By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu,
I would like to start by apologizing for possible errors as I wrote this piece under time pressure with unstable electricity supply.
Out of protest, I refused to write new traveler’s reports on my current working mission in our homeland of The Gambia. During my last self-sponsored trip of 2012, I used my money, time and energy to provide differentiated information to those who are hungry for independent non-political facts on The Gambia for their balanced decision-making processes by writing on my experience across in The Gambia and the Casamance free of pro and anti-government propaganda.
To my dismay, the most frustrated of the cyber mobsters tried to assassinate my character by creating imaginary tales that I came to, among others, sell my soul to President Jammeh when the reality is that President Jammeh is yet to show me any encouraging signs that I am alive and in the country.
The Gambia Government as the main image beneficiary of the non-political reports did not even care to acknowledge my work though I did it out of my conscience, patriotism and free choice and not for accolades.
This time since landing in the country again on March 08, 2013 I have been fully concentrating on my film industry projects and genuinely engaging the productive youth forces of our land without investing even a minute on a traveler’s report. I spent the Easter weekend crisscrossing River Gambia up to the provinces – see my Facebook pictures (facebook.com/princebubacarrs). The experience was priceless but refused to share it with readers in and out of the country. Again I am using my own money to pay for what I am doing here between Kartong and Koina. In my first week in the country last March, I witnessed an accident on the Banjul-Serrekunda highway but I refused to cover it for the media at home or abroad and instead left it for those who came for it.
Am however making an exception here by writing this piece, not just for the sake of my fans at home and abroad but also for the sake of reason, social justice and posterity.
I HAVE PAID MY DUES TO PRESIDENT JAMMEH AND HIS GOVERNMENT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBTS
I did not come to The Gambia to idle or be treated like a common criminal. I am here to contribute my quota towards the all-inclusive and pluralistic development of The Gambia beyond politics without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. I started concretizing my moves since 2011. I first wrote a letter to President Jammeh in which I floated ideas for him to consider serious industrialization, the green economy and diversification that covers the copyright- based sectors including include film, theatre, music, innovation and related creative and cultural industry matters in his new term. The letter included my plans for coming home to contribute and assist in developing The Gambia through my expertise, intellect, humour, ingenuity, craziness, exuberance and dazzling personality. Yes am dead stubborn and unconventional as I belong to the same schools of thought as Diogenes of Sinope, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Leonardo Da Vinci, George Jacob Holyoake, Bertrand Russell, Emmanuel Kant and Steve Jobs. For every society, generation, presidency, leadership or nation can call itself progressive, civilized and tolerant when it accepts and preserves the existential rights of vanguard thinkers like my lunatic self with the professional license to flout conventions, rattle taboos, demystify the dogma and proffer productive ideas for the advancement of society.
I prepared a GAMBIAN NATIONAL FILM POLICY FRAMEWORK paper and submitted it to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC), the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the Standing Committee on Beauty Pageants and Production of Movies for use as working document on a final film policy. You cannot have a serious film industry without a film policy and solid structures. Some people have been coming from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and elsewhere to talk about Gambian film industry and lobby to get the assistance of the high and mighty without presenting legacy benefits for our country. I am Pan-Africanist and I believe in intra-African solidarity but my conscience cannot just allow me to sit and watch briefcase operators, Gambians and non-Gambians alike, exploit the Gambian gullibility, hospitality and lack of respect for self-worth just for quick profits.
It is a big shame that The Gambia is the only English-speaking country in Western Africa that does not yet have a serious and productive film industry in the standard sense. Even Liberia and Sierra Leone, two countries that lost at least a decade each to civil war, got up from their backsides to assist their patriotic indigenous pioneers in building their local vibrant film industries. The Ghanaians resisted what they called the “nollywood invasion” buy building the local capacities and supporting their pioneering producers inline with the World Trade Organization provisions on giving preferential treatment to indigenous cottage industries to enable them compete locally and internationally without it being misconstrued as xenophobia or protectionism. Today the Ghanaian filmmakers can now cooperate with their Nigerians counterparts at eye-levels with win-win benefits for both countries.
I believe Gambian film industry practitioners can also cooperate with all sincere partners from across the globe but they need to have local resilience first. This has been the code of my message throughout. Those briefcase operators would praise-sing, get the assistance and repatriate their profits and eventually leave The Gambia when things go wrong but some of us have ONLY the Gambia as our final homeland of return. I and other genuine locals will stay and die here come what may. I for one will keep my profits in the country and with resilience; we will be able to survive the downturns and tougher competitions in and out of the Gambia in due course.
Sadly here in The Gambia it is the opposite. I have just been experiencing lies, excuses and feet-dragging in society. Productive and innovative ideas are not appreciated in this country. There is enough money for cars and late romance decadence but our society is blind when it comes to timely allocation of adequate resources to productive activities. If we are to accept the truth, disturbing Allah round the clock will not develop our country as Allah has already bestowed us with the dignity and tools to command our own destinies. We will never attain economic super power status and Vision 2020 on the wings of Archangel of Gabriel. We either assist the productive human assets in the productive sectors of our political economy without politics and nepotism or we continue to live in denial while dancing before the golden calf and ignoring the writings on the walls.
That said, I also prepared a CODE OF ETHICS FOR THE GAMBIAN FILM INDUSTRY PRACTIONERS and submitted it to the above named entities. Flooding the market with home videos does not make one a professional. It is living by the set professional ethics and standards of the trade that qualifies one to be professional. My suggestion for a Gambian generic brand name for a productive Gambian film industry has also been submitted. There is no law or convention that says every film industry must have the wood suffix to its name. I submitted CINEKAMBIYA as industry name for consideration. CINE is from CINEMA and KAMBIYA is from Kambiya Bologho or River Gambia. Thus CINEKAMBIYA means “Cinema Arts Industry from the Land of River Gambia.” As I am yet to get objections from the Government or the practitioners since the first submission in year 2011, I will henceforth work on the logo and then invite everyone to the public launch or unveiling whenever feasible.
After landing in The Gambia last match, I resubmitted the above documents on film policy, code of ethics, cinekambiya, etc, to the above entities. I sent copies of every document including some programme proposals I made to GRTS, to the Office of The President, just incase someone somewhere tries to misrepresent my intentions. Imagine the amount of ink, paper, time and pain involved in all the follow-up process. One submits volumes of documents again and again only for them to gather dusts in the office files. With the kind of work ethics, lethargy and gross implementation deficit, Africa has a long way to go before it can command its own destiny. Blaming others for Africa’s backwardness is easy but taking responsibility for one’s lack of seriousness is not.
I also presented the brief of my current movie project on the menace of rape to the highest authority of the land out of humility and due respect. The reality is that government is beneficiary and natural partner in every serious film industry. This is why I am spending too much time, energy and patience moiling to convince the government of the day to just take up its basic natural role and leave the rest to me and the others professionals. We will make The Gambia proud. I am not asking for a human heart, a government contract or scholarship – just the requested basics assistance for me to have the courage to risk it more. Yes building a film industry from scratch is risky business and without morale booster and public-private partnership, you easily get pissed off.
OF INSINCERITY, IDEA THIEFRY, LIES AND LAZY EXC– USES
My current trip has really started exposing the real nature of some “respected” people in this country. I am particularly disappointed in a very powerful parastatal, name withheld for now, that also joined the lists of thieves stealing my ideas. I have been communicating with its executives while in Germany and I outlined my pans for helping them market their products and services in a cost effective manner. When I met them personally last November some of them were willing to cooperate but one of them started using the Managing Director as excuse that that man looks more at the money than the medium and long-term benefits.
I was told to write a new letter and proposal with new dates, the same nasty game institutions both public and private, here in The Gambia have been playing with me. I wrote the proposal last January again before returning to Germany. I told them I am a man of my words and I will be back in The Gambia to continue from where we stopped.
To my surprise they lifted some of my ideas and paid someone else to make a half-baked product out of it. I was shocked. They lied to me that they have financial constraints but then decided to waste money on rushed and poorly made media product. Time permitting I passed by their offices to request a meeting. As usual with the office system, they were either busy, in a meeting or travelling. However, one of the executives, not directly responsible, who is supporting serious cooperation with me, met me and confessed that “I was there when you were making those suggestions to us…” before I once again put them on paper. I thanked him for receiving me in his office without appointment. If a powerful corporation can settle for substandard product is marketing its brand, this tells you that something is wrong in this country.
I need not bore you with a doctoral thesis on nasty examples of insincerity I am experiencing here everyday..
One thing is that some of the entities in the public sectors would tell me President Jammeh should first decide on the type of assistance I should get. Those in the private sectors have been loading my ears with, in quotes: thank you for considering us for partnership but business is bad. He, (meaning President Jammeh), is moving into every business sectors and throwing the money on Jamaicans Nigerian, Senegalese singers and movie starts; we are just struggling….
The next time, some of them will drive pass me on the streets in expensive vehicles and waiving in quotes: Hey Prince Sankanu, you are a great role model, keep it up. The others I would accidentally meet in the banks carting away millions of Dalasi bank notes. Gosh, Yahya Jammeh’s name is being used as excuse for irresponsibility and feet-dragging nowadays.
I have been playing with open cards by making it clear that I am not here to make home DVD movies and leave. I am here for us to have our won international standard film industry with sold self-sustaining structures that will generate taxes revenues for both the central and local government, create jobs and add to the diversification of the economy towards Vision 2020 as we have just seven years to go for this 2020 blue print. We cannot compete with say, Nigeria and Ghana in terms of home movie numbers as they have natural economies of scale.
We can however beat them in terms of quality and standards. Yes quality has its price. Serious film business is expensive. When people want to buy vehicles, they pay for them no matter how expensive they are. If they want some thing from Dubai, USA or Europe they pay for it regardless of the prohibitive price tags. So no one can fool me with cock and bull stories about lack of money for quality film making in The Gambia. Pouring all the blame on Yahya Jammeh is easy but taking responsibility and being sincere seem to be rocket science to some Gambians.
EMPTY HEADS AND EMPTY PROMISES
I am beginning to lose respect for many people in high positions both in the public and private sectors. We have people in beautiful cars and offices but are empty in their heads regardless of their catalogues of university papers! They are moving around like zombies out of productive ideas.
My experience has shown that if you come of with fresh blood and fresh ideas, they will waste your time with excuses and once you leave them, they will steal your ideas and blood and go sell it to their superiors as their own.
I believe in synergy, solidarity, cooperation and mutual respect, this is why I have been taking the trouble of operating with transparency and open arms. But now I am reluctant. The few that got letters from me can consider themselves lucky. If they don’t assist or cooperate with me in cash or kind, let them do like the others by stealing my ideas. I leave them to their consciences. If at all they have any.
The ideas theft apart, I am pissed off by lack of seriousness in other areas. I need 32 locations for my current film. Since we are yet to have out own film village, I need the tentative benevolence of persons and institutions to use their houses, cars, offices, streets, etc, to shoot my various film scenes. The reality so far is that people will tell me: no problem, you can use my car, house office, or garden. But when it is time to finalize the dates and times of access, they will not pick the phone, appear for an appointment or they will come up tales as if I am a dummy! This alone has thrown my film project months behind schedule. I will however thank the General Manager and staff of the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu for being an exception by allowing me to be using their facilities as feasible.
MAINTAINING THE LEGACIES OF EWARD FRANCIS SMALL ET AL
I wanted to conclude the film shoot this April 2013 but I am no where closer to a production phase due to the Gambian realities that I have been calculating. As hinted above, I am in The Gambia to not just to shoot a movie and leave but to help lay the foundations for a productive film industry. The lies, insincerity and wastage of my productive time will not discourage me as consider them part of the learning curve. I have put so much of my intellectual brain power and personal resources in what I believe in that giving up will make it easier for the copycats and parasites to scavenge on the ideas I presented to the Gambia Government and market them as their own ingenuity. My ideas can gather dust in the files or be stolen but I glad that I am doing the right thing for our country using our Gambian national flag as my compass.
Unlike politicians and praise-singers who think terms of legislative years, periods and short term results, I as nationalist think of generations. Some people had productive ideas during the Jawara era. They were misrepresented, frustrated, abused, insulted, wasted, prosecuted or hackled but when the Yahya Jammeh era came, they implemented those ideas in the interest of the country. This precedent shows if it is not today, it will be tomorrow as along as one is doing the right think for the motherland and for humanity!
When Edward Francis Small stared toiling and moiling for the liberation of Gambians from British colonialism, he did not do it with intention of leading Gambians. I made it clear once more on the GRTS Fatu Show of 21 March 2013 that I am not looking for political power in The Gambia. My intellectual prowess is enough.
Edward Francis Small did not get an easy ride. Even the Gambians, whose social justice he risked his life and resources for, were sabotaging him and wasting his time. Today the descendants of those Gambians are among the elites enjoying a politically independent Gambia that Francis Small fearless fought for.
When Bertil Harding and his peers were pioneering The Gambian tourism industry, they were ridiculed, insulted, misrepresented and called names. Today the ten thousand plus Gambians and non-Gambians earning their livings from the hospitality industry have no relationship with Bertil Harding.
Like pioneers Edward Francis Small for the political liberation and Bertil Harding for economic development through the tourism industry, I am doing my part to help lay the foundations for a self-sustaining world standard Gambian film industry that will benefit the children and grand children of all those misinforming President Jammeh on my true intentions in the country, insulting me on the social media, stealing my ideas in the offices or wasting my time with nasty excuses.
I will stop the noble work I started only when River Gambia stops flowing through the Gambia! I am doing my things with my means, time and the realities of The Gambia and I will not wait or idle for anyone.
I have very interesting ideas for the celebration of the Gambia’s 50 years independence anniversary or GOLDEN JUBILEE in two years to come but I am reluctant to put them on papers and present them to entities in the country for partnership or sponsorship. They will tell me they have no monies or authorities to act on my ideas and when I leave them alone, they will steal them. Anyone who implements those ideas will not just literally pick money off the streets but will secure his or her place in Gambian history books. But I am keeping the ideas in my head. If I die, I take them along into my grave!
WHAT A SUNDAY AT KANILAI!
I had a very busy week working on my project and honuoring invitations by various youth groups in the country. On Thursday I was at the Officer Mess in Kotu to support the members of the Sports and Academic Cub. A week before it was with Gambia Association of Theatre, GAMAT.
That Saturday April 13, the Sarahulleh Youth Development Organization, SYDO and the Dynamic Sarahulleh Youth Association for Change and Development, DSACD organized a Sarahulleh cultural evening at the Alliance Franco Gambiene. I was invited to grace the occasion as one of the patrons. I stayed till late before excusing myself that I will be honouring the open Presidential invitation to Kanilai on Sunday and I needed some time to rest a bit.
Since arriving in The Gambia, I maintained a firm policy of not inviting myself into places and events. My pedigree would not let me gatecrash like a common man. No serious invitation on time means I would not come!
Since I am also not like many people, I deliberately restricted my own moments. I crisscrossed the Gambia both on land and on the river but I chose to avoid certain places I consider too sensitive or political for my senses. Kanilai is one such sensitive place I have been avoiding without official invitation. But after consultations, I was encouraged by well wishers to visit the place. I had nothing to lose apart from the money I will spend on transport and food. I tried the Chief of Protocol at the Office of The President to get details but his line was permanently busy. Then I looked at my busy schedule and set Sunday aside as a day of honoring the open Presidential invitation.
Came Sunday, I consulted my African oracle and divine to see if I should definitely go to Kanilai or stay home. The oracle said I can attend but I should take out some charities just as insurance. I boarded the vehicle to Brikama. At the Birkama car park, I asked for the market where I bought the items for the charities and gave them out accordingly. I then asked for the vehicle to Kanilai. I was directed an area where I paid and was asked to board a waiting commercial vehicle.
The moment we arrived at Kanilai, I walked straight to the soldier at the gate of the presidential complex. Before I could talk the soldier recognized me. He told me that whenever President Yahya Jammeh is around the security people behave like wild animals completing to impress him. He would not like any of them to humiliate me as I am a respectable personality and he as been following my social commentaries and noble mission in the country.
The solider then advised to get in touch with the members of the organizing committee or officials of the Office of the President as soon as possible. I thanked the soldier and told him I will go to the Sindola lodge and follow up from there. On my way I sent a message to the Cabinet Secretary, Noah Touray, that I am now in Kanilai but since I don’t know what to do and do where to go, I will return home after some time so as not to find myself in any embarrassing situation.
On the road to Sindola, I met a State House photographer who recognized and directed me to the hotel lobby. There I met the Chief of Protocol Moses sitting together with GRTS DG Lamin Manga, Parliamentary Speaker Hon. Bojang, National Assembly Member Baboucar Nyang, the Minister of Youths and Sports other people I could not vivid name. I jokingly told Moses that: you guys should refund my fares to this place. The GRTS DG and I greeted and he disappeared without notice. I continued to exchange pleasantries with the protocol chief. I asked Moses about sitting arrangements. I told him that I do not want to be at a place that some will come and tell me to get up. Moses introduced me to another protocol officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I repeated the same thing. The man told me to just to go to the event ground early and pick a place I like.
Many people were surprised to see me in Kanilai. They were asking how I came; I told them I paid commercial vehicle unlike them using government vehicles, private cars or hired vans and buses for free. I teased them as alifundi badollehs! Hahahaha!
Before lunch I got a message from the Cabinet Secretary that: the programme starts at 5 PM. It’s an open invitation. All you need to do is to be at the parade grounds on time…WIITHOUT THIS MESSAGE I WOULD HAVE LEFT KANILAI WITHIN THE HOUR I ARRIVED! After lunch, I drank my tea and avoided loitering. As I sat at once place people passing by recognized and greeted me.
In the afternoon, I went to the parade grounds. It was virtually empty. I chose Sunday to avoid large crowds. At the grounds, I sat in a section and one woman told me it is for the local people and I should be at the VIP section. I told her I want to be with the local people. Another lady directed to a section she said is for men. I sat there and enjoyed the kids testing their wresting skills against one another. I was their only de facto VIP patron. THIS INNOCENT WRESTLING CONTESTS OF THE KIDS was the only thing I enjoyed in Kanilai when I had the parade grounds literally all for myself for some hours!
AB– USED BY A MAD WOMAN AT THE KANILAI PARADE GROUNDS!
My enjoyment of the authentic kids show was interrupted by women groups that came all at once to take all the seats around me. I was left with no choice but to move. At the same time security officers started taking their positions.
As I changed my seat, I went to the lady to tell her about it, just out of respect. She started abusing me like a drunkard. The security officer who was following it, told me to calm down. The women did not stop as she was clapping, making noise and doing things to make me angry. She was wearing an APRC t-shirt and bluffing that she could get me jailed within minutes. As more of her team members and compins came, she continued with her indiscipline. A male team leader then called me on the side and said I should continue to use my senses as that woman has a known a mental and social problem. Then I forgave her and kept ignoring her for nearly turned on my African Religion headgear I had to teach a lesson.
She took advantage of my humility by capping unabated. Realizing that I don’t have her time, her she turned on any other person who passed before her face.
I lost my appetite for the event and wanted to leave but I said out of respect, let me wait till the President arrives then I can leave. I chose to sit with the local people and low rank APRC militants so that I can easily sneak away anytime I want. Something I could not do from the VIP pavilion. As the President arrived and people were queuing to shake his hands, I left the parade grounds to get a drink at Sindola and check for transport to Brikama. I paid for the drink and gave the waitress tips.
INSULTED BY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS, NIA
When I came back, the mentally challenged woman took my chair and gave it away. As I lost a stable sitting possibility I decided that it was time for me to leave. I told another APRC militant who was near me that I am bored and just want to go home. If there were helicopter services in The Gambia, I would have arranged for one to airlift me out of Kanilai. I went to the garage near the baobab trees but there was no commercial vehicle going. I found myself doing what I did not want by moving around looking for possibilities to get home as soon as possible. I sat on the grass and I heard some people saying in Wolof: this is the man we saw on TV, he is sitting on the grass and not at the VIP section. I got up and moved but there was no save haven. People were surprised that someone of my cadre could be with them without complex instead of being in the secluded VIP section. I saw APRC militants using their mobile phones. I started using mine too to contact my family to arrange a vehicle that can pick me up since the commercial transport service was unreliable.
Out of the blue, a soldier came and told me that I should not be at the parade grounds. I told him he found me looking for ways to go home. A second soldier joined him and they escorted me outside the perimeter fence. As we reached the entrance, a group of overzealous National Intelligence Agent or NIA started abusing me verbally. Am not sure if they ever studied civilized manuals or rule of engagement and conducts in interacting with responsible citizens or not but they were like mad dogs. They wanted to know how I came to Kanilai and why. I want NOT afraid I as was ready for whatever they were ready to do with me. The first professional soldier I met during the day warned me of such encounters already.
I proved to the NIA that they were even lucky to see me in real life because without an open invitation, the air in Kanilai would never have entered my lungs! Added to that I had my African spirituality stuff on me that kept evil spirits away from each of them and all other people at Kanilai during my presence.
To also prove to the NIA that my intentions in the county are peaceful and I have nothing to hide or fear I showed them a letter. They wanted to misinterpret that I wanted to meet the President that night. Being stupid as they are, they fail to realize that I have the proper channel to use for meeting the President and I will not insult myself by disturbing the president’s fun just to see him. What I have to tell the President should we ever meet in this life is too important for just a mere handshake or photo opportunity that his supporters and haters will misinterpret.
The NIA wanted to know who I was calling and I told them I was making arrangements for to a vehicle to go home. Realizing hat I am someone they could not cow or use as trophy to impress President Jammeh, some of them started asking me to give names of top government officials or APRC stalwarts they could contact on my behalf.
I was furious when one of them insulted that am not Gambian. I almost turn on my voodoo hat to cut them to size. I told myself if I, Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu a blue blood descendant of Sere Sankanu of Sotuma Sere in the heart of Jimara, am not Gambian, then Kanilai is not part of The Gambia!!!
A senior military officer who was following my quarrel with the NIA came and removed from their wicked circle. He said: SANKANU, it is okay, come with me. We stood alone and said: you don’t know me but I know you, Sankanu. I don’t want you to have problems. I told the soldier I all I want is to get home. He asked how I came. I told him on my own expense, using commercial vehicles. He said I can take my time to get a vehicle. I thanked him for his professional conduct.
I refused to return to the parade grounds again and remained on the road side between the perimeter fence of the presidential facility and the baobab trees till 3 AM. The drivers said I will not get a vehicle to Brikama that night as it is already late. I had to sleep at Kanilai or Bwian. I told myself over my dead body will I go back to the Sindola lodge that night. I will either sleep on the roadside or walk all the night to Brikama until my people send me a vehicle to pick me on any point of the Trans-Gambian highway. Earlier I wanted to book a room at Sindola at my own expense so that I can lock myself in till in the morning and then leave. Even though I saw people checking-out in my presence, the manager at reception lied to me that the Sindola was fully booked.
I once again consulted my African oracle and divine. It said a vehicle will be available for me. Even if they said no one is driving, one will come. I told him I want to go back home as I came with a commercial van to Brikama and then from Brikama to Serrekunda. Within 30 or 40 minutes, an empty commercial vehicle came from nowhere and driver and his team said they were going to Brikama. I said am going. They asked me to come on board. As I boarded they said I they would be continuing up to Serekunda. I said wonderful, I need not alight at Brikama. I paid the fares they asked for in full and I quietly thanked the African Deities for coming to my aid and on time.
SINCERE MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT JAMMEH
My Dear Brother President Jammeh, as stated above I have paid you and your government my dues beyond all reasonable means. There are people enjoying your largesse or special privileges who did not even do an iota of what I have done not just in terms of the well-though documents I submitted to Your Office but also in the area of sincere intellectual discourse for national civic education and the enlightenment.
I am the first Diaspora based intellectual to openly ENDROSE you, your government and re-election bid of 2011. When I granted my first interview with a local Gambia paper, The Standard, I emphasized that my endorsement of you is not for money and positions.
In the coverage letters of my film brief and project documents that I have been sending you, I never lobbied for an open government job or contact. The letters are loaded with ideas and sincere brotherly advice. The modest assistance request I made in certain areas are meant to help mitigate certain calculated risks since film is not just expensive but also capital and labour intensive. If I want to make movies or festivals in Germany using my legally registered film company, the German federal or state governments, through the film subsidy bodes and other mandated agencies would assist me to help me cover certain risks especially when the initiative will benefit the local economy. But Gambia is not Germany and there is no bilateral film co-production agreement as with South Africa that could make it easier for me to mobilize serious resources for projects that could be implemented in the Gambia. This is why I am fight for us to have a national film policy and structures so that we can attract good international standard funding whenever the local patrons or partners drag their feet.
That said, when some people want to copy the ARAB SPRING in the Gambia, I dared them by telling them to change their attitudes first and not the Government of the day. I warned Gambians that they will be digging their own graves if they replace the devil they know with the Satan they don’t. Many young people who wanted to join them, emailed or texted to thank me for saving them as they almost joined the people telling them to rise up like the youths of Tahrir Square, Egypt. How many of those people lying that they love you, they will die for you and that they are in for you, provided you the real effective intellectual fire cover like mine that sent shock waves up the spines those who wanted to bring the Arab Spring into the Gambia after a deadline? Sir, I am not interested in any national medal of honour. If I am given one, I will tie it round the neck of the first donkey I meet on my home! It is crazy but not criminal and the donkeys are Gambians too. Considering the important socio-economic functions of these patient animals, no one can it is wrong to pass them a medal of honour. Yes it takes only crazy intellectual like me to think of such. Don’t laugh!
Since landing in this country I have been interacting with youth groups to help find synergies and channel their productive energy towards something productive before some elements use and dump them as we are seeing with the youths of the Arab Spring who were squeezed out of the gains of the revolutions they fought for. I am not going around and bragging about it as am not here for that. I am doing it for my country and conscience. I need not wait for permission or recognition to perform my civic duties as public intellectual and pressure valve cum shock absorber in society.
Your Excellency when I came to The Gambia last November, I bowed my head before you and tapped my chest in graduate on the GRTS Fatu Show. I did that to thank you for shaming the detractors and making sure nothing happens to me through my movement in and around the jurisdictions of The Gambia. I was heavily caricatured for doing that but I have no regrets as I did the right thing. Prior to that, I said in my endorsement commentary that I like you naturally as bad boy and since bad boys stick together, you will enjoy my unflinching bad boy solidarity. Nothwithstanding, I will critique you constructively without ill-will when you make a human error of judgment and I will fearlessly defend or congratulate you when you get it right. Haven’t I proven to be a man my words here, Sir?
I made it clear before God and Man that I share the moral responsibility for the successes and failures of your Jammeh Government and this is why I am setting up shop here in the Gambia, to among others, make sure that my endorsement of you will not be in vain. Should your government fail, I will apologize to the Gambians for an error of judgment on my part and if your government succeeds, I will be vindicated. So you and I are conditioned by destiny to ensure that the social contract is implemented accordingly. I am doing my part without waiting.
Sir I thank you once more for shaming the detractors. However, when it comes to the productive targets on my agenda for measurable contributions to nation building, you are yet to effectively reciprocate in anyway that could keep making me proud of you, continue to defend you when you are wrongly attacked or share smart ideas on national advancement. I am not losing patience though.
My time is being wasted and am losing money everyday with no one assisting me or sponsoring me in my noble endeavor. Potential partners or sponsors are telling me lies. Pro-government papers like the Daily Observer are not publishing my stories for reasons best known to them and even GRTS is burying its head in the sand over some educative program briefs I submitted for possible considerations. I sent you copies so that no one can misinterpret what I have in mind.
All these mishaps and wastage of time are part of the prices I am paying for coming here but I just find it off-putting the way some of your subordinates are treating me like a common criminal when I did not break any law. I have nothing against subjecting myself to regular professional security checks as I endorse your Authority and that of your Government. What I would not tolerate is for any overzealous officer both security and civilian to try to use me as tool of impressing you either in terms of policy ideas or national security. I made it zillion times clear that I am no threat to national security. I have no bad intentions against you, your interests, the first family and the Gambian peoples. If this message cannot get down the skulls of unruly elements of your security or government, that is not my problem. They will have themselves to blame for provoking social trouble or conflagrations that would consume them!
Sir kindly warn them: the next time security officers be they NIAs or whatever talk rudely towards me I will use African Voodoo to make them dumb! I will also not hesitate to use the same African Science on the concerned security officers lose their jobs and remain jobless for their entire lifetimes. Please tell them, one does not mess up with a genuine prince from the noble house of Sankanu Kagoro of Sotuma Sere and then expect to dance Afinjang in peace or sleep like a baby. For now I forgive those NIA officers at Kanilai out of the gratitude and respect I have for you and the professional soldiers and civilian government officials who treat me with due dignity.
At the Sindola loge, I wanted to pay for the lunch and I was told it was free. Notwithstanding I gave some of the waitresses tips. In the evening I chose to pay for the drinks. How many people who camped in your village bothered to voluntarily pay for anything they were told was free during their stay in Kanilai?
I am glad that I used my own monies to pay a commercial vehicle to and from Kanilai and I did not abuse your magnanimity during my hours there.
Now who in this universe can still say, after reading this long commentary that I have not paid you my dues? Only those who are fit for Nobel Prize for hypocrisy category will deny my conclusion.
One thing is clear: never again in my life will l I honor an open invitation by any entity in the universe. If my name is not on the official guest list and if an official invitation letter or card is not delivered to me or my appointed representative on time, I will not honor it even if I were be decorated with all the gold in processed by man kind.
Yes I am dead angry. The Angry Young African Alpha Boy in me is alive as write it but not worries; I am leveled-head enough to do the right thing as usual. Some few unruly elements will not poison the respect I have for Your Excellency or make me declare the tacit Gentleman’s Agreement of endorsing you and staying out of domestic Gambian politics.
The humiliations and horror I faced in Kanilai are my own fault as I honoured the invitation. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
It is however gratifying that when I was alone between the perimeter fence of your Presidential complex and those baobab trees, people were sneaking to me for spiritual counseling. Some complained of mysterious problem in the places they were sleeping at Kanilai while others just wanted help for their other problems. I advised them accordingly and gave them my number. I told them if they see no improvement, they cannot contact me as long as am in the country and if they are lucky they will meet me again in person for more spiritual guidance.
I feel humbled that I did not ask anyone for a butut for the African Spirituality service.
For the Gambia our Homeland
Once again, apologies for the typos. Written under time pressure with unstable electricity suppl.
PRINCE BUBACARR AMINATA SANKANU
OWNER/ CHIEF EXECUTIVE PRODUCER,
AFROMEDIA FILM AND TV INTERNATIONAL B.S. e.K
“SANKANURA AFIRKISOBE FILMWORKS” label
D-51067 Cologne, Germany
SOTUMA SERE VILLAGE, URR, THE GAMBIA
Tel.: 002206774620 (Gambia),
Registration Number: HRA 25199, Amtsgericht Köln (Local Court of Cologne)
Tax/VAT-IDs: 42589312071 (personal) and 218/5034/2995 or 218/5030/2061 (corporate) Finanzamt Köln Ost (Revenue Office of Cologne East City District)
Gambia Revenue Authority TIN121284423