Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

“GAMBIA IS A LIVING HELL FOR HER CHILDREN”, SAIKOU SORA TELLS KIBAARO’ BAMBA SERING MASS

December 17, 2014
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SAIKOU SORA

SAIKOU SORA

GAMBIA'S POLITICAL WHORE

GAMBIA’S POLITICAL WHORE

Speaking to Kibaaro’s Bamba Sering Mass on line from Paris, France, Mr Saikou Sora blasted Jammeh as a rotten hypocrite. Mr Sora, a Gambian resident in Paris hails from Jarra Sutukung and a heavy-weight UDP militant. He was reacting to arrest, detention and pending deportation of one Mamadou Jabbi in Sweden. Without mincing words, Mr Saikou Sora coined the Jammeh led APRC government as a regime that treats dissidents like the West does to terrorists.

“Gambia is a living hell her children living abroad who dare criticise it ruthless regime. No one is free to express a divergent opinion albeit a positive one. Is that democratic?” he fumingly lamented.

When it was put to him if he had ever tasted torture in the Gambia? Mr. Sora replied was beautifully wrapped in the riddled “Only he who feels it knows it”. He went on to elucidate, “What happens to vulnerable people inside that notorious NIA and some police secret cells, no human being would belief you when you tell them until they experience it themselves. Those officers carrying out these atrocities are devoid of any human qualities. They are callous, means and ruthless. They are always on drugs before torturing their captives”.

His voice sudden changed, charged with emotions as he reflected on his hair-splitting experience with Jammeh’s thuggery. “Gambia is no longer a free country. No one feels safe there anymore. Imagine a small private argument with another civilian could land you into serious trouble. People as young as 11 years are arrested and caged with murders and drug-dealers in the same cell, Bamba”, he moaned.

“What is your take on US pushing a lifestyle on Gambians, Mr Sora?” Bamba tested him. “Non-sense. It is, Mr Mass, utter non-sense. Why would US choose the Gambia out of all the countries in the world to propagate homosexuality? Jammeh is trying to reshaping public opinion on his dying regime. Gambians are very religious and anyone allegedly accused as gay or lesbian forfeits public sympathy. Such a person loses respect and any form of sympathy even if such allegations were unfounded.  Europe or America should be very careful before they deport any Gambian back to the Gambia”, he retorted

“Why should Europe or America be careful in deporting Gambians who do not merit international protection in their soil?” Bamba challenged Mr Sora. In a rather numbing voice he postulated, “There is no place better than home Bamba. As a consequent, any person who fears being sent back to his own country of origin must have a genuine fear. The West knows what obtains in the Gambia even more than most of us Gambians. Gambians go through worse circumstances experienced in Nazi camps.  Some of us are very young.  Why we should choose to abandon our homes where we have our parents?”

“Oppositions are classified enemies of state and unpatriotic citizens. Civil servants and some security officers also face many forms of bogus charges and attempted coups. What would a talibeh (Islamic student) have to do with a coup d’état?  Majority of Gambians are illiterates as a result they tend to rely on national news related in the local languages and all the news is government controlled. That is precisely when the Jammeh government is on the rampage of misinforming them about homosexuality and America’s position on human rights”, he concluded.

THE PULSATING POWER OF LOVE

December 14, 2014
Reads :815
THE FOREHEAD KISS

THE FOREHEAD KISS

Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

Mbarodi Gainako hails from Daa nde maayo, a stone throw from Munku Baa-the cosmopolitan city of Yee lam ngalu. Mbarodi, as he is dotingly venerated, is medium in stature with a radiant chocolate skin. He is athletic. His childlike oval Fulani face has striking milky eyes glaringly accentuated by meticulously chiselled cheekbones and a pointed nose. He is shy but wears a magnetic aura of confidence and high self-esteem. Mbarodi’s stomach is neither flat nor beer bellied. His well-defined full chest hangs on a slightly crescent shoulder. Mbarodi’s strides are majestic and immaculate. When he speaks, his voice is soothingly soft and deep. Unlike his father, Mbarodi is a big softy with a cheeky sense of humour.

Mbarodi is third in a family of seven comprising four sisters and three brothers. Ngelajo, his father, was tall, muscular and grudgingly handsome. He had two wives: Affo, Mbarodi’s mum and Kodda-the youngest and pettiest of the two. Kodda was the favourite. However, unlike Affo, she is not blessed with the joy of motherhood. As a result, she was given Mbarodi to bring up as her own by Affo. Affo and Kodda were like two sisters. Many could not understand how these two opposite women sharing the love of their man get on so well. Others attributed their bond to Affo’s maturity and treatment of Kodda as a junior sister. Some awarded the credit to Ngelajo for been a stern head of the household. Ngelajo was an uncompromising disciplinarian. His eyes are huge and reddish which get even more blazer when he is tired and/or wakes up from a nap. Everyone was very afraid of Ngelajo despite he never hit his children or wives. Ngelajo spent most of his time at the market where he runs a butchery. While Penowo, their lousy neighbour, was convinced that Ngelajo has charmed his two wives to be very good friends, many concluded the mutual understanding and respect between them squarely rested on their warm and sociable personalities. Mbarodi grew up thinking Kodda was his biological mother until he discovered Affo was his real mother.

Mbarodi and Madea met at work, the Ngalu Development Bank. She was assigned to train him as a new cashier. Madea left her house early to catch up with some pending office work before her new trainee arrived. Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud knock on her office door. “Come in”, she shouted as she continued working on her desktop. “Madam Madea?” asked a young man in a slim-fit dark suit nervously.  She looked up, smiled and motioned for him to take a seat. “I can see you are an early bird too”, she said before leaning to shake his hand. “I am Mbarodi Gainako, the new trainee cashier”, as he flipped out some ID and letters. “I recognised you. I had a looked at your file couple of weeks ago and saw you during your interview. Great credentials”, she complimented. Madea is an enchanting ebony-skinned Mandingo girl from Kankary Kunda. She is slender with curvy hips and a judiciously carved spiral butt. Her charming face is dotted with two piercing gorgeous eyes and a leaned pointed nose. Madea’s deep necklines and folds bequeaths her with an entrancing beauty only bespoke the virgins in heaven. When she smiles, her succulent and silky lips retreat like ebbing surfs illuminating a set of evenly arranged whitish teeth which irradiate her smooth and sleek ebony skin like soothing stars in a milky way. What is even more beguiling about her is the dimples that surface on her cheeks every time she smiles giving her a flawless gorgeous look. She has so much confidence that she is void of any tension. Her calmness is equally contagious.

Gazing into her beautiful and innocent face in rapture, he realized he has just fallen in love with her. He thought it would be incredible if this angel falls for him too. Her caressing voice jolted him back to her office. He scolded himself for oafishly flirting with the idea of this successful gorgeous banker falling in love with a trainee-cashier. A couple of days ago, he was resolved not to fall in love with any girl until he builds a solid future for himself. He commits himself to be on a good footing before starting a family which he can provide for, support and protect.  Mbarodi loathes having children he cannot give a good start in life such as good education, comfortable housing and regular meals. Suddenly, he realised for the first time in his life he is compromising his resolution and life does not always turn out as planned.

“You seem to be miles away from here. Well, young man I will give you a word of advice. As a cashier dealing with huge amounts of cash the last thing you need is distraction. Whatever is consuming your concentration must wait at the door until you finished work. Otherwise your till will not balance and/or you may end up being in a hot soup. If you don’t mind me asking, is anything the matter?” she asked caringly. “Oh, no…no. nothing absolutely”, he stumbled. “Just checking, my darling. To be honest with you that look on your face a minute ago expressed something really more than nothing did. But if you don’t want to discuss it, I will respect your opinion. But always remember concentration is the key”, she assured him. One of her greatest traits is thoughtfulness complimented by her endearing personality. He was so wrapped up in her soothing voice and enchanting looks that he kangarooed when he heard her called him my darling. As if the two words had magic spell on him, he braved himself and sitting down he heard himself mumbling, “Madea, we have spoken about a great many things since I started my training with you. However, one thing we still did not talk about is…” he then lost his tongue. He felt humiliated. “How could I do this to myself before the woman I love?” he faulted himself quietly. “What didn’t we talk about, Mbarodi?” tested Madea after waiting for a while for him to say but to no avail. “Holidays”, he sheepishly managed to say. “Oh, I see. Holidays, sick leaves, wages and pension are all clearly stipulated in your contract letter. Perhaps, you need to carefully go over it one more time”, she suggested. She watched him so closely albeit she tried very hard to pretend she was not. She was getting fond of him too and she wished he were thinking what she was thinking.

They have spent so much time together since he has started work at the bank that her feelings for him were growing so fast she thought it was inconceivable she would fall in love just like that. Sometimes after work, a few of them will go out for a drink or meal. At other times, they would go and watch the nawetan together. They got on very well and soon word began to circulate within the corridors of the bank that they were dating. One evening after a good meal at Seddal Sahull Restaurant, Mbarodi gazing into her enchanting eyes said, “What I wanted to say the other day is we never talked about us, you and I”. He reached out for her hands and mumbled, “I really like you. Will you marry me?” The silence which descended on them was overpowering. Her brain became overloaded with thoughts and images of her and Mbarodi in each other’s arms. The feeling was beautiful. Is he really the one for me? Her thoughts started conflicting. “He is a fine gentleman”, said one.  “Oh, hell no. That has nothing to do with being a soul mate”, argued another. “He isn’t an angel but he is caring, loving and loyal-which are the hallmarks of any lasting relationship”, the first countered. “Whatever…something about him is just too good to be real”, retorted the second. “Madea”, interrupted Mbarodi, “you don’t have to give me an answer now. Think about it carefully and let me know your response whenever you ready. I am willing to wait for your love much longer”. “Oh, no…no. I am just lost for words. It was the last thing I expected you would say”, she mumbled softly. “I don’t know what made me think you would want me any away. Just forget my childish hallucination. I value our friendship and I don’t want anything to soil it”, he cowardly volunteered. “Don’t be silly. I like you too,” she said smiling. “Really? Did you just say you love me too?” he croaked. “I said I like you too. May be if you try harder I will eventually fall in love with you. But for now…” he leaned across the table and passionately kissed her on the forehead before sealing his lips with hers. The ambiance was romantic and soothing.

Their romance blossomed into an enviable relationship. Everyone call them the perfect match: young, ambitious and truly in love. After celebrating their first anniversary of being together, Madea thought it was time to introduce him to her parents. “I want you to meet my parents today after work”, she told him as soon as he walked into her office. “Did they know about this?” He queried. “Of course they do. My dad is looking forward to meet the young man who stole his daughter’s heart. They are very nice. Just be normal when you meet them”, she admonished. “I am really nervous. What if they don’t like me?” he demanded. “What made you think you will not pass their test? My parents are educated moreover; my dad is liberal and fond of me. He will love anyone man that I love. Maybe he will warn you strictly though if you ever hurt me, you will have him to deal with”, she added reassuringly.

“Don’t get me wrong, Madea, he is a perfect gentleman. There is no doubt that he loves you but have you thought of what people and my friends will be saying about you, behind our backs?” her father asked after Mbarodi left. “I don’t understand what you are insinuating Baba? Is there any problem?” she probed.  “I think you are about to make the biggest mistake in your life by marrying a Fulani goldsmith”, interjected her father. Baba, please tell me this is a joke”, she begged her dadIgnoring her sarcasism, he continued, “Until now, Madea, you have always made your mother and me proud. Besides, I don’t want you to be hurt. Can’t you see he is a fortune chaser? Please my darling for once stop and think again carefully what this relationship will bring to our family. I want you to understand that I am not instructing you to live your life according to my dictates but as your father, I know what is best for you because I have always and will love you dearly. Don’t you have any gratitude for your family’s happiness and pride?” her father coaxed. “Gratitude!” Oh, please Baba come off your high horse”, she argued in disbelief, paused for what seems like eternity before putting her father on the spotlight, “Baba how can you stand there contradicting your own values and beliefs. As a child you thought me to treat everyone equally. You also made me appreciate no one is more human than the other. Furthermore, you said as Muslims, the best among us are only those nearer to Allah. What stopped you from teaching me as a child that I was not supposed to marry a Fulani or a goldsmith? I see…the difference between you and Mbarodi is you are so shallow you don’t even remember how to love a woman as he loves me. Look at mum…” “Enough!” interrupted her fuming dad, “Enough of the insults. Even your mothers dares not talk to me like that”, before storming out of the house into the street.

She ran to her mum, tears surging down her cheeks. She dropped her head into her hands trying to make sense of what her dad, a man she cherishes and highly revered, said about the love of her life. The next couple of hours were hell, the worse in her life. How could he she aghast. She was choking in her own heartache. “Don’t grieve my child. Your father will come round. I know. He will sooner than you thought. We have been married for thirty years and Allah willing we will witness many more years together. His senses are marred by blind prejudice and ignorance”, she cheered Madea caressing her braids affectionately. Her heart wept watching her daughter in so much anguish. Part of her wanted to go and confront her husband and another part wanted her to let sleeping dogs lie. Confronting him will only worsen the situation. She remembered when they first met at her cousin’s house. He was young, immaculate, charming and liberal. Kelefa was the president of the student union and a human rights activist. Like her daughter, she was equally gutted by his sudden superficiality and narrow-mindedness. Who would have thought in a million years that Kelefa would discriminate against another person? “This is really beyond me, Nna. Baba disgusts me. Did Mbarodi choose to be born a Fulani or goldsmiths? Does either make him less of a human being?”  She solicited angrily.” Don’t talk about your Baba like that. He is just confused but I am certain he will turn around when he comes”, her mum accentuated.

“WHY IS PRESIDENT JAMMEH REMAINING HUSH-HUSH ABOUT HIS JAILED DIPLOMATS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM?” QUERIED A CONCERN GAMBIAN

December 11, 2014
Reads :1095
GAMBIA'S POLITICAL WHORE

GAMBIA’S POLITICAL WHORE

Y.BOJANG-A CONVICTED DIPLOMAT

Y.BOJANG-A CONVICTED DIPLOMAT

My fellow Gambians, 

A lot has been written and said in the aftermath of the conviction of the “gang of Gambian diplomats”.  Many blamed the convicts themselves; some, the Gambia government, principally Yahya Jammeh; others, mostly pacifist, attempted to place a veil on our vision by coming up with conspiracy theories, to the extent of casting aspersions on the British government.  These pacifists charged that the convictions were the results of the British government’s reaction following Yahya Jammeh’s withdrawal of The Gambia from the Commonwealth.  What an absurd and irresponsible theory. 

Yahya Jammeh’s government approved Ambassador Elizabeth Harding’s conspiracy against her former colleagues and wittingly endorsed her participation in selectively prosecuting the former diplomats through “prosecutorial” discretion and bargaining. Yahya Jammeh’s government lifted the diplomats’ diplomatic immunity and gave permission to proceed to prosecute. Elizabeth Harding was the star and principal witness, the position she traded to avoid being equally prosecuted by the British authorities.  Therefore, an alleged conspiracy of the sort above is way further from the truth. Now, what could Yahya Jammeh’s government have done? Yahya Jammeh’s government should have first negotiated with the British Foreign Office – I am conscious that the dictator is crude and lack etiquette. Where negotiations with the British government failed, recall the diplomats and prosecute them in The Gambia. Let us remember here: Gambia government possesses and enjoys certain diplomatic privileges as enshrined in the Geneva Convention. In addition, in stretching my argument — I agree tax crime and other pecuniary matters are very serious as far as Western democracies are concerned.

Equally, there can be overriding powers, considerations, or leverages, when it comes to issues relating to protecting and preserving certain provisions of the Geneva Convention vis-à-vis diplomacy. Some of the provisions of the Convention with respect to immunity are sacrosanct. However, when criminality is alleged, in as much as withdrawal of immunity can be applied, under-the-table negotiations are also explored in some instances. The case of the Indian diplomat who was indicted in the United States earlier this year comes to mind. The United States requested India to lift the diplomat’s immunity so that she could be prosecuted.  The Indian government refused, thus the Indian diplomat left the U.S.  There were tit-for-tat reprisals, but relations between the U.S and India continue. Let us also recall, though remotely relevant to the current issue, Baba Jobe’s indictment by the United Nations Security Council following the blood diamond issue. Baba Jobe was placed among Interpol’s fugitives. Did Yahya Jammeh hand Baba Jobe over? No. Yahya Jammeh knew his own hands were not clean, and went on to murder Jobe.

Therefore, in summary, deputy ambassador Bojang and his fellow “gang” are victims of Yahya Jammeh’s divisive and ethnic hegemony. These diplomats were appointed based on ethnic and tribal sentiments; not merit. Period.  Moreover, I say this for the following reasons: Fellow Gambians, at the dawn of the second republic, The Gambia’s civil service was rated among the best in Africa.  Many African countries, especially Botswana, which is Africa’s success story at the moment when it comes to good governance and democracy, were sending their professionals through technical assistance by the World Bank and IMF to study The Gambian civil service model. The Gambian model was highly rated for quality and service delivery. The civil service then was the envy of many in the sub-region.  The quality of personnel was exceptional, considering Gambia had no higher institute of learning. Those professionals were the golden generation of civil servants bequeathed by the Jawara government to our brutal dictator.

It is undeniably visible through the current resources young Gambians are being fed online through social media by eminent former civil servants, especially Seedy Sanneh. Seedy’s analysis and blog on Gambian issues are so popular and authoritative. Mr. Sanneh’s blog is an institution of learning to many young Gambians, who are beginning to appreciate the functioning institutions Jawara’s regime left in place.  Seedy was among the many acolytes/cum technocrats of Jawara’s regime, and they became the golden generation that our brutal dictator inherited and destroyed.  In summary, what went wrong with our civil service is a simple answer: YAHYA JAMMEH.

From 1994 to date, many of our talented professionals have been given three options:

  1. To stay put in The Gambia and serve the dictator, compromising all professional principles and ethics, to the extent of reducing themselves to servitude. Did we not witness professional civil servants with no knowledge of a traditional farming hoe, weeding at Jammeh’s numerous farms? In addition, worst of all, Mile 2 has become many their Hilton or Grand Hyatt Hotel through bogus charges.  What a pity.
  1. The second option given to our then golden generation was to leave the country and search for greener pastures. This is self-evident in the popularity of many Gambian expatriates in the international job market post-94; and the huge amount of professional Diaspora Gambians doing fantastically well and feeding their families both abroad and back home. Evidently, sixty-five percent of our highly trained and experience professionals live outside The Gambia.  Our country is rated third highest in the number of professionals’ per capita living outside their countries among African states by the World Bank. Our country has lost so many talents; one imagines if a serious government had pooled all these resources, Jawara’s Singaporean dream will not be far-fetched today.
  1. The third and saddest option was exiling our fellow kith and kin for daring to be professional, principle; Jammeh’s actions once again detrimental to our nation state. Of prominent exiles, recently, the sad case of the late Honourable Bubacarr Baldeh comes to mind. Honourable Baldeh’s late father fought for The Gambia; the son, Buba, followed suit. Honourable Baldeh’s last rites were denied by our ruthless dictator, who threw our decent tradition, culture and the non-negotiable principle of respect for the death by wickedly refusing to accept Buba’s last wish: to be buried in his father’s village.  Buba’s fate awaits many in the Diaspora, who are currently the economic engine of their loved ones in The Gambia, and the national economy.  These Diaspora remittances are what is holding the economic wellbeing of our people.  The Diaspora contribution is clear demonstration of patriotism on their part and it goes to demonstrate how caring Gambians abroad are towards their various families.  However, the brutal dictator continues to lie and propaganda that Diaspora Gambians are the enemy, when he is the actual nemesis to our country’s progress. Therefore, my fellow Gambians, the time is up; let us act in unison and send this dictator to where he deserves to be prosecuted and sent to his own Mile 2 Hotel.

My fellow citizens and women, one appreciates the fact that highlighting the ills/problems in our current political and socio-economic situation is very sensitive when it comes to addressing the ethnocentric, or loosely put, the tribal tendencies of the brutal dictator. This dictator is ethnically biased and highly tribalised. Gambians have lately come to realize Yahya Jammeh has failed attempts to divide our country on ethnic and tribal lines. The “superior class” Jammeh is seeking to plant in our socio-economic and political life will never see the light of day.  Moreover, lest I clarify, by “superior class”, this term is a pejorative for Jammeh’s ethnic and tribal politics. The ethnic politics is the elevation of undeserving and incompetent officials from his Jola ethnic group to senior or key government positions; for example, the current deputy chief of defence staff, Sulayman Badgie aka Karafa Bojang, who, it is alleged, joined the Gambia Army through a false and forged high school certificate.  All experienced commissioned officers have either been killed, jailed, forced into exile or prematurely retired.

The KMC mayor, Yankuba Colley; central bank governor, Abdou Colley, promoted over competent officers; Gibba parachuted to Gambia Ports Authority and Social Security; Susan Waffa-Ogoo, from a librarian to minister; Ben Jammeh, director of many agencies; Pa Harry Jammeh, elevated to Solicitor General with barely three years of post-call to the Gambian Bar; Essa Jesus Badgie, an unrefined amateur and criminal in police uniform, parachuted to IGP; Jammeh of Civil Aviation; the current NAWEC director; GAMTEL; former absconding boss of AMRC; Fatim Badjie, a young trainee, called upon to head one of the most important ministries; the Harry Sambous; the Kujabis; Ansumana Jammeh as an ambassador; the dictator’s mother occupying the front seat of a state function: where is the separation of state and family; young Jolas being favoured for scholarships; and the many other middle and junior level cadres recruited to key positions all courtesy of their Jola ethnicity.

Sadly, during the past few days for many Gambians in the United Kingdom, the current classic example is the case of former deputy high commissioner, now certified criminal, Bojang, elevated from a bottler and delivery agent at Gambega/Julbrew to the acme of Gambia’s diplomatic and Foreign Service. Bojang, with no diplomatic qualification or transferable skills in international relations whatsoever, had the audacity to believe that the actual ambassador and his former boss, Elizabeth Harding, was just warming the seat as it was a matter of time before the criminal dictator and his Jola mafias elevated him to the seat all because he was the Jola. One wonders what we have done to deserve such cruelty from that fateful “July 22ndsaint” that came to redeem our nation.

After 50 years of post-independence, how can we reconcile or accept the fact that the responsibility of steering our ship of state is placed in the hands of such inept personnel?  These personnel, together with many other appointees from the dictator’s ethnic group, and other ethnicities, lack the skill, aptitude, or experience to run a proper government institution. Clearly, everything is crumbling out here in Gambia.  Nothing works, and 50 years on, we are told to keep on dreaming to become a city-state. Let me clarify lest I be accused of fanning division, but enough of burying our heads in the sand, pretending this is not an issue.  Yahya Jammeh’s ethnic bias is a cancer, and has to be tackled and cured for posterity.

This brutal dictator mastered his Machiavellian doctrine on our people.  I agree that Jammeh created puppets within other social classes and ethnicities, which classes or groups are as predictable as Pavlovian dogs. Like his fellow Jolas, he elevated some of these inept and incompetent non-Jola Gambians to senior government positions to masquerade his brutal dictatorial charade. The Isatou Njie-Saidys, Saballys and the Mass Axi Gais are examples. However, all the incompetent and inept non-Jola elevations and appointments should not be compared to the rate of appointments of the dictator’s own Jola ethnicity.  Ousman Bojang, former National Intelligence Agency director of analysis, recently validated on Freedom Radio what most of us knew that 80 percent of our national army is from the Jola tribe.  What is startling is the quota allocated to the dictator’s mother, and some other influential Jola personalities. Such practices honestly maintains and heightens the conscious Gambian’s rage.  It is a recipe for disaster, and if allowed to continue, Gambia will be in a very regrettable position.

Readers would also be puzzled to know that in 2008, fourteen of the eighteen Gambian ambassadors were Jola. Both civil service and parastatal recruitment have always been dominated by Jola.  The government, amid private mumbling, have refused to provide statistics. What is the percentage of Jola population to warrant such discriminatory action? No justification whatsoever. Appointment should be based on merit, and done in the most transparent manner.  The claimed 16 percent of the Jola population does not justify this unreasonable representation of the dictator’s tribe in the national workforce. The service should be broad and reflect the diversity of our country. If one further audits our civil service and parastatals, one sees a systemic, sickening, and audacious machinery employed by our brutal thug and his cohorts to position his Jola tribesmen and women in key positions. What we were told in 1994 was appointment on merit, drawn from the hymn song: Accountability, Transparency and Probity.

Accountability, Transparency, and Probity were fanciful watchwords then.  Gambians understandably caved into this criminal dictator’s bait, and today we are paying the price.  We have seen year after year, many of our loved ones in the civil service, the parastatals, and even in the private sector, being shown the exit door simply due to their association with other sacked personnel, political leanings, ethnic composition, and many others.  I do not want to mention names for fear of the emotive nature of how such will be handled.  But the thrust of my case is, had the civil service upheld its ethos, monitored by a competent oversight body being the Public Service Commission, freed from political bondage, and staff allowed to serve their country, the current criminal debacle of the gang of diplomats and many others rotting at Mile 2 would have been avoided.

From the tribal front, we have witnessed or heard in the past of the civil service “barbecue vous” being Njogu Bah, Mamburay Njie, Tangara, Alhagi Ceesay and others.  Sad, indeed, to learn of Njogu’s current predicament, and Mamburay’s situation. Gambians should heed these lessons now, or never.  Our “Gambian pen’s” clique: Youth Minister Jammeh Tenengba and others were also in their tribal and elitist group. Sabally’s own friend took the stand against him in his trial the other day; and who better to remind Sabally of the common adage: “For evil to prevail, it takes good men to do nothing.”  Next time when given the opportunity, put humanity before position, Mr. Sabally; professionalism before selfishness; and country before self.  Had you and the Njogus, the Mamburays cleansed that judiciary of its putrid condition; you would not have been persecuted today.  However, as the Wolof say, “You make your bed and indeed you shall lie on it.” The Diaspora will nonetheless keep fighting for your rights, and hope you will join them in future to build a better Gambia.

My fellow Gambians, as we observe and continue to hope for the restoration of democracy in our beloved country, let all and sundry – including my fellow Jola compatriots and women – condemn ethnic and tribal politics. Let us equally condemn this dictator’s attempt to establish a corrosive Jola hegemony in our small country. Let us aptly condemn the dictator’s attempt at social engineering to create hegemony in our beloved country. Let us speak out and be counted and say: “NOT IN MY NAME”.

 Let us show the dictator that Gambians have cohabited for many centuries, and will continue to do so. If we do not act now, the wounds will fester, amplify and degenerate our society to a calamitous situation like Rwanda. Let us remember Martin Luther King’s words: “In the end, what we will remember is not the actions of the enemy, but the silence of our friends.”

God bless The Gambia and the resistance.

 

A RADIANCE OF VICTORY UNCOVERS DICTATOR JAMMEH’S UNSPOKEN TRUTHS

December 6, 2014
Reads :793
Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

GAMBIA'S POLITICAL WHORE

GAMBIA’S POLITICAL WHORE

Men of little faith often gasp under the clouts of adversities and distraughtly turn to their lord probing, “When is your help coming, oh mighty one?” Their malaise is they cannot wait despite being alert good things do not come easy. They duck and dive, like headless chickens, between trust and disbelief. But the time is already allotted. Interestingly, even if all Gambians- home and abroad- were to unite and converge at one place, they can neither add nor subtract a second from the appointed time. Consequently, if only they listen. Surely, they would hear the tick…tack of the hands of time as they regimentally count down the minutes.

Some will despair the struggle against Jammeh has matured without registering a success. They owlishly argue that Jammeh has never been more comfortable than now, and to cap it all, he still does what he loves best: killing, maiming and incarcerating Gambians with impunity. Others will grudgingly lament Jammeh has successfully entrenched himself into power that he is not barging anywhere soon. And a handful is tormented by nostalgia like period twinges. One or two dignify their scepticism of the resistance on lack of unity, trust and confidence among Gambians particularly those in the diaspora. Yesterday, we hear the chimes of a sinner chanting the psalms of repentance. Today, we hear the hymns of pygmy revolutionaries knighted as the pace-setters of the struggle planning to trek the red-carpet to wine and dine with the enemy. Striving to remain pure and pristine in a world sinking in sinful drips is absolutely a herculean task. History has recorded different revolutionaries drifting away from the path leading to eternal bliss to elusive dreams were nothing is what it seems. To all these hurricane chasers I forewarn arrows of a radiance of victory are lacerating the dark clouds hovering over the Gambian political climate.

It is not an embellishment to assert Dictator Jammeh is now suffocating in his comfort zone, Gambia. A quick browse on recent developments between the Jammeh rouge regime and the EU now perfected by Uncle Sam bares Jammeh’s essentials on GRTS. Again I am reminded of another Wolof dictum, “Yallah eye see pootum burr. Daffa werr mbe mu salli, mu taw si ko wam”. Perhaps, unrepentant and deluded Yahya Jammeh bambali munku thought reading the US National Security Council’s statement issued on Thursday as a news headline on GRTS will nest another feather on his political cap. But no. It instead took to the doorsteps of those Gambians who are still groping in the dark and those in denial about Jammeh’s underworld activities his appalling leadership. For instance, those who were not aware of the two Gambian-American missing in the Gambia now knew about them thanks to GRTS. Albeit, they strove to water down the undercurrents of the statement by saying it barely emerged a week after the Dictatorial regime stepped up to curb homosexuality in the Gambia, the message Gambians got is there is “continued reports of human rights abuses in the Gambia” and that “Protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is a cornerstone of U.S foreign policy, and we will be guided by these values as we respond to these negative developments in the Gambia”, the statement further enunciated. Furthermore, the news item also awakened Gambians at home to the Wolof cautionary maxim, “beneath the white teeth is blood”. In other words, behind the thin curtain of whitewash developments lay chilling gross human rights violations.  Innocent Gambians are killed, arrested and detained unlawfully on a daily basis. In sum, Gambians will now begin to investigate in their small means the authenticity of the statement. I bet they will be numbed by their findings.

Similarly, when Justice Mahoney told the bemused UNHCR, “There is no detention without trial in the Gambia. Prisoners’ rights are well protected. Furthermore, Gambia supports the 72 hour law of detention and where it exceeds, people go to court and file habeas corpus,” UN rapporteurs went to the Gambia to verify his claim. And what did they unearth? Please do not tell me because I am too scared to know. Now that they found out the truth from the source, they are determined to ensure Gambia complies with its UN membership requirements.

Another crucifying nail on Dictator Jammeh’s dying regime is the EU 17 demands. His arrogance has resulted in the EU delaying the release €150 million aid package to the Gambia. We all know the 17 demands have nothing to do with homosexuality but giving back to Gambians what Dictator Jammeh unlawfully seized from them. What actually do the EU wants from the Gambia government? Jammeh knows once those demands are met, he will exit peacefully.

In conclusion, the struggle has reached a point where the outrage should be poignant not just bad-mouthing Jammeh. The resistance should be advanced beyond the vitriol. The way forward is internationalizing the campaign and taking the Gambian situation to the doorsteps of international organizations and stakeholders as did Fatou Jaw-Manneh in Oslo and recently Dr Amadou S Janneh, Banka Manneh and Fatou Camara with the US National Security Council. A social media campaign is yielding fruits too but not when it is driven more by self-narcissism than strategic community outreach. The net is closing on the Dictator. So don’t despair oh pygmy revolutionaries or hasten to walk the red-carpet of bambali munku. The end is here, please wait.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK                                                                                                                

DIALOGUE OR RHETORIC: WHAT DOES THE GAMBIA GOVERNMENT WANT IN ITS RELATION WITH THE EU?

December 3, 2014
Reads :641
Gambian cabinet and EU representavives

Gambian cabinet and EU representatives

Courtsy of Foroyaa

The Gambia Government in its statement on what it perceives as exploitation by ‘white Europeans’ vehemently denounced the EU for wishing to twist its arms and dictate to the Gambia Government. The statement, which was read by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Bala Garba Jahumpa, indicated that the intention of the EU is to undermine ‘our African heritage and Islamic values’ which ‘is unacceptable.’ It described the death at sea of Africans who use the back way as ‘racist genocide’ and called on all Africans to “stand up shoulder to shoulder to put up a definitive end to this humiliating vision.” This is funny to say the least. Needless to say, the Gambia Government is part of the European, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries that signed the Cotonou Agreement in 2000 which was subsequently amended in 2005 and 2010. The relevant parts of Article 8 of this Agreement, which provides for political dialogue, states: “1. The Parties shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides. 2. The objective of this dialogue shall be to exchange information, to foster mutual understanding, and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising existing links between the different aspects of the relations between the Parties and the various areas of cooperation as laid down in this Agreement… 4. The dialogue shall focus, inter alia, on specific political issues of mutual concern or of general significance for the attainment of the objectives of this Agreement, such as the arms trade, excessive military expenditure, drugs, organised crime or child labour, or discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The dialogue shall also encompass a regular assessment of the developments concerning the respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance.” Article 9 of the Agreement deals with the essential elements regarding human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and fundamental element regarding good governance. The relevant portion states: “1. Cooperation shall be directed towards sustainable development centred on the human person, who is the main protagonist and beneficiary of development; this entails respect for and promotion of all human rights. Respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including respect for fundamental social rights, democracy based on the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance are an integral part of sustainable development.” It is clear that discussion on human rights and fundamental freedoms is part of the political dialogue provided for in the Agreement. Our advice is that the Gambia Government gets on with the political dialogue which resumed earlier this year but was subsequently suspended. The amount of assistance from the EU is quite substantial and significant and failing to act maturely would tantamount to toying with the lives of the people. Why the need to engage in rhetoric when you can raise your concerns during the political dialogue? Gambians must not be carried away by the rhetoric of the government. It is simply blowing hot air for nothing. Prices are skyrocketing, businesses are collapsing, unemployment is rife, especially among the youth forcing them to take the back way to Europe, human rights are violated daily and hourly, the Constitution is treated with disregard, the rule of might takes precedence over the rule of law and so on and so forth. Gambians should be focused and regard the latest statement of the Government as empty words, a diversionary tactic.

Source: Foroyaa Newspaper

“After-Action Review”-Abdul Savage examines its relevance to the struggle

November 30, 2014
Reads :448
Burkinabe Protesters -  Gambians implored to emulate!

Burkinabe Protesters – Gambians implored to emulate!

A. SAVAGE-A SEASONED VETERAN SOLDIER

A. SAVAGE-A SEASONED VETERAN SOLDIER

The Army calls it AAR (After-Action Review), some civilians call it Periodical Review, others call it Re-evaluation, and others say it is called Periodic Report, while others call it Taking Stock. Other smart people call it Assessment, and some say it is called Recap. Whatever name you elect to call it, you must at least once a year have a re-evaluation of your objectives compared to the results, your shortcomings and successes (if any) are evaluated, and efforts re-directed where necessary and warranted, to achieve your goal or maximize your strides to achieve the objective that was set up in the first place. It is the aim of any individual or entity to achieve objectives in the shortest possible time and, given the nature of what you set out to do, with less or no “collateral damage” to self or others, especially to innocent people.

NOW, can we have an AAR of “this struggle”? An AAR of this diaspora phenomenon would go a long way. Has the momentum of the “struggle” died down or is it picking up “steam”?  Or, is it all smokes and no FIRE? Or was it one of those “high and low” moments to effect regime change in The Gambia that have been going on for almost 21 years now?

Before the advent of this social media that now seemingly proliferate “the struggle” with online radios, Facebook, Twitter and media outlets, where were all these participants, spectators, demonstrators, commentators and observers who are now ingrained in “this struggle? Where were they?

In other words, before the advent of these online radios, and this recent online social blitz now circling the airspace of this “struggle”, where were all these “demonstrators”, “human rights activists”, “participants”, and these recent entities? Where were they? Some of them were busy being “enablers” of a regime they now despise. And let me be quick to add here that there are Honest, Upright, Dedicated and Honorable men and women, at home in The Gambia and overseas (diaspora), who were never part and parcel of that regime, when they could have, but did not, and so why not entrust these upright, honest Gambians with the affairs of “this struggle” than to ones with shady history of association with that regime? These PRIORS can assist and help in any way they can with this “struggle”, but we all must understand that Accountability and Transparency will be the watch words post-Jammeh, and that the Gambian people will be the Final Sayer of any and all FUTURE accountability commissions or no commission. There are some things called REFERENDUMS and ELECTIONS. Anyway, back to our topic of AAR.

There are probably more Gambian political parties, politicians, political pundits, political analysts and commentators in this diaspora than there are in The Gambia.

Are these so-called diasporan “civil society organizations” with political trimmings all over them going to win elections in The Gambia from here in the diaspora? Can they, in fact, affect elections in The Gambia one way or the other, and sway voters?

I submit that “this struggle” really does need an AAR, and this time it must converge and consolidate its efforts, and redirect its fire, lest it continues on this sporadic trend of high and low moments for who knows how long more, maybe another 20 years.

In just a matter of three short weeks or so, it will be one year since the grandiose entry of a certain entity into this diaspora landscape or airspace, with so much fanfare that they were primed and ready to effect a change of the barbaric regime back home, “by any and all means”, including force.

If my memory serves me right, some of us would recall that with the hula hoop fanfare entry of this entity, calling itself along the lines of a Resistance Movement, some of us thought that they were primed, ready and going in the next week, month or two, to effect regime change in the Gambia, by “any and all means, including force”. But we now know, by their own admission, they do not even have enough funds from their “go-fund me” escapade to even buy air tickets, much more rifles (with all due respect, it takes resources and manpower to announce to the world that you were primed and ready to take over a government). And ohh, didn’t they know it was going to take resources and manpower to overthrow a government by the method they articulated? Or maybe, were they betting on their “go-fund me” venture to do the trick?

Like I have always maintained, taking over a government, short of outright coup, (which, in this case, it was not) is not like taking over the management of some Burger King or McDonald’s restaurant. It would require resources and manpower, and that is something you just don’t come out and announce on the air if and when you are given free air time, at a time you knew very well, and by your own admission later, that you lack the required resources and manpower to do the job. And at a time when you are thousands of miles away from “ground zero” to take “command and control” of any and all situations. And when I submitted or pointed this out at the time and that such pronouncements were premature, unwise and were giving false hopes and aspirations, envious people were sent on me, and they barked and barked. They can do all the barking they want, but that’s just about all they can do.

And as if that was not enough, they engaged on character assassination, mud-throwing and name-calling. And then, as if that was still not enough, they questioned my reason and motives for visiting The Gambia on a regular basis. Really? As much as I was stunned that they would employed such tactics, I was not surprised because I knew what I knew, not from google, or “peace-keeping missions” in Africa, or elsewhere, but from being a simple, low-rank soldier doing the “dirty work” I was trained for, and was good at. I will never, ever apologize for a distinguished, honorable and dedicated military career. In fact, I am very proud of it. And do not mistake this PRIDE for an EGO.

One cannot buy experience from a store, or from being a “Colonel” or even a “General”. In short, that low-ranking soldier with more battle or armed struggle knowledge gained from first-hand experience is braver, and more knowledgeable than that “general”, “colonel” or “captain”, who lacks such first-hand knowledge and experience, when it comes to the “use of force”. How can you compare an Infantry soldier, no matter his rank, who has a Combat Infantry Badge, among others, under his belt, and who has seen and participated in war, battles and missions, with a “colonel” of “peace-keeping” missions, who has not participated in battles, or seen or knows the effects of war or any armed conflict?  If I was to be led or lead anyone of these two to a battle or a fight, and if given the choice, I will select and take the low ranking soldier over that “Colonel”, any day. A good leader is a good follower.     

Allow me now to redirect here:

Some in this “diaspora” are not in it for what is or isn’t best for The Gambia. They are in it for their own selfish interests, and for fame, glory and financial gains post-Jammeh. Such manifestation is not only a disservice to The Gambia, but I respectfully submit is dishonest and conniving. The Truth hurts, but it is about time we start to be brutally honest with each other, so that we can begin to build a Stronger National Foundation for The Gambia, based on truth, honesty, PATRIOTISM and service, lest our future generations judge us when they write our history.

Also, there is something called accountability and transparency, and so, I, and many or all of us, would not put our money where such funds will not be used for the intended purposes, or misused, especially when in-built mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability are inadequate, insufficient or just plain missing. We, all of us, worked, or are working, hard for our individual or group’s money.

Another message that I have put across few times, and which must have come across loud and clear by now is this: We must distinguish the people of The Gambia from the barbaric regime there. Many of us have made this distinction, while others are unsure. You can love your country and dislike or hate the government.

ARE we, in the diaspora, who are not living under dictatorship, any better than our people living under dictatorship?  OR vice versa?

My point is this: no matter how ridiculous, insane or barbaric it may seem to you and me, you respect the laws of the land you are under. Of course, you will not agree with it, but you MUST respect it. You have a choice: change it, stay there and live with it, or get out of there.

I DO NOT HEREIN, IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, FORM OR DESIGN, CONDON ENABLERS, RECYCLABLES, ACCOMPLICES AND ACCESSORIES, former, current or future.

Once again: I hate the government of The Gambia, but I love The Gambia. So, whenever I go to the Gambia I respect the laws of the land. Bravery does not mean you go around being arrogant and stupid, bravery means you plan and execute smartly, and do not do stupid stuff. The Gambia does not have the same kind of free speech America has. In America, even hate speech is protected. So, you can go all around in America and say and write all you want about how much you hate Monster Jammeh, but just be very careful, very, very, very careful, how you go about saying and doing that in The Gambia.

Don’t former ministers of the previous regime, and others associated with the current regime travel overseas to Europe and America, and hold meetings, rallies and so on? And in these public discourse  or engagements, don’t  they made statements that they will not make in the Gambia? In the Gambia, they will not even have such gatherings without a “permit” from the government, and we know of many cases where permits by opposition parties to hold rallies have been denied. Further, one doesn’t have to look too far but Youtube, and other social media sites to read, hear and see “disturbing”, and or “unfavorable” pronouncements from many people, including former prominent Gambians who are, as we speak, currently living in The Gambia.

And when they return to The Gambia, don’t they keep “quiet”? Are they any less or more Gambians than you and me? OR vice versa? They are all Gambians like you and I.

If you are not already wanted in The Gambia, when you go there just watch what you say, write and do, and keep a low profile.

Finally, hope in the processes of doing this diaspora AAR, the logical and compelling reason to regroup under a unity of action clearly manifests itself, and transcends egos, ambitions and self-centered perspectives, and the paramount National Interest of The Gambia resurfaces.

God’s speed to this cause.

By Abdul Savage

Retired, US Army

Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart

Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

THE FOREHEAD KISS

November 29, 2014
Reads :1443
THE FOREHEAD KISS

THE FOREHEAD KISS

Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

As humans, we are often tempted to hype our conquests for everyone to hearken particularly if it is avant-garde. For many the feeling of others knowing about their conquests supersedes the feat itself. It is owing to this premise that some dignify their reasons for kissing and telling. Even though kissing and telling is a global pandemic, it is more viral and deadly within our Gambian society. Lately, we have come across episodes in the social media of ex-partners sharing intimate scenes and acts staged on their bedpost for all to review and rate. Perhaps it made them feel cool for a while. In that blink of lunacy, they would rejoice yes…yes…yes! I have discredited her. No one will ever give her a second look. Actually, what have you accomplished by sharing nude photos or intimate moments of your ex in the social media?

There is a remarkable contrast between confiding in a friend about one’s experiences and yelling to the whole world. Why brag about getting laid? Most often than not, it is the men that hasten to shriek that they got laid by village belle slim fit and/or all succulent princess arrogant. This brings to mind what an old fela once postulated: “Those who brag about their sexual feats don’t get much”. Apart from attitude deficiency, those who kiss and tell do it out of jealousy, to be validated by others, financial gains, acceptance, centre of attention, immaturity and tattered confidence and self-esteem. Growing up as boys, we share the great moments and happiness of new found love. A notch on one’s bedpost was rarely shared and if it does is often with a close confidante. As a grown up, I have learnt one of the keys to a great sex life is discretion because women love the mysterious and are not intrigued by that which they already know.

A woman painting guys who kiss and tell settled, “I don’t think men understand how they look when they kiss and tell. They want to be the life of the party and tell the tall tales but they are not realizing that when that scenario plays itself all the way out, he ends up looking short. Men who make that mistake almost always remove themselves from being the co-star in a future tale. I often tell men that no woman wants to be the story or the entertainment of a circle of men unless she is a stripper”. Consequently, explicit scenes dramatized under the duvet, are more colourful and attractive left under the duvet than on a stall in the market place or Facebook.

When we kiss and tell, we put others in a very unfair position. We ask them to take on the burden of making us feel whole and self-satisfied about our romantic choices. What do we expect somebody to say, anyway? ‘Wow man, you’re awesome. This exquisite woman you have landed is a direct reflection of just how fucking cool, smart, sexy and desirable you are. Congratulations dude. Really. I’m so jealous. I want to be just like you. Perhaps more than anything, the intimate moments we share with a lover are divine gifts intended just for us. To tell others of them is to invite those others into our bed and make of our special moments a voyeuristic spectacle. That’s not to say that we can’t discuss the details of a relationship while respecting our lover’s anonymity. If, for instance, we seek advice from someone more experienced in the bedroom arts, it’s fully justifiable to get into some nitty gritty so long as no names get dropped. After all, learning to become a better lover is an added bonus”, she concluded.

Another scenario demonstrating jealousy is when a friend or colleague expresses a desire for a girl and to his chagrin, one of the guys would remark unsolicited, “she was my catch. We had sex.” That would just deflate all the desire for the girl in the colleague’s heart and mind. Two things transpired here: she lost a suitor and her personality dented while the imbecile thinks he has become Prince of Glory. It will later emerge that in fact he had tried courting her many time and never succeeded but he had to come up with that ludicrous lie to get even with her for rejecting him. Unfortunately for her, only a few from that group might eventually know the guy was actually lying about her. Those who don’t know the truth would thereafter always perceive her as an easy lay or slut.

Some guys would stoop low in laying bare their sexual conquest just to be validated and accepted by their colleagues. They feel short-changed in the confident department hence their craving for approval. Otherwise, why would a man desire to be validated by another for sharing his under sheet intimate activities? Confident men and those who are not sexually starved don’t go about inviting others into their bedpost as spectators

Moreover, others always want to be centre of attention wherever they go. some feel if they do not per take in such lousy discussions, they will be seen as missing out and/or lesser men than their colleagues. Hence, they make the most noises and talk shit.

In conclusion, kissing and telling does not turn a man into a shining hero but lessens him.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK