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City of Banjul
Thursday, October 1, 2020

A politician versus a man of God

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When ordinary Gambians praise and call Jammeh his many names and titles, we ignore them. We ignore them; because they are human after all, or better still are many of them not within their rights to do so?

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However, when religious leaders praise his good deeds (building mosques and sponsoring Qur’anic recitations) and even went as far as awarding him the grand title of Nasirudeen, we chastise them. We called them all sorts of names in the book.

Dear reader, instead of beating about the bush, I will spare you the writer’s tactic of heeing, haaing and rigmaroling around the bush and go straight to the point.

I am writing about a politician’s recent, almost constant attack against Momodou Lamin Touray, the president of Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC) whose only crime is approving the council’s decision to award His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa.

I must admit, sometimes I wonder why Jammeh needs all these many names? They are so many, even the grand Sheikh Dr Zakir Naik struggles to remember them despite his almost photographic memory. Gosh!

I consider Darboe’s attack against Oustass Lamin Touray “a politician’s wickedness and insensitivity” to a religious leader’s plight. How on this good earth does Mr Darboe expect a human being, a religious leader to be in the world and not be of the world? Is Oustass Lamin Touray a perfect man? Can’t he be political? Isn’t his post not a political as well as a religious one?

Darboe’s spatio-mutational insensitivity and pretention not to know what the good man of God has found himself dealing with irks me “beyond human endurance”,  as my good man and learned friend, Dr Henry Carrol said in his response to a Standard newspaper reader who accused him of trying to force himself into the consciousness of the nation. Carrol’s response was the most dramatic response to criticism I’ve seen in recent times.

I called Darboe’s harshly expressed criticism against Touray ‘a politician’s ‘spatio-mutational insensitivity’ because I know he knows better.

For centuries we’ve seen how leaders in Saudi, Egypt, Syria and Sudan used religious leaders and muftis to gain legitimacy and stay in power. By that I don’t mean Jammeh is doing the same thing in The Gambia.  Darboe being a veteran in Gambian politics, albeit almost rendered a mere critic and spectator due to the chess master – Jammeh’s law passed by his parliament which banned  anyone from contesting elections beyond the age of 65. Maybe, that’s why Darboe is so bitter and mean to the quiet and humble imam. If Darboe tells you that’s why, believe it; even if he doesn’t tell you, believe it!

Alhassan Darboe (Gunjur)

Tennessee, USA

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