Lasana ‘Dino’ Hydara The sheriff speaking ‘truth to power’

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By Lamin Cham In late 2016 Lasana ‘Dino ‘Hydara prophesied that former president Yahya Jammeh will lose the election that year but it would take big struggle to get him to leave. His words came to pass literally. Last week, the famed seer recorded and released an audio on WhastApp with a dire warning that unless President Barrow changes his ways, the country could once again face an existentialist crisis. The Standard editor, Lamin Cham, visited him at his sojourn home in Sanyang, Kombo South and talked to him about this and other issues. Can you tell our readers more about yourself? My name is Lasana Hydara but now many people know me as Dino which was a name coined to disguise my identity at the height of Jammeh’s confusion when I was targeted for possible harm. My family came from Wuli Touba. My father’s grandfather first settled in Fatako in Jimara when he came from the land of ‘Tilibo’ (east, Mali). He died 200 years ago and his family then moved to Wuli Touba. My father’s mother was Sarata Dibassey the first granddaughter of Simoto Kemo also called Simoto Touba. Right to this day our family compound is in Wuli Touba and we still pay the rates of the compound there. Where did you spend your early life and education? I grew up in Mali, Burkina Faso and finally came to The Gambia to stay, first in Kuraw, then Fantumbung and right now am in Kantele Kunda in Kantora. As a very young man I traveled far and wide in search of education starting from Dampha Kunda in The Gambia, to Fouta Touba and Mandina Kuta in Guinea before and then to Kurokang and Timbucktu in Mali and Niger. I then came back to Mali to work for sometime before finally coming back home. You became famous for speaking out against Jammeh and even forecasting his fall, How did that come to you? You know marabouts and rulers are two sides of the same coin. When a marabout goes off track he challenges the ruler, but when the ruler is heading for catastrophe, he plays with marabouts. My fracas with Jammeh was because I saw in a vision that his reign will end with the last election and nothing could be done about it. When I made this fact public, he tried to get me to work on something to avert that. His advisers who knew me told him I will not be willing to do that but Jammeh was convinced that with money he could win me over to do something for him. But he did not know that I never liked him personally. Why? My father [the ‘Leybato Sheriffo’, Muckhtarr Hydara] once told us, his children, that no one among us should ever pray for or help Jammeh in anything about his rule because of his killings and destruction of people and properties. Do you know that Deyda Hydara was my relative and I am related to Ebrima ‘Chief’ Manneh too? Because of these and many other things like fostering deep division among Muslim leaders, I flatly refused to do anything with him. So in the end he classed me as one of his enemies. I clearly saw that he will go and none of his marabouts could stop that. You are a very respected marabout, why meddle in politics in the first place? I told you earlier that marabouts and rulers complement each other so as a marabout, when I see something happening to the country, I need to speak out to avert it. That’s what I do and will continue to do. Let us talk about the present. You made an audio warning President Barrow to mend his ways. Why the need to talk again? I decided to address Barrow because I foresee potential chaos, instability and conflict that could devour our country unless Barrow changes his ways. He did not know that there are many conspiracies to cause instability and he must wake up to this fact by changing his ways. What do you exactly want him to do? I want him to open fresh dialogue with Ousainu Darboe and other UDP officials and indeed all the people he worked together with to achieve this change. He must realise that whatever happens in the country will affect his image. He must not say or do anything that will make him look greedy or over ambitious. The overriding support he received from people over the past two years was unprecedented. That alone should satisfy him and make him a humble person. But I can see him being misled by people whose interests are not patriotic. He must return to the UDP and discuss with them on his plans and ambitions and seek their blessings first. Any other way will spell disaster that would be worse than what befell Yahya Jammeh. Since you have some roots in Jimara do you know Barrow in person? No. But I know people who know him and I love him as a humble person. My only worry is he is going astray and needs to be advised to get back to his senses. What is your position on the debate about three or five years mandate for Barrow? With all what is happening now all will depend on how Barrow conducts himself in office. If he remains humble and respectful to people, he can be here for five years but if he chooses to go on the wrong path, he would not be here for five years. Finally what do you foresee and have as a message for Gambians? I will do all by best using all means to pray for peace in this country and her people to continue living in peace but equally, I feel that our leaders must work extra hard to prevent disputes by handling political matters maturely. Thank you for talking to The Standard I am very happy to meet and talk with you. Thank you and you are always welcome.]]>

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