“Fear Is Now Over,” Says Fatou Jaw Manneh

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“Fear Is Now Over,” Says Fatou Jaw Manneh
By Yero Jallow
In a one on one interview on her part two and final interview with Gainako, Ms. Fatou Jaw Manneh said, “fear is now over,” arguing that Gambians stood up to Jammeh. Ms. Manneh who was once arrested when she visited the Gambia in 2007 after her dad’s passing, was prosecuted by Jammeh’s regime for her political activism in the United States. She now said she looks forward to uniting with her aged mother in soon. Even though Ms. Manneh suffered most, she still have some reservations as to the way she thinks the Gambia can make it in the depths of troubles. In the continued efforts to engage a while range of citizens, below we reproduce the whole uncensored interview. Don’t miss our next big guest soon.
YJ: Hello Jaw, it’s urgent for a follow up. Your last interview was well reviewed and many reached out to me for a follow. Happy New year
FJM: Welcome back Dalton. Thanks. Happy New year to you too. The whole family and the Gainako Family too.
YJ: What is the feeling like being able to go visit Gambia without fear being arrested this time around?
FJM: Well, even if Jammeh stays God forbid, the fear is now over. Gambians stood up to him, that is what we wanted all along. Fear is over! Feels GOOD!
YJ: Barrow of the Coalition has won and Jammeh initially conceded and now rejected him. Any foresight?
FJM: Jammeh is crazy! For 22 years, we have been crying foul for elections rigging either at the ballot box or from the terrifying environment he creates election time. When the opposition loses, they pack their bags and hope for a better season against Jammeh. But because he always wins, he cares not. Even when he wins, a natural bully he is, he continues his intimidation, arrests, harassments and jailing of opposition members. Over this past 22 years that the opposition been losing, they were all bullied, tortured, jailed , harassed and exiled. All these opposition/coalition  members have one way or the other bore the brunt of Jammeh wickedness.  Mai Fatty almost died in a staged accident, Halipha and Ahmat been to jail, OJ was arrested over 22 years, they almost killed him by torture, Ousainou Daboe’s  party lost 2 members recently, one to a bullet, the other to  torture whilst sitting in jail with Ousainou himself  in jail with family and over 20 of his party executives. But they never retaliated each time. Now For once out of a good strategy, the opposition came together and won, and now Jammeh said it’s unfair, Gambians must start all over again because he lost???? That’s absurd.
YJ: Any idea on the likely outcome of this court case filed by Jammeh?
FJM: He is free to send a million petitions if he chooses to , the courts are open for every citizen. I don’t think that will hold any water, but he can try. It’s a democracy. But for now he has to hand over power. For this elections, he lost.
YJ: With Jammeh refusing, ECOWAS, UN, and other reputable organizations has vowed to oust Jammeh. Any worries at all and what is the way forward for a smooth transition?
FJM: Jammeh is a drama king and has nothing to lose. I am hopeful sanity will prevail. But rain or shine, his rule ends on the 18th inshallah. Jammeh is the one defying, and denying rules over Gambians. Now all his bogus laws and shifts he enjoys at the courts and at the IEC don’t favor him, he suddenly find himself in the opposition shoes. I say to him Enjoy. He is taking advantage of the Gambian leniency, even though he lost, everyone is praying for a smooth transition, but he cannot even see that fact or respect it. I am optimistic there will be a smooth transition. I m confident the Coalition will oversee and encourage a smooth transition. Barrow is humble and measured and so is the whole coalition team. This Coalition team is a powerhouse, in intellect character and wisdom. Be rest assured. They will not break glass over Jammeh. Inshallah. We all work in making sure the transition is smooth and peaceful. Nothing confrontational. These African countries coming to our aide, all have work to do in their countries. It is shame that Jammeh/Gambia will drag them into this WORLD OF SHAME ACT. Jammeh has support, let him be content and move on.
YJ: Jaw, from all honesty, a lot of work is needed with Gambia’s military. How can they be structured and trusted going forward?
FJM: Gambia’s military is a sad case. Gambia does not need all this Military. First things first. But now that we have a Military, there are many ways we can utilize our military instead of just regarding them or corseting them as dangerous elements to citizens they swore to protect. Inshallah I am sure there will be a serious discourse in the near future as to how we can usefully utilize them in the Gambia. First things first.
YJ: You are eyed and admired by many for being consistent, supporting, and encouraging what is…. what has it been like turning off some of the temptations of power, position, money, etc..?
FJM: Well, Power or money or government. Some of us are going to continue to be who we are, what we are taught by our parents and teachers. Try to do the right thing especially when it matters. We shall continue to live by that mantra rain or shine.
YJ: Our good brother, friend, and admiration, Baba Galleh Jallow recently made known that if invited, he will go ahead and help. What is your own take?
FJM: Why not. He has developed himself on the sidelines after the Jammeh administration made hell for him in the Gambia. At some point the NIA was Baba and Yorro’s second home during their time at the Independent Newspaper. I am glad he made from the country unharmed. Gambians who enable, stood by the dictator, for their selfish gains, help tear the country for 22 years have no qualms about taking the mantel and running away with it. Why should we shy away from it. Why should qualified, decent citizens always run away from it??  This “foroyaa” thing is not respected in the Gambia you know., why should law abiding, decent citizens be shy of throwing their weight in developing the country. Especially, when standing up for country is the reason they have been exiled for almost twenty years. If they are willing, and have the qualification, what should deter them. We should encourage anyone willing to go work for government or in the Gambia, being government, private or for commercial purposes GO!! That is what we have been fighting for right??
YJ: Most are not sure.
FJM: Most of us are citizens with professional Jobs. The win is for/about our freedom. To hop in a plane and go see family, take care of our business. That’s all. That is what matters and that’s what we want. Not to be stuck here with a dangerous dictator holding the country at ransom. At least Gambians have decided and there is no turning back. We shall never fear Jammeh. Ever!! Gambians have broken that mental chain. Now the world sees the monster we are talking about and dealing with for 22 years. Everything else will fall in place. Inshallah.
YJ: So any plans for home.
FJM: Yes, Inshallah hopefully just for a week by end of January or February . A quick visit to see MUM.  Now we can just hop in a plane, go see our parents for a week and come back peacefully. That suffice. Whenever we want. Yep. Gambia is moved on on Jammeh. Done with him. He has tremendous support in the country. I hope he disappears and retires respectfully.
YJ: Under Jammeh, a lot of crimes were committed. What will truth and reconciliation look like in your view?
FJM: Hmm. First things first. Let the Barrow Coalition government put their sight and energy on cementing democratic principles and strong institutions that Jammeh seized, terrorized and sucked up dry as personal properties.
No Gambian wants to go into revenge mode at all. None, but justice has to take its course. Gambians cannot butcher their fellow human beings, promote the image of a dictator, then suddenly, taf taf denounce the dictator, and all is well in Gambia nice. Just for doing the right thing, many died, went to jail and lost everything. We want to see a system that is set to secure protect all citizens rights, not just protect those who have abused the system. People have to understand that there are consequences in anything we do. We should stand by people who are hurt too in as much as we want to forgive perpetrators. But forgiveness should not be forced/demanded or pressured out of us. We all need time to heal and put the Gambia without Jammeh into perspective.
The government should not be strung on witch hunting. Nope. Easy Easy, one day at a time…. We are a forgiving people but it cannot be forced or pressured out of the people who demand justice. Its funny reading all these letters coming from all kinds of sectors and people denouncing Jammeh. I am like WOW!! where were you??? Wow….Gambia for you. The ship is sinking so everyone is jumping out with style……. Gambians are amazing. .hmmm
YJ: You followed many coming out of the closet; one time enablers and intellectual prostitutes all dancing to the new drums. I never thought in my life this day was going to come.
FJM: Well that is Gambia for you. We never lacked people with degrees, what Gambia forever lacked especially when in need was people with Character and integrity. Lawyers who will defend the constitution no matter what, professors who will defy dictatorship no matter what, Business people who will stand by the people no matter what, Not cronies who connive with the dictator to harm or make innocent citizens suffer , Women who care about our youths, men and women, their education and development, Not women who compete to be crowned as the dictators favorite, Soldiers who will stand by frightened citizens not shoot at them or their fellow soldiers, kill, maim the  innocent  for the dictator, courts that will rule fairly not jail citizens unfairly, law makers who care about what is right, not what is paid on the side by the dictator and helpless families. This is what wrecked Gambia. Many has betrayed Gambia.
Name any prestigious University in the World, we have Gambian graduates from them. We have all kinds of degrees, qualifications, skills and experience from developed worlds, but who really will apply those when it mattered. Every country we work or graduate from , from the developed world, we know about their history and how their educated and rich stood by their country when it mattered. So we definitely do not need synthetic intellectuals high jack the affairs of the country anymore, and I hope in the new Gambia, the intellectuals and technocrats will have the country at heart and be given all the freedom to utilize it in taking the country forward. Its sad…Of all the sectors during this terrible time, I am most disappointed by our lawyers or Bar Association. We are forever grateful though for few lawyers who stuck with the people, and went broke defending citizens’ pro bono. My respect to them. You see, Barrow is a high school graduate. His character, consistency, contribution, patience, being there for his party through thick and thin is what catapulted him to the presidency. His sacrifice for his party and country. Intellect, wisdom, and character, not mere degrees, should go hand in hand.
YJ: The election results. Are you surprised the Coalition won? Finally, the opposition beat Jammeh after 22 years. What is your take?
FJM: No. I had a good feeling that the Coalition will give Jammeh/APRC the run for his money. I am shocked at Jammehs popularity though. I was expecting Jammeh to win only 20 percent at most. So, we should all thank Mama Kandeh for delivering the Coalition. Mama Kandeh is known because he was an APRC branch out. So he was able to tore up a cool percentage from the APRC. A very good run for a first time candidate. Almost won 90 thousand votes. That is a whole lot. That is what hurt APRC. The Coalition escaped a beat up/down from Jammeh because of Mama Kandeh. Kandeh was the dangerous new player. Keep an eye on him. Lol! He really really tried. He saved us all from another term of Dictatorship, even though he did not win. Yep. Voters see him as a safe choice I guess. Those who are tired of Jammeh and not sure about the opposition win. And I think his core supporters were going for Gold. They really think he was going to win, and he did good at a first try.  I am very shocked and surprised by Jammeh winning 40 percent. He has support, really. He lost but he has support. Credit to him. So I am appealing to his supporters to regroup, and make a come back as a progressive party. Not demanding new elections or war. That is not the answer.
YJ: So coming together really helped the Opposition coalition??
FJM: Yes!!! Jammeh would have swallowed these people if they contested loosely. Was great. For real. This is a narrow escape. Glad the Coalition won. They deserve it. Coalition was a good strategy. Very good move.
YJ: So Jammeh really surprised you. You think he was going to lose bad. What worked for him to get 40 percent.
FJM: APRC really campaigned well on hate and fear. They made Gambians believe that Mandinkas are coming for revenge, especially towards all APRC. Which was not true , but then many cling to him than the other team  they are made to fear. I must give it to him. He has support. That is why he should do himself a favor and organize a big futampaff for his exit really, rather than nursing war against citizens because he lost. APRC is a huge party, so I will advise his supporters to rally around a progressive candidate  in a new Gambia. Distance themselves from Jammeh. They can revamp their party for a comeback. But Jammeh the Dictator MUST GO!!
YJ: We lost big in the Fonis , our Foni Sintet and Foni Bulock. But your other hometown Kombo North especially Sukuta came up with 22 thousand votes for the coalition how come. What changed. Why did they dump Jammeh.
FJM: Kombo North came out really strong. Greetings to our folks. Yes, Sukuta came roaring for the Coalition with 22 thousand votes. They made us all proud.They are still impressed and jubilating over their campaign strategy. I asked how they did it and what was the motivation. But it is the same answers all over the country. A) Jammeh has disrespected the Mandinkas, 2) They trust the coalition, they said they don’t know Barrow but with a coalition they were ready to risk it all and it paid off. The youths are frustrated all over the country. Watching Jammehs wife zooming in and out of the country in a 747 Jumbo jet whilst they go on with one meal a day if they are lucky is painful to bear. This greedy, duo, heartless monsters must leave the stage. Gambians are just tired of them. Period. Plus  Jammehs war and hate for Mandinkas did him in. It is one thing to hate a tribe , but it is another thing to make them target , promising to annihilate them. That was GROSS. To  the extend he can lock up Ousainou Darboe and his whole executive and go to sleep. That went too far. Way too far. So the mandinkas peacefully do him in at the ballot box.
Yes, The Fonis are all green. APRC won big. I was told the defeat was heavy and depressing there. I will plan to do a fumtampaff there for consolation. Lol. Foni , Banjul and Serrekunda are strong APRC holds. I am urging them all to regroup for next elections, carry forward with their party in a progressive manner. Not cling to a Dictator. Foni people especially the Jolas are great great people. They must regroup. After all this is elections and it concerns a country and not an individual. We cannot have a tyrant rule forever. Its democracy and giving chance to others is a necessity. Jammeh is just an individual. He does not own the country no matter how good they think he is…. I am sure it is tough for them, but let them move on and regroup. Gambia belongs to all of us.
YJ: The Coalition is quiet on their cabinet picks. Who do you want to see in what positon. Who is your choice for Vice President?? How about the Diaspora, who gets picked. Bring it on. Are we going to see a UDP dominated cabinet?? I want to hear it from you.
FJM: (Lol). I hope not. But first things first. This is going to be a Coalition government. Barrow is the president and there should be no confusion about that. Ousainou Darboe should be the silent informal co-president. Senior advisor and counsel. For Vice President- Halipha Sallah, Mai Ahmad Fatty, OJ, or Dr. Isatou Touray. OJ, Halipha and Ousainou should all be senior counsel. Halipha is perfect though for Senior Cousel, VP, or Spokesperson. Dr. Touray and Mai Fatty will make a good VP.  Again Halipha and Mai Fatty is perfect for Speaker of The House. After the Coalition term ends in 3years Ousainou Darboe, Halpha Sallah, OJ should be honorary counsels for any government that is going to come in place for the next 20 years or as long as  they can serve citizens. They should hold that honor and the front seat. Each of these coalition leaders and their surrogates will each have a fitting position am sure.
All of them are party leaders and have their teams set. So, each will move in with their teams to whichever department they head??? Each party leader knows of skilled and competent people on the ground and in the Diaspora so they should have the freedom of who they choose to work with. That’s their call. May Allah guide them through and give them the wisdom on the way forward. This 3 years they have is important for the country.
Enough Dalton. This Palass thing can get you killed in the Gambia. So, let’s take a disclaimer that it is just a game. Lol. Good luck to them. But we want to see a COALITION GOVERNMENT. And Barrow is THE PRESIDENT. They must work as a team, hand in hand and always remember 57 percent of Gambians did not vote for them, considering the tough times. That number is a whole lot. So they have to brace up and come up with impressive selections, nothing bias on party lines. That will be a turn off for the whole country.
YJ: Thank you Jaw. Any last word?
FJM: God bless The Gambia. We are all looking forward to a new Gambia inshallah. We thank the whole world and our host countries. Wishing everyone a prosperous 2017.And thanks, Gainako. Always.
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  1. You write “Lol. Foni , Banjul and Serrekunda are strong APRC holds”? I Am surprised by this result having once once lived in all these areas. For starters Foni normally associated with Jolas was regarded as a peaceful and fun location where to be posted for work in the so called provinces. But if my sources are right, Jammeh actually have killed and/or disappeared more Jollas than any other tribal affiliation during his 22 years rule. As for Banjul, it once was regarded by many in west Africa at least as the most livable capital city in the region – may be only second to Freetown in the 1960s and 70s when Siaka Steven’s ruled Sierra leone, is now in danger of being inundated by the ocean, partly because a Dutch funding to have Levees built to stop and slow the process had apparently been stolen by the dictator: also Halfdied is now half it former self Serrekunda was always regarded by us growing up as the “Intellectual” capital of the Gambia where lots of political discourse could be had most evenings. It was also a fun and bustling town. But in recent years parts of has apparently been turned into the Crack Cocaine capital of Gambia with most of the drug dealing taking place in in and around the main police station.

    You would think people living in these areas would want a change for the better, but as the saying goes, “if you can keep the dogs hungry they will run with you”- a shamefully cruel, but apparently true phenomenon.

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