By Alagie Saidy-Barrow
Political hustling is real. A time-tested and proven way to get to the summit of political relevance and its concomitant benefits of wealth and fame, on the backs of the people. The standard operating procedure is to latch yourself to a politician or political party and be the one that out-hustles your fellow hustlers. A cushy future government post will be your vindication and reward for hustling. Being accepted into the political fold requires no character checks, smartness or intelligence or any form of real education. All it requires is loudness, punctuated by loudmouthed hubris and claiming Gambianess as your value. The vaguer your values, the better. The hustlers realized that spinelessness pays handsomely! They know that the well of political prostitution will never run out of well-watered political clients and so the hustlers are always on the lookout for their next client just in case the current client is not primed for political power.
If, as a hustler, you can lie and wiggle your way to persons of influence, that will be icing on the cake because you will be cheered and celebrated as a genius for your ability to bamboozle. Just make the loudest noise and yell the loudest, sing the loudest, and dance the hardest. Stay in the chosen colors of your political party, live the party, eat the party and sleep the party. The masters will get you closer to them in order to use you. There are no useless people in politics where all that matters is numbers; even idiocy comes with its benefits. It will not take long for political relevance to come from manna and the hustler will be toasted for their ingenuity and foresight. Then they’ll proclaim that it was Allah’s will and many will echo their graciousness. Congrats they sing; you’re one of us now!
The hustle is real but it is not an honest hustle to count on riding oneself to success on the backs of people with broken backs. However, in a sea of hypocrisy, who needs honesty? Honesty is for the Kenbuguls and Manlafis. In the land of the listless, who needs pride? Pride is for those African ancestors who would rather die than live in shame. Oh but how things have changed for the African. If you try to abandon who you are in order to be someone else, you will never live to be that person, and your life will be lived in perpetual misery of aiming for that which you can never reach. But back to the hustle.
To succeed in the hustle, all you need is some jacked-up ego the size of an ocean, and being adept at navigating the complex political labyrinths. The only way to the summit of power and wealth is through deceit and duplicity and hypocrisy is the only guide. Those are the rules of the political game. The hustler must pretend to be brave even if their cowardice is laid bare for all and sundry. The hustler must pretend to be upright even if their moral compass long since stopped working. The hustler must pretend to be defending the truth even if everyone knows their picture appears besides “liar” in the dictionary. The hustler must pretend to be all that they are not to guarantee success because hypocrites only see other hypocrites and never themselves. The hustler must remember to always say they’re doing it for Gambia.
Once some of the hustlers comes home to their new political party, fellow hustlers will clap for them and toast them for their wiliness and ingenuity. But hustlers never really fully trust each other. They all know that if another party stands to offer the hustler what they’re looking for, the hustler will abandon ship. What binds them in the political hustle is not shared values; it’s opportunism. And when a hustler makes it, fellow hustlers proclaim another hustler has ascended to the very apex of relevance! Hold a government position for them so they too can get their rightful share of the National Cake. The more senior the position, the more an indication of the hustler’s success! The political hustle is real!