The Rise and Fall of Babili Mansa

Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

I hold no anger towards Jammeh but what I feel for him is pity after he lost a great opportunity to be celebrated and remembered on the good side of history, at just 29 years old a young Lt. from the Gambia National Army with four other colleagues seized power in a bloodless coup from the democratically elected government of Sir Dawda Jawara. At that age Jammeh had the opportunity to make institutional reforms, constitutional reforms and institute a two five years term limit for the Presidency. According to them the reasons they made the coup was to make reforms that would end corruption, nepotism, business patronage for political support.

At that young age he could have learned from the case study of Cpt. Valentine Strasser of Sierra Leone and Cpt. Amadou Tumani Toure of Mali, the former followed the advises of some political opportunist that made him saw any dissent views as an opposition and would muscled them with power, while A.T.T went on to reform Mali and organized a free and fair election that usher in a democratically elected government. Years on he was call on to stand as a civilian President and was voted in to power this time DEMOCRATICALLY.

His AFPRC junta was received with open arms by almost every Gambian, as they PROMISED to deliver a Gambia that was far from corruption, nepotism, partisan politics, tribalism and unnecessary plundering of our mega resources. It was a merry beginning and few years down the line things start to go the wrong way, soon news of the death of Koro Ceesay, arson attacks on media houses, unlawful arrest and detention of journalists, torture, unaccounted disappearances of citizens and with time such rumors continued to be a daily gossip on the online medias.

As years gone by and he continued to surround himself with people who instead of telling him the cry of the farmer at the remotest village in rural Gambia, the widows and orphans that continue to wait everyday thinking their husbands /fathers would come home anytime, journalist and media houses continue to go out of business/employment due to harsh media laws that continue to be use to prosecute them while in the front line of their work. Citizens being unlawfully prosecuted, jailed and killed for speaking up against the wrongs of the regime would tell him things that were far from the daily life and happenings of the ordinary Gambian.

As he gripped unto power he rule a tiny nation with almost two million people with an iron feast and would go to the extend of threatening citizens with prison and death live on national TV, he has gone to the level of believing that he would rule for a million years and not election, coup d’eta or arm conflict could remove him from POWER, not knowing his reign was to end 22 years on.

The moral lesson that we all need to learn from Jammeh’s fall from grace is to always REMEMBER that the only everlasting power and kingdom is that of the Lord. In whatever capacity God has entrusted us with power/authority we must be seen to tamper justice with mercy, treat those we govern with utmost respect and equal judgement amongst them, be accountable to the finances we managed, prepare ourselves to the day our throne would be to an end as these would make us prepare to set a legacy that we would be positively remembered for generations to come.

What has befallen Jammeh must be a learning lesson for everyone that when we are entrusted with power/authority at our homes, offices, marriages, schools, societies and communities. We should never abuse such powers for it belongs to those who we served.

God bless The Gambia!

By Dabakh Malick

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