Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

PRESIDENT BARROW: THE CHOSEN ONE

February 19, 2017

BARROW-THE CHOSEN ONE

Conferred cosmetic recognitions received on a silver platter do not radiate the pride that successes achieved through sweat, tears and blood reflect. In a nutshell, one tends to value and cherish things that one has toiled hard for more than those received from the hand of fortune. The same can be said of a freedom achieved on a silver platter and that fought for tooth and nail. That precisely explains why those who fought to achieve their freedom will go to any length to preserve and protect it at all cost as opposed to those who inherit it. Some argue the “struggle” against dictatorship is successfully achieved thus closing its chapter. Others, on the contrary, maintain a beginning of a new beginning has just began with the advent of new Gambia. What I saw and heard President Barrow said yesterday swept me off my feet. As a consequent, I will endeavour to check my emotion less it garbs my judgement as I take a reflective tour in my mind’s eyes on new Gambia’s chosen one and his rainbow government.

“President Adama Barrow”, Facuru Sillah observed, “is a lovable and pleasant personality. He’s trustworthy and trusts in God. Entrusting him with the affairs of the Gambia is the best thing we have done for ourselves”. Sillah augmented, “His personality has pulled unprecedented crowds in Gambian history. We thought he could never pull a crowd like he did on his nomination day. We thought he would never get a crowd like the one he had on his return from the provincial campaign to the Greater Banjul Area. We thought the crowd celebrating his victory on 2nd Dec was the biggest ever. We thought the crowd that greeted him on his return from Dakar was overwhelming. We thought the crowds of his inauguration cum Independence Day February 18, 2017 was the most superlative. He will keep on breaking the limits of our expectations of public approval of his personality as head of state”. Facuru summed, “The man is just wonderful”. Indeed, President Barrow keeps his resolve and possesses a starling character guide by conscience.

However, what worries me most is how some custodians of society and governance carry themselves in this crucial time of our hard earned freedom and democracy. Yes, we may differ in our political view and alignment but the Gambia is one and we jointly own it. Its growth, security and fortification are not the responsibility of only President Barrow and his rainbow cabinet. Whether one supports him or opposes him, the safety and wellbeing of the Gambia is the responsibility of all of us. Let us put our differences aside and put the Gambia first. The way he intents to steer the nation if not derailed, it will sail to shores of sustainable development and equal opportunity for all Gambians. Respectable leaders of society who were nerve-rackingly robbed of their respect and unable to speak out the truth openly for fear of Jammeh’s impulsive retaliation have been given back their pride and freedom by Barrow. True some of us are here trying to put across the veracities and options available for us all to nurture and preserve our freedom and resuscitate our democracy to sail new Gambia to safer political and economic shores. It is also a sad fact that there are others who are hell bent to see that some of us disappear beneath the waves of cowardice. Such people even though are alert to the fact that their chosen route does not lead to any good yet they adamantly bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich for the preservation of their own personal selfish gains. Such people do not care if our freedom and democracy is compromised as long as their interests are protected they are fit to go. To such people I say gone are the days when political bullies submerge the voices of reason.

For us to succeed in our effort in entrenching democracy, the rule of law and economic development, we need to address the factors and by-products which created Jammeh to avert moulding Barrow in the same stature. Yahya Jammeh was not a result of a coincidental accident but a product of our own making and nurturing. How did we create Yahya Jammeh? To answer such a question of fundamental importance, one needs to take into account a numbers of factors which in a nutshell sums up a Gambian: spiritual belief, “maslaaha”, greed, selfishness, tribalism and false hope.

Generally, every Gambian has a religion: Islam or Christianity. To assert that both faiths denounced black magic in the strongest term would be an understatement. Interestingly, spiritual belief especially marabous is a bedrock on which many Gambians wholly depend on for their livelihood such that many descended into associating partners with Allah. Black magic according to Islamic teaching, originated during the reign of Prophet Sulayman (AWS) when two angels were giving the knowledge as a trial. It is important to highlight that these angels made it categorically clear that they were only for a trial and anyone who learns and practice it will have nothing in the day of resurrection. Despite all the warning by the two angels and the Quran, many Gambians still heavily rely on marabous for every aspect of their lives. For instance, if one is travelling or seeking a job, one often visits a marabou for spiritual counselling and advice. Such marabous who are often well versed in the Quran and living in makeshift status give you unrealistic advice for all the wrong reasons. Let us say for argument sake, that they are good at what they do. Some will solicit the help of the marabou to get rich or a certain job. If the marabou can make you rich or get you a job why is he not rich himself or having the best job in the country? Or doesn’t he want to be rich or his children being ministers or even a president? These marabous are one of our biggest problems today. They equally abet in planting the seed of discord in families as they will tell you, for example, that your Uncle is hell bent in destroying you. They also meddle in politics. Fellow Gambians how can something so wrong feel so right? What can a marabou give you that has not been destined for you by Allah? Can any marabou add or subtract a second in your life?

“Maslaaha” which literary means compromise is another stumbling block in our fight against corruption, injustice and political malfunctions. There is nothing so cruel and unjust than giving up on something that is right and worth fighting for. Justice is usually sacrificed on the altar of “maslaaha” in the Gambia. For instance, one would see a crime committed in the open but for some reason I find absolute hard to understand is covered under the duvet of “maslaaha”. Public servants, security officers and ordinary citizens all get away with crimes against the state as well as other fellow citizens under the auspices of so called “maslaaha”. This is precisely why Yahya Jammeh abducted innocent Gambians and detained them for unbearable long periods only for his council of evil elders dressed in the devil’s parada set in motion the wheels of “maslaaha” between tyrant Jammeh and his victims of captivity. Eventually, the victims became criminals and Jammeh the victim.

Another factor which created Yahya Jammeh is greed. Very few Gambians are content with what they have and the life they live. Many of us are so obsessed with material gains particularly financial wealth that we are prepared to trade our self-esteem and integrity for few bututs. To make matters worse, some of us entrusted with public responsibility steal from the state to enrich ourselves. Consequently, it is quite common to hear public officials opining that “a person have to survive where he or she works”. In other words, it decriminalised corruption and bribery at work. This explains how church mouse Jammeh who was not worth ten (10) dalasi before he became president is now richer than the Gambian government and all its assets combined. It is also an impediment for us to address issues objectively. Religious leaders who are expected to be telling our leaders the truth and guide them back on track if they stray choose to fill their pockets instead. Everyone wants to be seen driving the lasted car, living in the most expensive mansion and wearing designer cloths yet we don’t want to earn our wealth the right way. What does this make us fellow Gambians? We are so blinded by the get rich quick syndrome that we negate our duty to state and country.  Corrupt and brutal leaders like Jammeh will easily slip our attention as we are consumed by the self-eating desire to amass as much wealth from the state as we could. Corruption and bribery become the order of the day and anyone who challenges the status quo becomes the bad one.

Selfishness is the cousin of greed and they work hand in glove. This is where one comes first above anything else. Even though one is employed by the state to run its affairs, one side steps the state interest in pursuant of one’s own goals.  As one hastily pursues one’s personal goal, the state’s interest is trampled upon with amazing pride. Jammeh was a clear manifestation of this Gambian phenomenon. Instead of running the affairs of the state as he was sworn to do, busied himself in running his personal enterprises. The wellbeing of all was sacrifice for personal development. No one takes a minute to say hold on a second; the Gambia is larger than oneself. Sadly, the job that should have been done by everyone is left for someone else to do which at the end is done by no one leaving state institutions to wallow in decadence.

As a result, we must help President Barrow by keeping him busy and on check constantly. If we finally decide, may Allah forbid, dining with the piper we must then be prepared to pay for the tune.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

GIVING DEMOCRACY A CHANCE: AT WHAT PRICE?

February 16, 2017

President Adama Barrow

The Barrow rainbow government has continued to enjoy an overwhelming support from most Gambians and friends of the Gambia since its inception. Due to the precarious political ambience and defective socio-economic institutions it inherited from the dictatorship, many are opinionated it is prudence to give President Barrow and his government a chance to pick up and fix the broken pieces. Equitably, rejuvenating democracy from the ashes of brutal dictatorship is herculean but a snail-space response to the excruciating cries of victims peppers insensitivity and inaptitude. Perhaps Mathew Jallow was mirroring my thoughts when he dissented: “Sacrificing justice for the convenience of those who deserve neither peace nor liberty will never heal the wounds of injustice, death, torture and incarceration. In the end, it is the pain of injustice that will remain to agonize victims of naked injustice”. Wining and dining with felons who unapologetically decapitated justice, abetted in heinous atrocious tantamount to an insult to victims of Yaya Jammeh’s twenty-two years or carnage. The move is insensitive, immoral and completely bang out of order”, fulminated Ahmed Manjang when he saw a photo of President Barrow and Isatou Njie-Saidy on the social media. He went on to advocate, We cannot allow political correctness to derail our revolution”.  Like him, many- who were left with mouths agape at the sight of President Barrow’s cabinet unperturbedly settled across from one another with Jammeh’s partners in crime in the name of peaceful transition and handing over- wondered “Who is advising President Barrow?”

Lamentably, it is the same malaise of patronage, massaging the truth, averting eyes and matching on as if all is hunky dory in the face of gross executive omission which created Monster Jammeh that is now bestowed on President Barrow and his rainbow government. The outrage generated by this impulsive move amongst Gambians particularly in the diaspora is indicative of Gambians refusing to be taken for granted by their elected representatives and public servants any more. Most importantly, Barrow must come to terms with the fact that he isn’t a Facebook President but a President of a nation recovering from 22 years of brutal dictatorship. The whole handing over process could have been done on one to one base but having the President presiding over it with such publicity stunt beats every reasonable Gambian. What was even more insulting was the audacity Isatou Njie-Saidy mounted in arrogantly relegating the political impasse which saw thousands of Gambians fleeing the country as “a little problem”. Albeit no bullet was fired, the political impasse’s ramifications left indelible imprints on most Gambians in the forms of economic lost, mental and psychological trauma. The only Gambian segment which remained unaffected was Jammeh and his loyalists such as Isatou Njie-Saidy.

Law of nature instils from whom much is given, much will be required. Lives and properties have been lost. And it took sweats, tears and blood to desk you on the Presidential chair. Consequently, any act by you and/or your rainbow government must be aligned with the interest, feelings and demands of Gambians particularly those who lost their all to get you where you are today. Time is now for us to confront the elephant in our closet. President Barrow came across to me during and after the December 2016 election as a man who can hold the broken nation together by massaging the sore wounds, fixing the fractured bones and healing the lacerated hearts but it appears he is yet put his house in order. Power and fame are the worst forms of addictive intoxicants, once you get addicted, it becomes impossible to be rehabilitated.

Jammeh failed abysmally because he refused to be engaged in charting clear and constructive route for democracy and sustainable development. He became drunk with the unprecedented love showered on him. Eventually, he became insensitive to Gambians needs, cries and demands. Anyone who attempted to reason with him was anointed “an enemy of progress”, “bad citizens” and “cockroaches”. Ultimately, he could not accept his era reached its end due to power and fame addiction. Unlike Jammeh, President Barrow has all the means at his disposal to deliver the Gambia where we all want her to be. However, that can only be attained by him being more accountable, transparent and sensitive to Gambians’ feelings. Unchecked spending leads to flamboyancy. Insensitivity breeds dictatorship. Please Mr President don’t disappoint.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

STATE BUILDING UNDER A YOUNG DEMOCRACY

February 14, 2017

A Gambia has decided billboard

Albeit Gambians have democratically butted a brutal Dictatorship out of office through the ballot and rejuvenated democracy, the country is still desk on a thin brink of derailing into mere regime change and docking on a democratic port. Prior to formation of the 2016 Coalition, many Gambians, particularly in the diaspora, were opinionated that Dictatorship is never voted out of office but chased out and the Kanilai Monster will not be an exception. Their argument was and I reference,“In a democracy, it is absolutely normal for people to vote because elections are free and fair and their vote counts. Far from being a democracy, Gambia is in reality a Dictatorship, in a Dictatorship your vote does not count, then what is the logic behind heading to the polls knowing that there is no way a Dictator can be ejected out of office through the system of voting by the ballot”. Fortunately, Gambians have rendered this premise fallacious on 2nd December 2016.

Dashingly, there is a glimpse of hope for new Gambia to blossom into a city state democratic nation. Hope, therefore, is one powerful energizer that strengthens the heart and enlivens the spirit which propels the will to match on head high when everything else suggests otherwise. It is this hope that Barrack Obama may have alluded to when he posited  “…not blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I am not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us just to sit on the side-lines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is the stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.” Significantly, it is with this hope that something better awaits us with the dawn of the rainbow government led by President Barrow that we must tenaciously initiate a process of self-change and enlightenment to build a democratic state which resonates ideals of equal opportunity, freedom, justice, rule of law and a developed nation-state.

Desolately, some Pan-Africanists of the pre-independence era were convinced for any country to develop, be independent and democratic, the state must groom its nation in accordance with its ideals. Similarly, most post independent leaders tried and tested the notion of their pre-independent compatriots. The result is sculptured by Dr Baba G Jallow as thus:  “Since the African state sees itself as a builder of nations but often turns out to be a breaker of nations, we need to revisit the idea of nation-building with a view to exposing its contradictions and replacing it with the idea of state-building. Exploring the concept of nation-building will allow us to put the relationship between us and our governments in proper perspective. Empirical historical evidence shows that the most successful nation-states in the world are those in which the nation (the people) builds the kind of state (government) they want. In countries where the state arrogates to itself the power and status of nation-builder, authoritarianism and a culture of repression is often the inevitable outcome because the people are rendered progressively passive and powerless in determining their own national destinies”.

Consequently, whether one supports or against President Barrow, the fact remains indisputable that for new Gambia to nurture and sustain her new found freedom and democracy, as an appetiser, every Gambian must seek political awareness and in-depth knowledge of the constitution.  Here again I will recollect Alieu Darboe’s thesis, “… a lot going around are actually aspersions inspired by misinformation and lack of knowledge. Now, if you want to offer useful criticism, try to learn more about how government works and seek credible information”. There is a battery of evidences to substantiate Mr Darboe’s inference. Many of new Gambia’s political cheerleaders hasten to crucify President Barrow and his rainbow government with limited or no knowledge of government nitty gritty and thorough comprehension of the constitution. They, often justify President Barrow’s omission with unsubstantiated conjectures. Conversely, Dr Baba G Jallow further accentuates, “In the New Gambia, we must aspire to a politics of state-building not a politics of nation-building. We must aspire to a politics in which the people are politically enlightened and empowered enough to hold their government accountable, not a politics in which an all-knowing state is perched on top of the social pyramid prescribing and forcing infallible prescriptions for development down the people’s throats, whether they like it or not. We must aspire to a politics in which the people are empowered enough to build the kind of state they want, not a politics in which the state assumes the status of all-powerful nation-builder, unless such nation-building means people-building in the sense we use the term above. By definition, the state is embedded within the nation and cannot therefore rise over and above the nation. For this reason, we require and must aspire to a political leadership that is sincere, a leadership that is disciplined, a leadership that will be eager to teach but also eager to learn and to drink of the public wisdom; a leadership that will not behave like the infallible and hostile lords and masters of the people, but like the humble servants and children of the nation. The kind of intellectual and moral energy that needs to be expended in order to actualize such a politics can only be generated in an environment of healthy civility and mutual respect between and among all members of society, regardless of age, gender, political, economic or religious status or affiliation”.

Therefore, it is legitimate to aver for a nation to be empowered and hold its state accountable, it must first be politically enlightened. It is not blasphemous to punctuate no state can repress an enlightened nation. For instance, Trump’s obnoxious immigration and refugee ban would have survive if America was an ignorant nation. Fear, in most illustrations, stems from ignorance. Precisely why Steve Biko concluded “The most sophisticated weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”.  The social media is one platform in which Gambians can politically educate and empower one another by discussing, debating and sharing credible information. Civil societies and pressure groups must also initiate programmes on civic education. Furthermore, the school curriculum must include lessons on the constitution at all levels. Those endowed with knowledge and skills of translating the constitution in various local languages, can do so in audio form and distribute for the consumption of the unlettered generation.  Seedia Jatta has done a tremendous job in his constituency, Wuli. Today, his constituency is the only one in the whole country which is self-reliance from local and central government. They vote for policies and programmes but not personality and/or wealth. With the right government blueprint, discipline political leadership, and enlightened people, the Gambia can soon become the Dubai of Africa.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

NEW GAMBIA: COUNTING THE COST OF FREEDOM

February 1, 2017

President Adama Barrow 

It was refreshing to hear President Barrow divulge, “Every morning when we wake up, the first thing we do is ask one another what did the diaspora Gambians say today?” Succinctly, one can deduce without an embellishment that President Barrow listens to Gambians and aligns his decisions with Gambian wishes that will usher in sustainable progress, peace, stability and equal opportunity for all. Understandably, the perfectionists want to crucify him for his perfect imperfections. Perhaps like most of us who refused to use rose-tinted glass in holding President Barrow to task, they also wish the Gambia well. However, we must be realistic in our demands. Alieu Darboe, a colleague at University, aptly reinforced my point when he argued, As a critical person, I know constructive criticism when I see it, but a lot going around are actually aspersions inspired by misinformation and lack of knowledge. Now, if you want to offer useful criticism, try to learn more about how government works and seek credible information. Barrow will not agree with all Gambians, and so I hope you will respect his right to disagree with you and your suggestions. Certainly, he must and will listen to dissenting voices, but in a democracy, he is free to exercise his powers within the law, and not to be compelled to follow any particular views”.

It is equally fitting to assert constructive criticisms must be predicated on credible information, knowledge and experience. As humans, we differ in many aspects ranging from beliefs, aspirations, commitment, love and political views. Consequently, even whereby we share most of these in common, now and again we part ways in certain views and opinions. Thus, to expect President Barrow and/or his government to meet the demand of every Gambian is a preposterous wishful thinking. For instance, many Gambians want and called for the disbandment of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) due to its disgraceful orchestration of damning tortures, unlawful incarcerations and killings. President Barrow has not only listened to this legitimate call but took the initiative of renaming it. Albeit, the Agency wears a chilling historical badge of terror, it is not just any ordinary institution that can be discarded and forgotten for good. Its role and function are of paramount importance to national security. What transpired during the Jammeh era was its role and function overlapped with that of the police such that it was operating as another arm of the police. They had power to arrest and detain but not prosecute. Its leadership became insensitive to justice, law and order. In the process, they epitomised evil and executed unforetold carnage.  What is legitimate to demand, therefore, is a systematic overhaul of its leadership, redefining its role and function and adequate retraining of its agents. Added to that would be commissioning a parliamentary committee that would be tasked which the responsibility of policing it. That way, abuse of office and misappropriation of justice will be curbed.

On the ministerial position, the constitution is very clear on it. Here again the discourse is diverged. Mathew Jallow abdicated being the proverbial ostrich when he deliberated “It is hard to qualify the degree of shock I experienced upon reading about the exclusion of Gambians of dual citizenship from cabinet positions”. Mr Jallow went on to argue, “The nature of this politically motivated exclusion of bone-fide professional Gambian citizens from holding cabinet level jobs and participating in national development is antediluvian old school thinking. It is a mind-set lagging far behind the curve in regards to changing sociological paradigms in an increasingly borderless world. One would think that a constitution drenched in the blood of its citizens and used to exclude citizens from public life in their countries would be rejected as unfit representation of the Gambian people”.  He then admonished, “Modernising the new Gambia must first and foremost be predicated on embracing progressive thought and adapting to the new parameters of global citizenship where barriers limiting access to opportunity are forever discarded to the dustbin of history”. Uncle Mathew’s position is appropriate, however, flipping the coin on the other side, one can correspondingly uphold that it is not only on ministerial position that citizens can participate in national building and contributing their progressive thoughts. Others had also viewed it from the security point. Their case, if for example Uncle Mathew is appoint Minister of Finance and helped himself with some few dalasi and runs to America whose citizenship he also holds, how will the prosecute him when American laws protects him from extradition to the Gambian to face justice?

APRC. Yes, what about them? Some want to see it banned. President Barrow has no legitimate power to ban it just because it was the party in power. Political parties and a constitution can only be ban and/or suspended under a military takeover. Now it has become an opposition. It is now left to the Gambian electorate to either vote it back to office or relegate it to a very insignificant opposition party. Its winning an election in the Gambia is not happening in the foreseeable future due to the legacy of it former leader. Jammeh’s ripple effect has and will continue to hunt it for a very long time in the Gambian political ring. As such, banning it will only give it undue credit. In fact what is currently unfolding is most of its supporters are now aligning their allegiance with GDC, UDP and the other parties. Eventually, it would either rename itself, change its leadership or ebbs significantly to a bare minimal relevance.

The National Assembly Members will not bow to the heat of pressure oozed by the protesting youths calling for their resignation. They are elected and I am not aware of any constitutional clause which empowers a constituency to recall its NAM found wanton. What the youth should be engaged in now to mount rigorous political sensitisation across the length and breadth of the country to elect qualified and responsible NAMS. Few months down the line, we will go again to the poll electing our representatives. This time around, we don’t want to clutter the National assembly with unseasoned members. It was awesome you went out and registered your dissatisfaction and disappointment in executing their duties but you can stop history repeating itself by enlightening your communities on electing members on qualification and programmes but not on partisan or personal reasons.

Bringing Jammeh and his cronies to book is not only President Barrow and his government’s responsibility. The onus equivalently lies on us as ordinary citizens. President Barrow is on record repeatedly affirming he will not prosecute Jammeh which was part of the pack for him to step down peacefully. President Barrow must honour his words. It is not justice. The UN regional representative urged President Barrow “if the Gambian people want to crucify Jammeh, let them”. We have seen some of them already arrested in some distant lands. Consequently, it is now up to us to petition the Barrow government to start the process of bringing Jammeh and his cronies to book.

Time. It is liken to the flow of a river. The flow that passes you will never come back. Time is wealth, hence, must be managed properly. If the president is not conscious of time, he will be sending the wrong signal to his staff and people. 15:00 hours is 15:00 hours period. I hope President Barrow will take note of this when he gives an appointment next time. Gorr kadom.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

WELCOME TO MY WORLD YAYA JAMMEH

January 22, 2017

EX-PRESIDENT JAMMEH

14 years ago, I left my country as one of the youngest commanding officers of the Gambia Police Force to seek protection in the United Kingdom owing to political duress of your autocratic reign. What was my crime? I was branded ‘stubborn and living ahead of my time’. Perhaps, I was but the truth is I refused to join the club of the status quo for which I paid with 14 years of nightmarish agony and heart-breaking nostalgia. My learned and seasoned brother- E. G. Sankareh, Raleigh, NC, USA-observed: “The greatest of all ironies for me and the most poignant moment in my life perhaps, is that the despot who prevented me from returning to my birthplace for almost 22 years is today, an exile himself. Unlike me and my colleagues “subversives” as he labelled us, Yaya Jammeh will remain an exile forever and probably, very soon, a captive and prisoner of his own acts”. Very freshening indeed. But it neither measures up nor effaces the agony, trauma and endless sleepless nights with unsurmountable anxiety of waiting for a decision on your asylum claim. The nagging fear of been refused and deported. The embarrassment of been perceived as an economic migrant. The stigma of being a refugee. Worst of all is the lacerating pain of separation from your love ones, wife and children.

Dr Baba G Jallow also has this to say, “Indeed, I cannot pretend to know why the tears poured out of my eyes and kept doing so for so long. Perhaps it was my sense of the tragic nature of human life; perhaps it was the reaffirmation of my conviction that those who make other people’s lives miserable must in the end become miserable themselves – that we indeed do reap what we sow, as Jammeh is now destined to do for the rest of his life. Perhaps it was because finally, the giant rock of injustice we have been striking for so long has finally crumbled into dust and our dear little country has been given another lease on life.

 People go into exile for reasons that may often be broadly categorized as either right or wrong reasons. Those who go into exile because of their insistence on respect for natural justice and the sanctity of human dignity go into exile for the right reasons. Those who go into exile because of their disrespect for natural justice and their trampling on the sanctity of human dignity go into exile for the wrong reasons. Yahya Jammeh belongs to the latter category. He is not going into exile because he was a victim of injustice but because he was a perpetrator of injustice. He is not going into exile because he had seen the light of reason but because he had seen and feared a real threat of physical annihilation by a force greater than himself. Yet, unlike people who go into exile for the right reasons, Yahya Jammeh cannot remain connected in any positive way to his homeland. He cannot advocate for respect for natural justice because it was his disrespect for natural justice that landed him in exile. He cannot advocate for respect for human dignity because it was his disrespect for human dignity that landed him in exile. His exile will be much more painful than ours because he has no cause to fight for on behalf of the country and the people he has bullied and terrorized for 22 years. He can wallow in the laps of luxury, but he will never be able to stop or get any relief from the painful pangs of homesickness that all exiles suffer from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year. His exile will be a much hotter and drier desert for his spirit than those who were forced into exile for the right reasons and who therefore hope to return home someday”.

Waking up from perhaps his longest night, if he had any sleep at all, Jammeh will swallow his first dose of exile. As reality gradually dawns on him and the consequences of a once vain dictator set in, Jammeh will appreciate nothing is more gratifying than being discipline, compassionate, humble, tolerant and honest. You told the press that you now know who your true friends are. Awesome. I guess you are a bit hasty. Wait until your ill-gotten wealth runs out then you will know who your true friends really are. But until then be my guest Jallow Kanilai. Ops, my bad, I meant to say Jallow Conakry. Very soon when all the dust of uncertainty and insecurity finds a resting place, I will be home. When are you coming Jallow Conakry?

Do I have any regrets for living in exile? Certainly, not. My living in exile has helped in crushing down a vicious dictator. If I have to do it again, I will pleasantly start all over again. But dictatorship isn’t trendy anymore and Gambians have decided to be commanders of their destiny. Welcome to the world of exile Jammeh. One more thing, please keep your filthy hands of the charming young Guinean light skin girls.

Sulayman Jeng,

Birmingham, UK

THANK YOU YAYA JAMMEH

January 21, 2017

Former President Jammeh

It has been a long, emotional, painful, outrageous, repressive and regrettable 22 years of despotic rule. You killed, banished, incarcerated, maimed and exiled many Gambians with disdainful impunity. Your last two weeks in office, which resonated infinite period, is most gruesome of all your omissions in office. It witnessed mass exodus of helpless Gambians across into Senegalese border, a bloodcurdling state of fear and uncertainty, uncultured abuse of constitutional dictates, traumatic psychological and mental torture, state of helplessness and immeasurable frustration. Despite all your evil intents for us, you have only succeeded in making us strong, united and determined to jealously preserve and guard our freedom. Correspondingly, even though it was not your aspiration, your malevolent actions have helped in making every Gambian take keen interest in our political affairs and become commanders of our own destiny. Albeit many were in denial regarding your underworld shady operations, your last week in office divulged your true nature.

Equivalently, you have proven more than ever before to all and sundry that you are not trustworthy, you are callous, you are selfish, you are arrogant and indiscipline. This is demonstrated palpably by Umaru Fofana of the BBC postulation, “The morning after the night before, I wonder what’s playing on Yahya Jammeh’s mind-as he prepares to leave not only power and the unbridled access to wealth and control, but also his homeland. Probably his longest ever night”. As the dust of new Gambia is settling down, let us draw few lessons from our enlightening experience with Monster Jammeh.

As a starter, all political detainees must be freed with immediate effect. Create rehabilitation programmes for them to refit into everyday life. Provide them with proper counselling, medical and social care. This must be followed by the commissioning of truth, peace and reconciliation commission to put under the microscope Jammeh’s 22 years of omissions. While the commission is sitting, the security services must be revamped. All efforts must be taken to transform the security services into professional, independent and productive services. It will require retraining, expanding, reforming and retiring. Since our only close contact with war is peace-keeping missions, each of the technical units of all the services must be nurtured and readied for generating revenue both for central government and their services. On the day of President Barrow’s return to Banjul, all Gambian armed officer and other ranks on Guard of Honour welcoming him at the airport must be disarmed. Until the personal security and safety of President Barrow is established beyond doubt, a carefully selected officers and other ranks from the Gambian security services must be entrusted with his protection. The NIA. Yes, the notorious NIA. It will be irresponsible and illogical to disband it completely. What it needs is getting rid of its administrative leadership and any agent who participated in unlawful omission of duty. Restructure it, retrain all its agents and redefine their duties and responsibilities. Take all policing powers from it and let it operate as a professional intelligent agency. The Police Force also needs touching up and restructuring. An independent body should also be set up to police all the security services particularly the police force. The powers to appoint and dismiss the Inspector General of Police should be vested on PMO with the approval of the independent body policing the police. That way, the police will be independent from the executive and execute its duties and responsibilities without political duress.

Respectively, the Civil Service also needs a dose of face-lift. There are still some elements within it that still owe allegiance to Jammeh. The continued presence of such persons within the Civil Service will only subterfuge efforts of the rainbow government in picking up the broken pieces of the economy. Salaries, social and pension welfare of civil servants must be reviewed and updated to commensurate current economic realities and standards of living in the Gambia. This will help to curb corruption and irresponsibility. Proper time keeping and responsible management of public properties should also be put in place. For instance, reporting on duty on time, clocking in and out of duty, set breaks times, sick leave/pay and use of official telephones etc. Cultivate a committed and loyal work turnover.

Most importantly, setting up a 2 term limit for the presidency. Once that is entrenched in the constitution and can only be reversed by a referendum, we will safe any president from overstaying his or her welcome. Well, for the national assembly now we all know the consequences of having and ill-informed, ill-educated and a rubber-stamp NAMs. The next batch of NAMs must at least badged Grade 12 certificate and good result.

GRTS I will recommend to be managed by Fatou Camara. As well as the director of GRTS, she should be the Press Secretary to President Barrow. Apart from her fountain experience in the media, she can transform GRTS to a financially viable and world class media house. Take a close look at her Fatu Networks and you will understand my point. As a Press Secretary to President Barrow, she will do an excellent work in projecting his PR and relationship with the press both home and abroad. Even as the Minister of Information and Communication the iron lady will not disappoint. She is committed, experienced, focus and loyal.

Finally, until our paths cross again Jammeh, thank you for helping us love freedom more than life.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

GAMBIA: MONICA NJIE KIBAARO’S HOST OF EVERY WOMAN SHOW RELEASED FROM DETENTION

January 20, 2017

Monica Njie released from detention

Kibaaro news  can without an iota of doubt report that Monica Njie who was arrested by the Gambia’s spy agency has been released and is united with family and loved ones. Monica is Kibaaro’s Finance Manager and host of the Every Woman show was arrested at the ferry terminal in Banjul for taking photos and detained for over 48hrs before being released without any charges or whatsoever. Kibaaro was able to speak to her on the phone after her release and she confirmed to us that it was indeed the NIA that arrested her at the ferry terminal in Banjul for merely taking photos.

She is a breast feeding Mom and lamented to us that when she was held in detention she requested to breast feed her child but the officers on duty did not answer to her demand until after 38hrs that was when her child was brought to her for breast feeding. She also lamented on the deplorable detention cells at the NIA dungeon and people languishing there for flimsy charges or no charges at all.  Monica also went on to express her gratitude for all those who campaign for her release on social media and by extension to the efforts of the British government and journalists.

The Gambia under the brutal leadership of the former president Yahya Jammeh has been marked by numerous arrests, detention without trial and disappearances without trace and we hope that in the 3rd republic such acts would be a thing of the past. We hope that the prisons and detention centers would be emptied of those wrongfully detained or imprisoned.