Since our ‘Independence’, our nation’s foremost problems that clog the wheel of her development and stymie health, growth and prosperity of her citizenry have been leadership, corruption, impunity and indifference. Our cultural values, the very character of our national identity and our dignity and survival have been under sustained assault by those who are supposed to uphold and make them better through wanton greed and recklessness. From our elected officials to Public Servants to our security sector, almost everyone and every institution is using the average tax-paying poor citizen as a ladder to attain privilege status and, again, use that enviable position to knock the vulnerable down even more.
But in this seemingly unbreakable vicious cycle, one thing that has never been our problem is the issue of LGBT. As far as I know, not a single Gambian has died in our hospitals of preventable diseases because of LGBT; not a single farmer lost income because of LGBT and certainly not a single student dropped out of school due to lack of funds because of LGBT. Our country’s 3rd rate infrastructure and failing energy sector are not the way they are because of homosexuality. Truth is, our country’s biggest challenges, religious and cultural violations has nothing to do with LGBT and the various revelations of government’s astronomically reckless spendings and corrupt dealings further support this point.
It could be recalled that Yahya Jammeh and APRC and NIA political office, in a bid to distract Gambians from the bloody and criminal records of the Jammeh administration that was under serious scrutiny by the West resorted to peddling false narrative that White People wanted to IMPOSE gay marriage on Gambians. As expected, conservatives, religion and cultural ‘defenders’ and moral police took the bait and, overnight, Jammeh’s popularity skyrocketed, albeit temporarily. He presented himself, in his usual hypocritical ways, as the champion and defender of the Muslim faith and African cultures only to be shamelessly and criminally exposed as one of the most disgusting violators of our religion and culture.
…And In a week where our government is unraveling in its shady financial dealings on our behalf, in its destruction of environment and in its meddling into community lands and when our Court of Appeal delivered that surprising verdict, it’s disappointing that we are directing our focus and energy and our indignation to something that, until recently, was never a priority worthy of dominating national headlines and conversations. The Barrow administration, through covert intelligence mechanism of SIS, is leading the distraction crusade amongst the population away from the damning government failures. Day after day, politicians, religious leaders and some prominent members of the society have taken the lead in championing an issue and building mountains out of absolutely nothing, reminiscent of Yahya Jammeh-era tactics.
So, If we are serious about defeating everything that threatens our culture and religion and thwarts our development for decades, we must set our priorities right and focus on issues that matter. We must galvanize our energy and willpower to stopping corruption, waste, injustice and impunity in our country. Current back and forth on a non-issue subject like homosexuality is undue distraction and should be shelved.