Njundu Drammeh

It is time to speak some home truth to you and your ilk, all those who use the name of the people, the masses, or claim to be furthering their interests to sell their agendas, to climb the political ladder, to get political power or recognition or hold some authority or simply to be movers and shakers.

Njundu, I still vividly recall those days of your politicking and activism, when our democracy was in danger, traversing the rugged, untrammelled roads, canvassing for votes and exhorting the despondent masses to believe that change is possible and in their hands was the fate of a nation and posterity. I can see you at that podium, with the cheering, jubilant, boisterous crowd at your back and you shouting the prosaic, moth eaten statements “we are here to change your lives”, “we will always do what you want”, “we will be a government of a difference”, etc. Sweetened words. Music to the ears. Glib and sugar coated but sonorous gibberish. The masses nonetheless bought the slogans.

Njundu, you claim to be the voice , eyes and legs of the people. You swear by the people and insist that you are actuated or motivated by nothing but the desire to liberate them, to act towards, defend or promote their best interests. Evidently, the masses, in search of a leader, have come to regard you as their liberator, freedom fighter, spokesman, Moses, Mandela, Foday kaba Dumbuya, philanthropist.

Njundu, while I know you are not a music lover, you unfortunately now “exemplify” these words of Lucky Dube in that song where he says “….Now you got what you wanted, you don’t even know my name….”

Njundu, your actions are now betraying your intentions. You are becoming, to all intents and purposes disconnected from the “masses”. You no longer speak their languages, the ones you used to win their love, support, admiration and votes. You talk to them in English language, high-falutin, high sounding rhetoric, a mumbo jumbo only your ilk undetstands. Even at village meetings, populated by the masses, you speak English language.

Njundu, it is about a year now after the elections. When did you last visit the masses or meet them to know their fears, aspirations and dreams of New Gambia? How do you solicit their views so they can influence the issues you discuss at the national level? How are you the sounding board of the masses? How do you amplify their voices? How you involve the masses in the decisions you make on their behalf?

Njundu, the National Development Plan 2018-2021 has been validated. This document is supposed to be the embodiment of our collective aspiration, the Gambia we want to have. Is the NDP an embodiment of our collective aspirations? Did the masses too have a buy-in into this document? Do they know its content and have they actively participated in the articulation of its vision, pillars and programmes? To what extent was the participation of the masses, especially the articulation of their wishes and aspirations? You claim to be working for the masses, to be consulting them in all matters that affect their lives. Did you live by your words in the case of the NDP? What architect builds a house without asking those who would live in it?

Njundu, the village bantabas are no longer your meeting grounds. The posh hotels now are. There you go to dine and talk to each other, converts talking to converts. The masses are never invited. Their concerns the leitmotif of your discussions. From chapters to footnotes and honourable mentions, the masses have become.

Njundu, unless the masses become your main agenda and the epicenter of your actions and are at the table instead of being on the menu only, you should stop using their name to up your agenda. If you are seldom at the “floor” a widening gap will eventially develops between the facts of national life and what the government will assume them to be, between what the people think they want and what the government will give them.

Njundu, democracy, human rights, good govern are not events or milestones. They are every day struggle, matters of life and death, processes that are cyclical and never allow for resting on one’s laurels. And lowering of the guards, the devil will erect chapels and mosques.

May be it is high time the masses organised themselves, to be in charge of their future. May be they should know that political elites are a class and, when the chips are down, would protect their own interests. The masses should just unite; only their chains they will break and be free at last.

Until we meet at the ghetto,

Saffiyoungba