The Gambia: Sidia Bayo says Bon Jour, Gambia says allez au diable

By Mathew K Jallow

To say that it was an ostentatious display of puerile naivety would be an understatement. It was truly remarkable. It was surreal. And I am being gracious.The city of Dakar had never seen anything like it. The center of attraction was a frail looking French-born of Gambian parentage, SidiaBayo. Out of the shadowsof despair a phoenix had risen. Or so it seemed. And what SidiaBayo did next with the local and international media in attendance was out of this world, and strikes me as almost comical, if it were not such a seriouslife and death issue for The Gambia and the embattled Gambian people. The media conference, in which he incoherently laid out his murky, if not vacuous plans of replacing Yahya Jammeh, was truly stupefying and breathtaking.The conference was clearly a cavalier display of naked over-simplification of the Gambia’s nearly two decades old political nightmare. It was a remarkably nauseating detachment from the reality of the Gambian experience over the past decade and half.

The arrogant arbitrariness, with which Sidia Bayo announced the formation of his Gambia National Transitional Council to replace Yahya Jammeh’s miserable dictatorship, sent the potent Gambian online media and blogo sphere into a hysterical overdrive. It flared up the “silly season” of political small-mindedness after a long lull from the rugged terrain of Gambian tribal politics. As usual,it was characterized by divisiveness and counterproductive innuendos and sickening name-calling, which in the process reinforced the intolerant narrative and raised the misguided political intemperance to a whole new level of cruel absurdity. When the esoteric Sidia Bayo, who it now appears, no one knows anything about, positioned himself as Gambia’s next president, he invited every Gambian into his narrow political space. For many, Sidia Bayo’s Transitional Council is a reflection of how lowly he thinks of Gambia and Gambians, but for others, it was a patently an ignorance driven mortifying miscalculation of the depth of our political sophistication and grasp of the matters and issues of our country.

In characteristic sneering Franco-phone hubris, Sidia Bayo is trying to stealthily prevaricate his way into Gambian politics. But the creation of a transitional ruling council is only a step in the long, impossible journey to the State House, a journey fraught with unnerving obstacles; some self-inflicted, others manifestations of divergent primal interests, yet others still, the bi-products of Gambia’s tortuous political history. Sidia Bayo’s mindless plunge into the realms of Gambian politics is primarily driven by arrogant courageousness that ostensibly borders on recklessness. The disorientating comedy of errors that ceremonialized the Dakar fiasco, apparently did nothing to obviate the reverential in gurgitation of the Sidia Bayo spectacle. Rather, buoyed by the novelty of possibilities or blinded by speculative indulgence in fantasy or both, believers of the Sidia Bayo charade doubled down hard on the evangelization of his message of nothingness, a deliberate challenge to the primordial interests of the Gambia’s growing Diaspora institutions

But if the extremely asinine provocations of the Sidia Bayomoment in the sun did not raise doubt about the ill-fated Gambia Transitional National Council, the blogosphere did not seem fazed by the amateurism that permeated every level of his moribund aspiration. In the online theatre, the often bitter, but always acrimonious Ad Hominem attacks crystalized the banality and the depths into which protagonists of Sidia Bayo’s Council would sink to defend his preposterousness. Today, more than a week after the pomp and pageantry of the council unveiling, Sidia  Bayo seems more like the phantom of Guege way than a future leader. Members of his ruling council,blind-sided by his infantile embellishment and lack-luster configuration of his governing philosophy, cast doubt over the myopic articulation of his vision. Moreover, Sidia Bajo appointment of his brother as future vice-president raised doubt about his judgment.Last week, Sidia Bajo said “good day” to Gambia and this week, Gambia says “go to hell” Sidia Bajo.
Coming next week: Dr. Amadou ScattredJanneh’s release from the notorious Mile 2 Central Prisons and the implications for the future of the liberation struggle. The proud men and women of Gambia’s Armed and Security Forces, stay tuned.

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