By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu, back in Cologne, Germany. SMS/TEL+4915216265814
Sequel to Freedom Newspaper’s report captioned “GRTS finally kills Prince Sankanu’s Fareed Zakaria-like programme proposal”, I hereby present the detailed report on my tribulations without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
My conscience is so bright and clear that one needs sunglasses to see through it. I have no incentive to make false testimonies against people, especially the current Director General (DG) Lamin Manga and all other officials of Gambia Radio Television Services (GRTS) mentioned here. I cannot remember doing anything bad to Lamin Manga and his team that had negative consequences on their private lives or careers. I am as innocent as a newborn baby. I just found myself in a cobweb of greed, power-hunger, lies, insincerity and irresponsibility.
If anything I write here constitutes false information, all Gambians will hear about my death in a car crash within the next 14 days of today!!!
Like I told Lamin Manga and others in the Jammeh system, I did not enter the Gambia to take their jobs and privileges but they seem to feel uncomfortable with my simple presence in the country and my God-given potentials. If I am called to be, for example, the DG of GRTS, I would recommend it be given to a woman. Since the creation of GRTS only men served as DG. Having a lady for a change will put the national broadcaster through a new experience in its institutionalization process. From within GRTS, I see the likes of Sira, Ida Jobe or Fatou Sanneh Ceesay for the DG job. Outside GRTS, I am sure State House Press Director Fatou Camara of the Fatu Show or the former Parliamentary Speaker Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay would do it as they have good modern media backgrounds. After the tenure of whoever is lucky to be the first female DG, another capable man or woman could be appointed to run GRTS. Life goes on.
GAMBIAN RETURN NOT OUT OF FAILURE OR DESTITUTION
My decision to take the risk of returning to The Gambia to contribute my quota towards national development on the ground under the hot-boiling African sun in a new productive sector of film, has nothing to do with failure in Europe or destitution in life.
I spent the last 16 years enjoying my life as a global citizen and modern nomad. I am privileged to be among the distinguished class of thoroughbred personalities who do not need pre-departure entry visas for most of the important countries that matter in this world. I can just get up, board the plane and go to wherever I want without first waiting for clearance from a boss! This opportunity alone can make me live fabulously well. Even if I should decide to spend the rest of my life doing nothing, I would not need to worry about the basic necessities of my personal life and my later pension.
I spent the last 5 months in the Gambia. The time spent by the “semesters” from Europe or USA in the Gambia is 3 to 4 weeks on the average. It is an open secret that some cannot afford to stay longer as they risk losing their jobs, contracts or having problems with their residential papers. Others do sell their flashy cars and other stuff to pay for their return.
During my first visit in Gambia last November, I spent 3 months. Though I lost my ID in a taxi and later credit cards and other valuable papers to robbery, I did not rush to the German Embassy office to give me one-way ticket back to Europe.
My second visit of last March 2013 lasted 5 months as noted above. Throughout this period I was spending money day in and day out. I was not earning anything in return as I was operating as a loss leader and pioneer. How many visiting “semesters” can afford such risk and resilience? I could have been zooming around town in flashy SUV with curvy ladies of delicious “lobby juice” in tow. Opps! Sorry we are in Ramadan. No time for daylight seduction and bad boy vocabulary!
I decided to lead a simple life like the common man on the streets though people treated me differently according to my persona and status. One day someone told me “bro semester nga. Bul bagn. Denga simple rek”. Wolof for “brother, you are a semester. Don’t deny it. You are just being simple.” I later realized that Gambians easily fall for people who show off their material possessions and go for instant “joni-joni” gratifications. I belong to the people who live the opposite. I practise delayed gratification and value those immaterial things that money cannot buy. I have attained a level of intellectual sophistication that, like philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, I don’t care about worldly ephemeral things. I have disciplined myself in a way that I can live without them by retreating into asceticism, embarking on adventures or making the best of what is at hand. Only out of necessity that I would go for the inevitable material things to be used as professional or project tools.
I respect people who honour their words. No matter how influential, rich, powerful or well-connected a person is, if he or she does not honour his or her words as “gorr” person of noble character, he or she will be reduced to a trash before my eyes! Over the past 8 months, the current DG of GRTS Lamin Manga proved in my case that he is NOT a “gorr” man of noble sophistication. Lamin Manga and his gang have reduced themselves into trash before me! Of course, Lamin Manga is free to sue me if he is convinced that I am just spreading lies against him!
Dear Dida Halake, you wrote on maafanta.com that my enemies were right in calling me CRAZY. I agree that I am crazy since all geniuses and persons who think out of the box from Leonard Da Vinci, Avicenna, the Muntasileen of the Bayt el Hikmah of the old Baghdad, Martin Luther King Junior to Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela were at different stages of their lives branded CRAZY.
Many people at home and abroad held their breath when I took the crazy and risky step of entering The Gambia in November 2012. I still remember how one of my bewildered aunties asked: Which airport did you use to enter The Gambia? I told her the one at Yundum! At least my detractors and critics would admit that I am a man of my words and not a coward who easily quenches. I said I will enter The Gambia. I did and damned the consequences with my intellect and youthful exuberance! People were calling from all other the world to enquire about my safety and general well being in The Gambia. Some could not believe that I indeed entered The Gambia until they saw me on The Fatu Show. Thanks once again for your concern.
When I visited a local newspaper office, I was recognized. I heard the female staff saying “ki duny ko baye ni. Legitey nyu jappa ko”. Wolof for “this guy, they won’t leave him like that. Very soon they will arrest him!”
“YOU (SANKANU) CAN HAVE YOUR OWN SHOW ON GRTS” – LAMIN MANGA
Various brave domestic print papers notably The Voice, Foroyaa, The Daily News and The Standard wrote about me and my planned projects in The Gambia. Pro government papers like The Daily Observer sat on the story for months before publishing it! The Daily Observer officials are again dragging their feet on the commentary on my recent audience with my namesake the grandmarabout of Gambiassara! The electronic media namely, radio and TV, behaved cowardly towards me. It was only Fatou Camara who took the initial bold step of having me on her show. I recognized and thanked her for her bravery.
Other GRTS guys wanted me on their shows but they just wasted my time. Same applies to some radio moderators. One invited me and when I came, he refused to open the door into the radio studio the moment he knew it was me! Another promised call but never did. I did not care as I am not desperate for publicity. I have passed that stage of running after people. If you show me that you are not man or woman who honours his or her words, I close your chapter. Now those TV and radio moderators feel ashamed whenever they meet me on the streets and at different functions.
When Fatu Camara invited me on her Fatu Show last November, the reaction was huge. She received countless SMS, emails and facebook comments from her fans who wanted to know more about me. If am not wrong it was a record-breaking edition.
Lamin Manga and I met within the corridor after the show. He told me he wanted to go home but when he realised I was on, he stayed. It was our first reunion after 15 years. We exchanged pleasantries and he showed me around the interior of the GRTS complex. He was impressed by the reactions to the Fatu Show that confirm the market value of my names, till he said “you can have your own show on GRTS from anyway you are.” If at all these words are not from Lamin Manga, let a car knock me down within the next 14 days from today! I know with modern technology even if I should find myself in China, I can record an edition of a programme and dispatch it to GRTS in the Gambia on time for broadcast based on contractual agreement.
I noted Lamin Manga’s words and left. The late Momodou Sanyang was still DG at the time and Lamin was in charge of programming. I wanted to pay late DG Sanyang a visit since he was ill. I called and introduced myself as “caring and sharing”. This is how we used to fondly call each other. He promised to call and invite me to see him but he died.
There were musical chairs at GRTS. Malick Jones was made DG and all of sudden he was demoted and Lamin Manga was appointed DG.
At the funeral of Momodou Sanyang, I met all the important people of the Jammeh system, both Government and APRC. It was there that the former Secretary General (SG) Dr. Njogu Bah admitted that he was monitoring me. I also met the current SG Momodou Sabally who was at the time Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. It was our second meeting. We first met at the Kairaba Beach Hotel during the ACE submarine cable launch were we laughed over my that article on crop failure in which I teased the Finance Ministry officials as being either drunk or possessed by evil spirits while working on our national budgets!
Later, I started thinking of programme formats I could propose to GRTS while working on my film production. I was NOT optimistic as I know in The Gambia people are very good at talking and when it is time for action, they betray. I remember writing in one of my commentaries that those in charge of decision making for GRTS would not approve my highly educative programmes. I am proven to be prophetic again!
TV PART OF FILM POLICY FRAMEWORK, PROPOSALS NOT FOR FAME-HUNGER
I would like the readers and the sincere top officials of the Jammeh Government to kindly note that I did not write to GRTS out of desperation and fame-hunger. I did not make a proposal to the chief butcher of the Abuko central abattoir as butchery is not my area of competence. I dropped it to GRTS as it falls within my natural domain.
When I was drafting a FILM POLICY FRAMEWORK for the Government of The Republic of The Gambia, I included many entities that should be part of the institutional framework for the implementation of this policy. I submitted copies of this policy to the Office of The President, State House, Banjul, for consideration. Broadcasters, including public and private stations, are considered. In all standard film industries in this world you need TV as part of the marketing and distribution channels for film. Since we have a monopolistic market dominated by one national station, I am compelled to cooperate with GRTS sooner or later.
So if Lamin Manga and his gang cannot work with Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu out of their egocentricity and other ulterior motives, this does not mean GRTS as a national institution cannot work with Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu on matters of reasonable national interests. It is like with two countries. If their governments cannot see eye to eye, this does not mean their citizens cannot work together.
Besides, one cannot bluff a professional like me with a marketable name, face and metier. I made a name for myself long before Gambians dreamt of having a TV station. The world new about “Bubacarr Sankanu” through the BBC, VOA and Deutsche Welle, the local print papers not counted, long before they heard of GRTS and its current Lamin Manga management. My countless commentaries on the internet have larger global reach than GRTS. My book “The African: A Triple Uselessness ISBN 978-3-00-036944-5” will market my name in and out of Africa as an unconventional thinker.
If I therefore need global fame and publicity or good money, I would not think of GRTS. I would go to CNN or Aljazeera where I maintain good contacts. If I am modestly trying to contribute my quota to domestic national development and living through the painful realities, it does not mean I have no alternatives.
THE GAME OF INSINCERITY AND BETRAYAL
Relying on the draft film policy that foresees cooperation with GRTS, I decided to concretise my TV programme proposals. I went to GRTS to see Lamin Manga as new DG, he told me to wait. While waiting I met Abdou MK Touray who was then in charge of programming. He told me in Mandinka “ite kanala na.” Meaning “you wont escape us” or “we want you back” for better understanding.
I spent the whole day waiting for Lamin Manga. When it was about closing time, we met briefly within the corridor. He then told me to put the idea on paper and submit it. I looked at him and told myself: this guy is not serious. Before wasting my time, he should have told me this first thing in the morning. I then went home to complete the proposal that I submitted to Lamin Manga through his secretary. I also submitted a copy to Abdou MK Touray, who is now Deputy Director General (DDG).
I stated working on the pilot. I told Lamin Manga that I wanted to have him on the maiden edition. I short-listed him alongside the current SG Momodou Sabally and other prominent Gambians. I was happy for Lamin Manga that he is the youngest DG at GRTS and I was looking forward to working with him. I live with the progressive feeling that we the youths or young people can set aside our personal differences and join our talents for the common good of our country. Little did I realise that some of the young people in positions of power or influence can be more treacherous, mischievous, arrogant, unreliable, vindictive, insincere and greedy than some of those nasty “kotos” frustrating us the ambitious youths!
As Abraham Lincoln said “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Lamin Manga showed me his true characters. A former Jammeh government insider once told me “power and money have made Lamin Manga very dull.” I ignored it as I judge people according the first hand personal experiences I have with them and not according what good or bad is said about them. Lamin Manga proved both Abraham Lincoln and this former insider right.
When I wanted to interview Lamin Manga for GRTS, he welcomed the idea and told me to talk to Abdou MK Touray who was in charge of programming and airtime allocation. I proceeded with Abou. He gave us a very good slot after the news. When it was time to have Lamin Manga, he backed out and said he was “no aware” and that he was out of town anyway! I reminded him that he told me to talk to Abdou and he himself agreed to be my guest. When he started giving lazy excuses, I just played along and later apologised to him and Abdou MK Touray. I promised to give them all the time in this world they need to work on my proposals but from time to time I will be following up as required by common sense.
The last bit of respect I had for Lamin Manga broke into pieces like a fallen mirror but since he does NOT own GRTS and cannot claim life-long occupation of his position, I saw the broader picture of the interest of GRTS as a national institution that is above personal sentiments.
“THEY DONT WANT PRESIDENT JAMMEH TO WATCH YOUR MALICK JONES INERVIEW!”
When I returned to the country in March 2013, I was on the Fatu Show again. I thanked Fatu Camara for her bravery. The viewers’ reactions to the show both on the social media and mobile telephony surpassed the first one. People wanted more but that was too much for some TV executives as the blockade of my interview with Malick Jones later showed.
I stand to be corrected but I believe since Malick Jones started his interview programme, he used the definition “interview of the year” first on the one he had with me.
When Lamin Manga abruptly stopped the interview from being aired, Malick Jones said he was told I am “blacklisted” for no sensible reason. Of course Lamin Manga and his team would deny it. Lamin claimed to others that there were issues to be cleared. To some he would say he was not aware that I would be interviewed though he was informed about it ahead of time. I, for one, just wanted to know if they got directives from Office of The President or the Ministry of Information and Communications (MOICI) to blacklist and stop Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu from GRTS. Such directives do NOT exist. Otherwise Lamin and his team would have used them as cover or excuses. So I new it was the work of the internal culture of envy and in-fights at the TV as someone confirmed.
Later I got a call from a GRTS staff who told me “they (meaning Lamin Manga and his gang) don’t want President Jammeh to watch your Malick Jones Interview. It is too good and he may like it”. I told the person “wow, Lamin Manga and his team are so powerful that they can even decide on what the President and the viewers should like or not like without giving them the chance to decide for themselves first.”
I maintained my discipline and tried to engage Lamin Manga in an honest dialogue but he was avoiding me like the way mosquitoes avoid repellents. I once wrote on how Lamin Manga ran away from me in Kanilai but he denied it. One day he invited me for a chat. I lost my eldest brother and excused myself. When I came back from the funeral at a later date, I met him in his office. It was the first and last time Lamin Manga would face me like a man. He called me “…the Prince of the Sankanura… I don’t know what to say”. I told him “I came to listen. Just listen”.
He started talking and creating the impression that the GRTS staffs do things without his prior knowledge. This is of course not true. Even a bulb is not replaced at GRTS without his approval. From the way he was talking, I confirmed that Lamin Manga is not someone who takes responsibilities. He would blame the whole world and then present himself as the innocent victim. I did not care. The institution GRTS is more important to me that the person Lamin Manga and his character problems. People occupied his DG position before and whether he likes it or not, he would one day leave for others to take his place but GRTS would stay.
Abdou MK Touray joined us. He gave details of my Malick Jones interview and said that the edited version can be aired. When I asked for specific dates since people are asking, they were not straight forward. Lamin Manga was angry with Malick Jones for saying that I was blacklisted. Lamin said all kinds of unprintable things against Malick Jones. It was none of my business as I don’t know the genesis of the personal issues between them. I am no hypocrite to say those things here. I am keeping them to myself.
I them told Lamin Manga and Abdou MK Touray to give me a concrete answer on my programme proposals I submitted last January. They promised to get back to me. When I told them people are still asking they said “tell them you will have your own programme soon”. If this is a lie, you will hear about my death before this Koriteh!
I focused on my other activities in The Gambia. On the 30th April 2013, I was at the Kairaba Beach Hotel for the launch of our Gambia Collecting Society which is also part of the institutional framework of my draft FILM POLICY for The Gambia. I was there as delegate of The Gambia Film Producers Association. That same day the central government too had a major event and the place was beaming with officials. I found myself in a small talk with the current SG and Presidential Affairs Minister Momodou Sabally who was then Budget Director at the Finance Ministry. Being an author Sabally has interests in the copyright protection/royalties collecting society as constituent of the Gambia Writers Association. We exchanged some thoughts and he said he was pleased that someone like me is part of this important national project.
Momdou Sabally then told me he enjoyed my appearance on the Fatu Show and he requested Fatu Camara to have me again as I “have a lot to say!” I thanked him and promised to talk to Fatu Camara about it.
COMMENTARY, ANALYSES AND DOCUMENTARY FILM ON THE PRESIDENTIAL DIALOGUE TOURS, ETC.
I later sent a message to Fatu Camara but not response. I did not take it personal though I just wondered that of late Fatu does not respond to my SMS, facebook messages and others. Maybe someone pressured her not to be talking to me.
Later a GRTS insider said Fatu was being manipulated. “They threatened to stop her Fatu Show should she bring you (Sankanu) on again!” I don’t know how true this is but one cannot stop people from speaking their minds.
I have respect for Fatu Camara. She is innocent and she will be last person to have something bad in her heart against me. The breakdown in communication between us is for whatever reason, not her personal fault.
In one of my messages to Fatu Camara I said “I have an idea: Would you have me on your show for an INDEPT one-on-one-analysis of the (PRESIDENTIAL) DIALOGUE WITH THE PEOPLES TOUR in your FATU SHOW? It will be interesting. Just as I wrote in my last article, President Jammeh is a LISTENING PRESIDENT who takes the plight of people at heart, especially the farmers. The show will be very SUPPORTING and promoting for you and The Government. It will also be timely: shortly after the tour ends today, we have the show this week Thursday? Left to Fatu alone, we would have had it but someone somewhere possibly pulled the brakes.
The deficit of sincere debates is the bane of our society. President Jammeh made a lot interesting pronouncements during the tour but they risked being hijacked by some greedy people. The youths who are the targets would miss out but then they will take the blame for failure. In the area of agriculture, we must take lessons from the tractors that were given to local politicians who mismanaged most of them. Throwing additional resources on some people who just stand up and claim to be speaking for the youths will lead to another failure. In the area of fishing, care must be taken that the high speed fishing boats with modern marine engines are not used to smuggle people to Europe! No one is explaining these risks to President Jammeh and showing him better alternatives. I wanted to do this in a special Fatu Show edition or if my programme was approved.
After studying the state of our Gambian productivity, I would recommend the creation of a new Commissioner or Ministry of The Informal Sectors and Artisanal Affairs to channel all these new resources towards the stimulation of real grass-root productivity. Then our real national productively lies in the hands of the vibrant but voiceless stakeholders of the informal sectors who have no access to the inner circles of power like those political troupes presenting themselves as promoters of fishing, farming or anti-hunger actions. We need to be institutionalizing rather than politicizing our real development initiatives.
A prominent Gambian recently asked why I was “demoting” myself by “running after President Jammeh and his entourage”. I told him, I am a contemporary observer of the Jammeh Era and seasoned social commentator. Enjoying my life in Germany and relying on second hand information will not help me. I need to be on the ground in The Gambia with all the risks associated with it.
As part of my plans in The Gambia, I intend to make a film on President Jammeh since he technically clocks 20 years in power. Though the idea was stolen by others who were made to meet and give him a prize, there is no law stopping me from going ahead with my own original plans according my means and time frames. No one can also say that only one film should be made about Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh. Various leaders had different biopic on them. The audiences and global markets decide which one would be best. My film on President Jammeh won’t be wasteful propaganda stuff.
I was on the last Presidential tour not just to speak on behalf of my Sotuma Sere community at the Gambissara meeting but to also get first hand information for my later film projects on Jammeh.
I understand President Jammeh would be going on another Dialogue With The Peoples Tour this September 2013. A professional film documentary on the tour would not just serve as pilot for my major film on Jammeh but would provide global viewers with something to watch. So far people have been loaded with raw GRTS highlights that no one outside The Gambia would wish to watch longer than 5 minutes. An international standard documentary of minimum 90 minutes length on the Dialogue With The People Tour is long overdue anyway.
Some people said I should come and attend the September tour while others say I should not waste time. My own conclusion is that WITHOUT an official invitation letter, air ticket and adequate funding confirmation for the documentary from President Jammeh, I will NOT come! I am already taking too much financial risks on my current projects and I cannot add more by taking the financial and logistical risks for the next Presidential Dialogue With The People Tour in as much as I would like to film it right with my own professional film crew.
PERFECTED BETRAYAL AND ARROGANT DEMOSTRATION OF POWER
After spending 5 months in The Gambia, I needed a break. The blockade and sabotage I went through the hands of GRTS was just the tip of the iceberg. I once wrote about other institutions that were stealing my ideas and wasting my time.
Before leaving for Germany, I decided to pass by GRTS to get a serious answer on my proposals. Upon arrival, I bumped into Lamin Manga who was seeing some people around. We exchanged Ramadan greetings. He asked who I came to see. I told him “you the DG, your Deputy Abdou MK Touray and your Director of TV Programme Ardy Fatty.” He told me to see the others. He will come later.
I went to the Deputy DG Abdou MK Touray and we greeted. I know Abdou is a professional and left to him, I would have long started my programmes on GRTS. He then told me the “DG (Lamin Manga) is not keen to have your programmes on air.” I smiled and told him that I want to see Ardy Fatty to collect copies of my programme proposals. My flash drive got damaged and I lost all unprinted film and TV project documents. So until I return to Germany to access the backup, I needed photocopies of the ones in The Gambia. Ardy was out on a mission but Sira was directed to give me the copies and she did.
I then went to Lamin Manga’s secretary and waited, waited and waited. I think I deserve a Noble Prize for Patience and Waiting! The amount of productive hours I wasted waiting for Gambian officials in the past 8 months is too much for even the Guinness book of records!
That said people came in and out to see Lamin Manga with and without appointment. I sat patiently. By know he knows my determination. If I say I will do something, I will do it come what may. I made it my duty not to step out of GRTS that day without a serious response and I was ready to spend the night at the TV station. Lamin Manga avoided seeing me. Realising that I nailed him into a dead-end and he could not leave his office without giving me an answer, he told his secretary that I should talk to Ardy Fatty.
I went to meet Ardy Fatty in his office and DDG Abou MK Touray joined us. It was our second meeting. For the first meeting Lamin Manga was to be part of it but he told his people he forgot about it thought he fixed the time and date for that meeting!
Ardy Fatty gave me the usual excuses I have been hearing since January. They made no sense to me but I played along diplomatically. He told me to come and collect a letter the next day for my files.
I came the following day and entered Ardy’s office. He was reluctant to shake my hands. He was uneasy. I excused myself and told him I would wait outside. As I sat, a young man came down from Lamin Manga’s office with a letter in an arrogant demonstration of power from his boss. The guy gave Ardy the letter and left. Ardy called me in. He smiled while giving me the letter. His face reminded me of Brutus of the Julius Caesar fame. Since the smile was fake it disappeared and he face turned grim. I could read guilt from his body language.
When I read the letter, I sent a message to Ardy Fatty that “you should not have signed this cowardly letter. You should have insisted on the DG or DDG to sign. Some cowards used you as scapegoat here. To say that my international standard quality programme that has the format of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria is not part of GRTS priorities says a lot about (the incompetence, lethargy and dullness) of some of the current TV bosses…”
PRESIDENT JAMMEH HAS THE FINAL SAY ON MY PROGRAMME PROPOSALS
When Lamin Manga started showing his true colours and playing hanky-panky games with me, I changed my strategy. He does not own GRTS and even if he is seen and treated as a sacred cow, he is nobody to me as long as he does not honour his words!
His marriage to the daughter of a Sarahulleh businessman might be social elevation for him but he cannot use that as bragging rights to challenge me. I have Sarahullehs in my fan networks that are ten times wealthier than his dad-in-law. With all due respect, if at all the man is as influential as perceived in some quarters, why didn’t he use his supposed clout to stop the campaign and victory of the independent Basse National Assembly Member Muhammed Magassy who hails from the same Sabi village like him? All that glitters is not gold and the wind of change is blowing away the old order in our communities.
Lamin Manga and his backers or advisers are best advised not to play with or lock horns with me. I am not his class. I am not afraid of losing my life for a noble cause I believe in unlike some of them who would not even risk their finger-nails to rescue say, a drowning cat.
How can we the professional and productive youths take the lead in our Gambian domestic economic activities when we are being sabotaged with envy, insincerity, wastage of time, lies and greed? You may have good initiatives that would benefit both the government and people of The Gambia but just because some people hate your face, they would want you to fail and deny the nation the true benefits of your good intentions.
Gambia is also turning into a paradise of lackadaisical officials. A public official will waste your time with lies, false reports about you to his or her superiors, extortions, abuse, blackmail and other threats and get away with it. You the affected citizen and taxpayer have no means of getting reprieve. If you write a petition or protest note, you could be sued for giving false information to public officials. It is therefore no surprise the public resentment against government workers is sky-rocketing and no one is brave enough to talk about it. You can however detect it from the lack of public sympathy for dismissed or jailed officials.
Having this Gambian reality mind, I was very careful in writing to President Jammeh. I proudly recognize his authority over GRTS since the supervisory Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) was at the time of writing that letter under his Office of The President. He is also the Head of Government. It was and is still therefore legally appropriate to write to him as the man with the final words on GRTS matters.
So as not to trap myself, I did not elaborate on the verbal exchanges I had with DG Lamin Manga. I just limited myself to the facts by submitting all the copies of the programme proposals with coverage letters. I prayed that a smart decision be made in the interest of The Gambia.
My proposed programme “SANKANU REASONALBLE DISCOURSE (THE SANKANU DISCOURSE) aims to be The Gambia’s answer to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. It has no anti-government agenda. It seeks to help the government with clear-cut objectives such as:
a) Complementing the efforts of The Gambia Government of the day in the areas of smart Civic Education and Public Enlightenment.
b) Analyzing domestic Gambian issues of global relevance and international developments with spill over effects into the Gambian society with the aim of assisting decision makers and takers in acting smartly towards the common good of Gambians and the realization of Vision 2020.
c) Setting a new gold standard for Gambian national discourse and productive exchanges of useful ideas for the country, African and humanity.
d) Creating a voice for the vulnerable and forgotten members of society and,
e) Striving to become a flagship content export for TV, radio, mobile and internet consumptions.
As I hinted before, I endorsed President Jammeh and his government not for money and positions. I bear the moral responsibilities for the success and failures of his government. My programme proposals, film projects and other written request to him are meant to minimise failure and should failure be inevitable, mitigate their effects for the common good of our nation.
Lamin Manga and hid advisers blindly rejected my proposals without any professional, patriotic, reasonable, pro-government and institutional basis. They just did it out of their egocentricity and to show me their power.
If President Jammeh sides with Lamin Manga at the detriment of GRTS as a national institution by upholding his irrational decision to kill my proposals, I would respect it. I would also conclude that all the calls for development-oriented Diaspora Gambians to come home and contribute their quota towards nation-building are mere gimmicks.
I will also avoid GRTS and do my things till the day the domestic TV market is opened to competition. Yes the GRTS monopoly will not last forever. One cannot eat his or her cake and have it. If a sitting GRTS management is not willing to accommodate quality formats to satisfy the hunger of viewers watching foreign satellite stations for quality reasons, the Government should be responsive by either opening up of the market or cleansing GRTS and making it fit for the challenges of the day. The status quo of the national broadcaster is not sustainable and will backfire on the government when not addressed.
If President Jammeh approves my proposal, I will gratefully prove myself worthy of the confidence. I will maintain my stance of not being a praise singer but a “plain warner” who will be following the objectives of the programme diligently. Then both President Jammeh and The Gambia will have a lot to lose should I be compelled to be praise-singer. As my namesake and extended grandfather the Grandmarabout of Gambissara Alhagie Mpakary (Bubacarr) Conteh put it “The Jammeh Government is your government too. Treat it right.” I will strive remain righteous according to my conscience and human abilities!
Blessed Koriteh in advance
PRINCE BUBACARR AMINATA SANKANU
THE PRINCE OF SANKANURA-KAGORTA
SOTUMA SERE, JIMARA, URR, THE GAMBIA
Chief Executive Producer
Afromedia Film & TV International Group
D-51067 Cologne, Germany
NOTE: Freedom Radio will be having long radio interview with Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu. Topics to be discussed include: the state of the Gambian economy, the last presidential tour and details of the message he was to deliver at Gambissara, the next presidential tour in September, youth affairs, his film project, details of his Malick Jones interview, the buzz over his Prince title, cost of living in The Gambia, any plan to go back and, other stuff.
You can send in your questions now to the Freedom Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please no insults and foul language. Let us keep our national debate civilized.…