Archive for the ‘News’ Category


April 16, 2014
Reads :446

Kibaaro’s Sarata Jabbi Dibba is among the organisers 

Care for Women and Girls Gambian diaspora organisation based in Birmingham is organising an Easter Luncheon Sale at the Birmingham, Newtown Community Hall,  B19 2SW, on 19th April 2014 from 12:30pm to 18:00pm

The aim of the event is to raise funds that would be used to sponsor some upcoming activities, like advocacy and leadership training for the Gambian community in Birmingham. As well as to sensitise Gambian women about how to protect and support women and girls that are subjected to, or at risk of, harmful traditional practices with particular focus on Female Genital Mutilation and gender-based violence among mostly African communities.

 For these reasons, the organisation invites all Gambians in the United Kingdom and those in the Diaspora, who can attend the event to join them in gracing the occasion.

“Come join and support us on this great day of ours, it’s going to be a fabulous day as there will be lots of Gambian dishes all at reasonable prices. Don’t to miss it!” states their press release.


April 15, 2014
Reads :2383

Pa Modou Ann - NRMG Secretary General

Pa Modou Ann – NRMG Secretary General

Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

The coward Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has postponed his annual nationwide tour which was scheduled for Monday 14 April 2014 amid fear of Gambia’s National Resistance Movement (NRMG) threats to attack his government. The new itinerary is now slated for Thursday 17 April 2014. It is not yet certain whether the newly selected date will even materialise.

“We are all in doubts because he is a man who is unpredictable and undecided so we are all waiting to see what happens next”, one is the tour organizers told Kibaaro News. The tour is expected to end in fiasco as many farmers are angrily waiting for him due to the poor groundnut price pegged by his government.

“Farmers are not respected and treated fairly by President Jammeh. His government is playing tricks on us because they are telling us that they buy our groundnuts in accordance with market price which is a blatant lie”, a farmer lamented to our reporter.

“As am talking you now, all my farm produce are in my store and I will not sell them at any seccos but in the Lumo instead”, another concerned farmer revealed.

“Every year we are faced with the same problem and we end up selling our nuts to some NGOs or transport it to Senegal which they are discouraging us from.  According to a press release issued by the government, farmers will not be given fertilizers and other farm inputs. Furthermore, if they sell their nuts outside the Gambia and are caught in the process, they will be arrested and prosecuted”, complained another farmer.


April 14, 2014
Reads :2713
Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has once again used his electronic broom to sweep his cabinet for the sixth time within 12 months. His cabinet reshuffle follows the order he received from the EU for him to step up or lose funding. An insider within State House ambit revealed to Kibaaro News that this cabinet reshuffle is aimed to augment his failed regime’s gloomy image. The insider went further to state “He is trying to blow life into a dead horse. His time is up and the soon he admits that the better for him”.

According to the Despot press release, President Jammeh acting under the provision of sections 71 (1) and 71 (3) of the constitution has reassigned Dr. Abubacarr Senghore as Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and appointed Mamour Alieu Jagne as Minister of Foreign Affairs with effect from 9th April 2014.

In the same vein, the release indicated the President acting under the provisions of sections 71 (a) (b) of the constitution, has relieved Teneng Mba Jaiteh of her Cabinet appointment as Minister of Energy and redeployed her to the Foreign Mission.

Acting under provision of section 80 of the constitution, the Dictator has appointed Dr. Edward Saja Manneh as Deputy Minister of Energy with effect from 9th April 2014.

“This is sixth time the Gambian Dictator is reshuffling his cabinet in 12 months. We are sick and tired of Jammeh’s cabinet reshuffle every other day. What type of constitution are we having in the Gambia?” a Senior Civil servant demanded angrily.

“I think it is high time for changes in government since Jammeh is playing with Gambians. Today many Gambians have lost faith in President Jammeh. He has betrayed many of us“, said another civil servant.


April 14, 2014
Reads :1293
Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, is expected to embark on a nationwide people tour starting today, Monday 14th April 2014, according to top senior civil servant. The annual tour was introduced by former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara as a platform in which he meets Gambian farmers to discuss and resolve their most pressing needs. However, under President Jammeh, the tour has been transformed into political court room in which perceived opposition communities are harassed, humiliated, isolated from development projects and condemned despite paying their taxes.

According to the tour itinerary, President Jammeh will hold meetings in all the major towns and selected villages in the provinces including Barra, Farafenni, Kaur, Jangjangbureh, Gambissara and Basse among others. The tour will end in Banjul at the end of April. Meanwhile, the Gambian President and his high power delegation will today cross over to Barra as day one of his Dialogue with the People tour gears into motion.

The Gambian leader is expected to be engaged in a series of activities including the inauguration of projects in various parts of the country while also discussing with farmers of this year farming season and the coming rain season. Farmers in the poor West African nation are frustrated by their government’s inaptness to resolve the acute need for seeds, fertilizer and fix price for their produce. Furthermore, Agribusiness Services and Producers’ Association (ASPA), the inter-professional body vested with the management of The Gambia groundnut sub-sector, treats the vulnerable farmers with uncalled for red tapes and bureaucracy.

The officials has announced this year groundnut producer price pegged at GMD14, 500 (fourteen thousand, five hundred Dalasis) per metric ton. Consequently, all Cooperative Marketing Societies (CPMS), private traders and any agent wishing to participate in groundnut buying at primary (secco) have been ordered by the Jammeh government abide with the officially recognised producer price. ”This year’s price compares quite favourably with what pertains in the sub-region. Farmers are therefore urged to sell their produce through the existing marketing outlets. Once again, ASPA solicits the cooperation of all and sundry to make the marketing season a success,” a senior officer at ASPA to Kibaaro News.


April 13, 2014
Reads :948
Pa Modou Ann - NRMG Secretary General

Rtd. Lt. Col. Pa Modou Ann – NRMG Secretary General

Rtd. Capt. Alhagie Kanteh - NRMG Assistant Secretary General

Rtd. Capt. Alhagie Kanteh – NRMG Assistant Secretary General

As we celebrate a month of existence of the Gambia`s National Resistance Movement, NRMG, today 12 April 2014, we the executive and members of this dynamic group herein wish to restate and re-emphasize our objective as outlined in our statements and communiques over the past month. This has become necessary to help put in perspective our position in the struggle to liberate our dear country from the clutches of gruesome totalitarianism.

For nearly two decades we the people of The Gambia have put up with measures that reduce us to mere spectators in the affairs of our country. While many have been transgressed in different forms including extra-judiciary killings, through the usurpation of our very rights, the struggle to fix this has become daunting and divisive. But for us at the NRMG the task can only be accomplished with circumspection, exercise of fundamental values such as respect, fairness and empathy.

The NRMG by all measures and standards is a political movement out to help end the dictatorship in the Gambia, a position that has been reiterated several times over within the past one month. As such we’re opened to negotiations and talks that can bring about a peaceful change of guard in Banjul. The NRMG is therefore not a standing army nor is the leadership and membership on the pay role of any military force. But due to the volatility of the present situation coupled with the intransigence of the powers that be in the country we came to realize that the democratic alternatives have proven and continues to prove inadequate to effect change.

Therefore our position to employ all means necessary to rid the country of the Jammeh menace has become more relevant today than ever before. We realized the argument in favor of armed struggle are strengthened by the total absence of the rule of law in the country coupled with impunity that makes accountability impossible to enforce. The option of the use of arms if every peaceful avenue fails, remains an integral strategic objective of the NRMG.

On this basis our doors are open to meaningful dialogue on concrete issues and programs in line with principles of constructive engagement. We have entered the arena of this struggle in cognizance of the invaluable efforts of those individuals and organizations before us and continue to believe this to be a true. We believe at the same time that we can disagree to agree on methods of execution but not need for change.

As a grass roots political movement, the NRMG is unapologetic in it’s effort to galvanize the support of the people – after all, it`s the people`s movement. Our focus essentially is the total liberation of our people from the clutches of the jammeh dictatorship.

To our supporters all over the world, we say thank you so much for you confidence in the NRMG. Together we shall rise from the asses to take back our country from a heartless brutal dictator. We shall not rest until this is made possible.


April 10 & 11 2000 Was The Testing Ground For Jammeh

April 13, 2014
Reads :468
Gambian Students demonstrating on April 10, 2000

Gambian Students demonstrating on April 10, 2000

By Papa Kumba Loum

April 10 and 11 2000 massacre and maiming by Jammeh of Gambian students who were demonstrating against the alleged torture and killing of a fellow student by fire brigade officers at Brikama Fire Station and the rape of a student by men in military mufti at the Bakau Independence Stadium are just one of the many incidences of the unchecked brutality that Jammeh has meted out to Gambians during his 20 year rule.

While it will be fair to mention the efforts of a group of spirited lawyers and human right activists under the banner of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – the likes of Muhamed Lamin Sillah, Fatou Jagne –Senghore, Abubacar Tambadou, Ousman Manjang, Emmanuel Joof, Mariam Denton, Awa Sisay-Sabally, Ousman Sillah and others who sought redress in the courts and successfully obtained the release of scores of students arrested, detained and tortured during the aftermath of the shootings little else was achieved in terms of bringing to book those responsible and in obtaining compensation for the victims and their families.

Although the coalition of human rights defenders subsequently did hold press conferences condemning the government’s actions, requesting for the setting up of a commission of enquiry, demanded that the perpetrators to be tried, visited the injured at the RVTH and requested families of those killed to seek redress in the courts with the Coalition offering to provide free legal services, the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice Pap Cheyasin Secka defended the governments action and the Vice President Aja Isatou Njie Saidy went as far as misinforming the public that among the student demonstrators were armed men who first fired at the security personnel and the likes of lawyer Joseph Joof was heard openly stating that if the students were not disciplined at home then they will be disciplined by the security personnel. No sooner after this despicable statement by lawyer Joseph Joof was he offered the post of Attorney General & Minister of Justice. The only elder statesman who publicly condemned the action of the government on Radion1 FM was the late Pa Docosta. May his soul rest in peace.

The families of the victims unfortunately were cowed by the regime into inaction and like true Gambians, they kept quiet and presumably are still waiting for divine intervention. Of course this is the typical behavior of Gambians which Yahya Jammeh has capitalized on and also set the stage for his unbridled and unchecked brutality he subsequently dished out to the greater public and which he is still meting out to Gambians.

April 10 & 11 2000 was the catalyst for Jammeh’s brutality with impunity on Gambians. He had tested the waters and was sure that Gambians were a bunch of selfish cowards who hide behind to cloak of Islam and Christianity without any regard for the teachings of Allah and or the fear of Allah. Soon after his successful gunning down of the students without any ramification, Jammeh started with the assassination attempt on the life of Lawyer Ousman Sillah, the assassination of Deyda Hydara, the killing of Chief Ebrima Manneh and many others, the burning of media houses, the unlawful detention and torture of many, the plundering of the economy, his phony HIV/AIDS treatments, his witch hunting exercises, self acquirement of titles such as Sheikh, Professor and Nasurudin and his near crowning of himself as king, his usurpation of the judiciary and appointment of mainly Nigerian mercenary judges, his detention and torture of Imam Ba Kawsu Fofana and Imam Baba Leigh, the public abuse and humiliation of many Gambian- the list goes on.

Why then should Jammeh change his ways? After all there is no incentive for him to change. He is Lord and King of Gambians. He controls the economy, the legislature and the Judiciary and he decides who should go to jail. He has his Army Chief in Jail, so is his former Chief Justice, Secretary General & Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Solicitor General, Inspector General-the lsit goes on. The Muslim Elders are under his thumb so are the chiefs and alkalos. Yahya Jammeh owns the Gambia pure and simple. Love him or hate him but it will be a fair assertion to say that in todays Gambia, he is the only one who has been man enough to dare all Gambians be it at the economic, political, military and religious level and he appears to be winning. Why should he not continue to behave the way he knows best i.e. brutalize Gambians?

Picture – courtesy of Gainako News.

Gambia Has Never Been One Man One Vote, But One Tribe One Vote

April 13, 2014
Reads :1006
Author warns Gambian Dissidents against use of force, if we Gambia as we know it!

Author warns Gambian dissidents against use of force, if we want the Gambia as we know it!

By Ebrima Kinteh

Our politics in The Gambia starting from the birth of the Republic has never been ‘One Man One Vote’. Rather, ours is One Tribe One Vote. Our first President, with all due respect for his democratic principles, came to power because of a tribal majority. A deliberately handpicked President for the Mandinkas and who had scant knowledge or experience in the anti-colonial struggle. His selection was a move spearheaded by Sanjali Bojang, who though illiterate, had the institutive sense that political power lies with the protectorate majority. With the extension of the voting franchise from the colony to the protectorate at the last minute and Jawara’s subsequent election, the British had skillfully neutralized the virulent and well educated groups of dissenters at the time, almost all from the colony. I speak of the likes of P.S.Njie, Reverend J.C. Fye, Garba Jahumpa, e.t.c… By extending the voting franchise to cover both colony and the protectorate as they packed their bags to leave, the British created and abrupt about turn in the political leverage of the time.

Since then, politically, the country has been on a downslide since. A deliberate sabotage from the departing colonial powers. Consider the fact that for most of the other African countries, it was this vanguard anti-colonial cadre which went on to guide their countries into independence. For us it was a handpicked cow doctor from the protectorate majority that ushered us into independence. His docility endeared him to the former colonial powers and thus the coveted title of “Sir Dawda”.  All the new state institutions that were supposed to bring us out of poverty were looted by a cabal he had little control over. So the dominant paradigm in this our model of democracy is that the tribal majority takes the vote. Again, ‘One Tribe, One Vote’. Let the truth be acknowledged if we are to go forward.

 As a Christian at the time, Jawara had to switch and become a Muslim to prepare him for the new role, and so had to divorce his Christian wife (who went crazy and never regained her mental balance). He took on a Muslim name-Dawda Jawara. Jawara was handpicked and groomed for the job by Sanjali Bojang and group. Jawara knew little of the dynamics of the anti-colonial struggle. It was the likes of men like the Reverend J C Fye, Garba Jahumpa, and P.S. Njie. And others who fought for the freedom of their people from colonialism who should have led, where one would have gradually brought the protectorate into the mainfold, were the first elections would have been limited to the colony.

You see, you so called on-line and off- line wannabe Gambian Journalists, unless the truth is told, there shall no clear path to our true freedom and liberation. To free ourselves from the past, we must acknowledge these facts within ourselves and take tangible steps to rectify them, perhaps through a ‘truth and reconciliation’ methodology.

Fellow Gambians, it is time to stop running away from looking directly into ourselves and adjust to the fact that our bad side in both our politics and our lifestyle is the cause of our misery and not a sole dictator. Yaya Jammeh is able to do what he is doing to us because we collectively allow that to continue.  We must face ourselves, and ask, what do we continue to do wrong to warrant a dictator, and indeed many others currently in the making and on line for wanting to be President?

Let us take as an example of our dysfunctional selves,  the case of our president. Let’s examine the social tastes of our President, Jallow Kanilai as he is called. He is only exercising the persona of a typical illiterate yet successful Gambian. The quest for the so called successful Gambian is a superiority in the conquest of women, with the “lighter the berry the sweeter the juice” adage. Chasing women whilst idling away the time in dark, and dingy “Dacas” with all their monies worth, leaving their wives and children unattended at home. One is always surprised at the caliber of high ranking government workers an successful businessmen you find in these “dacas” Are they doing anything to move the nation  forward, or for that matter their own positive advancement?

Our social meetings are not to plan on what to do with the state of our nation or how to assist in self-help projects for the poor or dispossessed. Rather it is to gossip on each other’s downfall. Who has recently lost his job, whose wife is going out with who? In fact men and women alike engage in this useless and time consuming banter.

So if the President choses to reflect the same tastes for what most of us in the elite community aspire to, and has the money to go even further than ourselves, we should not be envious of him. Yes, it is envy driving much of the criticism, for if they had the opportunity to be President, they would do the same.

Now let us get to one of our most basic problems:


The Gambian psyche is limited to the smallness of the country. The nation of The Gambia is an aberration, a miniscule enclave sandwiched within Senegal, dominated by an ethnic majority that was never part of the battle for independence during the anti-colonial struggle.

An artist, poet or engineer cannot rise to his or her greatest achievement among our midst. How many geniuses have we rendered crazy, or be the cause of their premature death? The list is too long to state here. Let us take these examples: How many of you heard of the demise of PET DARBOE?, or how about the cases of Comrade Sillah, The Super Eagles (Ifangbondi)? Do we remember how the late Paps Touray was being wheeled from Ministry to Ministry by Senemi, both literally begging for alms? Was our conscience taken back with the sad and ignoble death of Pap’s Touray?

Take the case of Samba Batch Faye, a brilliant scientist who could have become our Cheik Anta Diop. Do any of you remember his demise” Think of the many highly intelligent Gambians who were brought to their untimely end by our very selves, sometimes even from the inner family. Now in contrast just look at how Senegal treats her brainy ones. Unless it is something hidden in the inner recesses of their soul, or maybe because the country is big, the Senegalese acknowledges and praises talent and genius. One can grow and prosper in Senegal if you happen to be endowed with grey matter.

In The Gambia ignorance, both culturally and education wise inhibits societal growth, and spun excessive egotism, wanton greed, self-hatred. Stories are told of “walius” learned Koranic men who fled The Gambia, and in their anger and disgust left an enteral curse on our people because of the way they were treated. Some of our greatest minds, the likes of Cheik Omar Fye left the Gambia in utter disgust, disowning themselves from what they saw as a people swimming in a sea of hypocrisy, greed, jealousy, hatred –just about all the things that the holy books forbid us to do. That fact therefore that the Muslim elders are shamefully kowtowing to the dictates of our President Dictator should come as no surprise. The fact that the Catholic Church has been also mute on all the extrajudicial killings etc. should also not come as a surprise.

It is very disheartening to see our on-line journalists go for cheap sensationalism and, in a way, aiding and abetting in this vicious cycle of enmity, vengeance, and self- mutilation, encouraging this hiding behind the curtains to throw stones at each other.  Yes going after our dictator Jallow Kanilai is a good thing, and I agree, he must be removed at all cost. But this must be done democratically. Yet, the salacious and twisted manner in which the news is dished out to the ever hungry diaspora Gambians, practicing the old age custom of self-deprecation, and self-mutilation does not advance anything meaningful or positive in our social and political life. Now, out of utter frustration in coming to realize that it will not be an easy matter removing the President, some of these same on-line papers are openly touting for a violent overthrow, and beckoning for ex-soldiers to undertake an armed struggle. I mean is this a case of severe amnesia?

Pa Nderi, you are a very able journalist. We have seen you grown and fully mature in your profession. We have seen you have a better command of the English language as time has progressed. Yet, your entertainment of ex-soldiers wanting to overthrow the government makes me wonder whether you have had a memory lapse. Wasn’t it the same thing we just went through with “soldiers with a difference” Isn’t its quite likely that in the event of an armed struggle to overthrow the president, another Yaya Jammeh, or Stalinist type personality will rise to do the same thing that our current oppressor is doing to our people?

We as Gambians in general have a pre-genetic disposition to fragmentation. “UNITY” is not in our vocabulary or psyche.  I have been trying to count the number of organizations that have been springing up like wildfire, here there and everywhere, as I parody their names. They are:

The People’s Movement for Democratic Gambia; The Committee for the Reparation of Souls in The Gambia; The Gambia Consultancy Chambers; Standing Order for Democracy and Rule of Law in The Gambia; Soul Searching Democracy Committee of The Gambia; The National Persistence of Error in The Gambia.

The list goes on. A friend of mine here in the U.S. a non-Gambian brother said to me” What is with you Gambians? A dictator is standing on your heads and your opposing voices are splintering into myriad groups of “wanabees”. Why can’t you unite under one roof to oust him?” He went on to say that Senegal, our neighbor did that, but why can’t we?

“Senegal is not a small country, that is why”, trying to give him some lame excuse. What this lack of unity shows is that a far greater problem lies below the cheap rhetoric and explanation for our oppression dished out by the on line Gambian dissident papers, and from the ever increasing opposition groups. What none of these voices of dissent refuse to acknowledge is the inter-tribal hatred that really exists in the Gambia, thwarting any attempt for national unity to oust this president, the consequences of slavery and colonialism?

I will close with the following warning to all those of you contemplating an armed uprising. I am saying to you that you are taking a path that will surely bring an end to The Gambia as we know it. Yes, The Gambia shall cease to exist as a separate nation if ever we go to war with each other again, as we did in 1981, and in 1994. The matter has been discussed in the higher echelons of political power both in Senegal and in the world governing bodies. Our neighbor Senegal has been given the tactic approval to just wade in and bring us into their fold to create a greater Senegambia. Perhaps this may the better route for our beloveth country, and would hasten African Unity, among other things. This is why, to the dismay of dissident groups in Senegal, the Government of Senegal has steadfastly refrained from meddling directly into our affairs; after all, why spoil  a good opportunity to cement once and for all the Senegambia confederation they let slip from their hands after intervening to put Jawara back in power? Moreover, how are they to finally deal with their restive region in the south of us, a situation made worse by Jammeh’s grand design for a greater Casamance encompassing The Gambia? Wake up Gambians, and stop these simplistic and sensationalist forays into politics and revolution, and certainly , as a former U.S. Gambian born soldier recently warned us, don’t start what you will be surely unable to contain. War is death and destruction.

Yaya Jammeh has brought a new twist to our political scene, and it is not going to be business as usual. Yaya Jammeh is the last President of a sovereign Gambia, mark my words. Yaya Jammeh’s last card is the Casamance, Gambia, Senegal axis. Like Sadam Hussein, he is not going to go away quietly. He is to spark off the ‘mother of all battles’. Bear that in mind when your guys speak of an armed struggle. Your myopic vision of things is making most of you on-line dissident papers fail to see the true implications of Yaya Jammeh’s policies, or his call for a greater Casamance. Already our institutions have been brought down by a flood of half-baked illiterate Bojangs, Badjies, Sonkos and the like. Both the army and security services have been infiltrated by the boys from Casamance. It is only a matter of time when The Gambia herself shall be drawn into the conflict. So, just go ahead and walk around brandishing your matches everywhere –Jammeh is more prepared for the “mother of all battles” than you are.

Besides I have never heard of an armed struggle where the cadre is going about asking donations from the poor and oppressed people. Again a bunch of rag tag, poverty stricken ex-soldiers wishing to usurp power to enrich themselves.  By the way, it seems that the in- thing now with the Gambian diaspora is to go after E.U. money in the guise of using the funds to fight the oppression in The Gambia. That milk and honey faucet will soon be closed once the EU and other donor countries catch up to our nonsense. They will.

So is this why the list of new organizations joining the anti Jammeh bandwagon continues to grow day by day? Shame on you Gambians! That you will dare use the funds made available to you by those sympathetic to your condition for your own personal use? All of you are providing the strong reason why The Gambia must cease to exist as a sovereign nation. You are unknowingly working for the demise of our beloved country. Go ahead, make Senegal’s day with an armed rebellion. Macky Sall must be muttering quietly to himself “go ahead, make my day”. For Senegal, the stakes are high. Stay tuned. If all of you are running away from bringing in sober talk to a volatile situation, then I will.
By the way, I am a Mandinka, less I be judged as a tribalist. The truth must be told. The truth shall set you free.

The Ballot or the Bullet, The Big Debate, the Old Debate… (Part I)

April 13, 2014
Reads :571

The   2016 General Elections in The Gambia

will be a do or die for all …

The PPP 2014 Global Tour of the Diaspora.

Can we remove Dictator Jammeh through these ballots?

Can we remove Dictator Jammeh through these ballots?

By Kaba Sallah

One thing is very evident, that Dictator Jammeh. A.k.a the Butcher of Kanilai or Jallow Kanilai (JK) has absolutely no plans to voluntarily surrender his choke hold on power in Banjul, come general elections in 2016. We can all agree  on that; that elections are just one tool in his tool box to try legitimize his failed rule, and he will not stop at anything to claim victory in 2016, including importing “Green Volunteers”, from across the border from Casamance!

In light of the ongoing and enlightening tour of the Peoples Progressive Party  ( PPP) , ‘meet and greet” , of the U.S., the debate raged on, especially on Freedom Radio Online,  as to whether elections are a viable option to remove the Dictators claws on our collective national kneck. So the question remains; the Ballot of the Bullet?  Now that the newly formed National Resistance Movement ( NRG ) has announced plans to consider the military option. Pa Nderry Mbai of the Freedom Newspaper Online has come out and vociferously challenged the election route that the PPP is advocating, in their U.S. tour, with Hons Omar Jallow (OJ) and Bakary B. Dabo ( BB).

Mr. Mbai is well-intentioned, and clearly understands the Dictator’s ulterior motive of lulling the beleaguered Gambian masses into believing that elections will be free and fair, when he is the referee and judge of the outcome ! Dictator Jammeh controls all state resources, including the radio and TV, the security forces and will use them to buy votes, mobilize his base and intimidate the opposition. So in that kind of atmosphere, there can only be one outcome!

My counter argument, however, is that a military option or elections are not two mutually exclusive events! They can both happen to pile on the pressure on the cornered Dictator! Political groups can do what they are good at, …contest in elections, even if the odds are heavily stacked against them.  In the process, they will get an opportunity to get their message out and also mobilize their dormant members. The NRG can go ahead and strike, militarily and in a targeted way, at the monster at a time and place of their choosing, they don’t need to announce that tom us! We don’t need to waste valuable time at condemning the efforts of the PPP and others in proactively positioning themselves to create a unified and dependable coalition. Coalitions,  by nature,  are temporary arrangements to achieve a specific goal, they are not supposed to be permanent. Coalitions can also be a reliable negotiated, and well-defined power-sharing mechanism to avoid a power vacuum, or avoid precipitating one in the future. I believe, with the new media, Jammeh will have a harder time to hide hic cheating, and Fredomnewspaper will be invaluable in helping to expose the Dictator through it’s  well-placed contacts on the ground!

The political parries best and only chance of victory is through a unified front, period! The PPP town hall with OJ and BB are doing a superb job at rallying their supporters and the opposition to come together ahead of time, …more proactively this time. In my opinion, the PPP is doing a great service to all the opposition just by expounding and repeating the message that, in 20 years,  Dictator Jammeh, has brought Gambia to its knees and it’s time to finally end our long national nightmare for the country. In my opinion, the other opposition parties should follow suit and conduct their own tour of the Diaspora in the not too distant future, to repeat the same message of unity of purpose. The playing and foolishness is over! We know that some in opposition, like Hamat Bah’s NRP may be looking for another opportunity to wreck the coalition, again! So any future coalition should not waste valuable time trying to court anyone, including Hamat Bah, in my opinion! Some in the opposition, unfortunately,  have become too comfortable and cozy with the status quo, with the Dictator, so a democratic exercise will be disruptive to their new lifestyle, or new found wealth, albeit ill-gotten!  The question is, what will Jammeh’s reaction be if an opposition coalition succeeds at the ballot?

The Gbagbo scenario

Folks, remember that Dictator Yaya Jammeh was perhaps the only African head of state ( Dos Santos of Angola, to a lesser extent) who openly rejected the presidency of Cote D’Ivoire’s Alasan Ouattara, when President Gbagbo was finally removed by French military intervention in April of 2011. Think about what Dos Santos, Jammeh and Gbagbo have in common!…

Following the elections in 2011, in which Laurent Gbagbo clearly lost, he refused to surrender power to Ouattara, until the French intervened, following a bloody but low intensity civil war. So, was it a coincidence that Jammeh was openly in support of Gbagbo? I think not! Jammeh sympathized with Gbagbo because of similar circumstances. In his view, Gbagbo was forced to conduct elections after he became an international pariah, after the economy had crumbled. Gbagbo had burned so many bridges and committed so many crimes against humanity. So Gbagbo had so much to lose if he went for elections, and everything to lose if he lost elections! Today he is facing justice at the International Criminal Court ( ICC) in the Hague.

Jammeh is feeling cornered with few or no friends in the international community. The elections will further expose his underbelly, his weaknesses. The opposition are in the best position they have ever been by default,…not because of anything they did on their own, but rather because of a comedy of errors by the Dictator, which has brought the economy to its knees. We all know that Jammeh has been grabbing land across the country, in strategic choke points across the country, fencing it off, from public access (including inside the airport! } . He has been quietly stashing weapons and training the “Green Boys/Grils” in paramilitary exercises. His intentions are no secret! BB Dabo is making a strong and ominous case in the PPP  U.S.tour that Jammeh is setting the stage for a Gbagbo style reaction to the 2016 elections, or an outright Rwanda or Congo ( DRC) genocide! I believe him, …BB Dabo’s conclusions! Jammeh has used the public airwaves to name and target a group – The Mandinka – as undesirable and contrary to his power, persecutes them, discriminates against them in every aspect of public life. He pits other tribes and groups against them and against each other! What more do you need to know? BB Dabo not only made a strong intellectual case for a PPP revival and for a coalition of the willing opposition, he also issued a warning of the “gathering clouds” of conflict. Having grown up in the 90’s, this was the first time I heard both BB and OJ speak in such an intimate setting in New York! The factual history they are submitting,  and their life experiences should be canned and produced in a new history text of The Gambia, to re-educate this lost generation, in a new political dispensation, in my opinion! These two men are accomplished, proven and dignified, and that is what we are missing, for 20years!  You don’t have to be  a supporter of the PPP to understand their message!

Is the Economy stupid? Are you better off today than in 1994?

Are you better off today, economically,  than in 2004, or how about in 1994? Yes you, … be honest to yourself? If you lived in the Diaspora in 1994, or in 2004, has your remittances increased exponentially to solve the same problems? How is your family’s or friend’s businesses doing today, compared to 2004 or 1994? Do you know anyone who has started a business recently, in 2004, or before 1994, and how are they doing? Has the energy, electricity situation (* lights) improved or worsened in recent years, despite the laughable rhetoric? How about transportation, the ferry crossing at Banjul/Barra – connectiong North to South banks, has it improved or worsened the standard of living for your family and friends? How is our relations with Senegal today compared to before 1994? How is the business across the border? What is the percentage of high school graduates who actually “pass” their exams? Do you know any farmer who has the confidence that they will be able to sell their  produce/harvest after toiling fort months? How about the media, …how come even the Foroyaa ( PDOIS) newspaper failed to mention the anniversary of the April 2000 killings of some 15 students? How about the police and court system, do you have confidence in them as institutions?  My friends, the answer to all these questions and a few more I may have left out, is the definition of development, freedom  nd progress or the lack thereof, and not a few  mediocre white elephants and roads, being paraded as evidence of development, when the lives of the average people are not   being  improved! After 20 years of this abusive forced marriage, is it not time for a diviorce, a break for freedom? Some of our people are suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, we need to rescue them,  my friends!

 OJ is showing himself, during the PPP tour, as the formidable thorn in Jammeh’s thick back side, a captivating communicator and mobilizer that he is. He stood on principle, 20 years ago, when he refused to accept a position with the junta, today he has been vindicated. The Gambians in the Diaspora are the economic back bone of the country and our influence is highly under rated. We are the one keeping the Gambian economy afloat and flush with much needed foreign transfers and remittances. We are torn between our obligation and loyalty to our familes and loved ones back home and revulsion of this Jammeh dictatorship. Our remittances and fees provide funds to the regime!  So therefore, we should have some say and influence over people we feed, clothe and shelter. Why should we be increasing our remittances to meet the same needs because of inflation, irresponsible and juvenile leadership? The businessman-in- chief, or thief –in – chief,  has succeeded in collapsing every industry he forces himself into, without understanding it!  A loaf of bread is now some D9.00, not to talk about the price of a bag of rice or sugar, or a kilo of beef, or chicken! Even the reliable “ Kobo ” or “Chaaloh” fish have become prohibitively expensive, or they have simply gone on exile as well! So as DIasporans, we should all appeal to our families and friends that their survival and destiny is not in the Dictators hands.  Therefore they should vote to get him out, and replace him with a government that truly reflects and represents their values and aspirations! That should not be a hard sell at all! The Jammeh junta does not represent Gambian values, aspirations and temperament, their behavior and debauchery is alien to us,  we should all reject it come 2016 general elections,

To be continued ……

The Gambia: Remembering the April 10 2000 Students’ Massacre

April 11, 2014
Reads :466


Author: Mathew K. Jallow

Author: Mathew K. Jallow

By Mathew K. Jallow

Exactly fourteen years ago this week, sixteen young Gambian students’ lives were cut short by the crackle of machine-gun-fire. The morning began uneventfully as citizens went about their normal business. In down-town Serekunda, the hustle and bustle that gave notoriety to the Gambia’s largest metropolis lived up to its image of confusion and disorder. Two miles to the east of Serekunda, where the Kairaba Avenue, the Birkama Highway and the Serekunda/Banjul speedway converge, and the spectacular display of human activity spoke loudly of hope but also of subdued desperation, no one could predict the tragedy that was about to happen. That morning of April 10th 2000, when Claesco Pierra woke up in her London Corner home, she was bubbly and full of life. She had just finished eating breakfast of porridge and sugar laced-skimmed-milk, and could not wait to get to school. She longed to meet her four best friends and do what they do best; small-talk about their teachers and whatever else adolescent girls talk about. The time was 7.30 am and everywhere one looked, in all directions, school children walked singly or in groups towards St. Theresa’s School. Close to Westfield clinic, as a little boy with a running nose ran to catch-up with his older siblings, his left hand tightly clutching his loose, grimy shorts, a ragged white Toyota van suddenly veered off the street to avoid hitting him.

Around 7.45am, the Kanifing/Serekunda/Talinding Kunda junction was teeming with young lives as boys and girls walking gingerly towards school, with a future so full of promise ahead of them. Standing on the edge of the street near the former Paul Maroun’s store where the Kairaba Avenue and the Banjul/Serekunda highways intersect in an eternal embrace, Jonfolo Ceesay, Ngone Jobe, Elizabeth Jatta and Ndungu Jallow giggled and made sounds that mockingly mimicked one of their female teachers as they anxiously waited for their friend to appear. As the four girl-friends turned to look at a group of boys their age on the other side of Kairaba Avenue close to St. Theresa’s Church, their friend Claesco Pierra sneaked up on them. Surprise, she shouted as she wrapped her arms around her four friends. The five exchanged greetings and walked towards school and stood for a moment on the side-walk with arms locked together as they always did whenever they crossed a street. On that morning there was not enough time for the five to spend together under the usual mango tree at the far end of the school yard. As soon as the five friends entered the school yard they parted company and went each to their separate classrooms. But prior to entering the school yard, they once again renewed their friendship vows, and they promised to remain friends for the rest of their lives. They vowed to never allow other girls or boys to get in between them and ruin their friendship.

At 8 am sharp, the school bell rang as school principal; William Kujabi emerged from his office, his menacing hulk crowned with a stern, but harmless face. As if on cue, the remaining students who stood outside in the school yard bolted and ran helter-skelter in all directions towards their classrooms. Mr. Kujabi surveyed the school grounds one more time to make sure no student remained loitering on the school grounds and around the school perimeter fence. Meanwhile, in a secluded block of classrooms facing away from the rest of the school, the senior students were meeting to discuss the events of the day. A few minutes earlier, Claesco Pierra, one of the school seniors had been motioned to join other seniors at the meeting. There was a unanimous agreement among the gathered students to actively participate in the students’ demonstration against the death of Ebrima Barry in police custody and the rape of a fifteen year old girl slated for later that morning. It was agreed that only the senior students will be permitted to participate in the morning’s demonstration along the Brikama/Banjul highway. The school head boy, Bola Roberts, went to seek permission for Principal Kujabi. The mildly warm day looked like every other school day. When the school bell rang at exactly the 9 am hour, students from the three senior classes gathered in the school yard in front of the principal’s office.

At 9.15 am, led by the school head-boy, Bola Roberts, the students, all young boys and girls, exited the school yard and poured into the Kairaba Avenue side-walk and turned south towards the Westfield junction. Already, the perennially busy junction was filling up beyond capacity with students from other area schools. There was excitement in the air. Senior students from all the area schools gathered at the tri-street convergent point to create a carnival fest atmosphere, egged on by admiring adults proud of their country’s young sons and daughters. Five miles to the north, at the Bakau Army Camp, unbeknown to the gathering mass of students, military personnel in riot gears were speeding towards the Kanifing junction too, even as more reinforcements deployed from Yundum and Denton Bridge military barracks also sped towards the direction of the peaceful students march. Before long, the area was saturated with armed military men in riot gears. It looked as though they had come ready to do battle with the defenseless students rather than to control the gathering of unarmed students, whose peaceful march had assumed a fun, almost carnival like atmosphere. But even with the festive mood of the protest, to the hundreds of gathered students, the protest was no joke. The murder of Ebrima Barry and the rape of a young student by the regime’s thugs was no laughing matter.

As students continued their peaceful march, the security forces were bracing for a fight, threateningly showing off their AK 47 machine guns. Soon tensions were high on both sides of the divide. Exchanges of insults between the protesting students and some security forces intensified, yet despite that, the least the students expected was what happened next. Unprovoked and in a deliberate show of brute force, some security personnel opened fire on the crowd of peaceful, unarmed students. When the crackle of machine guns’ fire finally fell silent after five minutes of frightening machine gun fire, small groups of students hovered over the bodies of the dead and dying. It was utter mayhem and pandemonium. One of the students, who lay dying, was a beautiful female student in St. Theresa’s school uniform. She lay sprawled on the ground close to the old Cooperative Union complex where she stumbled and fell trying to escape. A bullet entered the back of her head and exited from her fore-head above her right eye. She twittered violently one more time and fell silent. Claesco Pierra was dead. The beautiful young girl with so much to live for was no more. Back at St. Theresa’s School, Jonfolo Ceesay, Ngone Jobe, Elizabeth Jatta and Ndungu Jallow, her four best friends, had no idea what had just happened. When it was over, sixteen lifeless bodies lay dead or bleeding profusely on the streets of Kanifing.

On that day so long ago, April 10th, 2000, became the most tragic day in Gambia’s history. It was the day Gambia lost its innocence. This year, like previous years, the innocent students massacred fourteen years ago are remembered and honored as martyrs of freedom by Gambians at home and abroad. The mourning of their deaths and the celebration of their short lives will become an annual ritual that will grow bigger as more and more Gambians become aware of the significance of this day of notoriety. This year, Gambians and Gambians civil society organizations around the world are calling everyone to join in commemorating the freedom they stood for, and celebrate the short lives they lived. For their legacy of bravery will forever be etched in stone and inscribed on the mural of Gambian history. Like all the murders perpetrated on the orders of Yahya Jammeh and Isatou Njie-Saidy; from the assassination of Ousman Koro Ceesay, the cruel murder of Deida Hydara, the broad daylight shooting death, at the Royal Albert Market, of Sergeant Dumbuya, the strangulation of Sergeant Illo Jallow, the executions of the nine Mile 2 Prisoners, and every murder and execution in between, the perpetrators of the student massacre have never been brought to face justice. As the murdered innocent students are remembered, Gambians once again send a message to Yahya Jammeh and his regime; the spirits of Gambia’s dead will never die from the consciousness of the people. For, in our heart they reside until their troubled souls see the justice.

1. Reginald Carroll

2. Karamo Barrow

3. Lamin Bojang

4. Ousman Sabally

5. Sainey Nyabally

6. Ousman Sembene

7. Bakary Njie

8. Claesco Pierra

9. Momodou Lamin Njie

10. Ebrima Barry

11. Wuyea Foday Mansareh

12. Bamba Jobarteh

13. Momodou Lamin Chune

14. Abdoulie Sanyang

15. Babucarr Badjie

16. Omar Barrow (journalist & Red Cross volunteer)


April 11, 2014
Reads :498
Author: Sam Phatey

Author: Sam Phatey

As we remember the heroes of April 10 & 11, let us also remember the injured and let us seize this moment to remember not just their souls but for what they have sacrificed their lives for – justice.

So let us put those candles up and sing songs of praises and songs of justice for them. Yes, we have the right to be angry, so let us sing those songs of war and let the drums beat for the battle of justice. Let every man that can hear me, arm him or herself with anything, be it a hatchet or a pen, and march towards the enemy like the young gallant victims of April 10 & 11 and secure justice. It has been a long time coming. Indeed it has been and when I think of that very April day, as a young 4th grade pupil, the memories are still fresh and now I said to myself, that it could have been me, my sister, my brother, my uncle, my aunt that was shot. Omar Barrow could have been any of us! We could have been any of those students that were shot.

More than a decade and half later, we wait for justice not just for Ebrima Barry and Binta Manneh but for all those beautiful young souls that have died.

These young heroes will forever be remembered in the history of not just our nation but of the entire world for their sacrifice and selflessness. It is therefore significant that we do not only have a moment of silence and prayer for them but echo and strengthen the fight for justice for which they have died for.

They think they are dead but their spirits are still with us fighting alongside all of us. They might have shaken the foundation of GAMSU but they can never break us as a union of students, they can never break the spirit that joins us together, in unison and harmony, as a nation and as people.

But no matter how long it takes, for you my dear friends who have sacrificed your life for me and for all Gambian young people, justice is coming.

I pray that God Almighty grant you all the highest place in paradise and may your souls rest in perfect and eternal peace; for noble is man who has given up his or her soul for justice, freedom and liberty for his or her people – for the Gambia, our Homeland!

God bless you and God bless The Gambia!