The Voice of The Citizens Must be Respected!
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
What is currently happening in some parts of the Arab world is unprecedented. Citizens took to the streets of Tunisia demonstrating against the government of Ben Ali for about a month and at the end he fled to Saudi Arabia.
This came against the fact that Tunisians were not satisfy with his style of government - autocratic rule for the past two decades.
Until today demonstrators are still defiant demanding that Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi and some ministers of the former regime to step aside and let new faces take over the running of the government.
Similar revolt is rocking in Yemen too. Demonstrators are calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government to go. He too rules Yemen for more than three decades and yet he does not want to go.
Inspired by the Tunisian moved, Egyptians also went into the streets demonstrating without any return, demanding that president Hosni Mubarak and his entire government to step down.
Reports indicated that someone in Mauritania set himself on fire, drawing inspiration from the young Tunisian that resulted to the ousting of Ben Ali.
Other Arab countries will be following these developments in Egypt for their own internal consumptions.
Governments around the world need to listen to the voices of its citizens and respect those voices for the development of all. Be it infrastructural development, economic, political, and social whatever name you called it.
Who knows what is happening in the Arab world would end. If citizens are suppressed for so long, it brings hatred into their minds and is just a matter of time that they would revolt against that particular government. Time moves fast and governments needs to act fast too.
What is interested in these demonstrations is the full participation of people of all walks of life. Like in Tunisia, at one point police joined the demonstrators in the streets which many describe as unbelievable.
Similar stories are reported in Jordan too. There are too many, old and long time rulers in these Arab countries. Time has now come for them to start packing their bags. Let new and young faces take over now. One person or dynasty cannot continue to rule for decades.
Infact what is interesting is that these kings/monarchs would eventually turned themselves into life rulers till death. And after them, their sons take over while the rest of the population wallows in abject poverty.
Is this fair? Absolutely no! They will give the best education, health, cloth, shelter and food to their children’s at the expense of the tax payers.
Presidents, especially in Africa should rule with term limits at the back of their minds. This would bring peace, stability, rapid development and democracy.
Could you imagine a sitting president ruling for the past three decades and at the end of the day wants his son to take over from him? No! This is obsolete. And for these reasons, citizens who know their civil-rights would stand up and say no to this nonsense.
Africa needs to move away from the mentality that without this person, our needs would not be fulfilled. What we need in this part of the continent is institutions - democratic institutions for that matter - where citizens will have the confidence to go to when the need arises.
We don’t need presidents and prime ministers who are only not good at terrorizing the citizens, but also embezzling state resources. The voice of the people is the voice of God.
Rights of the citizens cannot be suppressed for so long. Dictators any where needs to know this and should be prepared to face such embarrassing exit.
We don’t need defiant presidents in this 21st century. But politicians who are ready to better the lot of their citizens. We don’t want politicians who are selfish, politician who are greedy, politicians who will take our money and open accounts with Swiss Bank.
Like the Arab world, the same trend is what is happening right in the heart of Africa. Squandering of our resources by our African leaders and their political cronies.
By extension, they ruled brutally by silencing their political opponents with the help of the security forces. Not only their opponents, but journalists critical of their views are either killed, imprisoned, or they make sure that you disappeared from the face of the earth.
This is the true story in Africa. Fear all over. Colleagues, neighbors and friends will not be as closed as the way they used to be. Why? Because secret service are all over the place waiting to clamp-down on their next prey.
I hope killer (s) of journalist Deyda Hydara, former Managing Editor of The Point Newspaper and the abductors of missing journalist Ebrima Chief Manneh former staff of The Daily Observer will be resolved.
Long Live The Gambia! Long Live The Press!
Author: Lamin Njie