Madi Jabarteh

Once again, Ebrima Sankareh has activated that dishonest narrative, ‘where were you?’ which is used by individuals who wish to silence citizens, divert public attention, encourage corruption, and distort facts hence kill transparency and accountability. This is what Sankareh did today on Coffee Time With Peter Gomez on West Coast Radio when he went on the rampage to insult and denigrate my person as he described me as a ‘latter-day activist’ who was not vocal during the misrule of Tinpot Dictator Yaya Jammeh. Does anyone need to be vocal during Jammeh’s days of misrule in order to be vocal today?  

I guess the best description I can make of Sankareh’s remarks is to refer to Abraham Lincoln’s insight that to test a man’s character, give him power. Until 2017 when Jammeh was booted out, we would not have known the true colors of many men and women in public office today simply because they were not in power then. We had thought that all of those folks like Sankareh were indeed genuine citizens committed only to the best interest of the Gambia based on democracy, good governance, and human rights.

But alas, today we now know what and who most of these people are thanks to POWER. That Sankareh could remain in a government that is hobnobbing with the enablers and architects of dictatorship he had vowed to fight which had cost scores of Gambian lives including Deyda Hydara who Sankareh calls a mentor indeed clearly lays bare what kind of man Sankareh is. I will never join a government or associate with individuals or groups that had actively and deliberately inflicted harm on the Gambian nation for 22 odd years. But today, not only has Sankareh joined them, but he is happily defending them including the unholy NPP/APRC alliance and celebrating unconscionable individuals such as Samsudeen Sarr!

Therefore, for Sankareh to have the audacity to attack my dignity and integrity by calling me a hypocrite simply because in his dishonest mind I was not vocal during the Jammeh Tyranny rather exposes his own hypocrisy and dishonesty. For all I know, Sankareh did not stay in the Gambia for most of Jammeh’s misrule. He fled. He never returned to take on Jammeh on the ground. But he has the guts to attempt to tarnish the name and reputation of people like myself who stayed here all throughout during which I had direct personal confrontations with Yaya Jammeh himself. My personal confrontation with Yaya Jammeh led him to declare in April 2000 that he never wanted to see me again as I confronted the lies of his regime and ministers about the student massacre as a journalist at Radio Gambia. But I never fled.

But do I need to justify and explain myself to Sankareh? Of course, not. Rather this is to expose his dishonesty and hypocrisy. Yes, I said the press release he issued on the What’s On Gambia story about the alleged attempt by the Government to give away Monkey Park was a lie. In that press release, Sankareh touted this Government’s commitment to not only protect Monkey Park but also committed to the preservation of the Gambian environment. This is a blatant lie.

If what Sankareh said was true, then the Kairaba International Conference Centre would not be standing at Monkey Park today. Rather the park would have remained as it was – beautiful and lively. To claim that it was Yaya Jammeh’s regime that had identified Monkey Park for the conference center is only an attempt to misinform and mislead the general public in order to cover up corruption and the poor leadership of the current Government.

Sankareh knows that Government is a continuum. Decisions by one government can be upheld or reversed by the successor government. Hence Pres. Barrow is within his powers to reverse the decision to violate Monkey Park for this edifice. But he failed to do so, and that responsibility cannot be transferred to Yaya Jammeh with all of his evilness. Hence for Sankareh to seek to exonerate Pres. Barrow and his Government from this immoral and irresponsible act of destroying our environment only highlights Sankareh’s own sense of dishonesty.

A government that would blatantly destroy such a natural sanctuary just to build a conference hall cannot be said to care about the environment at all. Rather, it shows that Pres. Barrow and Sankareh care less about Jawara and his legacy and position on the environment. Hence it is bongums for Sankareh to heap all those high-sounding and bombastic but meaningless words and slogans on Jawara when in fact he has no respect for Jawara and the Banjul Declaration. Otherwise, the Government would have relocated the conference centre elsewhere. But they did not only fail to relocate the centre but went ahead to also name it shamelessly after Jawara. There cannot be a more despicable mockery of this honorable statesman! Thus, Sankareh’s remarks only expose hypocrisy and an attempt to misinform and mislead the public to aid and abet poor leadership.

Finally, Sankareh exposed his dishonesty and hypocrisy when he sought to hit me under the belt with the intention to undermine and weaken me by stating that I represent an international organization hence should not speak up as I do. Let me put it to Ebrima G Sankareh and all human beings that Madi Jobarteh lives on and by only his conscience, and nothing else. Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) found me as a human being and a citizen of the Gambia. I do not love money and position to the point that I will sell my soul to any person or institution on earth.

WFD does not worth nix to me when it comes to the fulfilment of my rights and duties to the best interest of my country. The Queen of England, the Prime Minister of the UK, the CEO of WFD and the British High Commissioner in the Gambia do not own me, and I do not owe them any goddam allegiance. I have survived well before WFD and will continue to survive even better after WFD. Hence WFD cannot gag, constrain, scare, control, and silence me.  

So, if that is the trump card that Sankareh is playing, I tell him I am not like him and his ilk! I am a conscious, conscionable, honorable, decent, and patriotic citizen unlike him. I have no masters and am not subservient to any human being. And I hold that the President Adama Barrow, Minister Ebrima Sillah, and all Ministers, and he, Ebrima G Sankareh and all public officials are nothing but Public Servants as per the Constitution.

A Public Servant is a Mbindan! If that is disrespectful to him, so be it. It only exposes that immoral, dishonest, and corrupt mind of those public officials who see themselves as masters, privileged, and special and wish to lord it over the people on and by whose power, authority, legitimacy and interest these public officials hold public office to serve.

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