WHY IS PRESIDENT JAMMEH REPEATEDLY TAKEN FOR A RIDE?
By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu
When Former Presidential Affairs Minister Njogu Bah told me that he was monitoring or spying on me, I was NOT afraid as I know that I did not come to The Gambia to challenge or undermine the Jammeh Government. Even if President Jammeh is ill-advised to be apprehensive about me, I am just proud that I am doing the right thing in the interest of Mother Gambia backed by my conscience and the Gambian Flag!
I have paid my dues to President Jammeh and his Government (google my commentary: Abused, Insulted and Treated as Foreigner in Kanilai...) so even if should see no material and moral reciprocation from Jammeh, I am just proud that no one in Jammeh's System, APRC and Government alike, can be man or woman enough to accuse me of being unpatriotic, anti-government and egocentric. They can of course lie against me in my absence as some people are doing but that is all they could do. It pays to do the right thing and be a man/woman of your words. You can talk and do your thing freely with clear conscience and no one, pro or anti-Jammeh, can do „fokol“ to arrest your destiny unless predestined by our Creator!
That said, I knew Njogu Bah like any other successive occupant of his position, had the state machinery at his disposal and he could use the name of the President of The Republic to get whatever he wants with or without the knowledge of President Jammeh. Now that is was disclosed that Dr. Njogu Bah reportedly set up a task force to look into the Tax Commission and also spy on former Chief Justice Wowo, I am vindicated in my assertion that he indeed had the powers to spy on me as he admitted at late GRTS DG Momodou Sanyang's funeral.
My conscience told me that the order to spy on or harass me could not have come directly from President Jammeh. For I know if Jammeh gave the directives for me to be closely monitored, it would have been different.
As for Manyima Bojang, I personally met her twice though we did not exchange words. She is free to deny it just like others who denied running away from me in Kanilai. During my second appearance on the „Fatu Show“, we met inside GRTS together with music impresario Lamin Cham of Champion Sound. Fatou Camara the host of the „Fatu Show" allocated the time and gave me thirty (30) minutes. She shared the remaining fifteen minutes (15) or so between Lamin Cham and Manyima Bojang who were to there to just promote their events. She said she will invite Manyima Bojang again.
Lamin Cham understood and suggested that Fatou Camara should give me another full length time as I am the „professor with the brain." He is not the only person who wishes to see me on the „Fatu Show" or TV again and again. There is a critical mass our there for it but we are in the Gambia where the will of the masses is often secondary unless asserted through the ballot box or heavy civil defiance!
Manyima Bojang was however frowning like an angry frog. She did not like the fact that Fatou Camara gave me more time than her. Perhaps she felt since she is well-connected in and around the Office of The President or the Jammeh System, she should always be given preferential treatment or allowed to enjoy nepotism. She was looking at me with a furious killer face. If at all horrible looks can kill a person, I would have dropped dead from Manyima's angry looks! I maintained my humour and ignored her. I was just shocked by her dotted skin texture. The „leral" skin lightening cream she was, or still, using did not do her good. As a passionate man, I am generally nit-picky about femininity and sensuality. A woman who knows how to take good care of herself with modesty and without exaggerated cosmetics wins my heart within seconds. I was however worried for Fatou Camara that Manyima Bojang might get her fired for not bending her professional integrity to appease her. You know this is The Gambia; you maintain ethics, you land in trouble!! The cooking of evidence and buying of false statements are now common sports!
My second encounter with Manyima Bojang or Nyimsi B was again at GRTS inside Lamin Manga's office when I was following up on my legitimate programme proposals. She was there to get coverage and air time for her wresting events. The moment she entered, I excused myself to let her proceed with Mr. Manga. Her Nyimsi B Promotion and other groups are always getting prime time advertisement space on GRTS and I am not sure whether she is paying the same rate as other advertisers or not.
SEPARATING SPIES FROM GENUINE ACTRESSES
I also had encounters with some female members of Manyima Bojang's group at different times. I however made it a policy not to discuss serious politics with girls in The Gambia. The young ladies posed as interested actresses for my film projects. I gave them the audition forms and invited them for interviews.
As a professional who works according to ethics, I kept the minimum age at 18 and made sure my film audition forms were NOT for sale. Some visiting Nigerian and Ghanaians be-rich-quick-guys were selling their forms in The Gambia contrary to the standards I am used to.
Over three hundred (300) ladies of various age groups submitted their audition forms and I vowed to give each of them, like the male applicants, the chance to prove herself over time.
The Officers Mess in Kotu I was using was repeatedly booked. Since I was yet to get an office space, I decided to turn my living room in Latrikunda Sabiji into a tentative office and meeting point when I was not operating from my Sotuma Sere village, some 360 kilometres from Banjul. I asked the girls where they were coming from and I paid the amount they claimed was the fare to my place in Latrikunda Sabiji. Even though some inflated the fares, I ignored and saw it as investment in them.
When I met the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Mr. Momodu Joof last November and the Chairperson of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Tijaan Kamara last March, they emphasised on the need to build the capacity of Gambian talents. I promised that I will invest morally and materially on any passionate and sincere person who is determined to work with me in the film/creative arts vocation. So any Butut, time or advice I give a person with talent is for me a worthwhile investment in human capital even if I see no instant reciprocation or output. Some people are rushing to make money and I am slowly making human assets.
I paid the transport expenses of all potential actors and actresses who took time to come to my place in Latrikunda Sabiji for interviews or rehearsals at allocated times. There were at least three hundred (300) girls or young ladies and the minimum I gave each girl for transport was one hundred (100) Dalasis. Some got D150, D200 or D500 depending on how they impressed me with their hidden performance arts skills. If we keep it at say D100, it means I spent at least D30, 000 on fares for 300 applicants just like that. The money to buy mobile phone credit for some of them is not counted. I still have more to interview during my next working visit. Fees for those who will make it to the final cast will be calculated separately.
There were others with sick parents. I visited them in hospitals and gave them money to buy medicine. The list is long. Remember throughout this period I was not earning income or return on my risky investment! How many Gambia-associated producers, sponsors, patrons, impresarios, beauty contest organizers and employers, be they corporate or personal, voluntarily foot the transportation bills of potential applicants who come to them for interviews even they would not give them the jobs or opportunities?
For the talented ladies from conservative homes with strict or misinformed parents, I offered to talk to their fathers, mothers or guardians. For those who gave me the permission, I called their parents to inform them of the time their daughters would come to meet me. I paid their fares and made sure they entered the vehicle in my presence. I would tell them „if anything goes wrong I can confidently tell your parents: well, she boarded the taxi in my presence." In our profession character assassinations and cooked up scandals are among the downsides. One has to be always prepared so that they would not derail one.
Four (4) girls stood out through their body language and choice of vocabulary. I realised they were planted to spy on me and not to build careers in the performance arts industry. The Gambia has a multi-layered security system made up of official and unofficial elements. There are more people in plain clothes than in uniform. We also have unofficial security people who are not answerable to the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) or Inspector General of Police. They could be enjoying attaya with you, praying in the same mosque or criticising Jammeh in your presence just to get your views and by the time you know it, you are in trouble!
The person(s) who gave the four (4) girls the orders should not repeat it. Dear hawks of the Jammeh system that are against me, if you want to spy on me, don’t use women and girls. You send ladies to me, even if they are trained by the Israeli Mossad spy service, I will make them forget their mission through my Casanova seduction skills, charm, sense of humour and dazzling personality. They won’t come back to you with something you can use to jail or prosecute me. Unless you fabricate them!! Next time send donkeys and goats to spy on me!
I decided to take took good care of the four (4) ladies with sincerity and open heart. I am sure they would have nothing bad to report on me. I did not dwell on anti-Jammeh banter though I made my usual constructive criticism of society in good faith. I focused more on the basics of my film projects and permanent plans for The Gambia. Added to that I flirted freely and had nice time. I gave them good money for transport and other matters. I treated them the gentleman way with respect and I gave them the freedom to say „no." I am sure even if at all they squeeze blood and not milk out of their nipples, they would not be that wicked to lie against me. Those innocent girls were being used so I held nothing personal against them.
One of the ladies later confessed to being member of Manyima Bojang's gang. When they were in Kanilai for that local government election victory event, she called me and I was suspicious again. I did not tell her that I would be honouring the invitation. I just listened to her and said nothing serious. I was just wondering whether I was subject of their discussion in Kanilai or what!
I surprised everybody by honouring the open invitation to Kanilai but on a Sunday to avoid the crowds. As I have a visible face and name in the Gambia I was not surprised that the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) officers disturbed me. Who gave the NIA the orders to disturb me in Kanilai and Gambissara? Who connived with some politicians be they urban and provincial, government officials and some GRTS executives to give the paramilitary and Bakadagi police the orders to arrest and detain me as „a crazy man“? They later tried to fabricate tales that I wanted to force myself on President Jammeh, throw objects at him or take his pictures. They just wanted to divert attention from the machinations of some nefarious elements of the Jammeh System that have problems seeing me free and blossoming in The Gambia.
MONKEY DEY WORK BABOON DEY CHOP
I will NOT link Manyima Bojang's group to my Gambissara or Kanilai drama as I have no first hand evidence.
Manyima Bojang and her Youth in Action or Nyimsi B got a lot of money to waste as they are biting more than they can chew. They are into wresting, beauty pageantry, magazine publication, religious events, pimping of girls, some say „spying“ and they are even copying „nollywood“ style quickie home video production. All these within a short period. Every prudent business person will shake his/her head over this inflated, rushed, greedy and artificial expansion of tentacles.
When one of the Manyima Bojang's group members told me they were already shooting a movie, I said „wow, welcome to The Gambia. While some of us are toiling and moiling to lay the foundations for vibrant, nationalist and sustainable film industry with policy, structures, human capacity, fair pay, ethics and facilities and using our brainpower and our own legally earned money, some people were just getting the free money to sabotage or frustrate our work. I told myself: „it is their luck. Let them enjoy....“ In Gambia there is no room for reasoning. You try and you will be labelled as jealous, traitor, double agent, anti-Jammeh and other names.
Later I was told Manyima Bojang and her team are „backed from within Office of The President." I did not readily buy this but the way they operate shows they have some powerful backers in Jammeh's inner circles. The way there are playing with money and influence shows they, like other sycophants in the Jammeh System both APRC and Government, have no serious agenda. I did not see Manyima and her team at the launching of our Gambia Collecting Society as all other genuine stakeholders of our copyright-based creative industry did with delegates.
This means they are hijacking video production not for ethics and nationalism but for their purses or pockets. They have the money and powerful patrons to destroy Gambian film-making culture with their rushed sub-standard works. The world will then laugh at The Gambia. They will rush to the Nigerians and Ghanaians who will take them for a ride and exploit their gullibility. I spent 5 months in Gambia and one from the Nigerian Nollywood and Ghanaian film industry from the Continent and the Diaspora dared enter the Gambia as they know I will demystify and cut them to size should they try to misbehave. Some of them were finding out through the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and their local agents whether I was still in town. Now that I am away they will rush to suck the blood of the greedy or gullible Gambians and leave fast. Blame the Gambians, not the briefcase operators.
Manyima and her team launched a magazine over night. I am not sure whether they went through all the pains, legal procedures and administrative obstacles one would go through when one tries to start an independent publication be it print magazine or newspaper in The Gambia. I wanted to start my own newspaper business to respond to domestic demand for a voice for liberal and innovative thinking but after going through the hostile anti media experience, I suspended the idea. Now I will start with an online version first.
Some people were, and would still come from Nigeria, USA and UK to shoot films in Gambia. Jammeh reportedly throws good money at them and we see no sustainable benefit to the nation. Even if you give say, Nollywood's Genevieve Nnaji or Ghana's Jackie Appiah millions to say good things about the Gambia on CNN, the BBC and Aljazeera, it will have no benefits trickle down effects as genuine operators would want to know what Gambians are doing on the ground for themselves.
While I was in Gambia there was this German production company with a 10 million Europe film project that has African scenes. They wanted to shoot some scenes in Gambia and they contacted me. This could have brought foreign exchange and also expose The Gambia to the strong German market free of charge but I told them, Gambia is no ready for such standard projects. They should go to South Africa or Kenya. The good weather for their scenes aside, the governance, work ethics, tax system, professional equipment and domestic human capacity in those places are great incentives for international standard film projects.
That said, singers and actors come from Senegal and elsewhere and hard currency is thrown at them. They go back to Senegal, Nigeria, Jamaica, UK, USA, et cetera with hard currency leaving the Dalasi behind. So if you want to know where some of our foreign exchange is going besides payment for dollar-denominated imports, look here! A foreign singer, producer and actress who gets says US$20,000 from Gambia would get a waiver from the US$9000 limit. He or she will leave with more! The increase in license fees for foreign exchange bureaux will reduce the numbers of operators but will not solve the fundamental problems behind the annual foreign currency mess. The minimum capital of banks was increased to reduce the number of banks but the structural problems persist if you look beyond the façade of the banking industry.
You expect the world to respect Gambia when Gambians don’t respect themselves? Of the APRC events I monitored, the foreign stars perform first or in prime time while Gambian artistes play last or in squeezed sequence! The foreign talents get good money and the Gambian ones get charity.
Some local amateur drama artistes group got hundred of thousands of Dalasis for movie and drama projects but delivered trash. Others fought over the money.
Musicians compose songs on President Jammeh and some people write books or poems about him and go home with good money but they cannot tell you how many VERIFIABLE copies of their songs, poems and other literary works on Jammeh were sold domestically and internationally. The market success of their work is secondary. Once they get the quick money or jobs from Jammeh they are fine.
THE NASTY COMPETITION TO TAKE PRESIDENT JAMMEH FOR A RIDE
I started cracking my brain and wondering why President Jammeh „likes" to be taken for a ride repeatedly. He throws resources at anyone any one, Gambian and non-Gambian alike, who just comes up and pretends to be die-hard backer of his agenda. I am still finding it too surreal to comprehend!
You build a police station, cook good food or insult his opponents at home and in the Diaspora, you are made minister, APRC functionary or top government official. You donate to APRC or Government you get nomination for parliamentary elections, duty waiver for imports, diplomatic passport, tax exemption, et cetera. You want to sell junk services to Gambian, donate him cars, laptops and the like to get the approval for it. Read the „Daily Observer" stories on the radio and you get promotion with national honours. Call yourself religious and anti-West, you get whatever you want from the Jammeh Administration. Create a phoney Gambia invest firm and sign some Nigerian or Ghanaian movie stars and you get millions of dollars to play with. Since they say that President Jammeh likes wresting, just organize wrestling events and you will be rich quick!
You tell lies at President Jammeh's farms and you will be seen as champion of back-to-the-land. I was witness to a nasty game by one group. Its members told me their executives threatened to fine them at least D400 each if they fail to go to President Jammeh's farm. When I saw them on GRTS TV I almost vomited. The fake praises and lies they were throwing at Jammeh were different from the threats they made to their members and the true purpose of their „voluntary work“ which was to make President Jammeh lift a ban on some of their activities. If you think they are nasty, look at some folks in Jammeh's cabinet or public institutions. I observed the way some of them behave when Jammeh is away and when he is around and I would wonder how can people manage to be so hypocritical just for money and positions? Gambia is paradise of insincerity.
One thing that surprised me though about Manyima Bojang's group is the way they are using the names of youths to enrich themselves. Wherever there is an APRC or Jammeh event you will see them with their banners claiming to be more patriotic than all Gambians of our generation. The term "patriotism" is now hijacked to mean only those who join the eye-service competition to impress Patriarch Jammeh! Alas, they cannot hijack the Gambian National Flag and we the independent thinkers can use it as compass!
Some of the groups might have been created as proxies to spoil business for genuine entrepreneurs without the Gambia Competition Commission (GCC) intervening, engage in propaganda or sabotage perceived critics of the status quo but after sometime they undermine their creators or financiers. Remember the July 22 Movement versus the AFPRC or the Youth Development Enterprise (YDI) versus the Kanilai Group International (KGI) and the Jammeh Foundation for Peace? I studied the Gambian sycophancy scenes and realized that Manyima Bojang's Nyimsi B Promotions or Youth in Action is in bitter competition with Fatima Jabbie's Fabecs Promotion, the National Patriotic Students Association (NAPSA), the official APRC Youth Wing, the new Youths in Agriculture and Fishing Initiative (YAFI) and other proxy groups claiming to be struggling for Yahya Jammeh and The Gambia when in reality that they struggling for their pockets and bank accounts only.
When President Jammeh recently said he will distribute one (1) million US Dollars among youths but attached strings to it that only groups that take up fishing or farming will be eligible, I saw people who have nothing to do with agriculture forming groups or changing the legal objectives of their youth groups to include farming, fishing and pro-government propaganda so they can get their share of the one million dollars. The West is often blamed for attaching strings to aid packages that fail and we have a similar case in The Gambia that one has to be a praise-singer, fake person or big time liar to get Presidential assistance or recognition. Weird world!
WHEN IN ROME DO AS THE ROMANS?
Many a time, I have been encouraged to follow suit since when „in Rome do as the Romans“. I categorically refused as I told them my conscience cannot allow me to take money from President Jammeh through false pretence. Making a propaganda music video, documentary, feature film, book on him or castigating his critics just to enjoy his money is not in my agenda. Even if I try it won't work. Though I am proud devotee of African Traditional Religion, I however value the Quranic advice that „you believers eat not your wealth among yourselves in vanities but let there be trade among you by mutual goodwill, nor kill yourself and others. For Allah has been to you most merciful: YAUHA LAZEENA AMAMU, WALA TA AKULU AMWALAKUM BIL BATIL. ILA ANMTAKOONA TIJARATAN AN TARADIN INKUM. WALAKTULU ANFUSAKUM, INA LLAH KANA BIKUM RAHEEMAN. Surat al Nisa Verse 29.“ But you just say you will die or kill for Jammeh, you get money, vehicles, contracts, jobs, hajj tickets and other freebies!
I for one made it clear that if I cannot get Presidential assistance or support based on my nationalistic agenda, professionalism, sincerity and conscience fine but I cannot mortgage my integrity for instant gratification. So if President Jammeh is truly President of all Gambians who believes in diversity as in the different colours of our National Flag, tolerance, smart intellect, self-reliance, innovation and common national interest regardless of world-views, he will not be apprehensive or hesitant about me as I am set out to do something productive in our COMMON NATIONAL INTEREST without fear or favour. I should not be preconditioned to suppress my conscience and principles before I am considered for legitimate assistance.
All that is left is for me to congratulate all those who are financially „milking" Jammeh. I, for one, am tired of reasoning and will now be a passive observer while working on my things. If you show respect, patience, restraint and humility, people will think that you are desperate and you cannot make it without them.
Over the past years I have been proffering productive ideas through my constructive criticisms published on line and offline as apart of my civic duty as a public intellectual. Added to that, I spent the last 19 months of my productive life, counting from my first direct letter of December 02, 2011 and last letter of July 01, 2013 to President Jammeh extending an open pragmatic hand with good ideas to the Jammeh System in the interest of reasonable nation-building.
Someone told me "you threw your intellectual prowess behind President Jammeh and his regime and he treated you with disdain..." Whatever the various opinions of people, I see it as victory for my conscience and I am proud that I did it without regrets and damages to my standing. I have cleared the way to operate in The Gambia with conscience and pride. I did not lose my political virginity. The Mandinkas say „foroya mu kangho leti“. Nobility means honouring your words. I am honouring mine and can sleep like a baby.
For all the others matters, I console myself with what Allah to Prophet Muhammed „haven’t we increase your fame? Verily every hardship is followed by ease. Every hardship is followed by ease. WARAFANA LAKA ZIKIRAKA. FAINA MA LI USRI YUSRAN. INAMA LI USRI, YUSRAN. Surat al Inshirah verses 4, 5 and 6” and, „Oh ye who believe, seek help in steadfastness, patience, perseverance and prayers. God is with the perfectly persevered. YAUHA LAZINA AMANU, ASTAENOU BI SABRI WASALATI. INALLAH MA SABIRINA. Surat al Baqara verse 153.” I am NOT religious but I use the liberal, philosophical and spiritual meanings of wise Quranic words to keep myself resilient.
GAMBIA'S PROBLEM: 70 PERCENT DOMESTIC AND 30 PERCENT GLOBAL
After studying the country, I am concluding that The Gambia's problem is largely home-made. Only 30 percent can be blamed in global geopolitical realities. Unfortunately, there is not culture of self-examination. Always „the others are to blame!“
If sycophancy, greed, incompetence and lies are placed above modesty, nationalism and competence, you get a situation were professionalism, potentials and ethics are marginalized. The result is clear once you scratch the surface of the embellished society. Gambia is one of the most unproductive nations in the world. Almost everything is imported. When a society is in fear, self-denial and standstill, free and progressive thinking is seen as a problem.
President Jammeh is made to believe that his worst enemies are in the Diaspora or overseas yet the real enemies are within his inner circles. Those leaking state secrets are not living in EU or USA. They are living between Kartong and Koina. Both Ghadaffi and Saddam Hussein were executed by his own people on the ground.
Members of his APRC have repeatedly broken taboos in defiance by standing as successful independent candidates in the parliamentary and local government elections or by voting against the wish of the APRC leadership. This defiance cannot be blamed on outsiders or overseas critics.
From what I observed, the APRC is at war with itself. There is too much suspicion, rivalry and division between the militants, mobilizers and party functionaries. Some party bosses will blame the street militants for impatience but those people are witnessing daily corruption and nepotism. If someone is made party official or government executive, within one year he/she will have at east five (5) compounds, different cars and the power to decide who will get the free rice, hajj, tickets, scholarships, contracts and invitation to Kanilai, Presidential tours, etc. The rank and files are not stupid. They are watching!
I did not rush to follow the advice of an APRC top parliamentarian who wants me to „work with the APRC“. My application for membership will not be approved anyway as the party has no vacancy for smart unconventional thinkers like me. The party has no room for constructive ideological debate culture between liberals, conservatives and moderates as obtained in a reasonable settling. Once the APRC serves it core purpose of winning the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the rest of the legislative period is spent on bitter competition for the goodies.
Perhaps only when members of the President Jammeh's inner circles break ranks with him to challenge him in the subsequent presidential elections as independent candidates, then he will take the constructive criticisms of some of us seriously. That is if not already late. He is focusing on the security forces to prevent another coup attempt from succeeding but he is not seeing that the economy, YOUTH BULGE, religious bigotry, covered dissatisfaction and dog-eat-dog rivalries within his non-military bases could be powder kegs!
Similar problems exist in many sectors of the country but speaking about them to prevent an implosion is not welcomed. Sycophancy and denial tactics are preferred. This is not sustainable. We live in a dynamic world with changing realities. The former Soviet Union, Ghadaffi of Libya and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt all maintained monopolistic and monotonous systems that could not stand test of time. They shrugged off all reasonable and constructive criticisms as they felt omnipotent and eternal. We know what happened.
We live in an Information Age. People are hungry for information and they want to participate actively in national debate process. The days of limiting the roles of citizens to mere casting of votes and singing of praises are over. Citizens want to be part of the check and balance system. The Ministry of Information and Communication is as important as the ministries of Defence and the Interior. If not more important. For the person with a smart phone can have more global impact than the one with a gone or handcuffs. Take the case of last year’s execution. The Government tried to deny it and blame the world but the power of information subdued the tools used to carry out the executions. It is interesting to note that some of the influential people who went to State House to beg President Jammeh to end the executions told me I spoke their hearts in my that commentary “Our Gambia cannot afford global isolation” but they were compelled to go and say the Government was innocent and the international community was wrong!
The Obama Administration of USA and Cameron government in the UK are very nervous about the leakages of former insider Edward Snowden and the fact that a former Russian spy Vladimir Putin will now get those raw information. The jailed Russian girls of „Pussy Riot“ band would have got asylum had they entered USA or UK. So the normal hypocritical protests aside, I am yet to hear Obama’s people blame/censor the media practitioners for publishing the Edward Snowden information unlike the British who tried but regretted it. You destroy one copy when more copies are flying across the globe. Mr. Snowden is not a journalist or liberal social critic. He is just like any other member of the Jammeh system who is privy to state secrets and decides to share it with the world.
We are in year 2013 of the Information Society and not 1994! What worked well for say Ghaddafi and Company for over 40 years did not work in year 2011! Even if President Jammeh supposedly enjoys the game of being taken for a ride by competing sycophants, he should not forget that Gambians voted for a two-term limit in the referendum for the 1997 Constitution and they have not forgiven the removal of the term limits. Even if they are made to swear by the Bible or the Qur'an they will only be pretending to appease him. The reality is if „Allah ends his rule“, they will shed tears of joy. Members of his inner circles will be the first to distance themselves from him. I am confidently writing from what I observed, heard and felt on the ground in The Gambia. You now understand why some people get jumpy when they see me around a Yahya Jammeh event? I study their hypocritical body languages, words and fake behaviours!
As for the Gambian youths, one thing is certain: if you dock ships along the Gambian coastline between Kartong and Barra Point and place advertisements for volunteers to work as slaves or labourers in Europe and North America, the ships will be overloaded! Even those shouting „back to the land“, „Jammeh for ever“ or „no to illegal migration“ will tell you in private that once they get their way, they will leave. The scary stories about refugee transit camps, drowning as fish food, tough immigration laws, marrying white women of their grand mothers' age, et cetera, are not dampening their determination to leave The Gambia! If at all I was desperate to be-rich-quick, I would have used my strong status in Europe to sell invitations to countless people in the Gambia who were coming to me for visas or guarantees to travel but I said NO. As usual the young people who are desperate to leave will be blamed while the push factors in The Gambia will be denied. Intellectual discourse on it are not entertained. Gambia is intellectually decapitated and we the unorthodox intelligentsia are endangered species.
See you in Gambia again for the independent patriotic work. This time, I will not waste my calories trying to follow up the Jammeh System on possible nationalist cooperation. I will maintain my distance and work on my film projects and for my marginalized Sotuma Sere Community. Depending on my schedules, I will honour invitations to sociocultural events and also give free public lectures on various subjects across the Sene-Gambia basin. It is not illegal and as I quoted when I was delivering a public lecture at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne along the Kairaba Avenue before leaving Gambia “..give admonition, in case the admonition will benefit the hearer. The admonition will be received by those who fear Allah, but will be avoided by the mischievous/unfortunate ones, who will enter the great fire. In it they will neither die nor live. Prosperous indeed are those who purify themselves. FAZAKIR INA FAATI ZIKRA, SAYAZAKARU MANYAQSA. WAYATA JANABUHA L'ASQA, LAZI YASLA NARA L'KUBRA, SUMA LAYA MUTU FIHA WALA YAHYA. QAD AFLAH MAN TAZAKA... Quran. Surat Al A'la verses 9 to 14.”