Editorial: Minister Tangara has the burden of proof to clear himself from Jammeh’s Brutal Regime before the TRRC

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Mamadou Tangara Gambia’s current foreign minister’s rebuttal to Ndey Tapha Sosseh’s allegation of his alleged involvement advocating for deportation of Gambians who opposed dictator Yahya Jammeh raises more questions than clears his name. In Tangara’s rebuttal he tried to convince Gambians and readers that he was in fact criss-crossing Africa on behalf of Jammeh but his efforts were geared towards preventing Gambians from being deported to the Gambia. Nothing is further from the truth than that.

Readers may be interested to know that Mr. Tangara was not just another Minister in Jammeh’s hiring and firing scheme. He was someone who had served the dictator in various ministerial positions in addition to the permanent mission at the United Nations. Mr. Tangara first started working forJammeh as an adviser while serving at the National Authorizing Office Support Unit for EU-funded programs and projects in the Gambia. Shortly he was appointed by Jammeh as foreign minister from 2010 to 2012. He also served as Minister of Fisheries in charge of National Assembly matters. He was later reappointed as foreign minister before being redeployed as minister of education where he served until he was again sent to the United Nations as Gambia’s Permanent representative. So Mr. Tangara was not only a fly by appointee of Yahya Jammeh, but someone who had served Jammeh in various capacities at the dictator’s pleasure. The only people who continued to serve Jammeh in various capacities without being arrested and Jailed were those willing to do his dirty jobs and to protect his image from all the atrocities he was willing to commit to stay in power.

In our investigation to corroborate our initial reporting on Tangara’s alleged involvement in attempts to kidnap Gambian journalists and extradite them to the Gambia apparently to be jailed or killed, we unearthed numerous visits by Tangara to several countries sent by Jammeh to try to either silence Gambians or to get them deported back to the Gambia. It was no secret that Tangara’s appeal as foreign minister was his fluency in French and possible ties to some individuals serving in other country’s authorities such as Mali. Tangara is believed to have originated from Mali or at least his parents have some close family ties. He was therefore a natural for Jammeh to recruit in his campaign against Gambians in the subregion.

In Mr. Tangara’s rebuttal he tried to insinuate that he in fact turned his mission from advocating for deportation of Gambian journalists to advising them to stay safe and be careful of their activities. This is absolute fallacy and Mr. Tangara knows there is no iota of truth but rather an opportunistic narration to try to safe his job. He did exactly the same while at the UN when he realized that Jammeh’s  regime was virtually finished and he would be better of calling for Jammeh to go. That was a no brainer as all saw the writings on the wall. In fact that opportunism became the game plan for many of Jammeh’s former enablers whose sole interest was to safe their diplomatic appointments.

Gainako editorial reached out to Ndey Tapha Sosseh to asked her reaction to Mr. Tangara’s rebuttal and some other online sensational news alleging relationship beyond professional between Ndey and Tangara. Ndey’s response to Gainako was to challenge Tangara to put out all email communications between her and Tangara. She said “please asked Mr. Tangara to make public all emails and photos without deleting dates to all media that he sent his communique”.  Ndey  revealed that Tangara while working on a European funded project (EDF) was required to put together a report which relates to the status of Gambia’s political situation. “The photos, emails that he Tangara received were all related to this project”. He is urged to make public every communique he had sent if he is honest and wants the public to see and judge for themselves.

What is even more disingenuous and outright false is Tangara’s silence on Jammeh’s massive Human Rights violations and abuse of office. Mr. Tangara is an educated accomplished individual and for him to stick around Jammeh knowing fully well all of the human rights abuses tells more about his conscience and intellectual dishonesty. His caliber are those that Africa has given so much but who bend backwards to betray the moral consciousness of an educated class. At best his desire to keep his job no matter the human cost best classified him a political prostitute. He belongs to worst footnotes of African history.

If Mr. Tangara truly believes in his statements he will request to testify before the TRRC. Should he failed to live up to that challenge, the investigative team of the TRRC should dispatch a team to various countries to investigate Tangara’s various missions in the subregion. In addition, he must be subpoenaed to appear before the TRRC to answer questions under oath. It is quite and embarrassment for people like Tangara to continue to serve the Gambia as a diplomat given all the atrocities, human rights violations and abuse of office that he was privy to during Jammeh’s regime.  Tangara can only be described as one of those sons of our country who sold their souls, their dignity and self worth to the highest bidder. He represents the worst our country can offer including Jammeh. He deserves no respect from the Gambian people or by any international platforms he stands on.

Mr. Tangara should resign from his position and issue an open apology to the Gambian people and especially to the victims of the brutal regime he championed for years. In fact, as Mr. Jorbateh mentioned the disrespect came from President Barrow for daring to appoint such low self esteem individual considered to be highly educated. Of course there is a difference between obtaining degrees and being educated.

In comparison, Mr. Tangara doesn’t even stand close to the shadows of Ndey Tapha Sosseh. Here is a young woman who stood her ground and took on an entire machinery of a brutal dictator. She was one of the most effective campaigners against the brutality that was imposed on Gambians for over two decades. Ndey’s unquestionable standing can be seen through the lenses of those who served Jammeh but ran away for their lives after they felt apart with the dictator. She hosted people who could potentially be plotting like Tangara to repatriate her back to the Gambia to face jail or possible killing. But as the saying goes man proposes God disposes. Ndey was protected by the powers to be and her safety and security was further enhance by her pure kindness and patriotism.

Mr. Tangara has the burden of proof to disassociate himself from Jammeh’s atrocities and no amount of publicity or denial through other media mouth pieces can safe him the humility of facing the Gambian people to answer questions. The history of the struggle against the dictatorship by those who stood tall against it and those who succumbed to the indignities and crimes by the Junta can never be rewritten. We call on Tangara to swallow his hall of shame and resign to safe the Gambia from further embarrassment.

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