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City of Banjul
Sunday, January 17, 2021

Lettes: Public apology and clarification

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Dear editor,
After deep reflection and self criticism, I wish to offer my unreserved apology to girls and women for my post, ‘Lessons from Alieu Bah for all of us’ which has generated the impression that I was defending Alieu against his victims. Since then I have received a barrage of condemnation, publicly and privately, from people who I highly value and cherish for their noble convictions and conscience and their distinguished role in the fight against injustice and abuse especially against sexual violence.

These are the young Gambian women and men activists who look up to me as a mentor and a comrade in our fight against injustice in the Gambia. They have also been a source of great inspiration and encouragement for me who continue to make me believe that my cause and mission are on the right track.

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Together with a host other men and women who I hold in high esteem for their stance for truth and justice who also expressed disappointment in my post, I wish to offer my unconditional apology to all of you for sending a wrong message. I deeply regret that I had caused doubts in your minds about me.

By your reaction to my post, I have deeply reflected on it and noticed that even if I did with noble intentions, I had either expressed myself wrongly or I came at the wrong time or that message should have been a private message to Alieu and not a public statement. Therefore, I wish to withdraw the post. I will not pull it down from my Facebook page so that today and tomorrow everyone could see my mistake and how I was held accountable on that post by very many decent women and men.

I am hugely saddened that because of my post and the actions of Alieu the very idea and practice of activism as well as activists themselves came under severe questioning and ridicule. Indeed, activism is a noble purpose of life. Yes, one activist may have acted unjustly but the fact remains that there are many more just, honest, truthful and kind activists who uphold the highest standards of human rights, justice, equality and accountability. I regret that my post has caused many people to view activism and activists as unworthy and dishonest, rightly or wrongly. I regret that deeply.

I wish to take this opportunity to therefore clarify that, in spite of the post, I do not defend the actions of Alieu Bah. Never. I wholeheartedly and totally condemn what he did, today and tomorrow. I stand with his victims and I am ready to offer them my service and resources if they so require to seek justice for them. As a father of beautiful daughters, I will not condone anyone to do to them what Alieu did to these girls. Hence I shall never condone Alieu’s actions and I condemn it in the strongest terms.

Yes, I have spoken in glowing terms about Alieu which I have noticed sent a very wrong impression. I take full responsibility for that. But my comments were not to deny his actions in anyway, but to only highlight that until he was exposed and forced to apologize, that was what we now of him and this is where my disappointment in him lies. But I have noticed that I miscommunicated in that message. I wish to withdraw it.
To conclude this apology and clarification, let me say that Alieu, like any other perpetrator, however deserves support, in terms of helping him to rehabilitate, if he expressed the need. Even if sent to prison, the whole point is to make him pay for his damage and then rehabilitate him.

After being forced to apologize, he came out to say that he is ready and willing ‘to re-educate and rehabilitate’ himself. This was the very basis of my unfortunate post, i.e. to support him to rehabilitate. However, I went too far and in the wrong direction in trying to bring that out in my post.

To all of you I say, I am deeply sorry. I continue to stand for human rights, justice, equality and freedom and I condemn all forms of abuse, no matter who is the perpetrator.

Thank you.
Madi Jobarteh

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