The Gambian dictator after unlawfully arresting and torturing the youths of Kartong village and realising that the entire village have been unforgivably angry about his conduct, sent a delegation on a damage control and reconciliatory mission headed by Speaker Abdoulie Bojang, of the National Assembly, Cabinet Ministers and dignitaries who held a meeting with the elders and community of Kartong on December 1st 2015. The move was hatch out following the announcement that the charges preferred against the village youth that were unlawfully arrested, tortured and forced to insult their own mothers and later taken to court and charged. Realising that a serious damage had been done by his action and a once APRC Stronghold is about to be lost forever, he first decided to drop all charges against the youth and pretended it was someone else’s fault not his.
Cabinet Ministers Momodou Aki Bayo of Lands and Regional Government, Ousman Sonko of the Interior, Abdou Kolley of Finance and Economic Affairs and Sheriff Bojang of Information and Communication Infrastructure who were accompanied by the regional governor Sifai Hydara and the chief of the area Ajay Janneh and some senior government officials all went to meet the villagers of Kartong to assure them that the man who tortured their sons youths, was infact not at fault it was someone else and now Yahya had sacrificed that someone. From their speech when digested, one would come to a conclusion that the mission was not to plead with the people of Kartong but simply to tell them that it was not the President’s intention to torture their youths but he was not properly guided by one of them amongst the delegation.
From the statements of Speaker Bojang when he said that the greatest truth which was that the matter should have been addressed by the Minister of Lands and Regional Government, made their mission clear that actually Minister Momodou Aki Bayo was at fault for not doing his job properly and his statement was collaborated by the Dictator himself when he said that the matter was not properly handled and next time it happened, let no police intervene but let him handle it alone. He said he would not even do anything to them but Allah would intervene on his behalf.
Speaker Abdoulie Bojang said it is very sad for them to come to Kartong to address this issue. But it should have been shameful for them because the damage was already done. He said all those who came are people from West Coast Region and that the problem could have been solved among themselves without involving others. But why did’nt they do that when the Youths of Kartong sent the sand miners away? I belief the Speaker was only trying to save the dictator when he said to rule a country is difficult adding that people should not leave their culture behind when dealing with such matters as these are the things they have as a people. Did the local government order for the arrest of the youths? No. Did it order for their torture? No. How about for them to be taken to court charged and remanded? No. Who did all that then? It was Yahya Jammeh, his interior minister and Councillor Lamin Jamba Jammeh both of whom are the same.
Yes the speaker was right the matter could have even been dealt with at the chief’s compound or by elders. But the truth dodged by the speaker was that power and force was used against the villagers of Kartong and in my opinion he was addressing the wrong people. Those words should have been addressed to Yahya Jammeh, Ousman Sonko, Inspector General of Police Yankuba Sonko Chief Ajay Janneh and Councillor Lamin Jamba Jammeh. The people of Kartong did nothing as they were merely defending their posterity.
It’s true as he said it was the president who sent them there and they spoke for him during the meeting, but one thing I did not agree with Abdoulie was to tell Kartongkas that the president said he is a Kartongka, meaning an indigene of Kartong and that West Coast trusts Kartong, that is a lie if Yahya Jammeh indeed love Kartongkas, why did he do what he did to the youths of Kartong? He expressed his regret that Lamin Jamba Bojang is not with them but he did not explain why he was not with them in his own town. The truth is the people of Kartong are very angry with Lamin Jamba who betrayed his own people to a devil that was why they told him to stay back for them to make peace first then he can face his own kinsmen. But that was Speaker Abdoulie Bojang speaking. Let’s hear what the others said.
Also addressing the gathering was now the ex- Minister of Lands and Regional Government Momodou Aki Bayo who did not even know why he was in that delegation. Definitely some people are said to be educated but education is not only to go to school sit in a classroom. As far as I am concerned Momodou Aki Bayo is one of the dumbest Gambian because after listening to Speaker Bojang, it should have been clear to him who the head of the delegation was blaming. But he was like intoxicated when he was speaking. He said someone from Kartong had earlier gone to apologise to the president during his meeting in Gunjur but was not successful in his attempts. He said the person, who remains anonymous, however persisted in his efforts and that the President eventually directed them as Cabinet Ministers to witness the meeting. Can you hear this kind of elder trying to mix the people of Kartong against one another using deceptive means? It was so hypocritical. Even if that was true why would Aki Bayo of all people himself a Kombonka say that in the open? To add salt to injury he went ahead to insult the people of Kartong saying “Rudeness or extremism should not be encouraged.
For his part the one that should have been fired for the arrest and torture of the villagers with his Police Chief, Minister Ousman Sonko, thanked all those present at the meeting, adding that the previous speakers have already said everything. Adding that “It is because of the peace which prevails that they were gathered here,” But which peace? The villagers felt brutal torture was administered on them yet no one accepted blame. Where was the peace? It should have been a forgiveness meeting and reconciliation but they were not there to accept blame. He was trying to use the fear factor they keep using whenever they use force against Gambians and things go wrong than they expected even during the 10th and 11th student massacre saying that some countries are facing lots of conflicts and that one can only start a problem but does not know how or when it will escalate. Why did he not tell that to his boss Yahya Jammeh who was the provocateur? But no he went on saying “Anything that should happen must happen can you imagine him saying such meaning the youths were meant to suffer or maybe it was Allah’s will the youths were tortured and forced to insult their mothers. Can anyone sensible human condone hypocritical advice of the Interior minister adding that If anything is to happen here in the Gambia, People should before acting, know the actual facts and go to the police to report all the matters,” so that they can be on track, but their actions may lead them to something bad and he was very quick to add the he was not saying the people of Kartong are also like that but they should not be pressured by others.
He said if the charges were to continued, then he know most of the youths may spend their lives in prison.” How did he know that? Because he knew his boss very well and he would manipulate the courts to send the youths to prison by force that was why he was confident some youths would go to prison. He said the people of Kartong should be patient and always try to be law abiding and to meet the authorities before taking the law into their own hands. Saying the president forgives them because he knows that the youths are the future leaders. He urged the elders to always put things together before they escalate saying It’s hard to see the youths going to the prison but urge them to stay calm and law abiding. Pa Demba Jabang, the Alkalo (Village Head) of Kartong, for his part, expressed his happiness to receive such a high level delegation from the government coming to talk about peace. He urged the community to pay heed to what the delegation is coming to tell them. The regional governor of West Coast Region, Mrs. Sifai Hydara, also spoke and thanked the delegation for their mission.
Modou Mbye Jabang, who gave the vote of thanks, said the people of Kartong are not trouble makers. Saying the community should have been engaged on a meeting before mining started and requested for more consultation.Just as they all expressed the matter should have been handled with maturity rather than force but because the government now knew the damage their actions had caused now they looking for a way out whereby the people of Kartong would think look President Jammeh never knew these otherwise our youths would never have been tortured. But come one It was Ansumana Jammeh who head these sand mining business who is a brother of Yahya Jammeh. How would he not have known who called the police and the PIU then to arrest the youths? Why were they tortured and forced to insult their own mothers? What sort of wickedness was that? Momodou Aki Bayo even if he was negligent as the Speaker implied, he could never have asked the police to beat the youth and force them to insult their own parents. He was simply made the circrificial lamb as he was the only odd number out of the lot in this case concerning land.
Governor Sifai and Information Minister Bojang’s are far from being tainted that was why they escaped. Now Momodou Aki Bayo is axed for the second time and this time he is replaced by Momodou Lamin Gibba former DG of Ports Authority. Now people are wondering who would be next or would the sacrifice of Mr Bayo be enough and would Mr Bayo continue to slavishly follow the dictator in anticipation that something would come his way just like before? Time will tell as the fire and anger of the villagers of Kartong had not died since the issue of sand mining has not even been discussed by the delegation as they were not sent to discuss that.