Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

HELLO MR PRESIDENT…; CRIMINALS LET LOOSE…

June 15, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

About ten days ago, I read in the newspapers that a man had been arrested, accused of raping an-eight-year-old girl. I was gobsmacked. What type of animal would do that? Are we becoming so predatory? These were the thoughts assailing my mind. That was until today, when I read that another man had raped a six year old girl. Can you imagine the depravity of some people?

Come to think of it, rape is one of the most heinous crimes one can commit, especially when it involves underage girls. This is made worse when the girls are as young as six or eight. What can these people say as defense when they are brought to a court of law? Should they even be allowed to narrate some mysterious stories that forces them to do it?

These pedophiles cannot be allowed to continue to destroy the lives of our young girls with impunity. The crime of rape has far-reaching consequences. One can even argue that it is worse than murder. For, if one murders a person, in most cases one has taken one life. But if a rapist rapes an underage girl, the consequences may include the girl being unable to bear children in the future. Thus, if that girl was destined to have a girl child in the future, who in turn was destined to have children, one can imagine the number of lives that that rapist snuffed off even before they had the chance of being born.

Rape should be considered worse than murder and its punishment should match the severity of the crime. But the huge problemof rape is the culture of silence. Hardly would the family of a rape victim report the case, for fear of stigmatisation, especially if the rapist happens to be a family member, which is most often the case. Therefore, this is not only about law enforcement but also about sensitisation. In this, government should increase support to women groups, the Women’s Bureau and other civil society organizations to sensitize the population.

Mr President, I want to suggest naming and shaming of pedophiles when they are convicted. This will perhaps have an effect on the rampant problem of rape cases we hear about almost every other week. As this is a conservative country, perhaps the fear of stigma will sway them more than any other thing. Also, anyone who covers up a rape case because the rapist is a relative, if such a person is arrested, he or she should face equal punishment with the rapist.

Last week, I wrote on the bane of blaming everything on God. We must learn to take responsibility of our actions and stop blaming God for our shortcomings.

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

NATIVE NORWEGIAN WOMAN SENTENCED & FINED FOR RACIST RANTS AGAINST LAMIN SAMATEH

May 18, 2017

Lamin Samateh photo credit: NRK

One native Norwegian woman in her 30s was sentenced to a suspended jail term of 14 days and fined NOK 10, 000  by a Norwegian court for racist rants against Lamin Samateh who is of Gambian origin. The woman is reported to have directed racist verbal abuse by using the F and N words in Norwegian three times to Mr.Samateh. The incident happened at a Kebab shop in 2015 in Porsgrunn, the town where Lamin is residing.  The woman repeatedly rained racist insults on Lamin as he and a friend  were  coming out of the Kebab shop. The incident was reported to the police and after a short investigation the case was dropped but Mr.Samateh filed a fresh complaint and the matter was taken to the courts, were the victim and his attorney fought and won the case. According him he pursued the case to the end in order to set an example because he has a daughter in Norway and does not want her  to face the same kind of racist verbal abuse or discrimination. Reacting to verdict Mr. Samateg said he thinks it is good because it would help people like this woman to learn to be better persons.

The case has sparked debate in Norway about the use of the N word , some say it is within the confines of free speech others say it depends on the manner in which it is used. Anti racism organizations hailed the verdict against the woman arguing that the act is a clear violation of the Norwegian General Penal Code Paragraph 185 on hate speech and the fact that  she used the words spontaneously for three times shows the severity of the matter. The woman and her attorney have appealed against the ruling but the chances of overturning the verdict are very slim because of the repeated racist rantings orchestrated by the Norwegian Woman.
Written by L. Nyassi , Oslo

BUILDING THE GAMBIA: STOP THE CHINESE COMPANY DESTROYING OUR FUTURE IN GAMBIA

May 17, 2017

 Hazardous waste disposal into the Atlantic ocean by Chinese Company

By Madi Jobarteh

A severe national security threat is unfolding in Gunjur, the hometown of the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow. There is a Chinese company engaged in fishmeal production, which dumps its waste and dead fish along the coastline and neighboring communities. The factory releases intense bad odour making people sick as well as destroying our fish reserves and polluting the waters. This is a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Gunjur, Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Yet this company called Golden Leaf Factory continues to operate unchecked by the Government since last year until today, four months into the administration of Adama Barrow. Why?

Two Chinese, Robin and Jojo run the factory without any Gambian partners and under no check by any authority. They produce fishmeal or fish oil, which is made out of fish and used to feed poultry, pigs and other farmed fish. According to FAO fishmeal production is a major contributor to over-fishing and prevents fish from replenishing themselves thereby causing the collapse of local fisheries. This is because the fish used for fishmeal are small fishes like the ones our fishermen catch in Gunjur, Kartong, Tanji, Bakau or Banjul. After almost depleting their fish resources in China, now Chinese fishmeal companies have turned to West Africa and South America causing havoc in countries like Senegal, Chile and Peru. Experts have noted that fishmeal is a source of terrible environmental damage and human suffering.

So far Golden Leaf Factory is engaged in over-fishing in Gunjur and Kartong and destroying the coastline as well as the Bolongfehyoto wildlife reserve. The bad and dangerous odour the factory releases into the community is unbearable. Experts have noted that the factory right now threatens the productivity of sea grass, which marine turtles feed on. They also threaten the mangrove ecosystem because of the chemical waste they dump. This factory is therefore a threat to tourism and the economy of the Gambia. What is even more disheartening is that the fish they catch is not used for human consumption. Rather they use it to make fishmeal for animals all the way in China! But they are ready to destroy our lives all the way in the Gambia.

Who gave this company license to operate in the Gambia in the first place? Was there any social and environmental impact assessments done before they were awarded the license? Why would the responsible and relevant agencies of the government sit down to allow such abuse of the lives and future of the Gambia to take place with impunity?

Where is the National Assembly, the Ministries of Fisheries and Water Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the NEA, NDMA, GIEPA and GTB and indeed the Police? All these agencies have a direct responsibility and stake in any activity that negatively impacts on the lives, livelihoods and future of the Gambia. Yet they all sit there watching a foreign company plunder our lives and livelihoods for free! What about GCCI? Are they not aware of this practice by this company and what actions have they taken to ensure decent and responsible practices by businesses in the country?

I therefore call on the Speaker of the National Assembly Mariam Denton and her deputy Momodou Sanneh and the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow and the Monitory Leader Samba Jallow and indeed all National Assembly Members to institute a parliamentary enquiry into this matter. Failure to do so, the National Assembly would be failing in their sacred duty to the Gambia. This matter is 100% within the powers and authority of the National Assembly to address and they must address it now. Golden Leaf Factory is destroying our lives and livelihoods with impunity!

I call on Chief Servant Adama Barrow to demand his relevant ministries and state agencies to act on this matter with urgency. The ocean is a major source of life and livelihood for the communities of Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Tourism alone account for 21.9% of our GDP and providing 18.8% of jobs in the country hence the ocean is a precious product of this industry that must be protected. Thus any threat to the ocean affects thousands of Gambians for employment and for food. Why therefore would this company be given license to damage our future and lives with impunity?

The Gambia Government and indeed all African governments must be wary of Chinese companies. This is because the Chinese have proven to the world and Africa in particular that they do not care about human rights, human life and human health in their quest to greedily consume resources around the world. Chinese companies have engaged in unscrupulous and dangerous business practices even in China, how about in faraway tiny Gambia? China has a population of 1.3 billion people and a land size of 9.5 million square kilometers. The Gambia has a population of only 2 million and a land size of 11 thousand square kilometers. Hence what China can afford and waste the Gambia cannot afford that. Therefore we must not allow any foreign company especially from China to come to the Gambia to damage the lives and future of our people. If this is what GIEPA considers to be foreign investment then they are dangerously mistaken!

Whichever government agency gave license to this company must be exposed and held to account. It is clear that they have failed to do an impact assessment or merely ignored the results of such assessment if they did. Secondly this agency has failed to monitor this Chinese company in order to protect the vital interests of the Gambia. This company must not have been allowed to operate in the country at all. They must be closed down! Now.

I therefore call on all Gambians to rise up against this Chinese company and put pressure on the government to expose the truth about the license, the kind of business, the operations and management of this company. What has the Gambia benefited from them? How much money are they making in the Gambia? What damages have done so far? We need to know these issues and make sure they repair all the damages they caused and then close them down. Golden Leaf Factory poses a clear and direct threat to national security.

Gambian journalists should rush down to Gunjur and Kartong and report to us on matters that directly affect our lives. News is not only in Banjul and Serre Kunda. How come such a dangerous environmental, social and economic disaster is taking place in Gunjur since last year yet our journalists could not give it the publicity it deserves! Wake up Gambian Journalists!

Rise up Gambians and do not let our country to continue as usual since Independence. We deserve a better Gambia. We deserve better leadership and good government that is open, efficient and responsive to our needs, in the present and in the future.

#CloseDownGoldenLeafFactory

God Bless The Gambia.

APRC CRIMES: FONI – THE WORST VICTIM OF YAYA JAMMEH

April 4, 2017

Forensic experts exhuming remains of Jammeh’s victims in the bushes of Foni

By Madi Jobarteh

Yes Yaya Jammeh is from Kanilai, which is in Foni, yet in his 22 years of misrule the region that suffered the most happened to be Foni. Despite the fact that Yaya Jammeh and APRC had enjoyed 100% support from Foni where their parliamentary candidates consistently go unopposed, yet Yaya Jammeh paid them back with so much misery and pain that it will take forever to heal that wound. There is not a crime on earth that Yaya Jammeh had not committed against the land and people of Foni. He spared no one: the old, the young, men, women, community leaders not to mention the professionals of this proud and hard working region of the Gambia. Rather he tortured and killed his own people while stealing their lands as if he was not a son of Foni!

Probably the most outrageous crime that Yaya Jammeh inflicted on our people in Foni was to label them as witches and then deploy scores of soldiers and Green Boys with witchdoctors imported from Guinea to go to village after village to arrest old men and women. Reports have indicated that up to one thousand people were arrested in 2009 just because Yaya Jammeh stupidly thought witches killed her aunt. Thus, just for the sake of her aunt alone, he ravaged a whole region of the country, humiliating them in such a manner that surpassed even the colonialists. Yet until today you have some people in Foni who want to give their lives for Yaya Jammeh.

When Yaya Jammeh arrested these old men and women, the Green Boys and soldiers forced them to drink concoctions, which caused severe sickness and death among the victims. One witness narrated that in Sintet alone 300 old men and women were arrested and taken to Kanilai to be humiliated and beaten. Because of this onslaught, hundreds of community elders used to flee their houses as early as 5am to go into the bush to hide for the whole day until at night to return home. Can you imagine an old man or woman of 60, 70 or 80 years going to hide in the bush just because their own son, who is the president accused them of being witches and hunting them like slaves? This is what Yaya Jammeh did to our elders in Foni. Yet there are still Foni youths who shout until today “Yaya Jammeh for Life.”

Even when Halifa Sallah stood up as the lone voice to find out about this matter in order to ensure that justice is delivered, Yaya Jammeh responded to him with an arrest and detention. Yet Yankuba Colley and Seedy Njie have the audacity to tell us that Yaya Jammeh deserves respect. Do Yankuba Colley and Seedy Njie have any respect for Foni elders who were humiliated, beaten and killed by small boys under the orders of Yaya Jammeh? Is Yankuba Colley or Seedy Njie and their APRC supporters telling us that they have not seen that injustice yet they still stand for Yaya Jammeh? What values or God do these people believe?

Even before this despicable atrocity, Yaya Jammeh had been tormenting Foni by blatantly stealing their lands. In his 22 years, Foni is the region, which suffered the most in Yaya Jammeh’s land grabbing spree. No region has lost more lands to Yaya Jammeh than Foni. The number of community lands he stole in Foni is uncountable.

Foni did not only lose lands but they also lost numerous lives in the process of defending their lands from Yaya Jammeh. For example when Yaya Jammeh wanted to take lands in the village of Karunorr in Foni Kansala in 2012 the villagers resisted. The two most defiant villagers were the brothers, Wuyeh and Enor Colley. In response Yaya Jammeh deployed armed soldiers to forcefully pick up these brothers to be beaten up and butchered to death in the bushes. Until today there families have not seen them,

One gets even more shocked when you see the list of victims of Yaya Jammeh in Foni some of who are in fact his own family members such as Marcie Jammeh and Haruna Jammeh who disappeared since 2005. We can all recall the names of Buba Sanyang, Ndongo Mboob, Modou Lamin Nyassi and Jasarja Kujabi all of who disappeared mysteriously on the orders to Yaya Jammeh. It is clear that these people were killed.

Other sons and daughters of Foni who were also humiliated, incarcerated and tortured included the former CDS Lang Tombong Tamba, former IGP Essa Badgie, former DG NIA Lamin Bo Badgie, former IGP Benjamin Jammeh and for Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh among many other former ministers and civil servants as well as former associates such as Aziz Tamba as well as his own cousin Pa Bojang. The list goes on…

Hence if one simply goes through the track record of Yaya Jammeh in Foni, it becomes quite clear that the region that has suffered the most under the APRC is Foni. Yaya Jammeh has inflicted so much fear and disunity in Foni to the point that this region was locked down for 22 years. Yes, he has provided electricity in many villages with streetlights and built a hospital in Bwiam and illegally named it after his father. But the fact is that the people of Foni were the most oppressed and exploited region of the Gambia under Yaya Jammeh. One can notice that by the fact that no one in Foni was allowed or bold enough to stand against Yaya Jammeh. Everyone as subdued and this was why APRC remained unopposed all the time.

Yaya Jammeh was able to unleash so much harm on the people of Foni simply because he had the full support of APRC NAMs and Cabinet ministers. APRC NAMs were witnesses to the atrocities and land grabbings of Yaya Jammeh in Foni yet they did not just keep quiet about it but in fact they went ahead to mobilize the people of Foni to work on those stolen lands like slaves.

If you are from Foni, the APRC is the only party you should avoid. If you are a good son and daughter of Foni, Yaya Jammeh is the only person you must avoid. He is a disgrace to the noble and dignified people of Foni. Any decent son or daughter of Foni who claims to be a self-respecting and patriotic citizen cannot entertain anything about APRC and Yaya Jammeh. He represents humiliation and misery for Foni and the Gambia as a whole.

I hereby call on the voters of Foni therefore to give APRC Zero Votes in the April 6 election. I therefore wish to launch the campaign ‘APRC Zero Votes In Foni’ to start today. Let us raise the awareness of the masses of Foni to liberate them from the despicable Yaya Jammeh Mentality to realize that supporting APRC is their humiliation and destruction. Yaya Jammeh never represented the best of Foni. He is the worst to have happened to Foni.

If the Mandinka felt offended by Yaya Jammeh it is clear that he has offended the Jola equally or even more. Wait until you see what he also did to the Wolof, Sarahuleh or Fula, etc. What about the Muslims or the Christians? Coming soon…

Forward with ‘APRC Zero Votes In Foni’ Campaign!

God Bless The Gambia.

GOOD MORNING MR PRESIDENT – FUND FOR THE FAMILIES OF OUR FALLEN HEROES

March 20, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

22 years of dictatorship has made our Motherland, the Gambia, a hell to live in. In terms of security of the people, the freedom of the people, the healthcare provision of the people, and the financial condition of the citizens became despicable. Life became very expensive due to so many anomalies in our governance. Investment was at a minimum due to the predictable unpredictably of the dictator. As such, providing for one’s family became an uphill task.

Notwithstanding all these, a few people – at the risk of their lives – stood up to the dictator. They defied the fear that paralyzed most of us and went out there to demand for change, to demand for reforms which will allow a better and fairer electoral system in order for us to have a change of government which will respect the Rule of Law and respect Human Rights. This, they envisaged, would open the space for investment and funding so that the lot of the common man will improve.

True to his nature, the dictator did not look kindly on such people. As a result, he ordered a clampdown on them. This resulted in some of them paying the ultimate price for our freedom. Mr Solo Sandeng, Lang Marong, Mr Kurumah all lost their lives to this struggle.
Remember, just like you and I, these people were also struggling to feed their families. Having gone out there, under the sun, as it were, while we were in the shade, they forfeited their ability to provide for their families. Some of them have left large families without a breadwinner. I know that one left nine children, with some very young indeed, and another left fifteen children alongwith wives.

Mr President… Are we going to leave these people to suffer want and deprivation after their breadwinners have used their sweat and blood to water our nascent democracy and freesom? What will that tell about us? What kind of future do we envisage for our country if we do that?

Mr President… I know some may say it is too soon, but some basic necessities do not take a break. For instance, the fact that they eat, dress, rent a house, go to school and so many other things on a daily basis. It will not arguer well to just go on as nothing has happened.

So, I’m suggesting the setting up of a special fund for the families of our fallen heroes. In this way, their wives and children can be taken care of, particularly, but not limited to, the education of their children. This way, our future generation would not fear to venture into national service knowing that even were they to die, their posterity will be taken care of…

And also, Mr President, can they be given a posthumous award for gallantry and national service…?
Have a Good Day Mr President…

Tha Scribbler Bah
A Sovereign Citizen!

THREE DIED AT CELEBRATION. WAS IT A SECURITY MEASURED BLUNDER?

February 19, 2017

The musical jamboree of Gambia @52 two in one celebration dotted by match pass of the security forces, school children and civil societies submerged Gambians into a euphoric trance of reassuring peace, tranquillity, contentment and hopefulness.  Conversely, beneath all that glittering fanfare lays three deaths and dozens wounded as a result of gross security negligence and police inaptitude at the stadium. Dependable reports emanating from Banjul confirmed the three deaths and dozens wounded gracing Gambia @52 nationhood celebration.

An eye-witness who had a gold invitation card observed, “On arrival at the stadium, I saw a huge crowd of people and few paras at the gate. Some diplomats were even struggling with civilians to enter the stadium. At first I thought is this some kind of a security sabotage? My card was useless as I have to squeeze my way in.”

Another witness also lamented, “People were jumping from the pavilion as it was packed full and no access route to go for refreshment in the loo or outside. The presence of the paras were painfully dispersed. Some other youths were likewise seated at the top of the areal on the left-hand side of the covered pavilion. That was a serious security risk and a potential accident waiting to happen”.

As a former security officer who partook in several parades, crowd control and management, I was socked with the news of such security lapse. A contingent plan must have been drawn by the Commissioner of Operations to curb any contingency of huge crowd turn out. Standby and backup platoons must have been readied to support units deployed to control and manage the crowd at the stadium. President Barrow has pulled unprecedented crowds in the past and will continue to do so in many more occasions. So for the Commissioner of Operation to fail to provide adequate security personnel to manage and control the crowd at Gambia @52 two in one celebration is a gross neglect of duty and ineptitude.

The Hon Minister of Interior must investigate this gross security lapse and ineptitude of the police. President Barrow and his rainbow cabinet will not succeed if their efforts are continually thwarted by the security services. The SIS has also failed in letting a pocket of demonstrators slip into the stadium and manifest in the presence of all the delegates and diplomats at stadium. It is their constitutional rights to dissent but there should be a time and place for it. One of those demonstrators could have cause harm to the person of the president or any of the state guests. The space of change is slow and painful.

Another diaspora Gambian who travelled to witness the celebration revealed, “The only notable change is the executive and the cabinet. Other than that, everything remains unchanged”. Many believed that most of the security chiefs and heads of units are still loyal to Jammeh. “The success of the celebration is purely due the civilians love and loyalty to Barrow. They did not want anything to rob them of the joy of celebrating”, added another.

“Barrow has lofty dreams and great intention for the Gambia but his efforts will be continually thwarted by bad elements within the security services”, lamented one youth.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

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