#Article (Archive)

The end of an era!!

Jan 30, 2017, 12:19 PM

Two scores and two- Gambians have spoken!! By Baaba Sillah mu Sabel

The making of a tyrant!

Sociologists, anthropologists  and social psychologists have identified and described in some ways what they call the socialisation process. Simply put, it means the process by which a young infant is added to the group. The first or primary unit of socialisation is the family. The child learns to relate to family members, learns a language, modes of acceptable behaviour and so on. The next level of socialisation is the school. The child transfers what he has learnt to the school but is exposed to a more  diverse community of contemporaries. He learns to relate to others, make friends(perhaps lasting friendships) and learns to share and validate others in pretty much the ways in which he is accorded his status as an autonomous individual. He learns to play games, team sports and the like which ultimately bear on his subsequent adult behaviour.  Finally he gets into larger society. This is the pinnacle of socialisation. He learns to become an adult. A neighbour, a member of the society.

He finds rules and regulations enshrined in laws, bye-laws, unspoken rules of larger society,  he learns to play roles, take responsibility for himself and his responsibilities towards  others especially  his peer group and beyond including his (ethnic) loyalties, perform rituals, attend ceremonies and so on. The list is endless but the important thing is that each autonomous adult, will have learnt in more or less ways, in time and in space,  why they exist within homes, wards, village communities, town, country, region, continent and a world citizen. In short, the individual is always in society and society is always within the individual.

Society therefore has left an indelible imprint on how the fully-fledged person behaves within each context(s). Note that in all social intercourse, there are sanctions levelled at individuals that transgress the set boundaries and those that conform to the norms are rewarded for their conformity.

Studies of Ferral children, most notably, the study of the ‘wild boy of Averon’ confirm all the above. In short, a faulty socialisation process has a colossal impact on the individual and on society.

In some instances though, some people, even from childhood flagrantly violate the set norms. Often, they become misfits and miscreants and society is at a loss as to what  to do with them. In more organised and resource endowed communities, there are provisions available to help these individuals most of which do not involve the incarceration of the individual in institutions of social control. In our society, we learn to accomodate them as our threshold of tolerance of deviance is higher by default. This is why the Wolofs have coined-up an apt idiom. «Dof dafaa sangu di sol paase!» 

Consider the following scenario. A three year old walks into a compound and finds all the other children playing with their toys. He goes around and grabs all the toys that the other children are playing with nicely. What conclusions would you draw from this single act? As an adult, you may just shrug your shoulders and not read much into the act. Perhaps, you might say that children will be children.

Consider the same child at fifteen doing the same thing in different contexts! He will scale the neighbour’s wall and take whatever he wants. He may go around shouting and bullying other young people How would you explain this? Again, consider the same fifteen year old boy at twenty nine years and over doing the same thing? What conclusions would you draw from the behaviour of the young man?

Let us still follow the young man. He has become a soldier and has in his possession a gun an instrument of coercion and can make people do what he wants, how he wants it.

He takes over state power, eliminates his partners and assumes state power. This was done through the  gun in his hand. The gun continues to give him the power to subvert and subsume the role of the judiciary, the executive, the legislature and suppresses the freedom of the forth estate in a democracy. This is not all, he meddles into religion and declares some of the ancient practices of certain sects illegal. He imprisons without trial, growls at business people and takes over their businesses.  He eliminates competition by raising taxes while he himself does not pay tax. He coerces the municipalities and para-statal institutions to turn in their revenues to him and uses state property and funds to finance his recondite pleasures for himself, his family and his bunch of lackeys. He could not do it without the gun in his hand.

At fifty, one would think that he will have mellowed. No! Instead he has reduced all his escapades and schemes into a fine art. Take another scenario! He single-handedly withdraws The Gambia’s memberships to the commonwealth and the International criminal court and declares  the country an Islamic state and tries to forment animosity between one religion against the other, one ethnic group against the other and even within families, he will set one hyena to discredit another hyena.

Another scenario is his insatiable drive in buying people who could sing his praises and perpetuate his legacy. His unbridled obsession to be loved and his love of titles points to something deeply troubling.  As if this is not enough, he buys all the state of the art limosines and pays peoples way to the Hajj. People have disappeared without trace and some have died in custody and their remains were never surrendered to their families; in spite of all the requests they have made to put their loved ones to rest and give them a decent burial. I do not plan to catalogue all of his chicaneries  and hurts he has caused the people  of The Gambia among other families from Ghana and neighbouring Senegaal.

Now! What can psychologists infer from these behaviours? It is to these that I will speak to from a psychological viewpoint.

We can now draw the following conclusions!

 His deprived and unhappy childhood has had a severe and lasting impact on his adult life. We are aware of his origins and it does not take brain science to make fairly accurate assumptions about his adolescence in Banjul.


Trying to grab everything within his grasp even at the risk of life and liberty is a case in point.

Look at all the land he grabbed! How does one explain his insatiable apetite for land. Why did he demolish built-up areas and peoples private houses? What did he get from it?

His involvement in all the businesses and direct interference in farming are indications  of a person that has not self-actualised.


A faulty socialisation has meant the total lack of regard for others viewpoints. His views were always right. Social conventions, graces, etiquette seemed to have been absent in his relationships with others.

He could not share. He could  give  but his overtures always had a prize tag. He will come back and make demands  on you even if this compromises  your person, your integrity and your position.  

He took responsibility only for himself and at all times, to procure his interests.


His paranoid state never accorded him the possibilities to trust or to build trust with others.  His sadistic love of power,his mood swings and sudden change of demenour are all well attested,


He has a persecution complex. His enemies were many and the West was responsible for his failures. The West, Senegaal, the homosexuals, Imams with minds of their own are his sworn enemies.  Intellectuals needed to be watched. He established the University to instill common sense in them, he says.  


For a person in his statue to wake up from his sleep one fine morning and declares that he cures the AIDS disease; a disease whose cure and bio-chemistry has eluded the top medical minds in the world. This is a disease that had visited us for the past thirty years and more and yet Mister Jamme claims to have an antidote to. Doesn’t this beggar belief? His forays into medicine went beyond curing the big desease with the small name. The Kanelaay potions cured asthma, diabetes, hypertension, infertility and you know… possession by evil.  The juiciest joke I find about his all in one concoction to include a handful of ‘blessed, roasted peanuts. If he had asked my grandmother, she would have told him that ‘boy, all good medicines taste bitter’.

Already, enough and too much has been said about the Sheex, the professor, the Doctor, the Baabili mansa, the Nasiru deen. We will now look at the other side of the coin. That is you and I! Why did Jamme step into the power mill? Why did we allow him to rule this country and break into the fabric of the society with such explosive force and with such irreverence and impunity? What is the backdrop to his entry and what factors led to ‘July 94?

We will address these questions but here is a poem I would like to share with you.

Our Tomorrow

Have you ever; did you ever live in a land:

Where dignity and honour play second, third and fourth -fiddle 

Where truckling is the norm rather than the rarity

Where self-worth becomes self-debasement

Where Hyenas are paraded to lard the Sovereign’s ego?

Where fantasy and reality smudge and assume exact sameness?

Where apparitions become realness?

Where Falsity is verity

Where humans imbibe a less than human existence

Where they have become zombies and unwitting pawns in life’s game of Draughts

Where their minds have departed from their own bodies and become a cooperative of unsighted followers

Where they have become a faceless collectively imprisoned in a permanent childhood.

 Where there is a cynical, surrendering subterfuge in the air

Where a docile hoard is cowed into bondage and in tumult!

Where our yesterdays become our tomorrows and our today’s…well …our don’t knows!

To be continued