Little did Gambians know that the autocratic Jammeh regime was operated and directed by marabous and supervised by Imam Abdoulie fatty until he emptied the closet of his cabinet to the Council of Elders who called on him to mark the end of Ramadan. In his bid to show Gambians that he is in charge of his government’s affairs, President Jammeh shockingly disclosed to his visitors and viewers of GRTS that most of his cabinet ministers believe so much in their marabous that they pay little or no heed at all to his cautions and instructions. He went further to assert that some of them even nurture the notion that they were untouchable not even by him. Peeling the beans further, President Jammeh disclosed that those so-called marabous also rely on Imam Abdoulie fatty as their last intercessor with him. In sum, Jammeh laid bare the fact that while these unscrupulous marabous make his cabinet ministers believe that their spell on Jammeh was protecting them from his electronic broom and keeping them well away from the “Five Star Mile II Central Hotel”, they come running to Imam fatty to intercede for their client with Jammeh. He concluded that if he forgives particularly the erstwhile Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr Njogu Bah and the Ex-Minister of Justice Lamin Jobarteh, they will celebrate their marabous. In other words, they will say “yes, our marabous have done it…we knew that Jammeh cannot do without us”.
What really strikes me from listening to his speech was when he asserted that he will never forgive them. I could not help but wonder have these two gentlemen committed the crimes they have been charged with against President Jammeh or the State? If their crimes are against the state for example “Lamin Jobarteh v GG/State or Inspector general of Police” who usually represents the state in prosecuting alleged offenders then it is fitting to conclude that they are being persecuted by Jammeh’s mercenary judges instead of being prosecuted by the laws of the Gambia. On the other hand, even if their charge sheet were to read “ Njogu Bah v Yahya Jammeh by law he is not supposed to be commenting on the media on a matter before the courts. He would in his own right either to press charges, negotiate the matter out of court or withdraw the charges against them. Suffice it to say his comments on a case already in the hands of the courts awaiting trial and judgement have severely compromised the outcome of the trial. Whatever they are dished with at the end of their persecution as it is no longer fit to legally refer to their trial as prosecution since the President has openly expressed interest in their trial and want to see them punish for believing in their marabous instead for the crimes they have committed. Furthermore, his disclosure has further reaffirmed what many human rights activist and political commentators always feared that he President Jammeh decides the judgement of any politically motivated case in the Gambian judiciary.
I am glad that President Jammeh has finally openly admitted that his Council of Elders dubbed religious leaders do not measure up or worth the titled they are crowned. Instead they stoop low to lick Jammeh’s backside. As President Jammeh rightly puts it they not only shy away from their responsibilities as Allah’s emissaries on earth but sold their souls to the devil. By virtue of their position in the Gambian society, they are obliged to stand up for the truth for the sake of Allah and Allah alone. If any public official including President Jammeh is deemed to be transgressing against Gambians, they would step up to advise and tell the person the truth. But no, instead they prostitute their responsibility and self-esteem for a penny or two from Jammeh. Albeit we all know that Imam Bakawsu Fofana and Imam Baba Leigh have been unlawfully arrested, detained and tortured for merely commenting of what should have prevailed under a democratic government the rest opted to coil their tails and sit on it. Jammeh has now openly challenged you to advise him on matters of fundamental importance, Gambians and the world are now watching both of you with interest to see who will be found wanton.
Mr Sabally, on his part, believes calling on the religious leaders to prevail on exile Gambian journalists and political commentators will avail his government the required vitamins to correct its image deficiency. That is a step in the wrong direction Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The most appropriate thing for you to have said was to call on the President to repeal the Information and Communication Act; encourage an open door policy with journalists and allow freedom of the press. Once the press regains its trust on him, everything will gradually fall into place. The Wolof teaches that when a stomach is hungry, it cries. In other words, when a bully inflicts hurting blows on his or her victim, the victim will either moan or cry out loud in pain. And that is exactly what we are doing now. What we are doing in the diaspora is not tarnishing the already dented image of your government but happily doing what the President said the Council of Elders should have been doing; advising you.
Personally, I have written many open letters to the President advising him on the way forward but I am yet to note him heeding to any of the suggestions put forward. So for him to say that he does not have positive advice on matters of good governance is a blatant fallacy. If the President and his entire cabinet want Gambians in the diaspora to stop commenting on your government excesses, then you must start acting and behaving responsibly. Until you do, we will continue to speak out and do anything within the ambits of law and our means to ensure the international community is aware and takes greater interest in your government affairs. We will also continue to mount pressure on you until such a time you fall in line and match on under the command of democracy and good governance.
Sulayman Jeng, UK