Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

SHERIFFO, THE BARD BECOMES MINISTER OF WORDS

January 25, 2015
Reads :731
AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

SHERIFFO-MINISTER OF BARD WORDS

SHERIFFO-MINISTER OF WORDS

From Bakau Farokono to Brikama Satabakono, the gods of optimism have taken charge. Sheriffo, the bard with words that is the truth has been appointed the minister responsible for words. Mansa appai has one final word to make very clear. But not even his loyal interpreter, the Alhagie from Ndofen, knows the right words to convey the message. Yea, it’s gonna be good news!

But the first task of the new minister for Words is to tell Appai that he doesn’t have to use let-me-make-one-thing-very-clear a dozen times in one speech. And to inform Aja Dr Madam Indeed that she no longer has monopoly over the word indeed. Yea, I too, can use it, indeed. And to tell the minister for Back-to-the-land that the thing that he caresses on his wrist is called watch. But if it is a Rolex, he should remove it and wear Casio. Appai dictated that no minister should know the word Rolex until the year of the Vision.  Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. I call him Sheriffo because I don’t know his name. He’s called Sheriff but etymologically, Sheriff refers to descendants of Muhammed Mustapha. He’s indeed named after one, but does that make him one? Perhaps, Sheriffo, yes, and that’s a compromise, given that my fellow ‘Nko’ people have the easiest rule in borrowing words from other languages. That is, simply add letter O after the last letter of every borrowed word. Such that the Wolof word ‘benachin’ (shh) becomes ‘benachino’ and the English word book becomes ‘booko’. Smile I often do whenever I am called ‘journalisho’.

But why am I making much ado over what his name is or is not? After all, what’s in a name? Belie, if I ever am asked, I would make one thing very clear! Yes, I would say ‘a Rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, but the trouble is, human beings are not flowers. And, according to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, ‘its identity would no longer be expressed in terms of roses but instead would assume that of the new name’. The writer himself has abrogated his baptised name James Thiong’o because it was ‘colonialist’ and embraced the name given to him at birth by his Giguyu parents, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Then, what’s in a name? When the 16 century king of Congo, Nzinga Mbemba – baptised Dom Alfonso – sent appeals for modern doctors from Portugal, they sent him Portuguese names. New names were forced onto slaves from Africa and the story was told of how our own Kunta Kinteh was persecuted for refusing to accept to be called who he was not. Moreover, when Daniel Defoe’s fictional Robinson Crusoe landed on the Island of Guinea, he soon gave the man whose life he saved a new name.

“And first I let him know that his name should be Friday, which was the day I saved his life. Likewise I taught him how to say master and then let him know that was to be my name.”  Crusoe did not know the name of the man and didn’t bother to ask. This man he named Friday no longer carries any memory of previous identity.  Not just Africans, other people too suffer similar onslaught on their institution of names. Japanese names were imposed on Koreans when Japan occupied them in 1906. In fact, all seemed to be reading from the script of the 16 century British poet and colonial administrator, Edmund Spenser, whose deliberate policy of obliterating the Irish memory and identity through interference with their naming system is vividly captured in the following lines of his:  “That from thenceforth each one should take unto himself several surnames, either of his trade or faculty of some quality of his body or mind… whereby they shall not only depend upon the head of their sept as now they do, but shall also in short time learn quite to forget his Irish nation. And therewithal would I also wish all the Oes and Macs, which the heads of the septs have taken to their names to be utterly forbidden and extinguished.”

The question persists: What’s in a name? From the foregoing, it appears that names have everything to do with how we identify, classify, and remember nouns and pronouns? If so, how would Sheriffo, called by any other name, be identified, classified and remembered? I wonder. Would he still be the bard with the word? I doubt not! When 17 century British poet and essayist, John Milton, scolded the British Monarch to grant greater space for the exercise of the right to freedom of speech, his fellow Gambian essayist, Sheriffo, got his drift. For when he told a church leader to be mindful that the truth he was standing on might break under his feet, he was simply telling that man of God that his thought that he thought was the Gospel truth, must have the power to get itself accepted by the shoppers in the competition of Milton’s metaphoric marketplace of ideas.

For 20 plus years, he has fought against any attempt to monopolise the truth, allowing everyone, from ‘kings to crocodiles’, to bring their views to the table. And, in what was to be his last essay before joining the village council, he even told Mansa Appai that he had to say what had to be said, and he feared his head could be cut. But Appai is a smart man. He did not cut his head for that will be too much blood. But by making him minister responsible for all his words in the village, will Appai not cut Sheriffo’s tongue? Or, was that not the message Madam Indeed put across to him when he told him that ‘you were in the private sector, now you’re in the government’ and these are two different working spaces. And then, the minister for the promotion of girls’ education did not even mince her words when she told him that he must use all the words he knows to launder the damaged image of the country. Since Sheriffo accepts to be called Honourable This and Honourable That, there’s not much option for him.

Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. Who will now tell Mansa Appai that the gods are angry with him whenever he offends them? Will I ever see him polishing the shoes of his employees or cleaning the dishes and glasses after lunch or brunch? Yes, he was that humble! Oh, Sheriffo has a new name: Minister Bojang. What’s in this new name? Will Sheriffo called by this name still be the bard? The last time I met him, I saw him eating using the same spoon he’d been using before assuming his new name. He still walks and laughs in his styles. But he also has something that was not there before he assumed his new name: a policeman. When I wrote the fiction ‘Bachelors By Choice’ he averred that I was referring to him and threatened me that he would send his policeman after me. I would have chickened out had he not laughed it off. Names, therefore, have everything to do with how we identify, remember and classify nouns and pronouns.

Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. Baffled I was when his phone was inundated with telephone calls and SMSs. I know some of the congratulators believed that life in the village council is not for someone like him, yet they congratulated him. Not that they had been the devil’s advocate, but they’ve learned so much lessons from others who’d been there before him. Appai keeps very few of his yesterday’s friends. Whether the congratulations were typical Gambian courtesy or genuine expression of happiness for him, I don’t know. I was tempted to betray my instinct and jump and join the chorus and tell him how happy I was for him, but I could not.  I stood at a distance, the feeling of happiness and anxiety simultaneously running through. I was like a woman who watches her man leave for a battlefield, hoping that he returns with every flesh in his body intact. Obviously, like Achebe said of dictatorship, you like a martyr only when he’s not your husband, for no woman wants to deal with the loneliness. If only you know what occupied my thought, then you’ll understand why I felt so. Death, they say, causes loneliness and for us journalists, not all of our members are leaving us the way Lalo Samated did. Baboucarr Gaye and Sanna Manneh have regrettably gone. The Swaebous have done their bit and the Sheriffos who have taken from them are in acute shortage. Most of them have been forced to go to ‘Woula’. We’re suffering from loneliness! The ‘Bantangbas’ are falling and when they all did; the birds will likely be disarrayed.

After many sleepless nights, my oracle finally arrived with this message:

Fear not, my child 

Born he was

In the royal house of Suma Kunda

Raised he was

In the glass house of Amadou Samba

And educated he was

In the knowledge house of Kenneth Best

I don’t need the power of clairvoyance to fathom the message. Sheriffo was born with everything handed to him. Neither money nor reputation motivated him to serve in the village council. But the oracle also asked me to remind him that:

Listen not, Sheriffo 

To those who say

My CV I will decorate

Yours is a task to fulfil 

Envy not, Sheriffo 

Those who say

My pocket I will fill

Yours is for others

Follow not, Sheriffo

To those who say 

Obey and complain

Yours is to do right

The following morning, I went to buy a TV only for the vendor to confront me: “We the people of Bakau love Sheriffo. If you want to have problem with us, just have problem with Sheriffo.” I wonder to whom this threat was directed. Then it occurred to me that it was not a threat, it was a simple message that came to me in my dream; to remind Sheriffo that anyone who knows him knows that he has nothing but the people. Now that he is with Mansa Appai, he also should still be with those people. There’s life after Mansa Appai and when that time comes, he will still be with the people. In fact, none could be more fitting than how Sheriffo himself poetically put it in his Dr Owl’s Song:

“Arise and warn and fear not a soul 

For you have the Word

And the Word is Truth!

In the beginning,

In the hour of Dikay,

There was the Word.

In the hour of Appai,

There is still the word.

And in the hour of The One

Who will come after Appai?

There will still be the Word.”

Courtesy of Standard.gm

YAYA JAMMEH IS THE TERRORIST!

January 25, 2015
Reads :299
GAMBIAN HEROES-WHO SACRIFICED ALL TO FREE US

GAMBIAN HEROES

MAULAH YAHYA NASIRU DEEN JAMMEH

BOKO HARAM LEADER’S TWIN BROTHER: SHEKU YAHYA JAMMEH

By Ousainou Mbenga

The APRC (Association of Pigs Rats and Cockroaches) and its chief terrorist, Yahya Jammeh are waging a desperate campaign to degrade the December 30, 2015 attempted coup as a “terrorist” attack against his monstrous regime.

In this era of “war against terrorism” by the U.S and its allies, Jammeh is expecting the treacherous campaign to gain traction and support within the “international community”. Because the mere utterance of “terrorism”, even though coming from a known terrorist against the Gambian “nation” will sound the alarm for attention.

Is it any wonder that the U.N Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon vehemently denounces the “attempted coup” and sends the most unscrupulous of envoys, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas who equally absolves the Jammeh regime from his 20 years of terror. Chambas invokes the hypocritical “zero tolerance policy for unconstitutional accession to power…” but is willfully amnesic of how the regime he is cooperating with to investigate the “attempted coup” ascended to power. Chambas’ willfully ignorant statement reveals the deep seated dishonesty of these impotent “African intellectuals” that rally behind the “soldiers” after a coup as he did with the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) in Ghana.

A COUP IS NOT A REVOLUTION: But the slimy denunciations of the December 30 incident by “politicians” and the gang of deceitful “non-violent” advocates portraying Jammeh as the “saint” and the victim bedevils the reasonable mind. We persistently remind this gangster regime and its apologists how they came to power.

Jammeh’s bloody trail of terror since his “lift onto the saddles of power” is not oblivious to the U.N, human rights organizations and all the governments that turn a blind eye to Jammeh’s 20 years of atrocities against the Gambian people in particular and the threat he poses to the region in general.

On July 22, 1994 (this day of infamy in Gambian history) we didn’t hear any vigorous denunciation of the military overthrow of the “democratically elected” government of Sir Dawda Jawara from the U.N, “citadels of democracy”, neither the impotent African Union nor ECOWAS. In fact many jubilated that the Jawara regime overstayed its mandate.

To a few of us Gambians; for all intent and purposes, the USS La Moure County naval vessel facilitated the success of the 1194 coup by voluntarily securing Sir Dawda’s safety out of harm’s way to Senegal and subsequently into exile for seven years.

What is it about Jammeh that the Clinton, Bush, Obama administrations, U.N, African Union and ECOWAS sympathizes with to have sanitized his 20 years of brutish ignorance? It is outright despicable to compare the December 30, 2015 alleged coup attempt to the trail of terror and horror of the Jammeh regime.

                                         PINOCHET REINCARNATED IN THE GAMBIA

The mention of Joseph Mobotu, Sani Abacha, Afrifa, Idi Amin and many other African military bandits, strikes terror in the heart but the mention of Augusto Pinochet of Chile, South America, strikes horror and terror to all the human organs. Subsequent to the overthrow of the democratic elected government of Salvador Allende, Pinochet unleashed a trail of terror and horror on his people, the scars of which remain in hearts of mothers whose sons, daughters and husbands disappeared forever, murdered and rotted in the dungeons of Pinochet’s Chile.

Across the waters from Chile, a monster in the deranged person of Yaya Jammeh surpasses Pinochet in brutality and abject barbarism against the Gambian people. Like Pinochet, Jammeh continues to enjoy the “nods and winks” of the imperialists, particularly the U.S government and worst under the “first black president” of the United States of America, Barack H. Obama.

The savagery of burning Koro Ceesay in his car, burying his victims in wells, feeding them to crocodiles, other ghoulish sacrifices and the permanently disappeared makes Pinochet and Mobuto look like boy scouts. The most disturbing about all this savage behavior of Jammeh and his henchmen is the denial from his sycophantic apologists.

Colonialism in a black face is what Jammeh represents. Equally catastrophic, the neocolonial state represents the first line of resistance to African freedom, social justice and genuine peace. Jammeh like all other neocolonialist presidents are not qualified to represent Africa. A mass based REVOLUTION is the only solution!

 

JAMMEH MUST GO!

FREE PAPA FAAL & CHERNO NJIE! PUT JAMMEH ON TRIAL!

THE ARMY FEELS BETRAYED AND ABANDONED BY JAMMEH

January 19, 2015
Reads :2319
UNCLE SIDI-A VOICE OF REASON

UNCLE SIDI-A VOICE OF REASON

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

In the wake of the 30Th December 2014 event that led to the executions of members of the external forces that allegedly attacked the State house in Banjul, Jammeh’s own forces are divided and the strain is showing all around. As suspicion spreads within the ranks, soldiers are on edge wondering when the next comrade in arms will be ‘fingered’ by a rival group within a divided military. The security and intelligence personnel are equally on edge.

The absence of the Commander-In-Chief from the battlefield on the 30th of December 2014 to the 2nd January didn’t only go unnoticed but has confirmed the suspicion of some of Jammeh’s cowardice and selfishness. Yahya Jammeh was in hiding while he sent his entire family to Rabat out of harm’s way, leaving the ‘loyalists’ to repel the attackers. The Commander-In-chief watching (actually hiding) from a safe distance has added to the troops resentment of him. As a source close to the military said “Jammeh’s only interest is to how long he can prolong his grip on power, but he knows this is the end of the road for him and his regime”.

Jammeh’s increasing reliance on mercenaries as part of his personal security detail, driven by his lack of trust of the Gambian military and security structure, has further complicated a delicate security condition, further exposing the fault lines. However, in his futile attempt to fend off the threat to his regime, he decided to release gruesome photos of his victims to serve as warning to the military and to instil further fear to an already traumatized civilian population. “It is rather late in the day for him to use scare tactics because the military’s patience has been stretched beyond its limits. Even Jammeh knows his days are numbered”, according to the same source.

Reacting to Mr Sanneh’s posting as per subject on his Facebook page, P Mendoza Garveyites remarked, “I cannot imagine how can our so-called soldiers, Captains, Colonels, Admirals, Lieutenants you name them; they all let this petty cripple a***hole in power till today. It wrenches my heart. Whenever I see his pictures I feel angry”.

“PMG it is because of greed and no sense of loyalty to the Gambia. They are paying and will continue to pay for it. You also have to remember that we don’t have a professional Armed Force anymore but a militia loyal to the dictator. Fundamentally we have to fight the Gambian habit of treachery”, Mr Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, a former Police Chief and the only officer who stood up against the 1994 Coupist, explained.

Source: Sidi Sanneh’s Blog

LESSONS TO BE DRAWN BY PRESIDENT JAMMEH FROM THE BANJUL FAILED COUP

January 18, 2015
Reads :1679
THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

ABDOUL BADJIE-THE AUTHOR

ABDOUL BADJIE-THE AUTHOR

I do not subscribe to a violent and unconstitutional change of a government. Most often than not, it is women, children, the sick and old who bear the brunt of armed insurgences. Properties and lives will equally be lost beyond comprehension. In as much as I detest President Jammeh’s abysmal and autocratic rule, I vehemently condemned the failed Banjul coup. Leadership entails compassion, vision and consideration. A leader should not be vindictive for hatred mars objectivity thus leading to inappropriate judgement.

Primarily, as Allah fearing people, it is incumbent upon us to honour the dead even if they are our enemies. Lives had been lost during the 30th December 2014 attempted coup. The lost is national. Therefore treating them with contempt and disrespect will only ferment more dissent. An angry people often use force to settle their scores. Suffice it to say violence will reduce our beloved little deprived Gambia to rumbles. Common sense teaches that the continuous oppression of people boils into a potential volcanic hatred which when erupts causes devastating mayhem. To obstruct such an unwarranted saga, President Jammeh needs to learn a few home truths and act decisively.

Firstly, Jammeh need to appreciate the fact that not all Gambians agree to his policies and leadership. Consequently, he should be tolerant and accommodative particularly dissent views. He needs to see his critics as people who want to better him. Moreover, the random and unnecessary dismissals of civil servants, unlawful arrests and detention of both security personnel and civilians must cease immediately in the name of peace and reconciliation. The civil service is not a personal property of the President.

Furthermore, exercise and encourage freedom of expression. Let the media do its job without intimidation and callous state policing. Opposition parties must also enjoy same privileges and rights as the incumbent government such as equal air time on the state owned media, permits to hold political rallies and access to personal safety. Finally, you must put in place apparatus and structures that will provide equal opportunity to personal development, fair and non-biased access to national services regardless of political affiliation, religion and tribe.  President Jammeh do not run the Gambia like your personal property by deciding who should be arrested, detained and jailed. Call for a referendum which will change the presidential mandate to a maximum of two term limits. You previously accused Jawara of overstaying his welcome by 30 years rule. You are now into a 30 year rule so read the writings on the wall.

“UN SECRETARY GENERAL’S SPECIAL ENVOY TO GAMBIA FAILED THE MORAL TEST OF A CREDIBLE MEDIATOR”, GAINAKO’S DEMBA BALDEH DECLARES

January 17, 2015
Reads :1307
UN SECRETARY GENERAL

UN SECRETARY GENERAL

When the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon announced that he was sending a special representative to the West African State of the Gambia in the aftermath of the December 30th alleged failed coup on a fact finding mission, many people, especially Gambians, welcomed the immediate action. The United Nations of recent has shown interest in the gross human rights situation in the Gambia after the country’s dismal failure at the UN Universal Period review in Belgium late last November. The UN sent a special rapporteur to visit prisons and investigate the general welfare of human rights situation in the country. The Special Rapporteurs, Christof Heyns and Juan Méndez, were shocked when their mission was abruptly and unceremoniously halted due Jammeh’s regime blatant refusal to allow them access to certain parts of the notorious Mile II prison; suspected to be one of the worst prisons in the world. The UN team were mandated to conduct Investigation of alleged killings and tortures perpetrated by the Jammeh dictatorial regime by Human rights groups and Gambian activists.

The UN team is still believed to be working on its comprehensive report when alleged armed men attempted to overthrow the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh on December 30th 2014 while he was out of town at the time. The Banjul failed coup was a wakeup call to the International community and President Jammeh that Gambian dissidents are ready to rescue the country from his 20 years of tyranny and brutal oppression of the Gambian people. It became immediately clear that the long and far cries of an innocent population that the world has ignored for several years is now catching up with reality. The Jammeh government allegedly dwarfed the attempted takeover by killing four of the alleged attackers and arresting many including family members.

What subsequently followed was a tensed situation which attracted mix reaction and massive International press coverage of the alleged attack. Many governments including the United States quickly condemned the armed attempt as a way of disassociating themselves from the failed coup whereas Gambian activists and the International press bared the true Gambian leader who has been killing and torturing his people as everybody looked the other way pretending all was normal. In light of this heightened tense, the UN Secretary General sent Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas as his Special Representative for West Africa to investigate the Gambian saga. However, it did not take long for the UN representative to manifest his true colours and bias towards a delicate situation that needed thorough investigation and careful consultation with all interest groups in the Gambia to know exactly what transpired, and more importantly what led to the situation. Any credible professional with knowledge of history of African politics will ponder twice about such a grave situation before jumping into inconclusive conclusions of an incident that is still very raw. The UN mission was not to side with anyone particular party but to thoroughly investigate the saga with a goal to report back to the Secretary General so efforts can be put forward to mitigate the situation before it escalate.

Barely 24 hours when he entered the country without speaking to Journalists, civil society groups, opposition leaders, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas after hearing the government’s side of what happened immediately accepted government’s narrative and called a press conference. During that press conference Dr. Mohammed said “There is also the willingness on the part of the UN to work closely with the Gambian authorities to thoroughly investigate this in a manner that would satisfy everybody to ensure that the facts are known and those who are culprits in this are brought to face justice with due process and total respect for human rights”. This statement from the UN representative reveals the shallowness and hasty judgement by Dr. Chambas. One would have expected that he would spend considerable time speaking to both sides to fully understand the situation before declaring that the alleged perpetrators will be brought to justice without even considering the massive crack down of innocent family members including minors who are being rounded up and detained without due process. Does Dr. Chambas truly care about the situation of the Gambian people or was he eager to please a government and bothers not to do any research on the country for 20 years of political oppression with enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings and torture. Has Dr. Chambas not read the UN periodic review and all human rights conditions in the Gambia? Oh was he another corrupt old African UN representative buried in the stone ages supporting government systems no matter how flawed they are?

Dr. Chambas statement “We know today in Africa, there is a zero tolerance policy for unconstitutional accession to power and the UN completely subscribes to this, and the UN has stated so very clearly; so there should be no ambiguity about that” is void of historical reference and at best shows another African elite who is out of touch with the reality of this backward continent mainly due to its leadership failures. Did Dr. Chambas forget that Yahya Jammeh came to power through the barrel of the gun by overthrowing an elected government? Does Dr. Chambas have any clue on the governing situation of the Gambia before visiting the country? Was he not aware that Yahya Jammeh has completely monopolized the electoral system in the Gambia to the level where even ECOWAS failed to recognize his last elections?  How did Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas have the moral audacity to ignore all the killings and human rights violations in the Gambia and openly declare his unconditional support for a rogue regime bend on controlling the whole political space with impunity in Gambia?

It is our firm conviction that Dr. Chambas has lost the moral fibre to lead any mission to the Gambia on behalf of the UN to fully investigate the unfortunate events of December 30th. His rush to conclusion without fully understanding the magnitude of the events leading to this date made him incompetent to mediate in this eye opening incident. Dr. Chambas appears to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing who may have been bought by Jammeh’s anti-colonial, anti-gay and Lesbian false propaganda against the Gambian people.

The UN Secretary General should learn a lesson from this mission that when dealing with African governments it is better to send outsiders who does not have preconceived bias about events in Africa. Certainly, the position of Dr. Chambas within 24 hours after entering the country completely contradicts that of the special rapporteurs Christof Heyns and Juan Méndez who expressed their dismay in how they were treated in Gambia. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon must therefore reconsider Dr. Chambas’ mission to Gambia. It is shocking to learn of the wealth of experience Dr. Chambas has only for him to act so unprofessional and bias in this game changing mission. His background as a Ghanaian who may have experienced military dictatorship first hand should have been a guiding principle for him to approach this situation carefully. Even the killings of 40 plus Ghanaians and the recent expulsion of the then Ghanaian Chief Justice should have ringed a message in his brain. But no! He has shown again why African leaders are not able to address their own conflicts and problems that are sinking this beautiful and promising continent. Any African political conflict needs careful examination before crafting a solution. Dr. Chambas therefore owe the Gambian people the moral responsibility to listen to their situation, investigate the arrest of scores of civilians and detention without trial before making a mockery of a situation he has little or no knowledge of.

 

“ENDING YAHYA JAMMEH’S DICTATORSHIP REQUIES MORE THAN US PRESS STATEMENT AND FINGER WAGGING”, JEFFERY SMITH TOLD ALJAZERA NEWS

January 15, 2015
Reads :1476
Jeffery Smith

Jeffery Smith

OBAMA SHAKING A DICTATORS HAND

OBAMA SHAKING A DICTATORS HAND

On Oct. 9, long time Gambian President Yahya Jammeh quietly signed into law a new bill that carries a penalty of life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.” The renewed crackdown on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Gambia has justifiably earned the West African nation an outsize reputation as one of the most repressive countries on the continent. Far from being an isolated campaign, his assault on LGBT rights is part of a wave of human rights abuses prevailing in the country. Jammeh, who came to power in 1994 after toppling a democratically elected president, is responsible for countless atrocities, including torture, arbitrary executions and disappearances of critics, while crippling civil society through a raft of repressive laws and routine intimidation.

To be sure, Jammeh is not the only African despot targeting vulnerable groups to deflect attention from his excesses and failures. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe have also used convenient scapegoats to stir up populist sentiment and extend their rule. Jammeh’s recent rhetorical venom is an expedient gambit to divert attention from his regime’s abuses as well as the imminent threat of food shortages and famine and a rapid decline in the value of the country’s currency.

He has always been hostile to LGBT rights and is prone to bizarre public outbursts. However, his recent statements and collusion with the state media, which is busy trumpeting dangerous stereotypes about gay people and peddling hate speech, have coincided with crackdowns. At least 15 LGBT people are being detained incommunicado — a grim predicament in a country whose prisons are among the world’s worst. Many more people have fled to neighbouring Senegal. The regime is also said to be working off a list of 200 alleged homosexuals, who are targeted for arrest. Even minors have not been spared during this nationwide roundup. For example, a 16-year-old boy was recently detained for nearly two weeks on “suspicion of being gay.” The National Intelligence Agency, a unit infamous for carrying out disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions, is leading this effort.

For too long, Jammeh and his purveyors of terror in Gambia received a free pass from the international community for their heinous crimes. It is time for the United States and its allies to break their silence and take action. The European Union has already withdrawn significant financial support because of Gambia’s poor human rights record. On Dec. 4, the White House issued a statement expressing dismay over rampant human rights violations and the persecution of LGBT people. However, press statements and finger wagging will not suffice.

“Enough blood has been spilled in the Gambia and too many voices already silenced by Jammeh’s brutal regime. US taxpayers money should not contribute to this escalating repression”, Mr Smith stated.

There are a number of steps that the U.S. should immediately consider. First, all U.S. aid to Gambia should be reviewed to ensure its intended effectiveness and non-discrimination in its disbursement. Humanitarian programs that are currently funnelled through the Gambian government should be redirected to third parties, preferably civil society groups that guarantee consistent service to all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation or political beliefs. The U.S. should halt military assistance to Jammeh’s government, which has routinely violated the rights of its citizens.

Second, the U.S. can hit Jammeh where it hurts by restricting his travel and barring individuals implicated in corruption and human rights abuses from traveling to the U.S. and its territories. Relevant U.S. agencies should freeze assets in the United States held by Jammeh, his immediate family and members of his inner circle — for example, Jammeh’s $3.5 million mansion in Potomac, Maryland.

Third, the U.S. can pull Gambia from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which grants trade incentives to African countries for opening their economies. Jammeh’s administration has clearly failed to make “continual progress toward establishing … the rule of law, political pluralism and the right to due process, a fair trial and equal protection under the law,” as required by the act. The U.S. has done this before with Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, often because of undemocratic rule, and most recently in Swaziland over serious concerns over the lack of workers’ rights.

Finally, the U.S. and its regional allies should organize an all-inclusive national conference, consisting of a broad spectrum of Gambian society — including opposition parties, civil society groups, press unions, the bar association and the diaspora — to draw up a road map for the country’s transition to democracy, good governance and respect for human rights. Our elected leaders should not shake hands with dictators and merely issue occasional press statements. Jammeh’s onslaught against LGBT people is part of a much broader spectrum of human rights abuses that have been perpetrated with impunity for two decades. U.S. taxpayer money should not contribute to this escalating repression. Enough blood has been spilled in Gambia and too many voices already silenced by Jammeh’s brutal regime.

BEYOND THE TELLING OF MATERIAL FOOLISHNESS

January 10, 2015
Reads :1847
Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

GAMBIA'S DELUSIONAL LEADER

GAMBIA’S DELUSIONAL LEADER

2014 has been a year characterised by unprecedented political whitewashing and a systematic state orchestrated crusades to deflect Gambians at home from the deafening decries of Dictator Jammeh’s unapologetic disregard for jurisprudence and his sickening human rights record. It is a year he will live never to forget. It has been a year out of his twenty years of unprecedented tyranny that Gambian nonconformists held him prisoner in his Washington DC hotel room until he was rescued by America’s Secret Service Agents.

Most importantly, for the first time in his Machiavellian leadership of terror, Gambians in the diaspora succeeded in amassing international media coverage in manifesting and debunking his human rights record. 2014 will equally be marked as a year when Dictator Jammeh tasted suffocating international isolation from his comfort zone in Kanilai. Furthermore, it will be remembered as the year in which the Gambia began to taste economic sanctions-expulsion from AGOA.  Despite all the public disdain exhibited by Dictator Jammeh’s childish arrogance and myopic notion that he is untouchable, 2014 has ended with gallant and patriotic sons of the Gambia locking down State House in an attempt to dislodge him from power which emphasizes su nga narr degut kuss dega paap.

Yes, it was a near miss. But the fight isn’t over. To defuse heavy clouds of an inevitable change hovering over the Gambia, Dictator Jammeh mounts his high horse of talking material foolishness.  “It was not a coup. It is a lie that it was a coup. It was an attack by dissidents in the US, Germany and UK”, he owlishly told Gambians through GRTS. Just for argument sake, let us agree with the oaf it was an attack and not a coup. The question which he has raised is why would dissidents living comfortably in the US, Germany and UK attack him at State House? What do they hope to gain by attacking the State House and not attempting to overthrow his Machiavellian regime? Moreover, why would he evacuate his family to Morocco?

He went on ranting that he has access to the codes and necessary documents incriminating the Coupist and their alleged sponsors but he will reveal the shocking information and names the next day. Perhaps, I have missed him giving out that vital information. Has anyone heard him giving out such crucial information? “Those who advocate and sponsor violence for regime change should know that they are not only acting in violation of the human rights and legitimate interests of those affected, but it is also against the will of the almighty Allah”, deluded Jammeh mouthed. For once I doubted my hearing. Was I looking at another Jammeh or was my sanity failing me? I wondered. But again I realised it was controversial Jammeh who was riding his high horse again. The Gambia Armed forces are loyal to him, he claims. Of course to lend weight to his elusive dream, the Security Council hastily staged what Mama Linguere Sarr has coined as “March past of the absurd” by the security services to manifest their loyalty to him. “Some of these weapons are US-made material, and we also have a comprehensive plan that they had. They have their literature. This was the final stage of their plan. They have stage one, stage 2 and then the final stage that is stage three, that is, the attack; and what is interesting is the fact that we were able to get all that they put in their computer. We were able to download everything…We were able to break the code and the information I would release tomorrow is very startling. The Gambia armed forces are very loyal and, as far as we are concerned, there isn’t any single participation of the armed forces, except in nullifying the attack” , he charged.

Now, let us together spot our search light on the dark undergrowth of his mind, and separate his material foolishness from the irrefutable facts. Firstly, let us start with “The Gambia armed forces are very loyal and, as far as we are concerned, there isn’t any single participation of the armed forces, except in nullifying the attack”. This assertion of Bawulu Mansa Jammeh has been refuted and discredited by a massive arrest, detention and torture of senior army officers notably Captain Abdoulie Jobe of the Armed Forces Training School and Captain Buba Sanneh. Are these detained officers of the Gambia Armed Forces not loyal as far as you are concerned, Dictator Jammeh?

Furthermore, you told us on GRTS that you have their computers and the codes of all their operative electronic materials and you would make shocking revelations the next day. It is now more than a week yet you have not come up with anything except borrowing the information Papa Faal availed the FBI. I see, Minister Mahoney perhaps admonished you it would jeopardise the legal proceedings. Right? Well, the truth is you hastily opened your super kanja alligator mouth before you knew what evidence you actually had in your possession. Leadership requires integrity which you significantly lack. Again this goes to reiterate you are but a liar and fraud.

In your state of panic and fear, you concluded that the fallen heroes were backed by US, Germany and the UK. You wish. If that were true Jammeh you would have been sweating your arse in a cell now wishing you were never born. These three western powers will not back an insignificant operation such as toppling a dictator and it fails. Who are you trying to fool here? Do yourself a favour by growing up and getting a life, Bawulu Mansa Jammeh. Did I also hear you say, “To the Armed forces of the Gambia Don’t think we have the smallest Armed forces? We are the best armed forces in the world. I challenge you to touch the armed forces again. I will teach you a lesson”? What lesson can you teach under a bed and/or running away to another country? As Commander of Chief what stopped you from leading your men when your “best armed forces” were humiliated in State House on the 30th of December 2014? Oh! I forgot you were not aware of the impending “terrorist attack”.  How many times have your “best armed forces” suffered humiliation from attacks? Did you forget the Kartong and Farafenni attacks or were they not the best then? Well, I am telling you the fight is not yet over. It will be accomplished successfully and very soon. This time you will not escape.

Perhaps Monster Jammeh forgot how he came into power. Can someone please remind him what happened on 22 July 1994? You see how this idiot is taking us for fools. What moral authority has Dracula Jammeh gets to talk about violating his human rights? How many Gambians has he ordered killed, arrested and detained unlawfully? Are you more human than them? Jammeh gumbo warna taal lenen ludut nazz pour sa.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK