Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

CLOSURE OF THE DAILY OBSERVER IS A POLITICAL MISCALCULATION AND AFFRONT TO FREEDOM PRESS

June 15, 2017

Author: Alagie Yerro Jallow

By Alagie Yerro Jallow

At present, it would be unimaginable for any Gambia government officials operating under the orders of their bosses to lawlessly close or burn newspaper offices or radio station, as was the case under previous regime of Yahya Jammeh. Instead, the Tax Offices in this contemporary era serve other purposes such as to shut down media house under the guise of enforcing the law for reported failures to pay tax.

If a man is accused of a crime, do you hang him and wait for the judicial system to sort out whether he, did it? The question seems farcical, but that’s the situation facing the Gambia’s daily paper, The Daily Observer. How much tax arrears the paper owes? Was there any judicial review and notice to the proprietors?

Gambian Government closure of The Daily Observer newspaper is a disturbing development clearly designed to silence critical media voices. The shutting down of one of Gambia’s main independent newspapers is an affront to media freedom and the authorities should immediately reverse their decision.
The way the Gambia Revenue Authority acted against the Daily Observer newspaper could justify arguments that the closure of the action is not only in bad faith but also politically motivated.
The Daily Observer Newspaper grew into one of the best Gambian brands and diversified into courier and information services.

Previous regimes targeted the Daily Observer Newspaper with closure but it refused to die.
It is my opinion that Gambia Revenue Authority’s action has been politically influenced as there are a lot of companies that owe the Gambia Revenue Authority huge sums of money but can operate. I am also surprised with the speed at which the Revenue Authority processed the case as it has thousands of cases awaiting to be processed.

The closure of a business is an economical disaster as families and other businesses that depended on it experience difficulties of varying magnitude. The closure of the Daily Observer newspaper is not about Yahya Jammeh, Amadou Samba or Baba Jobe. Think about the few workers employed as editors, journalists, security guards, garden boys… And more deeply and emotionally, think about the street vendors who depend on 10 Dalasi per day they make from newspaper sales. All these will be denied money for rent, food, school fees. This is political miscalculation. Like shooting your own leg.

Everyone is aware that Newspaper business all over the world has been affected by electronic media and changes in the way people are informed. The closure of the Daily Observer also provides lessons for media, politics, law and business.

As a former proprietor, the Independent and a victim of arbitrary closure I am urging the Gambia Government to work with the Gambian Revenue Authority and the Daily Observer to find a way forward that allows Daily Observer to reopen immediately.

And I am appealing to the Government to reconsider the decision to close the Daily Observer Newspapers and avoid throwing hundreds of workers into unemployment thereby adversely affecting the welfare of their families.

While it is a matter of human rights law that the State is entitled to enforce laws as it deems necessary to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions, there should be further room for negotiations to find an amicable solution to meeting the tax obligation of the Daily Observer Newspapers without necessarily closing it.

There is also a need to use negotiations, mediation and conciliation methods rather than exclusively using a legalistic approach in this matter. At the same time the collection of domestic revenues through corporate taxes is the responsibility of government and it is the responsibility of corporate bodies, including media houses to meet their tax obligations. I hope that the concerned parties will take steps to find an amicable solution to this issue.

The Daily Observer has particularly been instrumental in promoting the right to freedom of expression of divergent viewpoints, providing checks and balances to various State and Non-State institutions and individuals as well as in promoting transparency and accountability. The right to freedom of the media, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are particularly important. The ability to debate different views, policies and activities in an impartial conducive environment supports the electorates ‘capacity to make informed decisions.

It would be a sad chapter in the development of Gambia’s democracy if a drastic action taken to close the Daily Observer Newspapers is not reversed

HELLO MR PRESIDENT…; CRIMINALS LET LOOSE…

June 15, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

GAMBIA’S CONTINUED POLITICAL CHAOS BUBBLES, A CAUSE FOR SERIOUS CONCERN

June 5, 2017

Coalition 2016 Team

By Yero Jallow

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” (Aba Lincoln, America’s 16th President).

Since Jammeh’s removal earlier on in February 2017, there has been some discontent, political chaos, and unrest, both within the coalition administration, and the disgruntled elements of the 22-year old dictatorship of the APRC, some form of trickledown effect seems to be the order of our political sphere. The existing environment is unhealthy for democratic dispensation and it comes with lasting consequential impact; far more destructive than the

political elements can calculate and visualize in their wishful daydreams. Unless and until there is a resolve, there are likely some serious Government and Citizenry missteps, which will be very detrimental to the Governor and the Governed, a relationship that needs special nurturing; that a leader was as good as he represents the plight of its citizens.

So far, throughout the Gambia, there have been some political fights, notably in Niamina, Basse, Farato, Kanfenda, Talinding, recently some bubbling up in Kanilai, and there are likely many more in the pipelines, as show of disappointment, which shouldn’t be treated lightly. Some of it very divisive and threatening to our national sovereignty; and some of it an exposure of citizens’ gullibility, unyielding to exercise of political maturity, and the silliness to buy into anything shiny. Sheer gullibility! In as upset as we can be about the past 22 years, there is no room for revenge and/or retribution. That is a serious failure and such growing mindset needs immediate therapy. The only way is justice and that requires a competent Truth and reconciliation commission, something that some of us have been advocating for over the years.

There are many that are pinning Foni in an ignorant way; they do not know what entails Foni, and what transformational history Foni had underwent, not to talk about Foni’s make up, and how Foni is equally a victim, like all other places in the Gambia. It is to be made very clear that Foni, hate it, like it, is a part of the Gambia, and will ever remain a part of the Gambia; that Jammeh and his criminal enablers and accomplices, some of whom are still walking scot-free and being paraded as good within a new realm, some selective amnesia from some higher animals within Orwellian “Animal Farm,” similar to what they called, “old wine in a new bottle” will not be Foni’s report card; that is the height of divisiveness and ignorance. I think Norwegian Saihou Samateh (Freedom for Saiks) did it for us on a good note, on his Face book post of June 1st/2nd 2017.The deliberate mistake that is being made is the bluff in talking cheap rubbish when some of these empty heads were accomplices to the 22-year old criminality when the going was tough, over a very, very long time. It is a serious misnomer on the generalization of Foni, which equals marginalization, part of the boils that the Gambia will have to deal with, stereotype, hate, anger, divisive traits, and some of these hypocritical groupings that are turning themselves to be hate mongers and community policing agents. Marginalization and alienation of any one region and/or people by default of their geography, identity, and/or beliefs, is unacceptable, and again just get it once and for all. It is both a sign of lacking substance and recipe for divisiveness. The open provocation must be an element dealt with the soonest if we really need to progress. It is low life, low standard, and the easiest way to fail. I leave that to God, and Time (the old arbiter of all matters) to prove it. Lest we blindly and intentionally ignore, Fonis’ greatest sons and daughters died and many others continue to fight for Gambia’s liberation; therefore the rationale in marginalization is both a demonstration of poor assessment, a serious miscalculated misnomer, one that likely creates the kind of political unrest recently seen, due to the danger that it puts citizens in. When you do not know, it is better to measure up, as some of the open clamoring has severe consequences. Anyone that committed any crime, the law should be employed and it doesn’t matter where you are from.

We really need to go to sleep not being interested in pleasing pleasantries for some bone crumbs, positions, and/or expectation of being some person’s good book, especially when intention to dissect is based on clear conscience. We need to go to sleep thinking of Gambia’s generations yet unborn. Most of the time, it is disappointing about blind loyalty when loyalty should be for country. That is it; and competitions should be based on merit and competence. No one should be afraid of such competitions of competence and there is no need to go through the back door. The ugly and divisive politics where some are looking for more enemies and division, is not only uncalled for, it is not helpful for our existence. I have asked people to produce the numbers of all those people that served and were victimized by Jammeh both at the civil service and the operational criminal gang, proportion that, and realize that Gambia’s committed crimes and enablers are from all geographical places in the Gambia, with Foni being more victimized than any other region, and lesser representation in Government.

Straight forward to the point, I condemn the Killing of Mr. Haruna Jatta in Kanilai, and I condemn any destructive riots and creeping hate and divisiveness. I also petition the Governor and the Governed, all equal stake holders, to investigate thoroughly, rather than jumping to conclusions based on bias and emotions, in ways that further entrenches our country into political chaos; and there is no room for cheap and irresponsible comments. Lawlessness and negligence is neither acceptable from the Governed nor the Governor. ECOMIG’s shooting of Mr. Jatta should be condemned, investigated, and the law employed accordingly to resolve the matter. One would expect a body like ECOMIG, is really prepared for such, within their mandated operations. We do not set wrong precedencies and Gambia’s Police Force should be equipped to handle such internal disputes.Contrary to what is being argued openly by many that these demonstrators were armed, that hasn’t been seen in the video footages, and tons of them are online. It is not honest to be dishonest in such matters as an easy pass of scoring points, it simply won’t work. Some of divisive tone needs to washed with soap, we do not need a divided Gambia, and citizens must not allow anyone to divide them. Among other things, the reason for the protest is that they (the protesters) want Jammeh back, for ECOMIG to leave, and safeguarding their locality, due to tenseness of the ugly politics. I think the courts are a way of resolve and any citizen that feels violated in some way can seek redress by open protest without destruction of life, property, and infrastructure, and also through Gambia’s court systems. The law is our arbiter and no one can take the law into their hands.That is for both the Governor and the governed. Let us remember, some life was lost, in the case of Mr. Haruna Jatta, a Gambian Citizen we are told, and this was not through any courts. That is a dangerous precedence. In as much as we despise any rallies of destructive protest, we also detest the killing of any Gambian, and we must not be economical in its condemnation. That is a no, a no go area, it cannot be accepted, encouraged, and/or even seen as close to resolve. We have run through situations similar in the past in the case of the student demo of April 10th/11th 2000, and the then Vice President made such similar irresponsible comments on National TV. That comment to date, remains a crime within midst. We also lost Solo Sandeng in a protest, though the political set ups are different. The dossier submitted in Deyda’s death, was one where the Governor (the Criminal APRC), lost credibility, blaming Deyda for his own death. These should have all served as lessons to act on. The emotional haste reactions and open attention-clamoring is a recipe for political turmoil and failure, and such is unacceptable and criminal in the eyes of the law, it combines lies, bias, and criminality intentionally.

Jammeh’s 22-year Government is gone. They were long since done and finish. They didn’t go down into ugly history without engagement from concerned people; they ignored and acted with arrogance and criminality. Now all those that committed crimes and are in complicit must be cleared through a competent court and/or Truth and reconciliation commission. They must too, agree to face the full wrath of justice. Barrow’s 3-year administration will also be done one day. He is advised in good faith to keep to his three years as signed on the MOU and allow elections take place, with the help of the national assemble amendment. He is also advised to heed to public outcry on quickly appointing a VP as it stipulated in Gambia’s constitution, failure of which his administration will be threading on slippery slopes. If any crimes and/or injustices are committed under Barrow’s watch, they will also be tabled before the law one day, when most of the so-called friends ala opportunists will in fact be the first to disown you, just like Jammeh has been disowned . That is why any wise leader will cut off the blind loyalty, the praise-singers most of whom are only after their personal interest, and try to reign with humility and substance under a law. The drunkenness that comes with power and the excesses is something that any leader should look at the mirror for. That is part of what the great Madiba left with us. African leaders especially and their followers must draw lessons. We must not fail and/or divide our citizens as a way of creating leadership vehicles (palass) selfishly. That is very unpatriotic and unfair to citizens, for anyone paid from tax payers’ money to do. The combined force that sent Jammeh packing is not gone anywhere, and citizens will continue the engagement for country and countrymen. Long Live the Gambia and her sovereignty!

MANUFACTURING A CRISIS IN THE GAMBIA

June 5, 2017

Entrance to Kanilai

By Saul Saidykhan

I just finished reading a shocking article on Facebook in which the author seems to indirectly blame everyone but the true culprits for the violence that happened in Foni three days ago: the uncouth and parochial-minded followers of Yahya Jammeh in his native village of Kanilai. To begin with, the protest wasn’t spontaneous. It was planned by ethnic militants for a while, and they made no secret of their intention to be confrontational, as some of their videos in response to the Asset Forfeiture Order against Yahya Jammeh suggested. The choice of Kanilai isn’t surprising either, because during the Jammeh tyranny, Kanilai was Foni writ large in terms of undue influence and out-sized unearned privileges in The Gambia. Kanilai was Foni and Foni was Kanilai. And all manner of lies was used to try to justify or rationalize the disadvantaging of other parts of the country. I wrote severally on this subject many years ago.

 The one thing that has stunned me throughout the Jammeh madness is the utter lack of courage of the Foni intelligentsia (forget the politicians, the late Shingle Nyassi did an honorable job politically, but that’s about it) because of its failure to stand up to Jammeh WHEN IT MATTERED and let the world know he doesn’t speak for Foni. This did NOT happen! Instead, what we saw is a general embrace of a murderous kleptocrat by the people of Foni. That he was embraced by all ethnicities within Foni, or had company and enablers among all those groups does not make this failure any less shameful or egregious. It also stands in sharp contrast to his predecessor’s era. This is precisely why I find it a little too convenient that anyone would now play up this unnecessary tragedy as if it’s a case of innocent Foni victims against a marauding government. That narrative is far from the reality. Some of the agitators have been posting both audio and video messages on different fora inciting a rebellion for a couple of months now. Yet the legitimacy of this government is not in doubt.

 Given what Yahya Jammeh has put our country through, it is simply stunning to see or hear some of the callous things many of his people say about those glad to see his back. Even the images we keep seeing from outside the court house in Banjul with his supporters cheering on accused cold-blooded murderers, and mocking the relatives of their victims is jarring enough. How much more insensitive and uncivilized can anyone be? I hear the clamor for Reconciliation, but how does one reconcile with someone who has not only unjustly wronged you, but sees nothing amiss about what they did or given the opportunity, will do so again?  What kind of ridiculous Reconciliation game are we engaged in here?

 It’s time to draw a line in the sand for the crazy followers of Yahya Jammeh! They need to understand a few things: The days of silly hedonism at Gambian public expense for one SPECIAL part of our country is gone for good. As is lawlessness, and infantile projection of ethnic-chauvinism. More importantly, they need to stop pushing their luck!

 The Barrow administration needs to buckle up, and get serious on all fronts! It needs to slow down on this Reconciliation chimera, and go on the offensive against Jammeh’s allies who are still in important positions in the military, judiciary, and the Civil Service, as well as Business. As long as such elements continue to wield influence in The Gambia, this government will continue to be frustrated and sabotaged at each turn in the pursuit of its goals. (Take a page from the experience of the ANC government in SA in its Land Reform agenda: the very people publicly praising the government for being reconciliatory, are the ones privately sponsoring Land Reform opponents to frustrate government in every conceivable way. Over 25 years after Apartheid ended, less than 20% of land has been transferred to the targeted communities. Conveniently, the same people, in tandem with their international allies, blame ANC government corruption and incompetence for the slow progress of the Land Reform agenda, not the devious machinations they engage in secretly.) The Barrow administration need to be cognizant of being undermined in a similar fashion which will inevitably, lead to it losing credibility.

 The government needs to move quickly to pursue justice in ALL cases beginning with the November 11th, 1994 Yundum Camp murders. Internationally, the government has some options on Jammeh himself. It could petition the New York State Attorney General or the Manhattan District Attorney to UNSHIELD the indictment in the case of the former Guinea Bissau naval Commander Bubo Na Tchuto who is currently in prison in New York. This man is known to be a major partner of Yahya Jammeh in the international drug trafficking ring in our region during his time in office. Countless Gambian military and NIA officers can testify to this. As can the CIA. Plus, the Guinean himself is believed to have mentioned Jammeh during his interrogation by American authorities which was the main reason they sealed the indictment at the time (Jammeh being a sitting president.) The Barrow administration now has the opportunity to learn the truth. Also, the government can invite British Investigators who discovered $2 Billion worth of drugs in Bonto several years ago back in the country to conduct a more thorough investigation as to the Who’s Who in that case. One of these two planks would at the very least knock some sense into Jammeh to call off his goons, and who knows, if we send someone with balls to make our case, he could spill the beans on the Codes to the Panama loot. By the way, everything I’ve heard suggests, the Panama stash wasn’t his idea at all. It is in the best interest of Gambians for the Barrow government to get Jammeh to talk. But first, it needs to put the screws on him.

 In terms of securing the territorial integrity of the country, if left with no other option, it should use whatever force is necessary to enforce its mandate ALL OVER THE COUNTRY

GAMBIA: A BETTER USE FOR THE 50 MILLION DOLLARS CHINESE GRANT

June 3, 2017

Ousainou Darboe, President Barrow and Chinese diplomat. Photo credit: Mantankara Konko

By Saul SaidyKhan

To begin with, a “Grant” in international relations or Finance is a Gambian’s dream: a gift that does not have to be paid. Almost every grant comes with some string – stated or implied. But that’s a different subject altogether. For now, taking the Chinese grant at face value, essentially, The Gambia has been offered $50Million Dollars to use as it deems fit.

 Two weeks ago, in mid-May 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Ousainou Darboe signed a contract (on behalf of the Government of The Gambia) in line with a Chinese grant for the construction of an International Conference Center in The Gambia. It turns out the project had been negotiated and sealed by the government of Yahya Jammeh in September 2016. President Barrow, who witnessed the signing, noted that his government gives priority to energy, farming, and healthcare among other areas. Anyhow, by signing the contract last month, the Barrow administration has effectively ratified Jammeh’s decision.

 Given The Gambia’s current state, it boggles the mind trying to figure how anyone can place an International Conference Center among the top dozen list of priorities facing the country. I’m now certain leaders are not only limited by their innate abilities, but by the quality of advice available to them.

 So, in two years, we’ll have a world class International Conference Center in The Gambia. Best case scenario: we’ll host a dozen international conferences a year which might be attended by a few thousand people. Employment opportunities will be TEMPORARY, and unpredictable. On the flipside, if I know my country, within two years, lack of maintenance combined with energy deficiency will become visible on the facility. And things could only go downhill.

 Alternatively, instead of an International Conference Center, we could use our $50 Million Dollars gift to finally build a world class hospital. Imagine a 3,000-bed capacity modern hospital with a separate Medical, Dental, and Vision section located in the Western Region (I shall get to why government needs to STOP putting Gambia’s meagre resources in a high-risk DEATH TRAP island call Banjul.) Such a hospital will provide thousands of PERMANENT jobs (doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff,and  security.) More importantly, this new hospital will not only help close the gaping hole in this critical area, it will help train generations of healthcare professionals in The Gambia.

 Towards that training goal, we have a powerful tool to help us recruit foreign volunteer professional trainers lying in plain sight. When Jammeh spent $25 Million Dollars to host the AU Summit, he built 53 villas to lodge the African Heads of State. Today, officially, all these villas are vacant and unused. However, anyone who knows us Gambian men knows WHO uses these villas often and for WHAT purpose. 

 If this government would take my advice, they could put these villas to better use. If they build a hospital, they can use the AU villas to entice seasoned medical doctors and professors from cold climates around the world to sunny Gambia. In exchange for free room and board at these villas near the Atlantic, the doctors can work for free at the new hospital, and teach at Gambia’s Medical School. I will bet anything that the response will be overwhelmingly positive. There are many experienced medical professionals in cold climates who would be amenable to living in a sunny, peaceful place on West Africa’s Atlantic coast. Why not exchange free lodging for knowledge and skills transfer? (Currently, I wouldn’t trust a Gambian-trained doctor with my dog’s life much less my loved one’s. Neither did Yahya Jammeh despite all his bragging about the hospitals he built.)  This way, we’ll kill three birds with one stone: 1. Provide world class quality medical care to Gambians 2. Train Gambian Medical students to World class standards and 3. Make use of the AU villas by luring the type of people The Gambia desperately needs.

 The choice between the International Conference Center and the 3,000-bed hospital in terms of benefit couldn’t be clearer. Why can’t we be more creative or imaginative? Or am I missing something…

RE – FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF THE AHMADIYYAH; A REJOINDER TO THE REBUTTAL OF THE QADIANI

June 3, 2017

Author: B.B. Sanneh

By B.B. Sanneh

Recently I wrote an article about the fundamental beliefs of the Ahmaddiyyah/Qadianiyyah which was meted with a swift rebuttal.  This rebuttal has actually painted to me a vivid picture of the average Ahmadi’s mindset.  I honestly, did not think for once that any genuine follower of this group would go out of his way to belie facts that are well established from the writings of their founding father.  It makes me conclude that either they are deceptive or blindfolded; Surah Baqarah verses 6 – 10 addresses both scenarios.  From the gentleman’s rebuttal, it’s evident he couldn’t stay on substance but rather resorted to profanity and digression which has been their recourse to dissenting views.  In fact this same uncouth and vulgar attacks were launched on Imam Fatty too when he made his stance unequivocally clear on Standard Newspaper just after the Talinding Cemetery incident.   This is what the Quran they to claim to staunchly believe in say about arguing with opponents: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided”. (Quran 16:125). 

The general impression among the non muslims and our secular minded muslim brethren is that our opposition to Ahmadiyyat stems from religious intolerance.  They fail to appreciate that our difference is fundamentally doctrinal.  Thus for the benefit of those with such perception and perhaps confused by the young man’s quotations and so called refutations, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – the founder of the Ahmadiyyah movement had at least two distinct phases in his life which I have alluded to in my earlier article.  One extended from his childhood into his early adult life.  Being born in a Muslim family, during this period he was a devout Sunni Muslim.  It was during this period that we saw such writings where he declared time and again his Muslim Sunni faith.  Without any formal public education, he helped himself freely with various religious materials available to him forming his own opinions and conclusions.  If there was any deviation from the established mainstream Islam doctrine, it was hardly noticeable.

During the later part of his life, his thoughts and beliefs exhibited a noticeable change and initially at least he made attempts to backtrack from his statements or writings to dampen the backlash of Muslims. However with the passage of time he became more and more defiant and audacious in his heretical views. It is this other aspect, this transformation, of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s personality which is hidden from the public eye and which is hardly ever mentioned and quoted in the propaganda literature of Qadianism Movement (Ahmadiyyah).  The question is why are they hiding this part?  If they believe in the fundamentals of Islam as we do, why don’t they denounce this blasphemy and kuffur of their founder and join mainstream Islam?

In my previous piece I deliberately left out sources because it honestly never occurred to me that someone would take me to a challenge for it.  With the subsequent turn of events, I will try to systematically address the Qadiani’s refutations as best as I can.  Praise be to Allah that most of these have been scholarly dealt with and answered by our venerable scholars in the past so I don’t take credit for anything as a very little student of knowledge.

  • Regarding their theology about Allah, albeit the writer claims that they believe in Allah just as we do, let him explain to us these snippets from the writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad or is he going to resort to their usual default response of branding it anti Ahmadiyyah propaganda or lies and fabrications? Not a surprise because Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has called Ummah worst than that; “whoever is not sure of our success is in fact, a bastard. He wouldn’t be a legitimate man. (Roohani Khazain: V: 18, P: 31)”

I (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) dreamt that I myself am God and I believe in this that I am (God).  (Roohani Khazain v.5 P.564)

In one of my revelation (Kashf) I saw myself as God and I believe in it.  (Kitab Al- Brae P: 85.  Roohani Khazain V: 3 P: 103)

True God is He Who sent down His messenger in Qadiyan. (Dafe Balaa P: 11 Roohani Khazain V: 18 P: 231)

Is this not sufficient for you folks to internalized your involvement with this movement and begin the search for true Islam?  By the way, how come there is no single major renowned scholar of The Gambia starting with Bun Jeng up to the contemporary ones who considers your jamaat as part of Islam?  Oops I forgot the only scholars in your eye view are those that are Qadianis, all others are illegitimate sons of prostitutes.  (Auzhubillah).   But only the sons of the prostitutes didn’t confirm & accept me. (Roohani Khazain: V: 5, P: 547-548). 

  • Their belief about the Quran

The brother is trying to put a spanner on the spoke of the wheels in order to deceive the gullible and uninformed readers.  Why is he offering D25,000 just for this point out all the so called allegations?  In any case I will list down here some of their verses and writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and you the readers can judge if their Quran is different or not:

“I say with swearing upon God that I believe in these inspirations in the same way as I believe in Quran and other books of God. And just as I consider Quran undoubtedly and surely the book of God, similarly I believe that wahi (revelation) which descends upon me is the word of God.” (Haqeetqatul Wahi, Roohani Khazain vol.22 p.220)

Holy Prophet’s revelation also turned out to be false. (Roohani Khazain vol.3 p.472) – meaning the Quran is false.

He declared that Quran is also full of filthy words and enumerated several words in Quran as being filthy according to current standards. (Roohani Khazain vol.3 p.115-117)

Mirza’s WAHI told him: Verse 33:40″‘Muhammadur Rasoolullah wallazeena ma’ahoo ashiddaohoo’ ala alkuffar rohamao bainahum’ in this Wahi God has named me Muhammad and Rasoolullah.” (Roohani Khazain vol 18 pp.207)

“I have said several times that according to the verse (of Holy Quran) ‘wa akhareena minhum lamma yalhaqoo behim’ as Burooz I am the same Prophet, the Khatamul Anbiyyah, and 20 years ago God named me Mohammed and Ahmad in Braheen-e-Qadianism and declared me His Being.”
(Aik ghalti ka azala, Roohani Khazain vol. 18 p.212)

“Quran is God’s Book and the words of my mouth.” (Advertisement dated 15th March 1897, Roohani Khazain vol 22 p. 87)

“I believe in my WAHI (revelation) as I believe in Quran and Torah.” (Roohani Khazain vol.17 p.454)

“The basis for our claim is not Hadith but Quran and that WAHI which comes to us. Yes in support we also quote those Hadith which are according to Quran and DO NOT CONTRADICT MY WAHI. As for the REST OF THE HADITHs, I THROW THEM AWAY LIKE A WASTE PAPER.” (Roohani Khazain vol 19 p.140)

Verse [17:1] of Holy Quran: ‘Praise be to Allah, who took His Servant on the Night Journey from Masjid Haram to Masjid Aqsa’, its real and literal application is the Mosque built by father of Mirza Ghulam. (Collection of Advertisement vol.3 p.286)

Unless you belie the founder of your creed on these blasphemous claims, I don’t know how the statement “MY WAHI” would be construed as the Quran that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  Now you tell us if Mirza Ghulam’s WAHI is the same as The Quran.  May Allah remove the seal from your hearts, ears and eyes for you to see the truth and follow it.  Therefore it is clear from the above that your kitab is definitely not our Quran.  If you however, believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a prophet after Muhammad (pbuh) then how do you explain Ahzab (33.40) “O believers, know that Muhammad (pbuh) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of God and the seal of prophets”?  If you have faith like you claim, then it should not be daunting for you to reject and denounce these conspicuous kuffur instead of adopting a denial approach.  The one million dollar question still remains, what and why are you hiding?

  • Their belief about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

The Qadianis had a pamphlet in circulation in various parts of the world, ‘Ahmad in praise of Muhammad’ which contains such quotations from the books of their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, trying to prove that he was intoxicated with the love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), full of praises for Allah, Holy Quran and Islam.  These quotations portray a very beautiful character.  However, the flip side of the coin from the writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is as follows;

He was the second advent of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and better and superior than the first coming (Roohani Khazain vol 16 pp.272)

“When I am the Holy Prophet incarnate and when all the accomplishments of Muhammad including the prophethood are reflected in my mirror of my shadiness, then who is the man who has claimed prophethood in a separate being?” (Ek Ghalti Ka Izala, Roohani Khazain, vol.18, p.212)

Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has come again in this world as Mirza Ghulam to propagate Islam. (Roohani Khazain vol.17 p.249)

Ahmadi should not differentiate between Mirza Ghulam and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) because “Anyone who differentiates between me and Mustafa (pbuh) has not seen me and not recognized me.” (Roohani Khazain vol 16 pp. 171).

Those who join Mirza’s Jama’at become a SAHABI of Rasoolullah. (Roohani Khazain vol 16 pp.258-259)

“I am Adam, I am Noah, I am Abraham, I am Isaac, I am Jacob, I am Ishmael, I am Moses, I am Jesus son of Mary, I am Mohammad (S.A.W).” (Roohani Khazain vol 22, p.521)

Again unless, I am dumb but these statements are very conspicuous and self explanatory.  If you believe otherwise, why don’t you once again denounce and reject your so called prophet and hold on to the mainstream Islamic version?

With regard to declaring this group disbeliever, the writer’s total disregard for the scholarship of mainstream Islam is indeed too clear to comment on.    In fact in addition to the World Muslim League fatawa and Fiqh council of Cape Town, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan also issued a fatawa in 1974 pronouncing this group as disbeliever and beyond the pale of Islam.  In fact Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared those who do not believe in him as disbelievers; – (Anwaar e Khilafat P. 99) it is our duty, not to take non-Ahmadi as Muslims, nor should we say prayers with them, because they deny one of the God’s Apostles.   While the non-Ahmadi are infidels, so are their six-month old children also. And as infidels they cannot be buried in the graveyard of the Ahmadi. (Akbhar Paigham-e-Sulah: 16th of Aug 1936).

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Verily, in the time of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, the people would be judged by revelation, but the revelation has ended. Now we judge you according to your outward deeds.  You cannot have double standards, one foot in Islam and another in kuffurr and expect us to believe you and count you as one of us.  Even if we say hypothetically, these are not part of your creed like you claim, why do you still believe, follow and hold in high esteem a heretic founder whose kuffur is so obvious?

On a final note, I can promise you that sooner or later we will banish you from our graveyards unless you denounce this new religion of yours.  We have lived with Christians far too long yet we never had these issues because the line has been clearly drawn.  Similarly, you have your religion and we have ours so stop forcing yourselves on us when our creed and theology are fundamentally different.  May Allah show the light of Islam to all those who have been led astray by this fraudulent propaganda in the name of Islam.  May Allah protect the faith of all Muslims from such deceptions.   Ameen

BB SANNEH

 

THE CHIEF JUSTICE SPEAKS FOR ME

May 30, 2017

Gambia coat of arms

By Foday Samateh

The most important news in The Gambia since the election happened last week. It’s not the Attorney General’s bombshell news briefing on the freezing of 88 bank accounts, 131 landed properties, and 14 companies belonging to or directly associated with the exiled despot. Nor was it Lawyer Awa Sisay Sabally’s applause-worthy call on President Barrow to appoint without any further delay a Vice President. It was something that didn’t receive the same level of attention as the above. Nonetheless, it was the ultimate news of this political transition.

At the national stakeholders’ conference on justice and human rights at Kairaba Beach Hotel, Chief Justice Hassan Jallow affirmed that, in the light of many amendments that could affect the 1997 Constitution (the current Constitution), the state intended to draft a new Constitution. One news outlet quoted him as saying, “There is a strong case for the drafting of a new constitution under the leadership of a new group of experts set up by the state.” Reading the words that are in bold (the emphasis are mine), I was overcome at once with ecstatic relief. With a gleeful heart and bated breath, I crowed, “Hallelujah! God bless the Chief Justice!”

Given the defects of the current Constitution and the deliberate dilutions it suffered at the behest of the upended regime, the need to draft a new one should have been an obvious foregone conclusion. The fact that it hadn’t been until the Chief Justice’s revelation should have been the biggest scandal for the new government. In the run-up to the election, the Coalition included a constitutional review in its reform agenda. The Memorandum of Understanding didn’t expound on what this ambiguous term would entail. Two things, however, implied an overhaul.
First, the central agreement of the Coalition was that their candidate for President would serve only three years in office to carry out a transition of democratic reforms, followed by a fresh election. Since that candidate was to be elected for a five-year term as required under the current Constitution, the cleanest, and probably the most legitimate and justifiable, way to accomplish this agreement would be to draft a new Constitution that would come into force in three years. With the new Constitution adopted in three years, the current one would cease to be in existence, and the current five-year term of the President would be curtailed to three years without anyone having to engage in any convoluted tampering with an already battered Constitution.

Second, almost all Coalition figures and their outspoken allies during and after the election kept promising how governing would be different in the third republic. And right after Barrow was sworn into office, the new administration began claiming that we are now in the third republic. To the extent that it matters, we aren’t in the third republic. We are still in the second republic. Barrow is the second president of the second republic. A new Constitution will usher in the third republic. An ordinary transfer of power through an election under an existing Constitution cannot ring in a republic. Otherwise, the United States would have surpassed 40 republics when it’s still in its first.

Those factors notwithstanding, the Coalition turned out to have something different in mind. Barrow, at his first press conference, after he took office, was asked if the new government planned to write a new Constitution. He responded that they would only make amendments to the current one. You can imagine my disappointment. (For me, replacing the current Constitution with one that’s far superior must be the dominant issue of this transition.)
Why the Coalition never called for a new Constitution outright defied logic. I became upset at the body as a whole, but more so at its two most influential wings. Though several opposition parties had come together to form the Coalition, the key players in real terms were UDP and PDOIS. They are also the only opposition parties with substantive but clashing positions on the current Constitution. Their rivalry over it began from the beginning of the second republic. To PDOIS, the current Constitution is essentially good, if not great. In or outside of the Coalition, PDOIS, to my knowledge, hasn’t called for a new Constitution. The party can always provide a long list of great provisions in the current Constitution in their defense of it. Nevertheless, all in all, they are wrong, but at least consistent.
To UDP, on the other hand, the current Constitution was to all intents and purposes the despot’s Constitution. All the reason their failure to call for a new Constitution demands more than the charge of inconsistence. The party’s taciturnity on the matter borders on hypocrisy. It’s rendered more unconscionable by the fact that while Barrow technically ran as an independent, his political home remained UDP. This, in addition to the fact that they were the largest party in the Coalition, gave them more sway on this question. So I was left confounded by their seemingly newfound faith in a set of amendments to remedy the current Constitution. I even wondered whether gaining power finally has given them second thoughts about reining in the imperial presidency and establishing a democracy on separation of powers with checks and balances. Why would they entrust the President with powers that they rightly didn’t want to be vested in the despot? I wondered still further if they now disagree with Lawyer Lamin J. Darboe’s erudite observation that, “Undoubtedly, [the current] Constitution permits the legal mismanagement of Gambian public life. With its hollow protections, it would still be an instrument of violence, if only potentially, even in the most benign of hands. It has no place in a proper democracy!”

The case against amendments alone goes beyond the stubborn fact that too many amendments needed to be carried out. The most obnoxious parts that must be expunged from the nation’s Constitution — paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Schedule 2 (the so-called Indemnity Clause) — are themselves indemnified from any amendments either by the National Assembly or by a referendum thanks to paragraph 17 of the said Schedule. These paragraphs confer absolute blanket amnesty on the despot and the entire regime of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) for any decision or action they took during the military rule, which might include stealing millions from our national treasury and engaging in extra-judicial killings. Hence my utter disappointment when the Coalition stated their position on the current Constitution. It’s all too clear that amendments alone wouldn’t suffice. They wouldn’t and couldn’t undo these monstrosities of Schedule 2.

The most obscene thing about the referenced sections of Schedule 2 is its arrogance and moral turpitude. The military junta overthrew the elected government, albeit an ineffectual one. They launched multiple Commissions of Inquiry into that government in the name of “accountability, transparency, and probity.” They made so much noise about “rampant corruption” that had occurred in that government. And then, lo and behold, they turned around saying never mind all that. All Presidents, National Assemblies, and Courts must hereby be denied forever the legal authority to do to the junta what the junta did to the preceding government. Why wouldn’t they want their own example be applied to them? Why what’s good for the goose not good for the gander?

It should be noted that advocating for a new Constitution mustn’t be misunderstood as arguing for the entire current Constitution to be junked. Just as the current one largely kept the framework of the 1970 Constitution and still contained significant changes, the new one will emulate similar but nobler objective. I may even hazard a guess that the new Constitution will preserve about 70 percent of the current one. Properly done, however, the 30 percent difference will make a world of real difference between constitutional democracy and constitutional dictatorship. Let’s consider the case of the Chief Justice as an example. Whether one liked the appointment of Hassan Jallow or not, we must all bear in mind that just as Barrow appointed the justice all by himself under the current Constitution, Barrow can remove the justice anytime all by himself. The constitutional requirement that the President must consult the Judicial Service Commission is a bureaucratic waste of time by way of meaningless rigmarole. The Commission’s advice is, strictly speaking, a matter of mere formality. It’s non-binding in any shape or form. Is this what we want? For one person, however conscientious that person may be, to have that much power? And we wonder why we don’t have an independent judiciary? Presidents mustn’t consult at all any Commission whose authority is subservient to the President’s. The consultation regarding the appointment of judges should be made to the National Assembly and the National Assembly’s vote to approve or disapprove should be binding. And judges must not be removed except by impeachment for unlawful conduct. That way, judges cannot be appointed or removed whenever a President feels like it.

Even if we feel rest assured that Barrow and future Presidents would never be anything like the despot, we shouldn’t leave so much of our fate at the mercy of their discretions. For instance, Barrow’s failure or refusal to appoint a Vice President after four months in office may not be violating the letter of the Constitution, but it’s totally contrary to its spirit. It’s also not just a cavalier attitude toward complying with the law, it puts the line of succession to the highest office in the land at risk for no good reason. Worse still, appointing someone who, for whatever unfair and undemocratic requirements, is disqualified from holding the office of Vice President to oversee the Vice Presidency isn’t only a display of insouciance toward the Constitution, but also an apparent act of violating the oath to uphold the Constitution without fear, favor, affection or ill will.

Talking about not trusting people in power to always do the right thing, one of my longstanding beefs with the current Constitution is the National Assembly’s ability to amend the so-called non-entrenched clauses. Like elsewhere, our experience has shown that politicians always claim to be acting in the national interest, but, far too often, they behave on partisan motives. Even when they truly act in the national interest, such actions are hardly divorced from their partisan interests. Politicians will always be politicians. They will almost always use whatever power is at their disposal to advance their own partisan interests. The amendments to the current Constitution proved that the drafters were wrong to assign the National Assembly the power to amend the Constitution save the entrenched clauses. And the entrenched clauses cannot remain functionally sacrosanct if their force can be undermined by the amendment or abrogation of related, supporting, or underlying clauses. As the supreme law of the land, everything in the Constitution should be deemed consequential. If they are not, they shouldn’t be in the utmost law. If they are, they should be beyond the grasp of the momentary passions or partisan motives of politicians. Yes, the power to make laws is invested in the National Assembly. But the one law they must not make is the law that gives them the power to make laws. The entire Constitution must be entrenched. No clause or paragraph or even punctuation mark must be amended without a referendum. The people must have their say. That’s the only assurance to protect the Constitution from being perverted by self-serving, power-grabbing politicians.

There are many other reasons to draft a new Constitution. Among them, the current one is poorly put together. It lacks the coherence and elegance a great national document deserves. To back up this contention, I must rely once again on Lamin J Darboe’s perceptive conclusion: “In The Gambia, [the current] Constitution is devoid of serious artistic beauty due mainly to the apparent absence of any real intention to ground the polity in an objectively verifiable rule of law. This may be attributable to the fact that the political midwives of the Constitution were also present at the critical juncture of its creation. As they were interested, had absolute power, and wielded the veto, the resulting product was way short of the minimum standards a document like a national constitution must acquire to pass the requisite test of balance and neutrality, a document, so to speak, that can serve as a fitting legacy for posterity.”

It’s, therefore, gratifying to know that the new government had a change of heart. It’s also reassuring that the source of the news was the Chief Justice. And even more reassuring, he did more than share word about the plan to draft a new Constitution. He justified both the necessity and wisdom of such an undertaking. The importance of this is just too great. Monumental, in fact. That’s why the Chief Justice spoke for me. We now have the chance to establish the third republic that seeks that elusive equilibrium between security and liberty. We must institute a government that has all the power to protect the rights of the good folks of Kiang. At the same time, that government must have no power to set aside at will the rights of the good folks of Kiang. Then, we can celebrate our Constitution and our Republic.