The financier of the December 30th coup attempt, Cherno Njie, remembered his fallen comrades who were killed during the attempt to forcefully remove Yahya Jammeh from power in 2014 as he launched his autobiography on Saturday.
The memoir titled Sweat is Invisible in the Rain explicitly explores the motivation behind the staged coup to remove Yahya Jammeh from State House. The book also takes a nostalgic and historical look at Njie’s upbringing in the capital city of Banjul.
According to Njie, the main factor in the attempted coup was the realization that ending Jammeh’s regime was the key to changing the country’s status quo.
“I had the honor of working closely with Colonel Lamin Sanneh, Captain Njaga Jagne, Alagie Jarjue Nyass, Alagie Barrow, Musa Sarr, Modou Njie, Abdoulie Jobe, Papa Faal, Banka Manneh, Landing Sonko and many others who were not publicly identified.”
“Sadly some did not see Jammeh forced out of power. We collectively carried on the project of rebuilding The Gambia so that such evil can never claim the lives of good men. I remember each of our fallen heroes with a heavy heart. They did not die in vain. I see their legacy everywhere in this country,” Njie shared.
Njie considers December 30th as a significant event in Gambia’s political history.
To avert bad governance in the country again, he indicated that the leaders selected by the people should be the best reflection of the society.
“Ultimately, if you want good leaders, we must begin by holding ourselves accountable. People who hold themselves accountable are more likely to hold others to the same standard. When accountability becomes the norm, truly, outstanding leaders will emerge.”
He stated that post-Jammeh Gambia will need critical assessment on both leadership and citizens to be able to achieve the ‘new Gambia’ by ensuring freedom of expression, tribal and religious tolerance.
“We must engender citizenship based on acceptance that we are a multi-ethnic society in which all citizens are equal before the law and entitled to the same consideration by the state regardless of ethnicity or place of origin. Citizenship that promotes a common purpose and belonging, and one that abstains from the idea that the majority, whether political, ethnic or religious is first among equals.”
“Something should be beyond the reach of a majority even when they could be attained by a popular will. We want a government that expresses the will of a majority but one at the same time that is sensitive to minority rights either political, ethnic or religious. We should avoid ‘a winner take all style of government’.”
Human rights defender, Madi Jobarteh, validated the attack spearheaded by Cherno Njie on State House more than five years ago. He disputed the tag that they were insurgents, but freedom fighters who came to end the tyrannical regime of Jammeh.
Like many Gambians I prayed, I hoped and I rejoiced at the thought that Yahya Jammeh was being ousted. You can therefore imagine the deep sadness and anger that befell me when it became clear that the attack did not succeed,” he said. Madi holds the view that it was only through active resistance in which Jammeh could have been removed, as his dictatorship shut down all avenues including peaceful opposition.
Baboucarr Njie, a civil rights activist, also believes that without the threat of use of force by regional troops, Jammeh would not have relinquished power following the 2016 disputed elections which he lost to Adama Barrow.
Professor Toyin Falola from Pan African University Press in Nigeria said the memoir is a documentation of three interconnected stages of the author’s life, career, vision and ambition.