By Suntou Touray
Gambian senior civil servants, parastetal heads, Directors of all shapes and portfolios, to rank and files, everybody is scared stiff of Yahya Jammeh, the (Idol). This fear encompasses both Muslims, Christian, Secular or even non-religious binding members. He has replace God to many, because he is feared much more than God, the Creator.
This fear of Yahya Jammeh is so intense and so wide reaching, one will doubt whether any senior high level Gambian can today claim to be a genuine Muslim or Christian who is not doing the cardinal sin of associating partners with God.
Among the many meanings of Idol is that, any object or thing that is venerated and feared on equal level as God or even more. These can be a person, a tree, a rock, a river, sea, beast, bees etc. However, with the secularization of the word Idol, it real meaning is lost, hence we hear (football God or Idol, Pop Idol, Music Idol, etc).
If we further look deeper into what are the characteristics of Idol, we will be surprise to encounter the fact that, Dictators in Africa have been idolized in the real sense, ie feared much more than a personal God.
If we take the Gambia as an example, one will notice that, anybody, just anybody working within the system of the tyrany will not either answer his calls, or will seclude him/herself to members of the public for fear of been misquoted or reported for mixing in the wrong crowd.
The Gambian President's quest to be feared or Idolized took roots years ago. He openly pronounced that, 'he can tell what people are thinking, without them saying anything'. He also created the Man-God network of the ambition to be everywhere and know everything, with the help of the Informers or Man-Angels (NIA Officers).
His apitite to be seen as Spiritual Master took him to rediculous level of declaring to the whole world that, he can cure even incurable deseases. He regularly invite open Magicians who indulge and practice Satanism to his village in displaying their powers. And relaible reports had it that, he will pay this magicians (Batutas) to grant him their powers.
Any fear which leads to one abstaining from wider society due to fear of a human being, whoever that human being is, you have taken him/her as a real Idol. You may say, I don't bow down to him or call his name in prayers, but among the characteristics of God is that, we fear him like he should be feared. Unreasonable fear of a political leader falls in Idolatry.
Idolizing human beings also goes as far as taking Saints as infallible or beyond making mistakes. The clear demonstration of our Idolizing religious leaders or Saints is by hanging their Photos in our front doors, assuming that, they will ward off evil. In shock situations, their names are called upon...we may think this is simple demonstration of love and admiration, but the thin line is cross when we fail to learn what did and lazily try to rely on them for our salvation. No human can guarantee the faith of another in the Presence of God. Your deeds or actions earn you progress in this live, therefore, similar scenario will earn you success in the hereafter, since you don't even know the full account of a saint you are venerating.
It is time our ambitous self-fulfiling, elites look deep down their souls and stop committing idolatry. Fearing a naked pauper is a a complete affirmation of our collective failures to stop oppression.