Eden Sharp’s Challenge on PDOIS’s Halifa Sallah, Says “Halifa Is Wrong on Kanilai”
In his critic of PDOIS’s Halifa Sallah, Eden Sharp argued that Halifa got it wrong. There are many ways to look at this issue at hand. I personally disagreed with Halifa on the context of suggesting that the deal signed prior to Jammeh’s departure should be honored, meaning Jammeh’s properties will be handed to him. That will not do it for Gambians and it will not do it for justice. Examples need to be set on corrupt, divisive, and criminal leaders. Unless this is done, there is likely continuation of the preying of citizens by the “predator” type of complex and arrogant breed of leaders. Simply, citizens must be protected.
To a large extent, I think Sallah’s take on the issues are either misconstrued by some and/or misunderstood by others. Though misunderstood and disagreed with, his message comes with mixed feelings, reconciliatory, and an opinion to the national dialogue, which we as citizens are all entitled to, to agree to disagree. It is now on the justice ministry of a responsible Gov’t to come up with a solution to the problem. It must not be ignored. If for anything, Sallah must be given credit for sparking the debate at the highest level that it can get. Thank you Halifa for continuing to represent and inspire at the highest level, to where we agree, and/or disagree.
See below, Eden Sharp’s full take on the security aspect, coincidentally, that is my Part Three on my engagement on Gainako, “The Spotlight: Yaya Jammeh Can Come Back to the Gambia to Face Justice.”
Halifa Is Wrong On Kanilai
By Eden Sharp, 6/12/2017
I agree with Halifa that what happened in Kanilai is an unfortunate incident and must be investigated by the government to ensure that all lives are protected and to prevent further loss of life in the hands of any security forces. May Haruna Jatta Rest In Peace. Civil-military operations can be a very complex task in that foreign forces often have to ensure security while dealing with an antagonistic civilian population. Balancing security needs and civil liberties continue to be a challenge for many countries in that the people desire security and frown upon any encroachment on their civil liberties. More so when the security forces are foreigners. As the old adage goes “familiarity breeds contempt.”
The fact remains that if Yaya Jammeh or any of his sympathizers were to engage in any attempt to bring him back, in Kanilai they will find a sympathetic community. It is also a known fact that Yaya Jammeh has been offering unyielding support to certain rebels within the Casamance region and some of these rebels remain sympathetic to him. Yaya offered them safe sanctuary and supported their cause. I don’t think anyone doubts that Yaya Jammeh wants anything more than to come back to The Gambia and be the president again. We also know that he has the funds to destabilize the region, and we must not put it past his host in Equatorial Guinea to support his desires. Yaya’s support base is Foni and specifically Kanilai. Therefore, it is prudent that our national security efforts counter this sociotropic threat perception where it has the largest support base. I hope our government works to address the security challenges they face in Kanilai in concert with civil stakeholders to maintain the security of the larger Gambia.
Where Halifa erred is in his erroneous conclusion that what happened in Kanilai “was a matter of civil disobedience and Public Order which should be handled by the police and not a matter of state security.” Halifa belabored to arrive at this conclusion by ridiculously attempting to delineate and classify what types of incidents should constitute a national security threat and which ones are a matter of civil disobedience.
Generally, there are four stages of threats: High, significant, moderate and low. Going by Halifa’s logic or illogic if you’re so inclined, it is only when a threat is at a high level (zenith) that it becomes treasonable and a national security issue! Incredulous. Halifa insists that “when soldiers or armed civilians move to the state house, and other corridors of power with arms to overthrow the head of state, and the government, that would be considered as the height or zenith of security threat.” I am inclined to ask Halifa why does he think ECOMIG forces are stationed in The Gambia? Should West African security experts have waited until certain elements “move to the state house and other corridors of power with arms to overthrow the head of state and the government… before they deploy ECOMIG? It’s like saying we will wait until the dagger is in the heart of The Gambia before we consider it a national security issue. Don’t mind anyone that even talks about putting a dagger in the heart of The Gambia because that is not a national security threat; that is just civil disobedience
If Halifa knew the stages of a threat, understood threat and vulnerability assessments, I doubt he would be making this claim. You don’t have to wait until a threat becomes “actual” (zenith) before you consider it a national security issue. Halifa seems to think that a threat to public order cannot morph into a threat to national security; a very naïve view I contend. The security experts of ECOWAS determined from their threat and vulnerability assessments that certain locations, and specifically Kanilai, pose a sociotropic threat to The Gambia and hence their decision to strategically locate their forces throughout the region. They are dealing with the threat at its nadir (lowest level) and not waiting until the threat actualizes or becomes credible.
Halifa expertly concludes that because those arrested are charged under the “Public Order Act, rather than with treason and other state security offences, confirms that the incident was a matter of civil disobedience and Public Order, which should be handled by the police and not a matter of state security…” So only treasonable offenses are a matter of state security? It is apparent Halifa has very limited knowledge of threats and security issues. But if you bought his premise of classifying threat levels, I guess you will buy this wholesale joke of a conclusion.
On the role of ECOMIG in Kanilai, Halifa maintains that “ECOMIG forces are forces of Solidarity, not forces of Occupation. Then he goes on to place the onus on “ECOMIG forces “to look inward and find out why” some people see them as a force of occupation “and then make sure that what makes those people see them as forces of Occupation is actually remedied.” Now I know where Sulayman Bokarr Bah gets his nonsense from that he is a nationalist and so ECOMIG forces should leave! No Halifa, since you seem to understand the mission of ECOMIG, why don’t you do your civil duty and educate the people of Kanilai! Don’t put that onus on military forces whose military occupational specialty you know nothing about!
Lastly, Halifa tells us that “ECOMIG forces are Republican Forces (whatever that means) and that “they are to take part in enhancing the unity of the people.” No Halifa, their primary mission is providing security. Playing sociologist, healing our nation and or enhancing the unity of the people is the purview of others. Halifa further educates us that “Republican forces must provide services for the people, that they must have doctors. Educators, technicians and builders who would render voluntary services to the people…” If you are curious on how occupation forces act, that’s exactly what Halifa describes above. Since Halifa was engaged in negotiating Yaya’s forced exit, perhaps he should share with us the operational order of ECOMIG with their mission statement. Does he know the composition of the forces? Does he know their primary and secondary tasks if any? Or is Halifa just assuming that since ECOMIG is a stabilizing force, they should also have doctors, educators and what not? If we cannot be grateful to ECOMIG, the last thing we should be engaged in second-guessing their role and passing ridiculous judgements on how they perform or function. If not for ECOMIG, Yaya Jammeh would still be in The Gambia ruling sovereign!
The Norwegian community mourns one of their own best, Momodou Gaye. Momodou was simply a community volunteer who tried to touch many hearts with his science, mathematics, and reading skills. Momodou passed peacefully this past week in Norway and is survived by his wife and children.
A long time resident of Norway and family friend, described the late Momodou as a great asset to the community, sharing that Momodou organized literacy classes, targeting the younger generations, something he took great passion in over a long period of time, and how this was a great loss for the Gambian community in Norway.
From the late Momodou’s own wife, Adu Sally Njie, bitterly mourned a great husband in her Facebook post of June 11th 2017, thus, “Momodou Gaye, Allah, have mercy because I am in misery. My eyes are weak from so much crying and it will continue. My whole being is tired from the grief and I know this will continue. My mind is still having trouble wrapping itself around the fact that you’re gone. You are already missed by all that have crossed your path during your life time. You have shared your knowledge especially Mathematics, General Science, Computer and list goes on. Rest in peace my dear husband!”
Our warm heart goes out through the deceased’s brother, Ebou Gaye in UK, a sharing person, whose activism online is celebrated, especially fighting with and along the oppressed at the most difficult time of our nation’s history. To their entire family, I share my heartfelt condolences. May the deceased comrade peacefully rest, till again we will reunite with him in the hereafter. (Ameen).