I have noticed that my last two publications on Dr. Isatou Touray, the newly announced independent presidential candidate in the Gambia for the upcoming December general election, touched a lot of raw nerves among our diaspora dissidents who have since been insulting and attacking me with everything imaginable. Well, I think everybody by now knows how I care less about cyber warriors and paper tigers.

let me however add this; angry individuals befriending me on Facebook just to get in my page and insult me will not be tolerated for I will immediately block anyone and delete his or her messages for such juvenile practices. So please spare me the waste of time.

That said, my article today is not about advising Dr. Touray as before which I said I had finished doing in my last paper but to make some critical observations over the manifesto she read from the Gambia through the online radio stations in America on September 10, 2016.

I believe the woman still has her head buried in the sand for not sensing her deficiency in originality and substance.

When I learnt about her intention of delivering a speech aimed at laying out her party’s “unique” political manifesto, differentiating her agenda from that of other opposition party’s ones, which should single out her prospects of being the best to win the presidency and should further compel all opposition leaders to rally behind her candidature, the last thing I expected was to hear her read a very familiar scripted message literally plagiarized from footnotes of those opposition parties’ past and present declarations.

It is pretty much easy to steal political ideas from unsuspecting parties and their leaders and discreetly craft them as yours but marketing the looted concept to its original owners revolves around either underestimating their intelligence or a manifestation of being totally asinine. In other words, I think Dr. Touray’s attempt in her manifesto to sell back to the PDOIS, NRP and UDP political parties the same ideas that by form and substance seem shrewdly lifted from their political chronicles and present them as bargaining qualifications to win their support for her presidential candidature is tantamount to insulting their intelligence, exposing her reasoning flaws or perhaps both.

And indeed, being the condescending smart-swindler she is proving to be, she gave a laughable reason for joining the opposition now as having to do with playing the role of a dissenting bystander in the past, passively monitoring the possibility of whether or not they could unseat President Jammeh, notably in the elections of 2006 and 2011; but since they couldn’t, “the competent genius” now descends in 2016 to save and lead to the elusive victory they have been yearning for over the years. That her candidature is not only about winning big and becoming the dream president of the country but most importantly about her competence and determination to solve all the problems of the nation in a single five-year-term mandate. Listening through her convoluted message fraught with inconsistencies and contradiction, one would think that the woman is smoking something we don’t know about.

How could she discount the hard fact that these people in the opposition, battling it out in the trenches throughout wouldn’t remember how she never wanted to have anything to do with them in the past when life was very cool and dandy at GAMCOTRAP? Obviously, the good old days with GAMCOTRAP are still fresh in people’s minds when the pay was good and President Jammeh’s leadership flawless.

I am in fact yet to confirm it but I was informed that in those happy days, some opposition party leaders did approach her to join their parties in their crusade against the APRC government but she declined every invitation. Then with GAMCOTRAP tanking, coupled with the dwindling cash flow in that business and the bleak prospect for her to start anything constructive, she now wants the opposition parties to rally behind her presidential candidature with vague promises of winning.

I guess at the right time, if she had for instance joined the UDP, she would have probably convinced Mr. Ousainou Darbo to be his successor as the party’s flag bearer, giving her the reputable foundation and support-base to bargain with today. And since Mr. Darbo was constitutionally disqualified by his age her nomination on a UDP ticket would have probably saved him the agony of dogmatically clinging to his demands of either having a constitutional reform to accommodate his candidature or going to jail. Does the Doctor really anticipate sane Gambians to buy her boloney and rally behind her candidature after sitting behind that microphone for an hour or so in the comfort of her living room and reading a manifesto extrapolating on how in five years only, she could as Gambia’s president make the country great again by solving all its economic, social, educational, health, legal, security, energy, infrastructural, and all other problems, domestic and foreign? Give me a break woman! It takes far more than that to win. Only an amateur in politics will sound that insensitive and expect it to work in his or her advantage. Those who know better will advise her about the impracticality of fulfilling even a fraction of her promises in a hundred years.

Her outline of how to solve the energy problem of the country was not only naïve but further exposed how ill-informed she is about the current global energy crisis, especially its seriousness in developing and underdeveloped countries. For what she bitterly complained about the electricity inadequacy in the country because of the inefficiency of the officials managing the nation’s main power-generating plant, NAWEC, fixing that problem, would be as rapid and simple in her plans as immediately privatizing the organization.

Such simplistic solution to a complex problem again validates her ignorance over the challenging energy problems caused by the ever growing demand of electricity supply in non-industrialized nations against diligent efforts of governments to keep up with it.

For example, in Egypt, a country considereda developing nation with electricity output close to 27,700 megawatts in 2014, still suffers around six power cuts a day for up to two hours in some parts of the country.

In Ghana as well, where they enjoy the advantage of possessing hydro-electric dams and thermal plants, they endure regular power cuts to the extent of giving their electricity crisis a name “DUMSOR”,attributed to its negative effect on people, industries and the county’s economy in general. I don’t need to mention how troubling and chronic shortage of power supplies are in Nigeria with all that country’s oil reserves and huge energyresourcesat her disposal. Summer time worsens the situation with energy consumption reaching its maximized peak.

At the moment however, governments of our neighbors, Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry all face the same dilemma,compounded by the productivity of successful migrants working abroad and sending remittances of remarkable economic magnitude. These outstanding migrants are now recognized and credited for scaffolding national economies all over the world that otherwise would not have grown at the rate they now do.Simply put, given the speediness at which successful migrants contribute at building structures in addition to the public and private sectors’ input, requiring heavy-capacity-power-generating sources, the only definitiveremedy as President Jammeh would always suggest is for African countries to explore the possibility of massive industrialization for more affordable and sustainable power. Until then, it will continue to be a burden on governments constantly doing their best to keep up with the increasing demands.

The Doctor most likely doesn’t know that President Jammeh is currently engaged in considerable efforts to alleviate the burden with very promising expectations. His government is actively participating in an OMVG project with that of Senegal’s, Guinea Bissau’s and Guinea Conakry’s aimed at constructing two hydroelectric power generating stations at Sambangolou in Senegal and Kaleta in Guinea with a 368 Megawatt capacity installations, a project expected to soon start producing, clean, affordable and reliable electricity in almost every part of the Gambia. I think that reflects a more realistic approach than simply promising the Gambians a privatization scheme of the power grid vaguely laced in a flowery language carrying no substance.

By the way, what an irony to hear her a couple of weeks ago complaining in her maiden speech about how too many Gambian migrants forced to leave the country for political reasons end up perishing in the high seas or being stuck abroad afraid of returning home but inher manifesto read last Saturday she failed to graspher absurdity in blaming President Jammeh for the long queues of Gambians at Western Union money storesfrequently receiving remittances from migrants working and sending money from abroad. Doesn’t it dawn on her that long queues at Western Union signify the success of migrants out there?Obviously whereas countries and their leaders all over the world now acknowledge with admiration the productivity of their migrant citizens going out on their own and bringing back valuable knowledge and assets for development, Dr. Touray on the other hand blames President Jammeh for Gambians migrating for the same goals. It’s nice try promising to fix that problemin five years.

We know that the only Gambians blaming President Jammeh for migrating to the west are the highly vocal but negligible few composed of non-achievers who can’t cope with the survival demands they found on the ground. They are the ones poisoning the minds of their listeners in the online radios. If they could have it their way President Jammeh will take a rocket to Jupiter today and never come back again. Recently they have been encouraging Sheikh Sedia Bayo a French national born of Gambian parents who is threatening an armed attack in the country to overthrow the APRC government to go ahead with his plans. This is after years of their allegations that President Jammeh was not born in the Gambia and therefore shouldn’t be the country’s president even with his birth certificate showing that he was born in the country.

Typically reminds me of the birther issue by Donald Trump against President Obama that everybody acknowledges built Trump’s first political base and constitute 60% of his supporters today?

It is the same madness we find in these dissident Gambians now pushing Dr. Touray to fight their demagogic agendas against President Jammeh, his government and the Gambians.

Notwithstanding, in New York City alone I can attest to the presence of thousands of Gambians working hard as regular immigrants and fulfilling the dreams that brought them here. These Gambians praise President Jammeh day and night for keeping the Gambia safe and prosperous withthe kind of environment they need to continue their massive construction and business projects. Their migration has nothing to do with President Jammeh’s bad political policies but instead his excellent policies of guaranteeing their country the tranquility it deserves. You talk to these people and they would reveal how as families and friends they invest in schemes of helping each other to migrate for greater success.

India however tops the remittance received from their migrants abroad with over 70 billion dollars sent home annually, followed by China, Philippines and Mexico in that order.

Migration after all is everything about ambitious and productive people going out to exploit the opportunities available in the world for the betterment of their lives. The majority of those who successfully make the journey often realize their dreams.  Dr. Touray should be glad to see the Gambians receiving Western Union remittance from their industrious relatives abroad and stop blaming the government for the risk they took to be where they are. We should always remember the maxim that says “behind every success there must be an element of risk involved.”

On a final note, I guess her assertion in the manifesto over how she would improve the condition of the armed and security forces in the country as president was in response to remarks I made in one of my previous papers questioning her reticence over how she would handle the security establishment in her government.

Anyway, I think she would have been better off maintaining her silence about the subjectthan coming up with the silly idea that she would provide them with better professional training as if they are lacking it.

As a former military officer, I was fully aware of the state of backwardness and despair President Jammeh found the armed and security forces in before the July 22nd 1994 revolution and how he transformed the entire forces into the respectable entity it is today.

Since the first formation of an army in the country in 1901, there was never a time when Gambians were in control of their security forces until after 1994. First it was the British who always commanded and controlled the armed and security forces orhad to be contracted as advisers up to the time of the abortive coup in 1981. Then Senegal that year took over the command and control until 1985 when the British in an advisory role started another Gambia Army co-founded with Senegalese-Gambian forces that was ended at the termination of the confederation of the two states in 1989. The British continued calling the shots but couldn’t perform satisfactorily in the wake of two frightening army mutinies in 1990 and 1991, compelling the PPP government to contract Nigerian military generals, colonels, captains, lieutenants, none-commissioned officers and other ranks to take charge the armed forces.

Then, thanks to the all Mighty Allah, on July 22nd 1994, President Jammeh, a young lieutenant, commanding the army military police unit, step forward and swore to put an end to the whole nonsenseeven if his life had to depend on it. And yes he did it.

Since then Gambians in the armed and security forces have under 22 years of his wise guidance developed their own skills and knowhow of conducting their own affairs without foreign control or advice.

And they have become so good at what they are doing, their professionalism and effectiveness have ranked them high in UN peacekeeping missionsall over the world: UNAMID, UNMISS, UNMILL, MINUSCA, MINUSMA, etcetera.

Before President Jammeh’s government, the former PPP government these dissidents are nostalgic about treated Gambian soldiers and police officers like trash. Those sent abroad on foreign missions were not only underpaid, but worst of all, were denied burial rights in the Gambia if killed even in the line of duty. Since he came to power, he did not only criminalize that horrible policy but ensured that all dead soldiers left in foreign land had their remains recovered and brought back to the home they belong.

So for Dr. Touray to think that she will impress the security forces by promising them better service conditions and training beyond what President Jammeh has done for them is a joke. It’s all about taking them back to the miserable existence they were subjected to in the past which I can guarantee will never happen again.

I heard her even arguing about why the APRC government had to withdraw the membership of the Gambia from the British Commonwealth without seeking the public’s approval. That left me wondering why she couldn’t first explain how the public endorsed the county’s membership to join in the first place. What a Doctor!

To ask for our return on the basis that other member countries still in the Commonwealth were also victims of colonialism but didn’t quit, shows her temperament as a follower and not a leader. It is gross to be a crowd follower, Doctor.


Long live the Islamic Republic of The Gambia!

Long live the Gambian people!

Long live His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor Alhagie Yahya J. J. Jammeh, Babilimansa. President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed and Security Forces.


Samsudeen Sarr

New York City


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