Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category


May 22, 2015
Reads :585
Why does this man always embarrasses Gambia, from his dressings, claims, remarks, actions, inactions and even his dreams and wishes embarrasses Gambia!

This man always embarrasses Gambia, from his dressings, claims, remarks, actions, inactions and even his dreams and aspirations!

By Pata PJ Saidykhan

When news leaked that ECOWAS were to table a proposal at their next sitting to explore the possibility of instituting presidential term limits for member states, I thought it was sarcasm. I thought it was an expensive prank until I saw it on the regional body’s site. Then I thought it was a waste of time because a few African Leaders have been overly overdosed on power by an exorbitant quantity they could never have had a unanimous consensus on that item. But why would they be seeking unanimity in everything anyway? Why can’t they do quotas or simple majority like they do with the election of a chair? I wish I do understand these politricks.

If anything I was astonished that only two (Gambia and Togo) of the 15 countries rejected the motion. Expectedly, the Gambia’s representative at the summit unashamedly refused to join the civilized community of progressives, to allow you and your children have a chance at managing the affairs of your country at the executive level. President Jammeh, opting to stay away perhaps to avoid the awkwardness and shame plaster on his face, delegated his 18-year long deputy to deliver his position on behalf of the 1.8 million Gambians. Vice President Isatou-Njie Saidy told them that her Boss, is on tour of the country and has an overwhelming endorsement and show of solidarity and love, they wish he stays forever. She referred them to the 1997 Constitution that has no limit to the number of terms Yaya chooses to serve. If that means until Twenty million Eighteen (2,000,018). Therefore, they are relaying that message from Gambians that they would never partake in any ‘illegal’ thing that decent people are putting in place to safeguard the peace and security of the region and member States. And that’s on Bilai Walai Talai. Not exactly her words, but that was her message. She flipped them a middle finger!

When Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh led a disgruntled gang of armed bandits on the Gambian taxpayers payroll on a July Friday morning some 20 years ago to conspicuously oust a democratic government, they sort of magically threw acid powder in our eyes to blind us. They met little to no resistance from the many Gambians who were supposed to know better. I remember as a junior high teenager, overtaken by the euphoria and sight of drunken soldiers with guns speeding through the streets of Serekunda.

We are Soldiers with a difference”, they promised, adding they “are not here to perpetuate ourselves and will return to the barracks as soon as we have set things right. We are here for reasons that are peculiar only to Gambia, and what has happened in other parts of the continent, that does not concern us.” They gave all sorts of justifications mainly the three decade one-man rule, flamboyant lifestyles, rampant corruption, nepotism, misappropriation of national resources and underdevelopment. I guess that was the spell that let Gambians gave the would-be criminals the more-than-necessary benefit of the doubt. My cousin who had lived under military regimes in Nigeria and Ghana foretold that the Gambia shall never be the same again, but we didn’t know any better. Since then the rest as they say, is history. Rudeness, disrespect, one-man wealth accumulation, witch-hunting, arbitrary arrests, torture, forceful disappearances, extrajudicial executions are what the smiling coast has been turned to. A Dictatorship. That is the Gambia under Jammeh who clings on for two decades and counting, reneging on everything they had promised.

Therefore, the only positives that came out of this summit was election of Mr Macky Sall as the ECOWAS Chair (congratulations, sir), and the audacity or at least a progressive thought my African leaders to even consider relinquishing power at some point. That is a big positive by a people who until recently would rather die at the helm or groom their families to establish a fiefdom and a dynasty at the expense of their countries. Just look at Africa’s history since independence.

Therefore, with the recent crop of Western educated Africans who lived in ‘developed nations’ where they tasted and inherited quite a degree of democratic ideal and have served in International Institutions of the highest integrity and reputation, there’s hope. These people are giving hope that there is light at the end of the undemocratic, autocratic tunnel. The Macky Salls, the Dramani Mahamas, have been gravitating towards relatability with the African Youth with the importation of ideals that could best shape our continent’s children and their future. Unfortunately, the Gambia’s President remains stuck with his premedieval ambition of a lifetime RULER until death snatches him. It’s not coincidence that Jammeh is the longest serving president in West Africa.

Hearing a semi-literate, uncultured and detached president speak of his people as roaches, donkeys and enemies who’d have to have a vulture’s patience to succeed him, is not only insulting but a declaration of intent to refuse any sort of power shift, peacefully. For a man who’s had several ECOWAS court rulings against his government but refused to honor them, mounts stages to speak of the regional bodies and his colleagues in a derogatory and inconsiderable manner, were evidential that that summit item was never going to get a stamp of approval from him. It was never a secret that Yaya reserves no iota of respect for any authority. In his peanut size brain, the world isn’t beyond the stretched walls of the Gambia, thus cares nothing about who scolds or reprimands him for what he’d done in Banjul with/to his subjects. He does not care about legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. For a man who believes he’s omnipotent and infallible, it’s best we come to terms with reality and explore more pragmatic ways to abort his government. It has to and can only be done in the Gambia, by Gambians. Through the Ballot, Barrel of the Gun or Popular Uprising. All three options must be equally considered.

For a continent ravaged by poverty and embroiled in unending civil wars and all sorts of instability for decades since Independence, the main cause of which has been political power struggle, you’d think our 2015 politicians would know and act better to not plunge it into further mess. Ask Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza. You’d think they would play fair and stop toying with grenade pins by desisting from poking at the ingredients that comprise recipe for disaster. Instead, they continue to be greedy, irresponsible and murderous while they accumulate, siphon and pilfer public resources and funds as their constituents continue dwelling in abject poverty. Meet Gambia’s Yaya Jammeh.

Term limits serve an important purpose of strengthening democracy and ensure long-term stability by checking the concentration of political power. By that, it places a limit to two consecutive terms, prohibits a consecutive for re-election and/or complete prohibition of re-election. In the case of the Gambia and most African states, the demand for reform has been limited to two terms which should not have been a huge ask. It would be a primary conflict mitigating instrument. It curtails the power of incumbency and holds them accountable to their people and think twice about their actions knowing they’d soon be out of power. The longer a president holds power, the more the delineation between the state and the ruling party becomes blurred. Unlimited term limits abrades the balance of power and weakens the authority of sovereign legislatures and judiciaries and competitive political parties. That’s exactly what begets our present day predicament in Banjul. Because we lack effective checks and balances, power has been concentrated in one man, rendering all institutions – political, social, civil – dead or ineffective. Jammeh is the juror, judge and executioner.

WHY SHOULD JAMMEH be interested in term limits, knowing he is not interested in anything that would diminish is powers and weakens his grip? Of everything mentioned above, Yaya is not interested in any. He has no incentive to willingly relinquish power not only because he loves the presidency but he is very much cognizant of the crimes he’d committed in the time that he’s been at number One Marena Parade, his absolute wastefulness of our resources that Gambians would neither forgive not forget. So he resorts to daringly inviting to be killed or at least chased out of his misery. And we can do that. Individually, we are right to be afraid and scared buy collectively, we could pull his cards and expose him for the punk, corny, fraud, scary little man that he is.

Let each reach and teach one. Information-starved Gambians should be told that their president embarrassed them before his peers, by refusing to edge towards giving peace a chance. That he’s told the whole world that he has no desire to free Gambians from the 20 year oppression and terror, even after his colleagues offered him an escape route. He’s no longer keeping it a secret that wants to choose when to leave and would watch the country go down the drain or in flames before he vacates. We’d have to do something. If we can’t pick up sticks and guns, we have our votes come 2016.

Good Morning And Peace To The Planet.

Pata PJ

The Judiciary: Gambia’s Constitutional Orphan

May 18, 2015
Reads :678
Author: Lamin J. Darbo

Author: Lamin J. Darbo

By Lamin J. Darbo

Dismissed, expelled, and incredibly, absolutely no reason advanced. And this is the – rumoured and later confirmed – plight of Hon. Chief Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan on 12 May 2015. Weeks earlier, the rumour mills were churning out the summary dismissal of Justice Edrissa Fafa M’bai, a Judge of the High Court, now reportedly resurrected and leapfrogged ahead of serving senior Justices to the presidency of The Gambia Court of Appeal. And weeks before that, it was Justice Penda Dibba, also rumoured to be unceremoniously shown the exit as a Judge of the High Court. Her dismissal remains unannounced, and as usual, unexplained. All three are members of the higher judiciary, top echelon practitioners in the most vital branch of any sensible, pragmatic, and future looking democratic system.

As is routine, life goes on, and affected individuals are left to their own devices, to pick up the pieces, so to say, and negotiate their way around the landmines of Gambian public life. Major assaults on the systemic integrity of Gambian polity passed into the annals of our public intercourse as a matter of course. And with it the delusion that ours is a country alive to its human rights responsibilities under the rule of law, assuming the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice either understands or believes in her recent statement at the closing ceremony of the 56th Ordinary Session on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in The Gambia on 07 May 2015. The denial persists, and the perpetual date with fantasy continues. What way to manage a collective space that is the public life of a country!

It is common ground that a judicial dismissal throws the target’s life into crisis, particularly in the case of a foreign-national, and especially where the termination is sudden, unexplained, and, in apparent violation of the legal mechanism for removing Superior Court judges. Under circumstances such as these, there is a nagging public suspicion of unjustifiability as against those entrusted with the application of public power, and who committed the actual dismissal with apparent disregard for due process of law. That cannot but offend the personal and public conscience regardless the unflattering antecedents of the judicial officer concerned.

But the central issue is deeper than mere summary dismissal and expulsion of a foreign judge, even with the obvious traumatic implications for those who found themselves in such isolation in a country that suddenly turns hostile. It is nevertheless a matter of legitimate debate whether any country is justified in treating its invited dignitaries so shabbily.

Of more profound significance however are the implications embedded in high judicial officers, tasked with the responsibility of peacefully negotiating all manner of disputes, and assumed as fearless in their personal constitution, meekly marching to the slaughter without a word in their own defence, be that about their innocence, or the arguable violation of their tenure as Superior Court judges according to The 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia (the Constitution). Where a particular dispute is between the over-mighty state and the comparatively puny individual, can realistic reliance be placed on the even-handedness of such an individual, whether he sits on the High Court, or the Supreme Court? This is not a question of mere theoretical import.

By virtue of their assumed general education and professional training, Superior Court judges are highly opinionated as can be gleaned from the tone of rulings and judgments emanating from the higher judiciary. If in matters directly touching their own lives they have nothing to say, and in circumstances where the public perception is strongly supportive of their innocence, that is a matter of great concern. When former Chief Justice Agyemang was summarily dismissed, she skipped the country in a manner worthy of James Bond. Why such conduct by a high judicial officer in circumstances where she could have relied on the backing, if only diplomatically, of her home government, and powerful international voices? And especially in circumstances where there was no public allegation of wrongdoing? If her opinion of the system she embraced in different judicial capacities over several stints of service was so low, why did she accept any appointment at all from that appointing authority? What implication for public perceptions of the integrity of decisions on bail applications and substantive judgments in the many political cases which come before the courts?

Professionally, I have negligible sympathy for Hon. Ali Nawaz Chowhan whose maiden, non-judicial remarks on appointment as Chief Justice were unsettling and indicative of his arguably partisan leanings. More recently, his ‘opinion’ maintaining the death penalty in the particular circumstances of the case of Colonel Lamin Bo Badjie & 6 Others and the State (SC Crim. Appeal No: 1-7/2011), a case involving neither “violence”, nor “the administration of any toxic substance, resulting in the death of another person”, was disappointing, misguided, and injudicious. He offered no personal thoughts on the thorny issue of the death penalty, relying wholly on the now discredited opinions of Sock, JSC, and former Chief Justice Hon. Emmanuel Akomaye Agim (pp. 81-84, and 89-90 of Judgment), but nevertheless authored the lead dissent on this full bench review of that case.

As recently as a few months ago, he issued a public statement on the 30 December attacks on the State House in Banjul. As the Chief Justice, this was needless intervention in a matter likely to reach the Supreme Court in the course of the legal dispute it triggered. Would the Chief Justice have recused himself in such eventuality? Unlikely! Can he impartially ventilate the issues that would likely come up for judicial determination? With his very public intervention in a live political dispute, even the appearance of impartiality would be suspect.

Only a week or so ago, he again dissented against the part-allowance of former Chief of Defence Staff, Lang Tombong Tamba’s appeal on the speculative grounds that he “had knowledge of the planned coup”. In the salient words of Lord Atkin in Liversidge v Anderson [1941] UKHL 1, [1942] AC 206, the former Chief Justice was clearly “more executive minded than the executive”. In a landmark dissent that now represents mainstream thinking on civil liberties, Lord Atkin contended thus: “In England, amidst the clash of arms, the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace. It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which on recent authority we are now fighting, that the judges are no respecters of persons, and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law”.

Nothing is therefore further from the reality than suggestions the Hon. Chief Justice was fired for the liberal regime he presided over, Gambia’s answer, if you like, to former US Chief Justice Earl Warren, the towering jurist who shepherded the seismic and justifiably celebrated transformation of Supreme Court jurisprudence on civil liberties, the man who presided over the dismantling of the Plessy edifice of de jure segregation in the United States. The former Chief Justice would be completely out of place should he found himself in the same room as the liberal vanguard of the Warren Court!

Why then was Hon. Chief Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan fired?

Not for want of acumen in appreciating the terrain he must negotiate to survive. Except in an “interlocutory matter” which may be decided by a single judge, the ordinary bench of the Supreme Court comprises “five judges of the Court” (section 125(2) of the Constitution). The Court reaches its decisions by voting for or against a particular position, and it is not uncommon for a Chief Justice to find himself on the losing side. In a polity where the Executive is the predominant player, a Chief Justice who cannot deliver in key political cases will have to go. Notwithstanding his pro-government stance on the death penalty issue in the specific circumstances of Colonel Lamin Bo Badjie & 6 Others and the State (SC Crim. Appeal No: 1-7/2011), and the part-allowance of Lang Tombong Tamba’s appeal, he lost both battles. His gallant individual performance was simply not enough. He was outvoted, and delivered, albeit indirectly, to the abattoir. He was skinned alive and ejected from the luxurious, if unpredictable life and tenuous position of a Gambian Chief Justice. Hon. Ali Nawaz Chowhan should be more concerned with his record than the arguably unlawful summary dismissal and expulsion from our shores.

On any objective analysis, there can be no question regarding the cogency of the contention that the Constitution woefully failed to separate public power. Its design is maximally flawed if only because meaningful authority is almost exclusively lodged in the Executive at the expense of the other two branches. Even where public power is properly balanced by the Constitution, there can be no serious answer to the thesis that law cannot self-implement. For efficacy, it must rely on a political system underpinned by the rule of law, i.e., by the separation of public power in a manner calculated to safeguard individual liberty. According to James Madison, one of confederal America’s leading proponents of federalism, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” (The Federalist No. 47). To effect a practical separation of public power in a democratic society, one branch of government cannot be legitimately vested with complete dominance over the others. Where power is properly separated, the hiring and firing functions across different branches of government must be decoupled to avoid a tyrannical application of public authority. Under both constitutional theory and practice in a proper system of democratic governance, the appointer can, nay, must become functus officio in cases where his hiring power traverses constitutional demarcations. In the context of this discussion, the Executive should have no authority whatsoever to either directly or indirectly fire judicial officers, be they Magistrates, or Superior Court judges. But an arguable ambiguity is embedded in section 141, the key Constitutional provision on judicial tenure. At 141 (2)(c), “a judge of a Superior Court … may have his or her appointment terminated by the President in consultation of the Judicial Service Commission”. The key question is whether 141(2)(c) speaks to a specific or general power! In light of the undisputed fact that countless Superior Court judges suffered summary termination over the years, what removal mechanisms are envisaged by the Constitution? According to section 141 (2) “… a judge of a Superior Court”:- (a) may retire on pension at any time after attaining the age of sixty five years; (b) shall vacate the office of judge on attaining the age of seventy years; or (c) may have his or her appointment terminated by the President in consultation of the Judicial Service Commission

Contextually, the above section is exclusively age-related. If a judge refuses to retire upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of seventy years, the President can then terminate his appointment “in consultation of the Judicial Service Commission”. This appears to be the singular circumstance where the President is vested with the legal mandate to terminate the services of a Superior Court judge.

On the removal of former Chief Justice Abdou Karim Savage, questions were raised about the Constitutionality of his dismissal. Those who viewed his removal as unlawful because repugnant of the Constitution latched on to section 141(4), and the process delineated in subsections (5)-(9) as support. According to section 141(4), “the Chief Justice, a Judge of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court and members of the Special Criminal Court may only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, or for misconduct”. On the face of it, section 141(4) provides the general basis for removing a Superior Court judge. But this general power vests authority in the National Assembly as stipulated in section 141(5)-(9) and excludes the Executive from any role in the removal of a Superior Court judge. Its trigger mechanism is vague and it is difficult to visualize how and from where the delineated process may be practically commenced in the ordinary run of events. Although the National Assembly is the implementing body of this impeachment-like process, some outside institution must originate the triggering “notice” to set the process in motion. Regardless, a contextual reading of section 141 suggests that subsection (2)(c) speaks only to the very specific retirement age of a Superior Court judge. Any reading giving the President a general power of removing Superior Court judges would frontally collide with section 141(4), would be repugnant to the doctrine and actuality of the separation of powers, and would constitute a major affront to the rule of law. It should be pointed out that section 141(4) was a 2001 amendment and therefore a more compelling statement on the general power of removing Superior Court judges. In light of the “total incongruence” between it and 141(2)(c), the latter must be confined to its specific orbit of age-related terminations. It is unclear what legal authority the President relies on for the routine summary dismissal of Superior Court judges but there appears to be no Constitutional donation of that power. What is more alarming than the unlawful Executive inroads in voiding Superior Court judicial appointments is the unquestioning obeisance of affected judges when shown the exit. Do the judges consider the law on tenure unclear or is it fear of standing up to the Executive behemoth that conditions their unanimous submissive response to blatant lawlessness!

Author: Lamin J. Darbo

Author: Lamin J. Darbo

I am not unmindful of the difficulties confronting judicial officers but the judicial oath and ethics are more compelling considerations than fear, regardless its source. Lord Atkin speaks to Gambia’s judges when he argued: “It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which on recent authority we are now fighting, that the judges are no respecters of persons, and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law”. When will the guardians of the rule of law stand up for themselves in defense of this most noble doctrine by challenging the routine unlawful dismissals of Superior Court judges? Orphan status is utterly unbefitting of a learned branch of Government like the Judiciary!


May 18, 2015
Reads :505
Author: Yero Jallow

Author: Yero Jallow

By Yero Jallow

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me” (Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984).

The eloquent Pastor Martin Niemoller challenged world Citizens, the German leaders and the intellectuals in his memorable quote of his he is greatly remembered for, reminding them the danger of being complicit through silence on the Nazi’s aggression on millions of people notably the Jews. Hitler was indeed an undesirable element whose criminality couldn’t be inked to historical accuracy, at least the level of his aggression. World leaders especially African leaders and intellectuals must be challenged to the same standards when it comes to Gambia’s current political predicament in the hands of a criminal brute, Yaya Jammeh, and failure to do so, the noted class would have failed Gambians. Neutrality and sitting on the side bench is unacceptable, as it is not only political hypocrisy, but criminal by complicity in silence thereby enabling to some degree.

I was surfing the Freedom Newspaper on my daily dose of news and as usual came across the following distasteful article with its abominable contents. The contents are unfortunate, and very telling of a person who claims to be the leader of country as respectable in terms of ethnic and religious tolerance as the Gambia. I wanted to condemn Jammeh’s marginalization and continued attack and dehumanization of the Mandeng (The Mandinko), an ethic group with large population in West Africa, especially the Gambia. Jammeh’s direct attack on the Mandeng resembles the late Guinea’s Saikou Touray on the Fulbe of Guinea. Touray, who paraded himself as a Pan-Africanist was a brute and an iron-fist ruler of the highest magnitude who killed OAU’s first Secretary General, Telli Diallo, and brutalized a lot of Fulbe dispersing them the far and while within the region.

“I prefer five Wollofs to work for me than one Mandinka. I also prefer four Fullas to work for me than one Mandinka” (Yaya Jammeh, Freedom Newspaper, 5/14/2015. Web link Source

Let us look at the problem of the irrational mindset in Jammeh, a power-drunk whose rotten egos are dead criminal, goes a long way in putting other Gambian tribes including the Jolas in harm’s way, if not now, possibly later, because of the likely backlash such comments are likely to cause. Without much analysis, it is conclusive that Jammeh’s bigotry comments are malicious, criminal and without substance. Such comments have the tendency to tighten tensions and create hatred among existing tribes in the Gambia. A good reference of chaos that tribal fighting can bring is recently Kenya, and that should serve a good lesson that Citizens must not get so disparate and helpless that they will be cornered by such unfortunate comments coming from a criminal mind to the point of reciprocating such towards other citizens by default of their tribal belonging.

There is a reason for Jammeh’s attack and such is not far-fetched. For a fetish and paranoid person like Jammeh, it is not a guess work, not a brainstorming exercise either, almost conclusive that the end is drawing nearer, with the arrest claws getting closer to his neck and hands, and the only option for a drowning criminal who won’t rehabilitate, is to hallucinate on his fears and wallow in lies and fabrication, in an effort to justify his criminal actions continually. More to it is that Jammeh is an attention-seeking criminal, a pathological liar, and an unyielding criminal ruler whose inferior complexity makes him mentally imbalanced and phobic enough to purse his perceived enemies. Armed with Gambia’s State resources (power, the military, funds, the state media, etc…) gives him the ready recipe to even execute his hate, divide and rule, and prey on more citizens in an effort to keep the throne. Without doubt, the December 30th 2014 alleged Coup in the Gambia touched his egos, and increased his paranoia greatly to the level to where he thinks even the noise that comes from his shoes are after his power grip.

The Mandeng like all other Citizens must raise their eye brows beyond the horizons and notice that Jammeh is just being him, a divide and rule criminal ruler, who won’t settle at nothing other than coming after his perceived enemies, in whatever manner to justify his criminal actions. Jammeh’s latest directive criminal comments, just like his previous, is enough to send a warning sign reminder to Citizens on the Gambia’s deepening wounds, a recipe for continued conflict. Jammeh’s recent comments are not new, matter of fact, not long ago the same was done through Momodou Sabally on GRTS. It is becoming an un-challenged norm, if not for the Diaspora who took liberty in taking Jammeh heads-on on the dangers he continues to pose in today’s Gambia.

Jammeh’s bad mouthing at Citizens continually must not go un-challenged. Sons and daughters must rise, Citizens must rise, and the nation as a whole must rise to confront an immediate danger in the loose criminal Yaya Jammeh. His continuity in power signals an impotent nature and timidity of some of Gambia’s citizens, while many others will take to their comfort corners thinking life is all good, as long they weren’t directly affected. Oh well sooner or later, the lashes of the criminal ruler somewhere somehow touches on the very enabling force and you keep hearing the late outcries.

I encourage Citizens to keep their participation active and to challenge Jammeh’s continued criminality locally, petition international organizations and Governments about Jammeh’s nature, and create a heightened environment that empowers citizens to rise up with the backing of the country’s military to eventually do a minor political surgery in ousting Jammeh.

Here you go again fellow Citizens. Power is you, and power is your face and hearts. It is in your hands and you must not fold your hands or take to silence. You all can make the difference by making your opinions heard. Accepting defeat and retreating to an armed bandit like Jammeh in today’s Gambia equals to accepting being bullied. While you can be physically eliminated, your ideas will live on, and that is more desirable than unhelpful physical presence.


May 17, 2015
Reads :1441
You've executed 9, how many more, Mr Monster?

This Devil is not only a Mandinka problem but a national Gambian problem?

By Yanks Darboe

They said Jammeh was at it again of recent, with renewed vitriol against the Mandinka people. The question that lingers in many minds, or many have been asking is not what he said – for all can guess what that must have been – but what will the Mandinkas do about it? The same question that must have been lingering in the rotten minds of Yahya Jammeh, when he pondered over his vitriol, before uttering them! But the question that lingers in mine, as a Mandinka and that of many Mandings, is what do they expect us to do about it? Start a war against Yahya Jammeh or his tribe, the Jolas or the state he heads, the Gambian state? What do they really expect or want the Mandinkas to do about it? This is what I tried to battle with in the rest of this piece and hope that you make sense out of it, not feel offended! 

Surely, it would not make sense to anyone to believe that a tribe of more than a million people can fight with a single individual; especially when that individual is as rotten as the little spoilt brat called Yahya Jammeh!!! It therefore would ruled out any conjecture of a possibility of a battle or fist fight between the Mandinkas, as a tribe, and Yahya Jammeh an individual. Surely, it is becoming vivid that Yahya Jammeh is hankering to bequeath a legacy of a folklore to be narrated to generations after him,  that he is the Jola boy, who took on the Mandinka tribe and won. Rather than being the little brat, who was too scared to take on the challenge of a little Mandinka boy called Yanks Darboe for a boxing contest in a neutral country. But this spoilt brat has a dream, a dream of a legacy hero boy, who battled the Mandings and won. But if such be his wish, let him take me on first in a neutral country, and see if this Manding blood running in my veins would not be strong enough to whip his smelly ass!!  So, we must not let Yahya Jammeh win in his quest of a legacy of such a narrative. A tribe cannot fight with an individual, especially when that individual is as cowardice as Yahya Jammeh.

So, since the Mandinkas cannot take on Jammeh, in a tribe versus an individual contest, what else is expected of the Mandinkas to do to avenge against Jammehs tirades. Do they expect us to go to war with his tribesmen, the Jolas or the Gambian state, made up of Mandinkas and every other Gambian tribes. In simple terms that will be a war of Mandinkas against Mandinkas and all other Gambian tribes. Something which is not feasible or winnable. It sound more like suicide, if you ask me.

So that left us with only one option, which is a war against the Jolas! Is this what Jammeh and those harbouring such hideous questions want? And tell me what would be gained out of a Mandinka mob from Jarra, Kiang, Badibu, Niumi, and Kombo marauding the habitats of Foni; killing, pillaging and destroying, as witnessed in Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia. Simply because, that happens to be the habitat of the Jammeh tribe. I tell you what will be gained out of such madness. The Mandinkas will simply be labelled as savages by the international community, whilst the other half will be paraded at the ICC for crimes against humanity.  Is this what will satisfy Jammeh and those asking such hideous questions, as justice for the Mandinkas against Jammeh’s vitriol. Someone would ask in any subsequent trials of the Manding folks, what has an innocent young Jola girl or boy had to do with Jammeh’s insolent vitriol.

Many forgot that the Mandinkas of today and those of yesterday are very different. Mandinkas of today have embraced changed. They inter-married and shared new cultures of nationhood with Wolofs, Fulas, and Jolas. Those who think a war between Mandinkas and Jolas will be limited to those communities, are not aware of the dimensions of the Gambian heterogeneous society.

They think a Mandinka wielding machete man, from the rural Gambia, will ask a question of whether one is a Jola or Wolof or Fula before striking. This is because, although the  Jolas are not the largest tribe in the Gambia, but they are related to all other tribes the Gambia, including: the Mandinkas, Fulas and Wolofs. So where do we draw the lines. How do you control a machete wielding Mandinka man from rural Gambia to strike only at those, who are Jolas but not those who are related to Jolas. The same would go for a Jola wielding machete man from Foni.

For example, as a Mandinka – and unlike what others would feel, I am a very proud Mandinka and that will never be dimmed by the son-of-a-bitch Yahya Jammeh – I have relatives from my mother’s side who are Jolas from Cassamance. Something which could make some Mandinkas think that, even I am not pure Mandinka enough. So what ought to be my fate. Will I also be butchered because of that link to the Jolas or speared as a Mandinka!!

Yahya Jammeh knows that there cannot be a war between Mandings and Jolas, in which Jolas will triumph and that is a common knowledge to most Jolas. Simply because of the sheer number of the Mandings. The Jolas are mainly centred in the Gambia and southern Senegal. The Mandings are one of the largest tribes in West Africa. You will find them in Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Liberia, etc. In fact even if Yahya and Jolas joined and massacred all Mandinkas in The Gambia and Senegal, it will not be the extinction of the Mandings. But if Jawara or another Manding leader in Gambia are to do the same to the Jolas in Gambia and Senegal, then Jolas will become an endangered tribe.

So why should such a tribe, as big as Mandinkas, stoop so low to pick a fight with one individual, who is the world’s worst coward, Yahya Jammeh, as to be battered and bruised by his insults and plunge his whole tribe and nation into smouldering waste land. Despite many years of hard work to build such a heterogeneous society called The Gambia.

When Yahya Jammeh first came to power, he started his vitriols against the Jolas first. Since then he has insulted all of the other tribes in The Gambia. He insulted all of the Gambian men few years ago that they are not all men enough. Few days ago, he insulted all of the Gambian opposition transcending beyond any one particular tribe in The Gambia. If we do not want anymore insults from Yahya Jammeh; we must rise up as a nation to fight him together as a national problem, but not see it as a tribal problem.

Yayeh Jammeh was brought to power not through the efforts of the Jolas, but that of the efforts of the Gambia National Army consisting of all tribes. He was not brought to power by Mandinkas and is therefore not our problem alone but a national problem and must be tackled as such! Otherwise if Mandinkas alone defeat then, they will have every right to chase all other tribes of the Gambia out of the country and claimed it as their spoils of war!


May 15, 2015
Reads :1185
Gambia's spoil brat President: Yahya Juhunkeh Jahannamah

Gambia’s spoil brat President: Yahya Juhunkeh Jahannamah

By Pata PJ

There are three things among others that I will never be embarrassed or apologetic for – My FAITH. MY RACE. MY TRIBE. These composed my identity and I can’t run away from. To disparage me by attacking them amounts to disrespecting and insulting my being. When that happens, I cannot reserve any degree of love or respect for you. It does not make me a Bigot, a Racist or Tribalist. You identity is Your Pride. I’m not going to be wearing it around my neck to hate, love, and embrace or discriminate. When that happens that’s when it becomes abhorrent and dangerous. Allah acknowledges, respects our (distinct) identities – Tribes and Nations in the Quran, and it was not for nothing.

‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).’ – Quran Surah 49:13

While we’re worried about President Jammeh and his government looting and misappropriating our state resources, abusing and exiling us, we tend to dismiss his public inflammatory rhetoric as ‘insanity’ and Jammeh rants. In doing so we are giving him the green card to continue this dangerous path.

What we may be involuntarily doing is fanning his sadistic and dangerous fire by ignoring his incendiary and deliberate tribal diatribes that could plunge the little Gambia into ethnic and civil chaos. From recent history, we’ve seen how ethic violence in Bosnia, Rwanda and Burundi could lead to an annihilation of a whole ethnicity and their identities, fueled by idiots like Yaya with a platform. Fortunately for us, thus far Jammeh is the only Gambian propagating tribal hatred and discord.

I’d not have any qualms with Yaya Jammeh the person having the sentiments he has towards Mandinkas. That is his prerogative. What troubles and disgusts me is Yaya Jammeh the president of the Gambia’s incessant obsession with vile remarks, insults and threats towards a particular group of people because of their ethnicity any time he is accorded the opportunity. As a matter of fact, Yaya’s discomfort and resulting vitriol towards the Mandinkas has gone beyond verbal pronouncements to become executive and government policy where they get targeted, discriminated and marginalized. For an elected president to comfortably state or make it a policy that he prefers one particular tribe to another is not only discriminating but troubling, despite swearing to serve and execute his duties without fear or favor, affection or ill-will.

For far too long, we have avoided this conversation in the mainstream discourses for fear of being labeled tribalist. It makes us uncomfortable. For 20 years, we’ve watched Jammeh say the most disrespectful things on TV and political platforms about a particular tribe and we passingly condemn or laughed them off. Habitually, he’d go to a predominantly Mandinka communities with the likes of Yankuba Touray and the seyfos warning and threatening them against tribal politics and division, setting the stage for Yaya to masturbate rubbish while our parents shamefully grin. He’d wag his fingers, raise his voice at them and call them, their kids unpatriotic souls and enemies of the country. What a disingenuous lie! Objective is clear and the mission defined. This nigga is a divisive, hateful being. What would my parents and I gain in hating the Gambia? Why would I set the one place I call home ablaze?

‘WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?‘ Malcolm X asked his people. Well let’s ask ourselves the same question. Could you imagine a little white boy walking around in a black neighborhood screaming “NIGGER!’? Or a black boy in a Klan town singing ‘Cracker Cracker!’ So in as much as I want to squeeze the living soul out of Jammeh, I have to be realistic that the Mandinkas made him this comfortable to even have the audacity. If I am comfortable enough to tell your derogatory things about your family, I must have sensed how you feel about your own. I cannot respect a man who pisses on his people just so he could fit in.

Since 1994 there has never been a shortage of Mandinkas used by Jammeh against their own. From Almamo Manneh, Baba Jobe, Tabora Manneh, Yankuba Touray, Kaba Bajo, Momodou Sabally, all would jump at the chance to berate their own parents and their identity just to be close to the president. But good old Yaya ends up destroying them one by one and move to the next.  Ndey Tapha Sosseh aptly argued this in her piece a couple of years ago. Yaya will continue to insult us because WE let him. We insult ourselves by running and fighting over his crumbs.

So Who Taught Us to Hate Ourselves? Yaya Jammeh. He is not stupid. Jammeh has succeeded in beating the esteem out of us with the help of shameless, selfish and embarrassing Mandinkas to an extend that we are afraid and embarrassed to identify ourselves as Mandinkas. The Gambian Mandinka is the only kind you’d ask ‘where are you from?‘ and he responds with ‘I was born in Jarra BUT I went to school in Kanifing’. We’re the only one’s you’d ask ‘What are you?’ and we tell you ‘My mom and dad are Mandinkas but my aunt’s co-wife is a Hausa‘. God forbid you mistakenly take them for a UDP sympathizer. They’d swear that they’d detonate a grenade at a UDP rally. Yaya Jammeh has succeeded in emasculating us. He’s succeeded very little efforts, to have us shun our identity and embarrassed to speak or admit being a Mandinka in public much more before him. He understands the psychological domination, and then dangles a position before these greedy, low self-esteem idiots and they drown each other in a gas tank just to please him. Gathers and calls them filth and scumbags, and they applaud. It is a shame!

I dislike President Jammeh NOT because he is a Jola or he’s from Foni. And will not follow that with the qualifying statement that ‘I am not tribalist because my friends are Jolas’. I have never seen the need why people use that defensive line when they do not have hold such feeling. I do not support him because I do not agree with the way he runs the affairs our country. This has nothing to do with his tribe. I will not support him because he has become more everything that he claimed was wrong with the first republic. I cannot be voting or remotely working with an elected president who has no respect for his nationals. In a conscious democracy, Yaya would never utter such slurs towards a demography that has numbers on their side knowing that would cost him. It wouldn’t happen. So I am not asking anybody to vote against Yaya on tribal lines, but I will unapologetically ask that you turn your backs against a man who shares nothing in common with you and does bat an eye to disrespect you in your face. This is not just for the Mandinkas but anybody who respect decency and frown on the hatred propagated by Jammeh. Today he has his arsenal on the Mandinkas, tomorrow could be you. Politics is an interest game. You’d be foolish to continue voting for a known tribalist and imbecile SOB.He can get raped by a gang of apes and contact ebola for all I know. This nigga disgusts me!

Pata PJ


May 14, 2015
Reads :1758
How Yahya Jammeh messed his legacy into becoming world's worst dictator is beyond Gambians.

Yahya Dafataba Jammeh is the world’s worst dictator you’ve never heard of!

author laura Secorun Palet of Takes a closer look at our Gambian Dictator. Story culled from

Author: laura Secorun Palet. Takes a closer look at our Gambian Dictator. 

By Laura Secorun Palet of

“This is going to be your last breath,” they told Imam Baba Leigh as they threw earth over his bound body. Then they stopped and laughed. It was a mock execution, one of many tortures the Muslim cleric told Amnesty International he endured during his months in captivity.

His crime? Criticizing the president.

Welcome to the Gambia, home to one of the most vicious and bizarre dictatorships in the world. Since taking power in a 1994 coup, President Yahya Jammeh has ruled Africa’s smallest mainland country through fear, force and what we can best describe as creepiness. He prefers that subjects address him by his full name — His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh — and says he can cure AIDS. The 49-year-old also imprisons people for alleged witchcraft and has threatened to decapitate all homosexuals, because they are “anti-God and anti-human.” Oh, and there’s his penchant for firing live rounds into crowds of peaceful demonstrators. Anyone who speaks up against his cruel, outlandish ways risks kidnapping, torture or murder, like Imam Leigh.

In all this, Jammeh has made his country the neighborhood freak. The rest of West Africa has taken big strides toward democracy over the past decade, what with the election of the first female African president in Liberia and Ghana’s status as rule-of-law beacon. Yet the Gambia, 50 years independent, is where human rights go to die. In 2013, it up and left the Commonwealth, a 54-nation grouping of former British colonies, suggesting to diplomats that Jammeh refused to tolerate any international criticism (he’d gotten a spate of it the previous year for resurrecting the firing squad).

Perhaps inevitably, attempts to topple Jammeh’s regime also take on a certain degree of bizarreness. The latest, in December 2014, was led by two Gambian-Americans with some military training, according to an FBI affidavit. In August, the men bought weapons (including eight semi-automatic rifles) in the U.S., disassembled them, swaddled them in used clothing and stuffed the whole thing into 50-gallon barrels that were shipped via container to the Gambia. In early December, the men arrived in the country, rented cars and drove them into the front and back of Jammeh’s palace. They figured Jammeh’s guards would flee — being unwilling to die for the dictator — but, oh, they were wrong. (The U.S. has charged the men under the Neutrality Act, which bars Americans from taking part in private military actions against “friendly nations.”)

Absent a coup or burst of energy from the global community, 2016 will likely see

Jammeh re-elected with a fraudulent majority.

Indeed, though Jammeh is feared, he appears to have the genuine admiration of many of his citizens and some of the oblivious tourists who visit the beautiful country dubbed the “Smiling Coast of Africa.” For some 50,000 Britons each year, the Gambia remains a holiday destination — Jammeh keeps it safe, plus it’s a six-hour flight from Heathrow and a hell of a lot cheaper than Marbella. Tourism and peanut exports are helping the tiny state’s economy grow at a rate of 6.3 percent.

And even as most residents are poor, Jammeh scores well in the health department. Unlike its West African neighbors, the Gambia has avoided the Ebola epidemic, and its child mortality and maternal death rates are lower than the regional average. The country also has achieved one of Africa’s highest vaccination rates, “which should certainly be applauded,” says Jeffrey Smith, advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

To be sure, validating these claims is hard without a free press. In 2004, reporter Deyda Hydara was mysteriously gunned down after criticizing Jammeh’s regime. The president’s tight grip on the media also allows him to indulge his penchant for self-promotion. The newspapers report various honors: Jammeh being named the Pride and Champion of African Democracy, for instance, or his winning from President Barack Obama a “Platinum Award.” Neither exists outside Jammeh’s nightmare-scape.

Obama did shake hands with him once — which Jammeh likes to use as evidence of the leaders’ closeness. And the U.S. hasn’t much pressured the regime: It has charged those coup perpetrators, after all, under the auspices of the Gambia being a “friendly nation,” and has stomached the alleged kidnapping of two American citizens, in 2013, by Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency. (Their whereabouts remain unknown.) Sometimes the U.S. issues outraged statements. But “if we can’t do anything about this isolated country with no economic ties to us, where will we? He’s the lowest hanging fruit,” says Smith.

For now, Jammeh continues to act with impunity. Absent a successful coup or some burst of energy from the international community, the 2016 election will likely see Jammeh re-elected with a vast, fraudulent majority — just like the last election, and the one before that, and the one before that. In the meantime, human rights advocates say that Jammeh’s grip has tightened since December’s foiled coup. Some 30 family members and acquaintances of the coup leaders have been detained without charges, some of them as young as 14, and François Patuel, a campaigner at Amnesty International, says the organization worries that “repression will intensify.”

Last year in the Gambia, a bit of hope appeared when members of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council were allowed into the country to investigate. Alas, they were forbidden to enter its detention centers. As Patuel puts it, “With Jammeh, it’s always one step forward, three steps back.”


This article was culled from



May 11, 2015
Reads :792

The Foreign Exchange Rate Crisis and the Impact on Gambians at Home and Diaspora.



200 Dalasis note


Once again, Gambians are greeted with dumbfounded news that major currency values will be pegged and depreciated against the Dalasi through a directive from the Office of the President. The directive, as usual, came-in without warning or engagement with the business sector as expected of any responsible government.

The shock on both businesses and the Gambian diaspora is unimaginably devastating with all the dare consequences on the economy. As of Friday, 1st May, banks were selling £1 at D80, the US1 at D52 and 1Euro at D60.

But since the untimely decision by the Office of the President, banks and money transfer bureaus are forced to sell US Dollars at $1 at D35, £1 at D50 and 1 Euro at D40.

By rough estimate, as from the date of this rash, manipulative, and unwise presidential decision, financial services dealing in foreign currency business are making a loss of D17 per $1, D30 per £1 and D20 per 1 Euro. The loss is within the conversation rates and the transfer fees commission. The loss is further in two fold, the banks lose and the Forex bureaus also lose.

It is against business sense to sell commodities at below the cost price. Forex bureaus, local Gambian banks, Western union, Money Gram, RIA all took Dollars, Pound sterling, Euros from customers at the market price up to the 2 of May, after which period, the ‘government directives’ came into force, instructing banks to buy or sell the foreign currencies at below the market rate.

This is the causes of the serious loses to all players. Within the larger context of cumulative shock and impact, Gambian money transfer bureaus operating in U.K, and other parts of Europe and America are expected to make operational loses of not less than D100million.

It has to be noted that The Gambia economy under the present regime is in a worst situation than it had ever been in her modern history. The standard of living and the purchasing power of the average citizen has declined significantly as a result of the seemingly unstoppable high inflation affecting every sector of the economy. The most noticeable hope for Gambians inside the Gambia is the remittances sent in by diaspora Gambians.

However since the Presidential decision to artificially peg the Dalasi against major international currencies, diaspora Gambians are now forced to send in more funds as financial aid to compensate for the differences between the old exchange rate and the new artificial rate set by the President.

The UDP sees this as yet another deliberate decision by the Executive to manipulate the economy and artificially fix prices as a veneer to cover-up the APRC government’s failed economic policies that have given rise to the unprecedented economic woes the country currently faces.

The UDP strongly condemns this latest interference in the management and the regulation of the markets. It is a serious violation of trust and confidence Gambian people bestowed on their government.

As a party, we sympathise with the Gambian people especially our hard working diasporas who have to adjust at the expense of their pauses and family comfort, to make room for this callous, and unplanned decision by the President to unilaterally appreciate the dalasi against major international currencies.

The combine impact this sudden and drastic tinkering with the exchange rates will cause to the economy is enamours. It will lead to reduced net inflow of foreign exchange to the country, some financial service particularly foreign exchange bureaus will have to lay-off staff, some may default in rent payments, and more seriously, Gambian businesses will eventually lose out because ultimately, with the confusing signal the government is sending out, it may be difficult to get Bank Guarantees and Letters of Credit (LCs) to proof their credit worthiness to their overseas business partners.

The United Democratic Party recommends that, the best way to regulate the exchange rates is to have a stage by stage or incremental appreciation of the value of the Dalasi.

We believe this latest ‘Executive order’ will lead to hoarding of foreign currency, which will create artificial shortage and thus force the exchange rates to go up. The losers here are everyone: the importers, diaspora Gambians, ordinary people, and the government itself in the form of reduced tax revenues.

It is important to note that a country’s exchange rate is one of the most important determinants of relative level of economic health. Exchange rates play a vital role in a country’s level of trade, which is critical to all free market economy. For this reason, exchange rates cannot and should not be meddled with to suit the President’s whims and caprices. Interest rates, inflation and exchange rates are all highly correlated; they impact on each other. The economy should be managed without emotion or undue pressures from the executive.

In barely 3 months, the Gambia government received an emergency loan from the IMF in the region of (US$10.8 million). The fact that we received an emergency loan indicates a budget deficit and inability to finance the government expenditures.

A drastic reduction of foreign direct support to the government because of its lack of respect for human rights and rule of law, have seen the Gambian economy contrast to a near stagnation. Tourism which is one the country’s main foreign exchange earner, has also been severely hit following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Gambia derives 30% of its export earnings from tourism. But a 60% fall in tourism has led to a 12% depreciation of the local currency (Dalasi) against major international currencies causing an accelerated increase in food prices and other consumer goods.

The president and his APRC Party have failed the people and massively for that matter. Power and brute force cannot be used to regulate an economy. Competent and qualified technocrats must be allowed to carry out their duties without fear of harassment. The office of the President has become a cocktail of many blends. This is why the UDP demands an end to the 20 years of failed AFPRC/APRC misrule characterized by irrational, childish and adventurous policies that continue to destroy the fabrics of the very survival of the country.


Lawyer Ousainou Darboe

Party Leader/Secretary General

United Democratic Party

The Gambia