Gambian opposition Unity?

June 19, 2010

I am pressured for time these days, but I read through a lot of mail courtesy of my membership to the two largest Gambian mailing lists. The clarion call from most of the participants is a united opposition ala NADD to contest the 2011 presidential elections. I am not a pessimist, but I will venture a prediction that, the opposition coming together as they did with that NADD formation isn’t going to happen this time around. If this (opposition parties coming together) is their only chance at defeating professor Jammeh, they might as well call it a day. There is very little pragmatism in the opposition leadership to allow for a united front.

Proponents of unity harp endlessly about unity, but are short on specifics. The mechanisms needed to get these guys to come together is always an elusive one. Until folks are willing to look beyond their own biases, a united front will not happen and Jammeh will cruise to victory with all the impending baggage that entails for the nation.


He refused to cower

March 25, 2009

Edmund Burke, wrote in “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful the following:

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear … To make anything very terrible, obscurity seems in general to be necessary. When we know the full extent of any danger, when we can accustom our eyes to it, a great deal of the apprehension vanishes. Every one will be sensible of this, who considers how greatly night adds to our dread, in all cases of danger, and how much the notions of ghosts and goblins, of which none can form clear ideas, affect minds which give credit to the popular tales concerning such sorts of beings. Those despotic governments, which are founded on the passions of men, and principally upon the passion of fear, keep their chief as much as may be from the public eye.”

This is so true of the situation in the Gambia. Instilling fear through torture, murder and other vices has been the constant tool in Yahya Jammeh’s authoritarian rule. Raiding communities, arresting, detaining and forcibly making their elderly drink concoctions that are lethal is a brutal way to instill fear and power over a people. Yahya has succeeded to certain extent. Most of the people subjected and will be subject to this craziness will be waiting on God to come and rescue them … as if that ever happens if you don’t put in the effort.

The only bright spot in this saga is the stance taken by a single man…Halifa Sallah. Here is an interview he granted Foroyaa after his release from prison, because he dare question the government on the legality and morality of their actions…vis a vis the witch hunts.


Halifa understands Burke’s assertion clearly and he refuse to be fearful. Go and read the whole interview at Foroyaa online. It is beautiful.

Halifa Sallah is released

March 19, 2009

We have a moron running the Gambia into the ground. When men like Halifa Sallah stood up for the downtrodden against the bully, he send his minions to arrest and imprison him. But like all bullies, Yahya has a glass jaw. Anytime Halifa stood his ground, he finds some lame excuse for arresting him in the first place.

Halifa Sallah isn’t only talking, but doing it where it matters the most. For that we are grateful.

For more info check out foroyaa at this link


March 11, 2009

Halifa Sallah has been arrested and imprison by the thuggish regime of Yahya Jammeh for coming to the defense of innocent victims of Yahya’s witch hunt. As usual and as if on clue diasporan Gambians took to the usual spots online to denounce the actions of Yahya. We have become victims of circumstance…always reacting to the whims of Yahya.

Whatever you may think of the politics of Halifa Sallah, you have to admit that he is walking the walk. He is putting his life and livelihood on the line to defend what is right. I am not going to start asking about the whereabout of the other political leaders on the ground like some of my countrymen are doing from the comfort of Europe and good old US of A. We are asking of others sacrifices that we refuse to make. So while we admire the courage of Mr. Sallah and call for his immediate release, we should be mindful of castigating others.

Here is Foroyaa’s reporting on this outrage:

Halifa Sallah, former NADD presidential candidate and Foroyaa Editorial Board member, told supporters and sympathisers at the Brikama Magistrates Court, that he is willing to become a sacrificial lamb to ensure the liberty and dignity of the people. He made this remark at the close of his first appearance in court since he was arrested on Sunday 8 March, 2009.

“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.

These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.

Shortly after the adjournment of the case he was whisked to the Remand Wing of Mile Two Prison.

Many people in court were dumbfounded when the Magistrate imposed the following bail conditions:
(1) A bail bond in the sum of 1 million dalasis to be signed by three sureties;
(2) Two of the sureties must be Ex-Inspector General of Police or Ex-Brigadier of the army who have been retired for at least eight years;
(3) One of the sureties must be an Alkalo (village head) from Western Region

When he appeared in court, three charges were read to him:
(i) Spying, in that while at Makumbaya, he had obtained confidential information which he knew is useful to the enemy
(ii) Control of processions in that he held a procession while in Makumbaya
(iii) Seditious intention in that he unlawfully assembled the people of Makumbaya in order to collect information that would bring hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the Government of The Gambia.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The police prosecutor then stood up at this point to oppose the granting of bail. He argued that they took a lap top from Halifa Sallah’s home which is in their possession and if Halifa is granted bail he may tamper with the ‘website of the lap top’.

Halifa Sallah, who was unrepresented, submitted that the offences alleged are bailable. He further submitted that every accused person is presumed innocent until he/she has pleaded or proven guilty. He also submitted that the hearing of the case should be free and fair. He concluded that the court should not restrain his ability to defend himself.

He opined that what is significant is for the court to ensure his appearance whenever it deems it fit. He pointed out that he had sought the highest office of this land as a presidential candidate in 2006. He assured the court that he would comply with whatever condition the court imposes to ensure his appearance at an adjourned date as long as the conditions are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. The magistrate did not like the last bit of the statement and after a brief exchange Halifa amended it to: “I will comply with whatever the court deems just.” He therefore asked the court to grant him bail.

He pointed out that the submission of the prosecution regarding the lap top is neither here or there in that in the first place the lap top does not belong to him but his wife.

Fishing Expedition
He asserted that the prosecution were simply engaged in a fishing expedition. He emphasised throughout his detention that he had never been confronted with any witness.

The jackasses decided to set insourmountable obstacles to his bail. They are trying to make his life miserable. His courage under the circumstances is exemplary. Take this portion of the story for instance:

“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.
These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.

I hope he realize that he need a movement to get rid of this dictatorship. Telling your supporters to go home while you endure injustice is no way to broke the yoke of a tyrant. He can’t suffer for the people and ask them not to join him in the struggle. This is a fight for the soul of a nation and he need all the help he can get.

Free Halifa Sallah……

Hope triumph over Fear

January 20, 2009

The 44th president of the United States been sworned into office is a vindication for the sacrifice made by the thousands of men and women from the abolitionist movement to the civil rights movement. They have a few things in common…courage, conviction, idealism and hope. They stood up to power and along the way some pay the ultimate price. Today’s festivities is the fruits of their labor. Congratulations, President Obama. Good Luck and God bless.

On a different note, I liked this from Nate:

For as much as some parts of the world have developed a habit of looking down on America, it’s highly unlikely that any nation in Europe or most of the rest of the world would have elected someone like Barack Hussein Obama as their leader.

I agree.

Celebrating Coup d’etats

July 20, 2007

With the annual jamboree that is the July 22nd celebration around the corner, the Point newspaper has a run down of reactions from some of the leading Gambian politicians: from the ruling APRC and the opposition parties.

The speaker of the house:Fatoumata Jahumpha Ceesay [no relation to the author] waxed philosophical in her trademarked sycophantic way. If you let her tell the story, the Gambia is the promised paradise prophesied in the scriptures. She went on to talk about human rights and press freedom when a few days ago the government of the Gambia failed to answer to a case brought before a regional court for the illegal detention of a journalist. The illegal detention of Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta, the disappearance of Daba marenah and five other alleged coup plotters aren’t human rights violations in the speakers book.

For their part Ousainou Darbo and Halifa Sallah: leaders of the opposition UDP and NADD respectively, admonish the notion that a government that claims to be democratically elected will be celebrating the undemocratic takeover of a government that took place more than a decade ago. They condemned coups and bemoan the abject poverty that prevails in the country. Darbo went on to castigate the government on its human rights record: illegal detentions and general break down in the rule of law. No surprises there for the lawyer turn politician.

Halifa also took to task the supporters of the coup who never fail to point out the structural projects initiated after the 1994 coup. He schooled them on the economics involved. The projects, he explained are financed with interest laden loans that makes the Gambia a seriously indebted country without any self sustainability. Building infrastructure from loans that you don’t have the human capital to maintain is the worst form of development paradigm. He made references to the plight of the Gambian farmer and how the lack of government foresight has reduced them to beggars.

Juwara of opposition NDAM took a different tack. He hasn’t condemn the coup outright. In fact he has some praise for the government. His critics will point to this interview as a step in his metamorphism from the most outspoken critic of the government to joining the ranks of his former tormentors. The peeve I have with his portion of the interview is where he made this comment:

I call on the government to release Chief Ebrima Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta if they are in their custody and if not in their custody to do all it takes to know who is holding these guys. After all they are not important. And it is only going to give the country a bad name.

They are not important….what is Juwara smoking? Who determines their importance? These are people with families and responsibilities. They are very important to their friends and loved ones and all peace loving people. Juwara’s transformation is a sight to behold.

Go’ Bama

April 4, 2007

He may be a newbie and he is obviously not perfect, but, so far he and his campaign executed well. He is clearly doing a good job of turning enthusiasm into tangible campaign support.

WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!! $25 million dollars . IT’S ON. IT’S SO ON!

Obama, we got your back baby. We got you. There’s PLENTY more where that came from.