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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sheriff Bojang, Banka Manneh deny membership of GANU

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The proprietor of The Standard newspaper has refuted a comment in the online Freedom news-site linking him to membership of GANU, a new political party.

On Tuesday, the website published a purported letter from an anonymous writer claiming that Mr Bojang, together with The Standard editor Lamin Cham and Banka Manneh, a leading Gambian activist in the United States were members of the Gambia African National Unity being set up by Sheikh Tijan Hydara, a former Attorney General and resident of Brufut.

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Responding to the allegations, Mr Bojang, a former Information and Communication minister under Yahya Jammeh, said: “Let me state upfront that there is no grain of truth to it. I am not a member of GANU, by invitation or by desire. I have known the leader for many years as a fine gentleman and I wish him well, but I have neither seen him nor talked to him since 2016.

I am not a member of any political party. My sole interest now is to go back to my old job of being an independent, free and objective journalist. This is what the New Gambia requires of me. The regime change has spawned new opportunities and challenges and we must rise to the challenges and take the Gambian media to another level.”

Asked whether he would consider joining a political party, Mr Bojang, said: “It depends on circumstances. I was a PDOIS sympathiser, then I became an APRC member when I joined the government. In essence I became an accidental politician, but I learnt very valuable lessons and gained profound insights into the calculus of politics and power which will inform any decisions I might take politically.

Since February, I have been invited by three parties but my real passion is for journalism for now. If there is one thing I should say, it is that Gambian journalists should be thankful to the Barrow government for allowing them to practice their profession with very little fetters. This is a very good time to be a journalist in The Gambia. Of course it is not going to be hunky-dory all the way as an inherent natural conflict will always exist between the executive and the fourth estate.

On the Freedom editor, Nderry M’Bai’s constant criticism of him, Mr Bojang said, “I do not understand his obsession with me. Since the day they sacked him from Observer, it has been one fake news after one fake news about Sheriff Bojang from him. (Laughs). Idiots don’t come bigger than him.”

Meanwhile, Mr Banka Manneh also reacted to the Freedom article thus: “I am neither a member of, nor part of an executive, of any political party including the newly formed GANU. You can all be rest assured that if and when I decide to form my own political party or join an existing party, that decision will be publicly announced by my humble self. Until then, please disregard any rumours or insinuations from any third party source/s regarding this matter.”

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