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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Re: Bantaba with Nyang Njie

Dear editor,

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I read Alagie Manneh’s Bantaba interview with Nyang Njie, “economist and political analyst” with keen interest. But this sentence in the interview is for me rather contradictive and superfluous. Mr Njie answered in response to Mr Manneh’s question: “He THOUGHT he was a prince and PS coming from a royal background”. If he is of royal lineage, then he was some kind of prince and shouldn’t have thought himself as one. He either is or he is not.

On the broader PS Njie legacy and I have read Berkeley Rice’s Enter Gambia, I can concur that the author took broad swipe at the broad section of the elites at the time. But his main critic still stands. That the elites were and are more concerned about their own wellbeing – above that of the ordinary people. That they have not discerned yet the art of connecting their own wellbeing to the wellbeing of the people from whom they beg political authority.

In the case of PS Njie, I think the bigger problem was that he wanted power on a silver plate – given to him because he deserved it – by virtue of self-importance or as aforementioned being from a royal lineage.
What happened then, was that when an unexpected grouping, the PPP, came to being and attracted the masses in the provinces (whom PS Njie didn’t hitherto take seriously) and overran the UP in the polls, PS Njie was embittered and that denial to premiership by hitherto voiceless people led to the acrimonious ambivalence between PS and the provinces. And being the majority in the provinces, the Mandinkas embody that voiceless people who all of a sudden snatched away a premiership a stone’s throw away.

And history repeated itself with Jawara, when tired of being president, started a lacklustre relationship with the people even condemning the people for not being grateful – mostly Mandinkas. Then soldiers mostly of provincial background and in majority Mandinka origin plotted against him.
The same situation came back in 2016, when Jammeh at the zenith of his power dramatically alienated the Mandinkas with an ill-advised crackdown on activists and a discriminate rhetoric. He lost the votes in predominantly Mandinka settlements. His wins in Foni and [Central River Region] could not compensate the losses.

And the future of Gambian politics will continue to be at the mercy of mood swings until the elites place the wellbeing of the masses at the centrepiece of all national efforts. The same is true for all nations!

Name and address withheld on request

Sabally please keep away your bickering, hate,
and personal agenda from the TRRC

Dear editor,

It is obvious that Momodou Sabally aka The Gambia’s Pen has now become a consistently destructive critic of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and some of its staff notably, Alhagie Barrow, director of the Research and Investigations Unit. His relationship with Alhagie whether positive or negative should be kept away from the TRRC. Let him take on Alhagie privately and stay away from the TRRC, if he cannot criticise it constructively.
Mr Sabally’s write-ups both in the social and mainstream media on the TRRC expose his state of bickering, hate and self-perpetuating agenda against some TRRC staff most especially, the director of research and investigations.

I humbly advise him to disassociate himself from this unwise move of his and allow the national reconciliation and peacebuilding processes to go on for the betterment of the republic. I am not in anyway asserting that his write-ups move or shake the TRRC and its staff because it does not and will not, but due to the technical and critical nature of the their work and the parochial political culture of many Gambians, it is wiser for Sabally to stop the destructive criticism.
Mr Sabally has the constitutional and democratic protected right to free speech as enshrined in Section (25) (a) of the 1997 Constitution like any other sovereign Gambian. But in the execution of free speech, sovereign citizens show maturity and high level of ethical standards. This I struggle to see in his write-ups against the TRRC staff. Let Sabally criticise TRRC, but let him do it ethically and constructively like other critics of the commission.

In his response to Dr Baba Galleh Jallow titled, “Dreams and cronyism – A note to Baba Gall.
eh Jallow” he stated: ” When push came to shove [Baba Galleh] ran away across the Atlantic, but some of us stayed and faced Yahya Jammeh and through myriad efforts of creative cooperation, direct confrontations and complex mix of stratagems, we played our roles in pushing a hole in Jammeh’s ship. So you don’t love this country more than us.”

Let Sabally please tell me how he pushed that “hole” in Jammeh’s ship when he became the pen, book, and loud speaker of Yahya Jammeh. In 2013 while serving as secretary general under Jammeh, why did he read on the national broadcaster the derogatory and divisive remarks against the Mandinkas and UDP? His actions nearly tore The Gambia apart both socially and politically. Sabally claimed that those divisive remarks were handwritten by Jammeh who ordered him to read it on GRTS. Fine, maybe he feared for his own life by going against Jammeh’s orders, but if he loves The Gambia, he could have resigned from his position because I am sure Jammeh will never force a private citizen to read his derogatory “hand written” statement on national TV.

Socrates was admonished to stop exposing the woes and self-perpetuation of the leaders of the state of Athens or faced execution, but for the love of his country, Socrates rejected the demand and was brutally killed. In our own backyard, journalists Deyda Hydara and Chief Manneh were brutally killed for enlightening the masses on the misrule of government under Jammeh. I am not saying that Sabally should have followed the paths of those statesmen, but resigning was a golden opportunity for him if he loved The Gambia. No one owns this change we had in (2016), not even president Barrow. All sovereign Gambians own it both those in and outside the jurisdiction of the republic.

I am not a member of personal attacks and political bickering kingdom because it does not reward me anything. All those doing it must stop. It has no place in the republic.
Finally, in the interest of the republic, in the interest of transitional justice, in the interest of national reconciliation and peacebuilding and in the interest of institutional, administrative and legal reforms, Sabally should stop his endless attacks on TRRC. Take on Alhagie and any other staff privately, not as commission members.

Sanna Badjie
Kombo Kerewan

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