Love him or loathe him, BB Dabo is one of the finest politicians and eminent intellectuals of our country. His interview on Kerr Fatou the other day has again highlighted his credentials as a straight shooter and a no-nonsense person.
His detractors would accuse him of betrayal for briefly working for Jammeh following the ouster of the Jawara regime in 1994. Though Mr. Dabo painstakingly justifies that he did so in the best of the country, I personally believe the decision to serve a military junta was a misjudgement and an oversight on his part.
Yet, we should not be oblivious to the service Mr. Dabo has rendered to the country in three decades, particularly the seminal role he’d played in crushing the 1981 abortive coup. Dabo was serving as Gambia’s High Commissioner to Senegal. It was him who convinced the Senegalese authorities to invoke the Defense cooperation agreement between the two countries to justify military intervention to abort the coup.
In recognition of his merit, Sir Dawda elevated him to the position of Vice President; a position he held for a decade. Some would argue that he was demoted following 1992 general elections due to his perceived reluctance to support the camp in favor of Jawara prolonging his stay in power. In his interview he reacted that the decision was within the domain of the President’s discretion.
Having said that, BB Dabo’s legacy must not be viewed through the lens of his few months’ service as AFPRC’s Finance Minister. Rather we should assess him by broadly looking at his longstanding service as an astute administrator, diplomat, Vice President and Minister for Education, Youth, Culture and Finance.
FYI: I am not a member of BB’s GFA. I was prompted to post this write-up to remind readers about the man’s impeccable track record and high standing.
Basidia M Drammeh
Your Excellency Sir,
Congratulations on your 55th birthday. May you live to witness many more in good health and prosperity.
Your Excellency Sir, The Gambia is your age mate because today, it clocked 55 like you did two days ago but is The Gambia as democratic as Gambians wish after five decades of self-governance? I won’t go into the other principles of democracy. I will focus on the need to reopen the two stations locked down three weeks ago.
Sir, in 2016/17, the media was to you an important pillar in governance. Do the media still hold that pedigree deep down your heart or you have just seen the other side of the press?
How would you feel or have felt if you wake/woke up, get set to go deliver your Independence message and told, the Gambian media have decided to boycott this year’s anniversary?
How would you feel, if your Director of Press barged into your office sobbing because no media house has set up to cover the Independence anniversary?
I bet you would want to throw down the towel because you know you won’t be heard within the four corners of the country. You know if that happened, it would mean, the anniversary was a failure.
Your Excellency Sir, don’t forget too soon. It is just three years. November of 2016, some media houses followed you and your team round the country. They propelled your voice, something no other opposition party ever had.
As you mount the podium to address the nation, you should remember that King FM and Home Digital remain closed, leaving close to 40 youths out of work.
These radio stations would have provided coverage to the Independence celebrations. Your government missed out on the chance of reopening these two stations on February 13 which is a day set aside to commemorate World Radio Day. Such a day is to celebrate the importance and contribution of radio and radio workers worldwide.
This year’s theme “Radio and Diversity”, highlights the special value of radio in the era of a rapid media revolution and also highlights the fact that radio has its value in every religion, region, and language.
It is an open secret that radio plays an important role in everyone’s life. It is more important in the case of The Gambia where a good number of people depend on radio as a source of information because they don’t know how to read and write.
This said, Mr President, I urge you to use your prerogative to reopen these stations. Your government is not scoring any political points by closing down radio stations that have been providing dissenting views and or different perspective to a teeming number of listeners, majority of whom have radio as their source of information.
Closing down these stations will only count against you. As the president of a country in transition, you cannot wear blinkards on things that can drag your name into muddy waters.
Once again Mr President, act now. Today is the best moment.