Why Do You Single Out Dr. Amadou Janneh

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By David Bansama

dr. janneh

Dr. Janneh: I’ll not allow anything to distract me. I am therefore responding with silence. Let them rave and rant until rivers run dry!

I read the interesting piece by Foday Samateh on Dr. Amadou Janneh and got tempted to react.

Foday’s piece in indeed interesting because it touches on a number of issues that characterize not only Amadou Janneh in particular but the average Gambian intellectual in general. That is why we need to put this phenomenon in its proper perspective rather than the selective application trend it is currently taking. Whatever is underpinning this selective criticism needs to be cast away to establish absolute objectivity, especially when Foday himself aptly stated The anything goes image-making and self-glorification finally and thankfully belongs to the bygone era”. I cannot agree with him more! Mr. Samateh (and before him, the erudite Dr. Saine) raised pertinent issues in his probing piece.

However, I would like to bring two things (better described as diseases) to the fore for Gambians to ponder over. Generally, Gambians (particularly our so-called intellectuals) are inherently selfish. In that, we first think of ourselves, then our nuclear family, then our extended family, then our tribe before we think of our country. This is not a sweeping generalization. We have some exceptions but they are fast becoming a rare breed in today’s Gambia. Following from above, Gambians can thus trade anything for government positions (especially ministerial).

These two factors explain why we still have this social misfit as our president for 19 solid years and, I am not being pessimistic, but without Divine intervention, he is likely to stay on for another decade and life will continue to be seemingly normal for all Gambians.

Having said that, let us delve into these two points in detail. Amadou Janneh is a Gambian, born and brought up in Gambia (except for his stint in the USA) inheriting these sordid characteristics that we all have including my humble self. So singling him out for castigation, in my opinion, will not help our cause. For instance, despite his unparalleled arrogance and barbarity on The Gambian populace leading to his eventual downfall, some people continue to see Sanna Sabally as faultless and in fact one of the best for our country. Our own Mathew Jallow, inspite of his exposure, intellectual standing and literary prowess, fell for this myopia. (Rerefences of Mathew’s contributions in defense of Sanna Sabally could be found in The Gambiaecho’s archives). I wonder what led him to tow that line in spite of the overwhelming evidence against his Fulani compatriot. The only logical conclusion I can give is their common Fulani heritage which bonds them together. Therefore, Mathew’s good judgment, at the time, was beclouded by his tribal sentiments.

Dr. Sedat Jobe became Minister after the November 11 1994 bloodbath; after the mysterious murder of the young Finance Minister, Ousman Koro Ceesay; and after (or was still minister during) the April 10-11 massacre of innocent students. In fact, for Dr. Jobe, having regained his credibility after his land-mark resignation in 2001 (the only one I remember after Mrs Satang Jow’s) his credibility was badly dented when years after his resignation, precisely during the 2006 presidential and parliamentary electioneering, he stood on an APRC political platform to cast aspersion on the Opposition. He holds a Ph. D and was supposed to know better. He did not think of the average man (at the time of accepting the ministerial offer) who sees him and his Ph. D as a savior. He let them down. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/Borom Hamham yi) to save our small Gambia from the disaster it has already slid into. The only logical conclusion I can make is that they were more interested in the 2Ps i.e. their pocket and personal prestige that comes with such positions. Our intellectuals indeed!!!

Dr. Saja Taal, arguably the most prostituted Gambian intellectual, held several positions during and after all of these sad events had taken place in our small society. He did not bat an eye. In fact, some accounts of Chief Manneh’s disappearance implicated Dr. Taal. Only God knows the truth about that. He holds a Ph. D and was supposed to know better. He did not think of the average man who sees him and his Ph. D as a savior. He let them down. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our small Gambia from the disaster it has already slid into. Our intellectuals indeed!!!

Mr. Sidi Sanneh, a one-time Foreign Minister, became minister after all of the above quoted incidents, and after the deliberate attempt on the life of Lawyer Ousman Sillah and the gunning down of Deyda Hydara whose family continues to seek justice until today. Sidi is not a Ph. D but he has a very impressive career both in and outside of The Gambia before and after the illegal Jammeh enterprise in the Gambia. Yet his vast exposure and experience could not save him from accepting the ministerial offer when it came his way. Today, like Dr. Janneh, he is Yahya Jammeh’s arch critic judged by his almost hebdomadal online postings. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our tiny Gambia. Our intellectuals indeed!!!

The recording-breaking speech of Dr. Njogu Bah, another PH. D (whether real or fake) in which he prayed for (and requested his audience to pray for) Jammeh to stay in power for 900 years, was a classical case of an intellectual thinking of himself first before a dying nation. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our tiny Gambia. It would be interesting to know whether Dr. Bah still maintains the same view on Jammeh. Our intellectuals indeed!!!

Dr. Crispin Grey Johnson became minister after all of the above quoted incidents, including the deliberate attempt on the life of Lawyer Ousman Sillah and the gunning down of Deyda Hydara. He holds a Ph. D and was supposed to know better. He did not think of the average man who sees him and his Ph. D as a savior. He let them down. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our small Gambia from the disaster it has already slid into.Our intellectuals indeed!!!

Our own Nana Grey Johnson, is the current Information Minister, – also an intellectual. He read all the books in The Gambia and the great seas beyond, yet his “wisdom” could not save him from accepting Jammeh’s ministerial position. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our Gambia. Our intellectuals indeed!!!

Dr. Momodou Tangara, a serving minister in the Jammeh regime, is a Ph. D. He became minister after all the atrocities mentioned earlier. He did not think of the average man who sees him and his Ph. D as a savior. He let him down. He did not see the poor farmer in Njain Sanjal, Badibu, Niumi, Jarra and Kiang looking up to them (the intellectuals/ Borom Hamham yi) to save our small Gambia from the disaster it has already slid into. Our intellectuals indeed!!!  I can go on and on with examples of Gambian intellectuals going about messing everybody up. All these PH.Ds are jokes.

Buba Baldeh, our serious activist in Dakar, was part of the overthrown PPP and it did not prevent him from accepting Yahya’s offer when he had the opportunity. He is not an intellectual like the caliber of those mentioned above. But he has the Gambian blood in him transmitting our common disease which beclouded his judgment at the time of accepting Jammeh’s poisoned chalice.

Yet with all of the above, we continue to say our society is a “close-knit” one where everyone knows each other thereby reinforcing the need to exercise MASLAHA. Yet from our “close-knit” society, people are willing to accept Jammeh’s offer when the next door neighbor is crying over an assassinated son, husband, father and/or a jailed brother who puts food for them on the table. What an interesting society!! Is it Maslaha or sheer hypocrisy?

When I first read the humorous Papa Kumba Loum’s sarcastic piece on Gambians, I initially felt like drawing him close to me and punching him on the head. However, upon a second, and this time, a sober reading of his piece, I felt like calling and congratulating him because he was just so apt with our comportment. So Dr. Janneh belongs to the same Gambian intellectual club with the same features. This is why singling him out for criticism, in my opinion, smacks of some hidden agenda. In fact, he has realized his mistakes and is willing to make good what he did wrong. We either get rid of all of them (including the ones I have mentioned above) and start with people who have unblemished records or we accommodate them whilst holding them in check to ensure they do not mess us up the second time.

Education is supposed to benefit the larger society and it is not the same as intellectualism. Education is intellectualism plus character. Most of our co-called intellectuals do not have that required moral character to be able to use their “education” to benefit our society. Instead, most of them see their education as a means to obtain wealth and prestige at the expense of the impoverished lot. So I have but very little respect for most of our intellectuals. They said Yahya is not educated, is dumb, he is this, he is that, yet with his supposed ignorance and dumbness, he uses all these intellectuals (some PH.Ds) to his advantage and later dumps them. So who in fact is dumb – Yahya or our so-called intellectuals? If our men of the book and Western orientation and busy jockeying for positions in an illegal enterprise, what makes us, the Gambian Diaspora, think that Gambians in The Gambia will rise up against the Jammeh regime? How sure will they be that our so-called intellectuals will not highjack their cause to become Jammeh-reincarnations? No Gambian (inside Gambia – both Military and Civilian) will ever bell the cat in rising against Jammeh and Jammeh (the wise fool) knows this. Let us be objective and rid ourselves of these destructive diseases that we all have – selfishness and lust for position, prestige and fame. Even our Diaspora liberation associations as well as our on-line papers and their contributors are not immune to this. You do not need to have a magi to see the bickering?

 


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