Archive for the ‘Press Freedom’ Category

PRESIDENT JAMMEH DRAGS SENEGAL IN THE MUD

July 14, 2013
Macky Sall learnt the bitter lesson of Yahya Jammeh's betrayal

Sall and Jammeh – two sides of a coin

Senegal and the Gambia share a lot in common: culture, tradition, languages, religions, lineage, and to some degree a cosy economic and political history. It is on this backdrop that the Senegambia Confederation was forged to further cement the already cordial relations between the two countries divided only by colonial legacy.

Albeit there were setbacks such as the dissolution of the confederation, the relationship between the two countries has always being amicable until Jammeh usurped power from Jawara in 22 July 1994. He has always been suspicious of Senegal and its interest in the Gambia.  Notwithstanding, Senegal continues shinning as an emerging democratic state with an economy gradually steadying its feet. Its press freedom and adherence to the rule of law highlights all the political excesses with impunity in its neighbour’s backyard-the Gambia.

Furthermore, Senegal has for long been a safe haven for many Gambians fleeing home for their lives. Despite, the Senegalese government does not take full responsibility for the safety, security and wellbeing of most of the Gambian dissidents now residing in its soil; they are rarely harassed by its security services. As a result, Jammeh sees the Senegalese government as a collaborator with his enemies; a bitter pill he finds hard to swallow. He accused the Sall government of aiding and abetting Gambian dissidents in Senegal, to destabilize his autocratic government.

After successive futile attempts to get the Senegalese government to extradite his “Gambian enemies” in Senegal, he went undercover to prostitute some its gullible, feeble and greedy senior government and security officials to kidnap and sell these dissidents to him. In other words, Jammeh has successfully turned Senegal into a booming market where Gambians dissidents are bought and sold at exorbitant prices. He is spending millions and millions of dollars on the heads of Gambian dissidents in Senegal.

What now prevails in Senegal is any Gambian that expresses a desire to root out the decadent Jammeh regime in Banjul is accorded an audience with highly placed Macky officials. They will assure you of all the support you may require and even promised to arrange a meeting between you and Macky or other high profiles of his government just convince you that they want to see Jammeh go more than you. While you float in the euphoria of accomplishing what every Gambian dreams of, they are recording your audio meeting as well as monitoring your every step. The moment you leave the venue, they jump in jubilation for their new earned mine. Next, a phone rings and someone at the other end in NIA headquarters picks up the phone. Then the negotiation for a price of the audio recording sets in motion. From the NIA, a special number is rang and in Kanilai, where Jammeh is eager waiting for such calls will hastily pick up and listens attentively to the caller as he is filled in on the latest catch. On the spot, Jammeh will pay a hefty amount in raw cocaine cash usually in thousands of dollars. In my mind’s eye I can see his “daabaa” (big mouth) widens in smile for another job accomplished. Others will be lured to the Cassamance region to meet in discreet with sympathetic high profile Senegalese politicians, security personnel and some international organizations representatives. Official state vehicle bearing government registration number plates will be sent to pick you up. Once you fall into such a callous trap, you next point of call will be… Your guess is as good as mind.

Jammeh is investing so much raw cash into this new booming market that Senegal is fast becoming a distressing place for many Gambians fleeing the imbecilic Gambian tyrant to live. His latest acquired treasures are Mahawa Cham and Saul Ndow who are currently undergoing incomprehensible tortures in his detention chambers. Of late, Jammeh is going after any Gambian in the diaspora he dubbed “cockroach” who is critical of him and his distasteful governance in a chilling clandestine way.  Among his modus operandi are kidnapping and poisoning. The late Kukoi Samba Sanyang was a clear testimony of his kidnapping and poisoning of Gambian dissidents in the diaspora. His agents disguised as everything from gigolos to street hawkers. What is even more disturbing is such operations are often staged by his rogue agents as state managed which drags Senegal’s good name in the mud.

Due to his unwitting arrogance, obnoxious rudeness, corrupted mind and cold heart, Jammeh loathes anything that questions his views, orders and dreams. Consequently, he will go to any length to uproot opposition. To further demonstrate this, he in collaboration with is information on Wednesday 3 July 2013 introduced a new law which criminalises internet dissent.  This brings to mind what a colleague said recently; the worst traitor is a journalist who crossed over.

To cap it, I will admonish all Gambians dissidents in Senegal to be mindful of Jammeh’s agents who are constantly preying on you. Ensure your where about is always know by a third party and were possible be in groups. Soon he will realise that he can cleanse a people with bullets and poison but he cannot kill an ideology neither avert the course of destiny.

 

Sulayman Jeng, UK

Worry Looms Over Resumption Of EU-Gambia Dialogue

July 12, 2013

EUROPEAN UNION ASKED TO STAND FIRM

ON RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN GAMBIA

 

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh 

European-Union-managing-director-for-African-Affairs-Nick-Westcott

EU Chief for Africa/ in2eastafrica.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right groups have raised concern about the resumption of political dialogue between the Gambia and European Union’s Managing Director for Africa, Nicholas Westcott.

“Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CCG), the Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia UK (CHRG), and the Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG) are deeply concerned about this development especially after it comes in the wake of a public condemnation of the European Union’s demands led by the head of state, President Yahya Jammeh, senior government officials, national assembly members and community leaders,” the groups said in a statement.

The groups “wish to bring to the attention of the European Union delegation that since they made the 17 Point Demands in January 2013 focusing on the revision of media laws, the moratorium on the death penalty, including the provision of information regarding the location of burial of nine death row inmates executed in August 2012 and broader human rights issues; other obnoxious and more stifling media laws have been put in place including the Information and Communication Amendment Act (2013) which was passed into law by the National Assembly on Wednesday, 3 July, 2013. Any person convicted under this law is liable to “a fine of three (3) Million Dalasis approximately US$88,235 or imprisonment for 15 years or to both the fine and imprisonment.” The Act applies to all persons without regard to the place from which the offence was committed.”

The groups also raised concerns over the Gambia government’s refusal to inform families of the executed death row inmates about their place of burial and that many Gambians, including senior government officials continue to be the victims of incommunicado detentions and torture.

However, the groups were comforted by the statements of Nicholas Westcott after he his closed door meeting with President Jammeh that “We raised most of the issues that have been a cause for problems before; we reached an understanding that there should be a full exchange of information from both sides, questions asked, answers provided where they are and that the political dialogue would continue in its full form later this week on 11th July.”

The right groups want the Gambia government to comply with all the Articles of the Cotonu Agreement, which underscore the respect for human rights, rule of law and good governance as the cornerstone for EU support for development. “We understand that Human rights are an essential element of the Cotonou Agreement,” they said. “The human rights situation in the Gambia continues to deteriorate and we insist that the EU must continue to promote a strong commitment to human rights principles,” the groups added, expecting the “EU to stand firm by its demand that families of the executed death row inmates will finally be given the much needed information of where the loved ones were buried to allow them closure from this most traumatic experience.”

They also want the EU to pressure the Gambia government to repeal its recently enacted Communications Bill, which does not fall in line with international standards of Free Expression and Access to Information.

Last month the CHRG and CCG conducted a tour within Europe and in consultations with senior government officials in the UK and the European Union insisted that a strong commitment to human rights principles, rule of law and respect for the dignity of the Gambian people, remains at the forefront of any consultation and continued relationship between the government of the Gambia and the European Union.

Reassurances from Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the United Kingdom’s Senior Minister of State, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office indicate that the “UK Coalition government and their European partners are in agreement that the EU must continue to promote a strong commitment to human rights principles.”

The CCG, CSAG position is backed by Lord Eric Avebury, joint Vice Chair of the UK, Parliamentary Human Rights Group and Liberal Democrat Peer.

International human rights groups and other CCG, CHRG, CSAG partners in the region are also of the view that a government that does not respect human rights, continues to hold its people ransom and disregards the rule of law should not continue to receive European Union funding.

Ends

Justice for Disappeared, Tortured Gambian Journalists

July 11, 2013
Chief Manneh - Where are you?

Chief Manneh Deserves Justice  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Media Foundation for West Africa has urged people to take part in seeking justice for disappeared and tortured Gambian journalists Chief Ebrima Manneh and Musa Saidykhan.

Accra-based foundation wants people to sign a petition to the President of the Economic Community of West African States Kadré Désiré OUEDRAOGO lodging complaints about the Gambia government’s refusal to comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decisions in the case of Chief Manneh and Musa Saidykhan. Apart from ordering the Gambia government to release Mr. Manneh, the court also ruled that the two journalists be compensated.

Read below a statement issued by MFWA with regard to both cases:

The Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa wants people to take action for Chief Ebrima Manneh who has been denied justice. Find below a press release issued by the foundation:

MFWA Take Action: 7years of disappearance of Gambia’s Chief Manneh; Justice delayed is justice denied.

July 7, 2013 marked exactly 7years since Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a reporter of the pro-government newspaper, Daily Observer, in the Gambia disappeared. Chief Manneh was on July 7, 2006 arrested by officers of the Gambia National Intelligence Agency (NIA) following an attempt to republish an article he downloaded from the internet, which was critical of President Yahya Jammeh’s administration.

He has since been globally regarded as a victim of ‘forced’ disappearance because the Gambian government continues to deny custody of him and has clearly refused to conduct any investigations into his whereabouts.

Within the period (July 2006 – July 2013) Gambia’s senior government officials, including President Jammeh, Marie Saine-Firdaus, the former Minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, former Attorney General, Yankuba Sonko, Inspector General of Police have made conflicting statements about his whereabouts.

For instance in 2009, Firdaus told the Gambian National Assembly that Manneh is not in the custody of the state. However, in a 2011 interview with the Daily News, Gomez claimed that Manneh was alive, pre-supposing that the State has information on the whereabouts of Chief Manneh.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in 2007, litigated against the Gambian government, the case of Manneh’s arrest and disappearance at the ECOWAS Court. The Court in a ruling the following year, (June 2008) declared Manneh’s arrest and detention illegal and ordered the Gambian government to release and compensate him with an amount of US$100,000.

However, the Gambia has, to date (5years since the ruling), refused to respect the Court’s ruling.

The MFWA, on the occasion of the 7th year of his disappearance calls on the ECOWAS Commission to compel the Gambian government to respect the ECOWAS Court’s ruling on Manneh.

We are, therefore, entreating all Gambians, International and regional human rights groups and activists, governments, inter-governmental bodies/agencies to join the campaign, calling for The Gambia to respect freedom of expression and comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decisions.

Join the campaign to ensure The Gambia respects and complies with the regional Court’s decisions. Kindly sign (write name & country) on the draft petition below and send to the following email addresses:

To: info@ecowas.int;

cc: info@statehouse.gm; alerts@mediafound.org😉

PETITION

 

Your Excellency Kadré Désiré OUEDRAOGO

President

ECOWAS Commission

 

Cc:

Your Excellency Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh

Head of State

Republic of the Gambia

 

Your Excellency,

We are concerned about the Gambian government’s continuous non-compliance with the decisions of the Community Court of Justice. The Gambia has refused to respect the decisions of the Court in two cases litigated against it by the regional Freedom of Expression organisation, Media Foundation for West Africa -(Chief Ebrimah Manneh and The Republic of the Gambia), (Musa Saidykhan and The Republic of the Gambia)

Although The Gambia is a signatory to the ECOWAS Protocol establishing the Community Court of Justice, it has to date refused to comply with the rulings on both cases.

Recognising the negative impact of non-compliance on the reputation of the Community Court and the pursuit of regional peace and stability, we plead with Your Excellency and the esteemed Commission to take immediate action to ensure that member states comply with the Court’s decisions.

We add our voice to calls for the inclusion of the Implementation of the Regional Court’s decisions in the agenda of the upcoming Heads of State Summit in 2013. 

 

Yours Sincerely,

Name:

Country:

 

 

 

Of Gambia’s Crack Down On Online Activism

July 6, 2013

THE LAST KICK OF A DYING HORSE

 

Fabakary Tombong Jatta

Majority leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta and co are on the wrong side of history!

The Gambia’s rubber-stamping national assembly has again done what it does best: massaging the ego of President Yahya Jammeh.

The enactment of a new bill that imposes lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines on anyone who criticizes government officials on the internet is a renewal of the Gambia government’s defiant assault on dissent.

The Gambia’s kangaroo courts have now got the leverage to send a person to jail for 15 years for merely posting anything that caricatures or makes derogatory statements against public officials or impersonates them online.

Ironically, the Information and Communication (Amendment) Act 2013, tabled before parliament by Information Minister Nana Gray-Johnson,  protects public officials against violence. It therefore imposes a fine of three million Dalasis on internet activists, leaving Gambians at the mercy of a system known for isolating its citizens from creating or taking part in public debate on issues affecting their lives.

We concur with Amnesty International that the law is “an outrageous attack on freedom of expression.” Any government that strangulates freedom of expression has flouted the key pillar of democracy, and blocks any possibility of checks and balances. Such a government disrespects and betrays the confidence of its people.

But this is not surprising in a country where authorities fear journalists more than death, as evidenced by the government’s launching of systematic crack down on anyone who openly criticizes the government or its policies. All their efforts – including shutting down newspapers, radio stations, imprisonment of activists and expelling of foreign journalists – have resulted to the proliferation of online media, creating citizen journalists on a daily basis. It is not therefore surprising that the Gambia government decides to go after the online media, which have become the only source of credible and uncensored information.

The enactment of the new law means the online content is getting into the dictatorial regime’s skin. What the Jammeh regime needs to understand is that press freedom is unstoppable, for human beings will do all it takes to feed their minds with information, no matter what. In fact, dictatorial regimes have all failed in this fight, and we see no reason why a government that pays its civil service a pittance can succeed. This law has left us with no choice other than becoming sophisticate in our news gathering. Alluta continua!

Ends

Gambia/EU Dialogue Resumes this month

July 2, 2013

Is Human Rights Discussion Off The Table?

 

Jose Manuel Barroso

EU Commission President Jose Barroso/EU picture

Jammeh is Blood-thirsty

President Jammeh’s regime pulled out of talks with EU without justifiable reasons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stalled political dialogue between the Gambia government and European Union is scheduled to resume this month amidst worries that discussions on human rights will be off the table.

The talks were suspended or called off after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh flatly rejected the EU’s 17-point demands. The demands include respect for human rights in the Gambia.

“It was learnt from some sources that the agenda for the next round of political dialogue with the Gambia Government is being broadened beyond human rights and democracy,” a report on UK-Belgium Advocacy Tour on the Gambia revealed, relying on sources that “human rights will not be on the table – a very worrisome prospect. To this effect, all participants in the Advocacy Tour have proposed immediate, coordinated initiatives to ensure that human rights remains at the core of all deliberations with the Gambia government.”

The one week European tour involves members of the Coalition for Change –The Gambia, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy.

Read full text of the report below:

UK – BELGIUM ADVOCACY TOUR ON THE GAMBIA -May 28 – June 24, 2013

INTRODUCTION

A team of executive members of the Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CCG) in close collaboration with Amnesty International and the Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) embarked on an Advocacy Tour of Europe focusing on The Gambia from May 28 – June 24, 2013.

The tour was led by Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, Coordinator of CCG, and included: Alieu Badara Ceesay of CHRD based in Scotland; Ameen Ayodele and Luana Gard of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat in London; Paul Dillane of Amnesty International –  UK; and Francesca Feruglio of Amnesty International, EU – Brussels.

EVENTS / ACTIVITIES

(A) Dr. Janneh arrived in the United Kingdom on May 28, 2013 and met Gambians across the country ahead of the June 12, 2013 Seminar organized by Amnesty International.  He visited Portsmouth, Newport, Leeds, Bristol, Nottingham, Southampton, and London. Discussions centered on the deteriorating human rights situation in The Gambia, efforts to unify opposition groups under a common platform, and ways in which individuals and groups can play constructive roles in the struggle for democracy in the country.

(B) The tour was quite successful in terms of shedding the media spotlight on The Gambia. Besides the extensive coverage that the June 12, 2013 Seminar attracted, Dr. Janneh was interviewed by two major British newspapers, including The Guardian. He took part in a popular current affairs program on Colourful Radio, and appeared on a news program hosted by Henry Bonsu via the Pan-African TV channel VoxAfrica. The episode was rebroadcast three times during the week.

(C) Dr. Janneh, Alieu Badara Ceesay, and Ameen Ayodele held a meeting with British MP Katy Clark to update her on the situation in The Gambia. The group sought and got her pledge to play a leading role in the struggle to protect and promote human rights in the country. Various recommendations were presented to her after extended discussions.

(D) Another round of discussions were held at the House of Lords by Dr. Janneh, Alieu Badara Ceesay, and Luana Gard with Lord Eric Avebury, Joint Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights. Lord Avebury suggested that the team liaise with other parliamentarians to build a strong alliance within the British legislature. He also agreed to introduce a Motion in the House of Lords designed to recognize the work Dr. Janneh and his colleagues have been doing and to express solidarity with those demanding freedom in The Gambia.

(E) Similar sentiments were expressed by Ian Lucas, Labour Party Shadow Minister for Africa, during meetings with Dr. Janneh, Alieu B. Ceesay, and Luana Gard. The group submitted current information on the Gambia and agreed to keep the MP informed. Mr. Lucas offered suggestions on the way forward and promised to bring the issue of human rights in The Gambia up for debate in the House of Commons. He also pledged to seek the support of his colleagues and media associates to keep The Gambia in the limelight and to exert more pressure on the regime in Banjul.

(F) The Brussels Advocacy Round by Dr. Janneh with the support of Francesca Feruglio, Amnesty International’s EU Foreign Policy Assistant, was also quite fruitful. The duo met with Ioana Bobes, Human Rights Unit Officer, DG External Policies, European Parliament; Karolina Stasiak, Desk Officer for Senegal and The Gambia, West Africa Division, European External Action Service; Victoria Correa, Policy Officer, Human Rights Policy and Guideleines, European External Action Service; Anton Jensen and Veronica Girandi, Geographical Coordination for Western and Central Africa, Development and Cooperation Directorate of the European Commission; Leonie Galler of the German Permanent Representation to the EU; and Daniel Sherry of the UK Permanent Representation to the EU.

Dr. Janneh and Francesca Feruglio shared current information on the human rights situation in the Gambia with all parties concerned. As in previous events, Dr. Janneh  advanced CCG’s recommendation that the international community adopt tougher measures against Yahya Jammeh’s regime to compel it to abide by The Gambia’s laws and its international obligations.

The group received mixed signals relating to the EU’s possible resumption of political dialogue with the Gambia government in July 2013. The talks were suspended or called off after President Jammeh rejected EU demands that the regime abide by its own commitments to democracy and human rights.

It was learnt from some sources that the agenda for the next round of political dialogue with The Gambia Government is being broadened beyond human rights and democracy. Other reliable sources, however, said human rights will not be on the table – a very worrisome prospect. To this effect, all participants in the Advocacy Tour have  proposed immediate, coordinated initiatives to ensure that human rights remains at the core of all deliberations with the Gambia Government.

(G) The Joint Seminar on Human Rights in The Gambia, co-sponsored by Amnesty International and the UK Bar Human Rights Committee on June 12, 2013 in London, was the apex of the Advocacy Tour. With Dr. Janneh as keynote speaker, the program also featured Alieu B. Ceesay of CHRD, Paul Dillane of AI,  Ben Cooper from Doughty Street Chambers, and Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee.

The panelists focused on the current human rights climate in The Gambia, particularly prison conditions, threats to free expression, and the need for rule of law. The challenges Gambians face in seeking asylum in the UK were also dealt with in detail, with citations of recent cases.

Turnout at the event was quite high, and interactions during and after the seminar indicated heightened concern about human rights in The Gambia.

CONCLUSION

As a result of the Advocacy Tour, several specific actions or policies have been proposed to bring about change:

1. The imposition of sanctions, such as travel bans and the freezing of assets, targeting President Jammeh and his closest associates and family members;

2. Diplomatic efforts to isolate and shame the Jammeh regime at international organizations until it dramatically alters its treatment of Gambians;

3. Effective use of litigation through regional international courts to end impunity and human rights violations;

4. Gather evidence to build an air-tight case against President Jammeh at the ICC;

5. Devise means of ensuring that Gambians both at home and abroad have unfettered access to information;

6. Concerted, coordinated, and sustained actions to push the agenda for a better human rights environment.

It is worth noting that Amnesty International does not endorse some of these recommendations for policy reasons. However, these reflect the views and positions of many civil society groups working for democratic change in The Gambia.

Dr. Janneh; Banka Manneh, Chairman of Civil Society Associations – Gambia (CSAG); and Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Secretary-General of both CCG and CSAG; will embark on a similar Advocacy Tour of West Africa beginning on July 1, 2013.

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Gambia: Paradise Grins Its Atrocities Away

June 21, 2013

jammeh pix

Behind a row of luxurious resorts overlooking sparkling blue seas in the Gambia’s capital, Banjul, lie more meagre lodgings, nicknamed Mile 2 hotel.

A stone’s throw from the white sands that make this West African country the region’s biggest package holiday destination, the mosquito-infested Mile 2 central prison houses Gambians jailed for offences including distributing T-shirts without ­official permission.

Tens of thousands of winter sun-seekers flock to mainland Africa’s smallest country every year, drawn by its stunning beaches, bird-watching and haunting kora music. As the Arab Spring pushes holidaymakers from North African hot spots – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – Gambian tour operators say bookings have increased. But beneath the package holiday gloss is the acute paranoia of one of Africa’s worst police states.

“Gambia is not a military dictatorship, but nobody likes to mention the president’s name,” said a tour guide, who agreed to speak only during a canoe trip, far from earshot. “Tourism has brought jobs, but we cannot even discuss improving the sector.”

Since taking power in a bloodless coup in 1994, President Yahya Jammeh has swapped army fatigues for a white gown and sceptre, and rules through a potent mix of state brutality and mysticism, claiming to cure a long list of maladies from Aids to erectile dysfunction.

Enfolded by Senegal, which is one of Africa’s most successful democracies, the Gambia has one of the continent’s worst human rights records.

Tourism has become an economic lifeline under the regime of a president who urges “every Gambian to be a policeman”.

After years holidaying in Tunisia, Emma, a housewife in her 50s from Gloucestershire, England, chose the Gambia as an alternative this year. “The only thing I know about the president is his portrait is absolutely everywhere, isn’t it? But I’d recommend this place to anyone, you’re absolutely safe here,” she added, sipping a cocktail as peacocks strolled past her hotel pool.

Many of the Gambia’s 1.7-million citizens face a much darker reality.

Activist and former minister Amadou Scattred Janneh was sentenced to life imprisonment for distributing T-shirts at a rally. He shares a cell with a 24-year-old jailed for creating an online social media profile using the president’s name.

Janneh said that in November he saw nine prisoners apparently randomly executed by firing squad. “It was very traumatic. No one knew what criteria they used,” he said. “One person had already served their term, another had been in jail for eight months, another for 27 years.”

A spokesperson for the European Union, which has earmarked €76-million in development aid to the Gambia for the 2008-2013 period, said it had cut funding by 20% following “concerns” about human rights.

Jammeh’s secret police, disguised as everything from gigolos to street hawkers, have arrested people for reacting “indifferently” when his presidential convoy passes.

Janneh said that one day Gambians will have had enough. “Gambia will not have anything like the Tunisia or Libya uprisings, but there’s a real possibility of violent upheaval.”

Story and Picture provided courtesy of Guardian News & Media 2013

MY PERSONAL GENUINE TICKLING OBSERVATION REGARDING READERS’ REACTIONS TO MY ARTICLES

June 3, 2013

Lamin Sabally- Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lamin SaballyI have been sporadically appallingly lampooned, bitterly pilloried, penetratingly vilified and unjustifiably put under a seeming erratic  and overwhelmingly biased heavy flak on the pages of both Hellogambia and Kibaaro web-based newspapers largely by anonymous readers, whose nauseating disparagements are embodiment of their increasingly paranoid delusions often clearly manifested in their vehement reactions to my opinion articles on issues that I considered to be fittingly germane to the Gambian cultural and social issues and important personal issues that matter to me dating back to my formative academic years in high school. Among some of my articles that attracted some shocking outbursts that are lacking even an ounce of substance from some conspicuous familiar readers include:  Gambian in US Nursing Homes, An Epidemic of Honesty, Recollection of my High School days, Leadership Debate, Proposed debate between Hamat Bah & Halifa Sallah to name just a few.

Interestingly, in what appears to have aroused my perplexity, the recent ones I authored about what I personally deemed to be signs of emerging positive relations between the GPU and Gambia government following the gracing of the GPU celebrations of World Press Freedom Day by Minister Nana Grey-Johnson and the importance of the Kal or Sanawuya system, equally attracted similar eccentric criticisms that are typically characteristic of rages by persons unmistakably exhibiting the hallmarks of loose gibbering nitpickers.

Admittedly, to indicate that I like and love criticisms is an understatement, but only if they are constructive  and obliging, because I treat them as necessary recipes for molding me into a better and mature person in whatever capacity I find myself in. With humility, while knowing well that everyone is fallible, because as humans, we are genetically wired to making mistakes and errors, I am equally willingly receptive to productive criticisms that are devoid of sickening name- calling and also weeded or purged of all forms of subjectivity and erratic condemnation without scintilla justification. Sadly though, most of those that have been intermittently heaped on me by my outlandish critics happened to be symptomatic of indecorous bashing embedded in their childish attempt at questioning my political view and what some of them believed to be my perceived deliberate stance to plainly desist from being “critical of the Jammeh government”. Ironically, these are mainly few berserk-going readers who themselves go absolutely anonymous by using pseudo names, some of which are very comical in nature indeed. The million dollar question is why are these so-called critics hiding behind the shadow of their keyboards, which is magnified by show of their daylight refusal to reveal their real identities? This deliberate failure clearly reveals the cowardice being excessively exhibited by the so- called critics who have dejectedly failed in their shameful attempt to compare me with others, because first, it must be injected into their skulls that I am not in competition with anyone, and second, my political stance is absolutely irrelevant and unnecessary. If they want to show their bravado, they must emerge from their keyboard “N’yanchoyaa” comfort zone by coming out plain with their legal names.

At best, the petulance and condescending diatribes of these immature critics obviously epitomizes what I will best equate with their shallow understanding or absolute obliviousness of the general principle of respect of other’s opinions, thus catapulting them into an abyss of paranoia. For this, they must be collectively reminded of my famous quotation that I am sure decidedly encapsulated their mutual chain of myopic reactions “there is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”.

The people they preposterously compared me are recognized to be manifestly brave enough to be using their real names in the profession they dearly love and some of these idols and heroes are seen to be ardently carrying out their responsibilities within the purview of uncontested journalistic professionalism. What is wrong if the humble Lamin Sabally, an insignificant figure in the political equation of the Gambia, and who is only a mere observer of events, prefer to bring variety on the news pages of Maafanta, Hellogambia, Kibaroo, Gainako and Freedom newspapers by writing opinion pieces on cultural and social issues that these remarkably great editors have never hesitated to post on their respected newspapers of national and international repute? Glad to report that even the mighty Foroyaa newspaper has been gracious enough by publishing my opinion article that unassumingly pushes for the likely Mr. Sallah and Bah debate and for this and other reasons, a well-clarified rejoinder was recently given by honorable Halifa Sallah . Most newspapers were abuzz with that befitting rejoinder embedded with the needed clarity. Precisely, one of my mentors Demba A. Jawo has given a decisive clincher when he acknowledges on Maafanta. These sort of stories will no doubt goa long way in lessening the tension usually created by too much involvement in political arguments, especially coming right on the heels of the much hyped-about Raleigh conference on democracy which brought together opposition leaders from the Gambia and activists in the Diaspora to strategize on how to salvage the country from the political decadence engulfing it”

I must hasten to add that opinions are not necessarily facts, and given that no one person has monopoly over facts, let us agree unequivocally to the principle of agreeing to disagree. To this end, if and when a reader disagrees with an opinion of a writer, that reader must simply disagree respectfully instead of jumping into outrageous condemnations and uncontrolled bashing that are amongst veritable barriers of encouraging healthy constructive criticisms.

Truth be told brutally, I am not bothered and no amount of dissuasions will make me relent in my opinion writing crusade within the finest tenets of the doctrine of respecting and being receptive to opposing views, as long as Maafanta, Kibaaro News, Hellogambia, Freedom and Gainako editors generously continue to offer me space by publishing my postings to the joyous and pleasingly reading of some of my staunch fans. I am taking a big solace in the favorable assessments I continue to get from my fans on the pages of Kibaaro, Gainako and Hellogambia, and they are the more reason why I will be more determined, encouraged and energized to write. To all my fans, I say thank you plentifully and I must indicate I am much appreciative of your pleasing feedback and you have completely overshadowed the barking of some of these toothless bull dogs that are hiding behind the comfort of their keyboards. By all stretch of estimation, you have contained them  within the conform zone of their keyboard heroism and your collective efforts have equally served as  an effective barricade and permanent bulwark against their manifestly  reverberating rage that must be controlled before it gets out of control. To Malcolm X,  be assured you will Insha Allah see more  joking jibes within the context of our joking relationship system for which you revealed you are “anxiously waiting for”, to Jalamang and Ebrima, I truly and regally salute your  endorsement of dissention under the climate of unfettered decorum, and  to Ismaila, thanks so much for the uncompromising clarification you gave to some celebrated buffoons  who  spiritedly tried to depict me as Prince Babucarr Sankano, even after seeing  my plainly written legal name and state of residence characteristically befitting of my byline anytime I write, and to the rest of my beloved fans, I say thank you so much for showing  your avalanche of unbridled gratefulness. With that, I rest my case indefinitely on these noise makers.