambia.
Fatoumatta: An opposition is a government waiting, but do you blame a government for failing and going tough with dissident citizens? Listen to every woman going through violence and abuse. She is the designer and architect of her misfortune. Right at the courtship stage, the red flags were there: He loves money but hates hard work; he will not tell his story in clear terms for the girl to evaluate him properly. Red flags! However, she ignored all. It was love – that inexplicable intoxicant that blinds even the eagle. Some governments are blessed with hordes of such hungry drunks. They are inebriated in perpetuity. Nothing their lover in power does is wrong. Every abuse is an expression of love. For the sake of the love of their lives, they are ready to disown and be disowned by their kith and kin. The marriage is done, then the scales fall off. They blame the devil and seek to unmake the past. It happens to the voter in the Gambia every four years. He regrets his choice and looks back. The impotence of the inheritor makes the widow long for the long-dead, failed husband. For the Gambia and its peculiar voters, the best is always in the past, no matter how horrible it was.

With some others, money means love. I once wrote about this. Romance and finance go together. A man may be blind and ugly in superlative terms, and women will still struggle to have him if he is loaded in his bank accounts (and in bed). The latter is in parenthesis because, according to a female friend, “any fool can ride a horse and ride well.” Egypt’s last Pharaoh, Cleopatra, had many choices. Still, she went for Julius Caesar and later, Mark Anthony – men of means, power, and fame. They also chose her, one after the other, for the political capital warehoused in her bosom. It is so too with politicians and the voters they buy here with money. It used to be a prepaid game, but philandering voters who do ‘runs’ with their votes have taught politicians bitter lessons. “The bird flies and so does the arrow. Someday they’ll meet!” Wizened politicians now do “see and buy” – show me you voted for me, and I make sure you cook soup today. That is what political husbands do nowadays.

Furthermore, they do it and move on precisely the way clients of dingy whorehouses do. They do not look back after doing it. They are always shocked to hear abandonment complaints from a populace who have collected their fee. You cannot be heard complaining of spousal abuse after selling your peace on Election Day.

Fatoumatta: There is an air of buyer’s remorse in the land. The very expensive 2021 marriage is fast turning into a union of disappointment. This is especially so for nurses and doctors who work without overtime pay; for trained hands who no longer have work to do; for sellers whose buyers have lost their purses. I know we have this culture of staying with husbands, for better, for worse; for kissing, for killing. The wife who wants to bail out of failure risks the label of promiscuity: She is insatiable. Please give a big house to a thief, and he still sees no reason why he must not steal a little! Saturate a promiscuous wife with wealth and riches; that will not stop her from selling herself cheaply to a paramour. We have sayings for all situations. You cannot loathe a failed husband and escape the reprimand of our culture of accommodation. If you want to test what I am saying, go online and remind our presidential candidates of their previous election promises. Tell them they have failed, and you will hear the story of how the last king failed too, and you did not complain.

A lot of love and hate went into the last elections. Moreover, a lot has happened to question the wisdom of those days. However, buyers may be remorseful, and it does not stop them from being led again to the slaughterhouse. The Gambian voter does it for various reasons. It could be pecuniary, and it may simply be pure love for their idol. It is like a rape victim falling in love with her attacker. It happens. A few years ago, a Russian rape victim shocked her world. She made excuses for the monster: “He is a good man. He has just been unlucky. On the day he raped me, he had an absent look. It was clear that he was just too drunk, that he couldn’t control himself. A drunk man can do weird things, as everyone knows.He did not kill anybody after all, he did not torture anybody. What can you expect from a drunk man? And he had many problems. His mother was ill, his wife was scandalous, so he drank alcohol.”

Fatoumatta: The voter here does just that. He helps the failed politician with trainloads of excuses on why the government fails, and the politician must be allowed to repeat the class. Sometimes the disappointed wants to move on but is unsure of when and how to take the plunge. One Jewish woman wrote about her “marriage of pain.” She regretted that the night that should have ended her marriage did not finish it. She was “thrown against the wall repeatedly, punched in the arms and torso, then slapped to the floor, (her) glasses shattering.” She pulled herself up, made excuses for him, and continually lied about her bruises. She allowed the abuse to continue thinking it would stop soon. Husbands living with victim mentality always transfer aggression to their partners. They must make excuses for the tragedy of their failures. They will not stop inflicting pains and demanding more endurance from the docile partner. However, we must not expect a marriage defined by infidelity to promise to end in praise. Most times, it ends tragically for that party that absorbs the punches of the abusive. When you vote for a politician or president, and he violently shreds your trust, and you stupidly pretend all is still right, he is encouraged to do more. Furthermore, he will do more by telling you it is a felony to complain and treason to move on to other choices.

Fatoumatta: The Gambia is too diverse for us to say politics should run its course without some strategic tinkering. In the interest of national peace and progress, we need to implement a system that accommodates everyone that gives every part of the Gambia a sense of belonging. No section of the Gambia should feel there is an official policy to shut them out. We can never genuinely address our national challenges for as long as our positions are shifty, shaped in the main by hypocrisy, hate, and selfishness. If it mattered where the president came from in 2016, it should also matter where the president will come from in 2021. Let us stop shifting the goalposts.

leave a reply