By: Contributor: My fellow Gambians, be you an incumbent government supporter, in the opposition or a non-decided individual, we need to accept the fact that we are all ONE and the same, that we are all Gambians and no one can claim to love The Gambia more than the other based merely on our political beliefs. That politics is a non static thing which should never divide us, that incumbency does not mean owing a country, that opposing actions and policies of a sitting government does not mean hatred but a mere disagreement with the approaches that government is taking to reach that common good that you as the supporter and that one in the opposition foresee for our country.
This being the case, it is very wrong to measure patriotism of a person base on his/her support or non support of a president or the ruling party. We know the true meaning of a patriot is that person whose love for country is not base on selfish interest, is not doing eye service with intend to get recognized by the power that be neither is it about doing things to be perceived as a loyal supporter and thus maintain the position you hold. Position which, sometimes are not merited but gained as a compensation for loyalty. A true patriot put country before self and his engagements are all directed towards what is best for the country which includes supporting what is right and standing up against what is wrong. It is about putting your services at the disposal of the State without expecting material or a position as reward but self fulfillment as the primary consideration. It is about supporting initiatives for the advancement of the country and detesting anything that is unjust directed towards citizens.
I do not believe that people should be labeled negatively for standing up for justice when we know that the best system everywhere is the non abusive one, that which respect rights of people and recognize them as citizens with dignity and not subjects whose living conditions are fully directed and controlled, not in the way of the Almighty but just to avoid certain things being said or done in the pretext of national security.
What makes a person clamoring for a democratic change of leadership a hater of the country? In fact they truly love the country, because overstaying in power derails good records and delays a country’s progress. We all know that famous saying ‘new broom sweeps well’? Even those who want to be “President for Life” today actually believed in term limit at the beginning and detest one person leading a country for almost 3 decades. The same Allah we talk about today as ‘sustainer’ of a leader is the same Allah who was there when we wanted change.
One cannot understand why our country is so divided that it has reach a level of ‘us’ and ‘them’. That old friends are expected not to talk to each other openly because one got dismissed from government, don’t share same political party or they have different opinions on how the leadership of the Gambia should behave and manage the affairs of the country.
We need to learn the lessons; including, that we have seen people who stood up in support of the system and later got humiliated unjustly through undue dismissals, unconstitutional detention and trail. Some of those got support from the ones we sometimes label as bad. Some didn’t receive support but are today speaking against the very system they once stood for. In the reverse, we have seen people who are 120% against the system including throwing insults to its leadership and today dine with those same leadership. We are human and change is part of us. Therefore let’s maintain our ‘Gambianism’ and make that the primary of our relationship.