Many Gambians including Ruling APRC supporters were surprised when President Yahya Jammeh asked Gambians to forgive him. Jammeh also announces to forgive members of the opposition whom he perceived as arch enemies. To some here in the country, the President is planning to step down from power in the near future. Others disagreed, citing Jammeh’s love for power. Many viewed his recent change of heart as a sign of uncertainty about the longevity of his administration. Renowned Marabouts within and outside the country have time and time predicted about a change of political leadership in this country. Jammeh himself received the “Lesstiharr” or spiritual forecasting about his regime’s downfall. To some extent, Jammeh is worried about such revelations. He wants Gambians to accord him the same respect deposed Jawara is provided with today. Jammeh wants to walk as a free man in our streets, without tasting the life of being an asylee or any form of prosecution.

A Gambian father whose son was allegedly killed by the state, following reports of an alleged coup plot against Jammeh’s government in March of this year, told me that it would be difficult for them to forgive President Jammeh since he (Jammeh) had denied their loved ones the right to live. The disgruntled father said there is nothing that can make him forgive President Jammeh and his government. According to the aggrieved father, Jammeh should be bold enough to approach bereaved families and seek forgiveness rather than playing with members of the gallery.

Another concerned Gambian said Jammeh’s recent statement that he had forgiven Gambians was a “Joke.” For the President to be taken seriously said the Gambian, he should free political prisoners languishing at the Mile Two Prisons. “How can you reconcile with people when you are not ready to free political prisoners who are being held for months and years without charge”? asked the concerned Gambian.

Under his new five year term, President Jammeh is faced with daunting challenges, both locally and  internationally. Confronted by domestic insecurity, Jammeh must work harder to win the confidence of development partners. His government fails governance, transparency, accountability and probity test in recent times. A recent corruption Index issued by the Transparency International ranked the Gambia as one of the most corrupt governments on the continent. Prior to the issuance of the said damning report, the US Millennium Challenge Account suspended the Jammeh government from benefiting from the said governance fund. Washington cites the issue of official corruption and rights violations to suspend the Gambia from the said global fund.

For President Jammeh’s government to benefit from the said fund, it must double its efforts to tackle graft, rights violations, the endless killings, judicial interference and abuse of office in that tiny West African country. Jammeh should also change his negative attitude towards the West. He should see the West as partners in development and not otherwise. Jammeh should also give up his recent Islamic Fundamentalism concept and preach messages of world peace. He should refrain from using Islam to settle old scores with the West. His recent association with Iran and other anti western leaders should not tempt him to blackmail the West. We know that Jammeh is capable of selling the Gambia just to line up his pockets, but should think twice about the implications of such a move.

Having said this, it’s imperative to note that if President continues with his “Rude” attitude towards the West, the Gambia stands to lose at the end of the day. We have not yet reach a level, where  we can stand on our own as a nation. We need the West in all development aspects. The West too, do need us. For Jammeh to call them liars, looters, murderers, and all kind of crab will not help our situation. What we need now is a matured leader, who can relate with the civilized world and not the type of  “Blast them.” politics initiated by Jammeh.

As we enter Jammeh’s third term, we remind him about the oil he promised to commission few years ago. With all the promises and bragging, we are yet to see the said oil. Jammeh should look for funding to mine the said oil, which is on our shores for heaven sake. Gambians are in dare need of oil at this hour. Many cars are packed due to high cost of gas. Transportation fares and electricity bills have gone up due to the price of gas. Mr.President, you mean to tell me that you will leave office without mining the oil? Perhaps, your successor would do a better job when it comes to oil mining. Gambians want a President who delivers and not mere talking without action. Be  action oriented.  Don’t promise when you cannot fulfill. History would no doubt in my mind judge you badly. We hear your apologizes. Gambians deserve the right to decide what’s good for them. Many can forgive, but cannot forget. The choice is entirely theirs.

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