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Monday, September 25, 2023

On Moja-G and Jainaba Bah’s historical anecdote (Part 2)


The movement was truly radical and was ready for a national liberation by armed struggle, the logo of the Balangba which was two X shape laid across Kalashnikov guns attested to the fact guerrilla warfare tactics armed struggle was the recognised necessary mean. It was the same logo that was in clear print on the new year message flyer I and my Bansang cell partner clandestinely distributed at Basse.

The particular flyer was further distributed by placing it in sealed envelopes and dropped for many addressees who never knew about us. We simply had a list of people whose work schedules we quite well knew, targeted the times we were sure will never find them at home, and simply work to the person’s immediate family and drop the sealed and addressed envelopes with a responsible member of the families and ask the person to give it to the addressee when he or she comes. We tactfully avoided handing them to children. We succeeded to drop the flyers on the PPP leaders, members and militants most of whom had already arrived earlier during the day for their party congress.

From unconfirmed sources then, I learnt that in preparation for the launch of the planned guerrilla armed warfare, some members were undergoing a military training–of–trainers in Libya at the time. Whether this was true or not, there was generally as a matter of fact, the guerrilla armed warfare agenda, the kind outlined in Kwame Nkrumah’s handbook of guerilla warfare. The Libya military training–of–trainers, as I have said earlier, was unconfirmed information. Moja–G leadership was very careful about the handling and transmission of information. It was possible they read well and tactically practised the teachings and ideas of Victor Serge, the revolutionary practice theorist Jainaba quoted in two separate pieces of her story. Sarge wrote: “Make it a principle that, in illegal activity, a revolutionary should know only what is useful for him to know, and that it is often dangerous to know or tell more. The less is known about a job, the greater its security and its chance of success. Be on guard against the inclination to give away confidence. Know how to keep quite: keeping quite is a duty to the party, to the revolution. It is a mistake which may have serious consequences, to tell your closest friend, girlfriend, or most trusted comrade a party secret which is not indispensable for them to know. Sometimes you may be doing them wrong; because you are responsible for what you know, and it may be a heavy responsibility”. 

With Moja–G, information dissemination was rightly measured and portioned and was given to the right person(s) at the right time and under the right circumstances. Honest and unselfish members of the movement also increasingly consciously or not, wholeheartedly accepted Serge’s line: “Know how to forget of your accord what you should not know”, as most were not known of being inquisitive and over-probing. Mai Fatty’s statement in his response to Jainaba attests to this to have been the same situation that obtained at the Organ of the Revolutionary Students (ORS) in: “ORS was like a military establishment. It was a disciplined unit, and one was often confined to your level, and everything was on a need – to – know basis. I knew this, and of course I was discipline. Therefore, I knew nobody of substance, made no inquires of such, and worked with no such material except Jainaba Ba, my teacher at the time”.

Arrests and detentions of active members were definitely common, I had never experienced arrest; my only experience with the police was a warning in the streets of Bansang by Adama Saine, then one of the senior police officers of the Bansang Police Station at the time in the late 1980s. This experience was following the incident of arrest of my cell mate, Nakulang Ceesay (Niks),who was at the time arrested at Bansang and detained at the Banjul Police Station without trial for a long period of time and eventually interdicted from his qualified teacher’s job for many years. I failed to mention him by name earlier, and all along referred to him as ‘my cell mate or cell partner’. Niks was actually known with Moja–G at the time of his qualified teacher training at the Gambia College and well beyond this time.

I was recruited to the movement by David (Dawda) Jones former PDOIS militant, later APRC National Assembly Member for Banjul Central and former BCC employee, currently Crab Island Upper Basic School bursa.  With my recruitment our Bansang cell comprised of Jones, one Ousman Sanneh and myself. After sometime, Jones left Bansang Secondary School where he taught English language. I and Ousman Sanneh were following Jones’s move, joined by Nakulang who just then newly graduated from the Gambia College. 

I followed with interest Jainaba Bah’s articles particularly with references to Koro Sallah whom a lot of us were not privileged to know. I followed with interest Jainaba’s narration of his relation with the late Mustapha Danso and Kukoi and the 1981 coup d’état. I also love the part of the story on the naming ceremony of his first son, as well as the twin name given the son (Mustapha–Nyanga), a name given to both a friend and a brother, what an intelligent innovation? 

One thing I found extremely difficult to believe from reading through Jainaba’s narrative experience with the police is how pompous and proud, wicked, arrogant, cruel and treacherous, do I say, some Gambians like… can be. But as we have seen, what goes round, comes round?

Jainaba Bah believed it was Mai Fatty and Tombong Saidy who squealed to the police when arrested. I think Jainaba should have since stopped blaming her former student and a person she particularly recruited into the ranks of the Organ of the Revolutionary Students.  She should remember that Mai Fatty was then only a teenager at 16, who even if there were proofs that he cracked and spilled the beans. He could have been forgiven since. Imagine a village boy of only 16 without any kind of experience of police intimidation and probably police cell detention, probably for the first time psychologically defeated with detention in a cell with violent criminals. And further picked up at odd hours of the night by senior police officers along with one at the rank of Commander, taken to the isolated Bond Road to be tortured, even if not subjected to the kind of torture Mai said he was subjected to, most young or even old and more experience people would say and accept unfounded things, more so every bit of what one knew of an event or a matter. I don’t think Jainaba should demand an apology from Mai, particularly at this material moment when Moja–G and all it stood for is already embedded in the protective pages of history.

No one knows how much pain Mai was put to when he was tortured as he said, because most of such electric shock tortures on male victims are often carried out not on the thumbs, but rather on the ‘rod of pleasure’, ‘love stick, ‘third leg’.

Sanna Keita of Faji Kunda, also in a letter to the editor published on Monday, March 31, 2014, titled: Re. Distorting History – A word for Mai Fatty’, among others, similarly remarked: “When certain level of torture is administered on anyone, you can let go of the most treasured possession without a single hesitation, not to talk of the psychological effects that can equally make you shun the best of friends and even relatives”. And further rightly advised Jainaba or both herself and Mai Fatty to forgive – and – forget in’. The advice is appropriate for both Jainaba and Mai.


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