The Alieu I taught and the Alieu I know is not a danger to anyone; nothing in this world will make me think for a moment that his continued detention can be justified under the circumstance.
It was barely a little over a decade after the dust has settled on the war that the winds of change emerged in Africa, writes Demba Kandeh.
22nd July is seen by many as the most important date on the calendar of Gambians. It is almost a household name in the country thanks to the “remarkable efforts” of the AFPRC and now APRC and its allies. On that fateful day, two decades ago, former President, Dawda Kairaba Jawara was deposed in what has been described as a “bloodless coup”. Jawara’s overthrow was masterminded by a group of soldiers led by then Lieutenant Yahya AJJ Jammeh.
They identified themselves as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and Jammeh, 29 then, was the chairman of the AFPRC. As usual for putsches, the constitution was suspended, the borders sealed and a curfew implemented. While Jammeh’s new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions and prospects for promotion.
The coup did not receive much resistance from home but attracted international condemnation. But twenty years on, Demba Kandeh tells us why the coup should not be celebrated.
President Jammeh has always likened his overthrow to a revolution; in fact, there are no 22nd July coup celebrations. What the soldier turned civilian president celebrates is the “22nd July Revolution” but what is the difference?
First and foremost, Jammeh should know that celebrating a coup sends a wrong signal. This is probably why the country has registered the highest number of reportedly foiled coups (not less five) during the twenty years under Jammeh as compared to only one under Jawara who was president for almost thirty years. It is time the putsches learn their lessons and understand that bloodless or not, a coup is a coup and is not worth celebrating at all.
You either speak “the government truth” or keep quiet, write authors.
By Lamin Jahateh & Modou S. Joof
Journalists and religious leaders, in this case Imams, have different but similar critical roles in enlightening the people on various issues and cultivating a culture of understanding – putting every issue into its right context and perspective.
Imams are expected to tell their congregations about religion, ethics and current affairs particularly those that have bearing on Islam. Gone are the days when Imams would be called on only to lead prayers five times a day. People expect more and more from their religious leaders.
Being teachers of morality, Muslim clerics are under both divine and social duty to speak and if possible write against the ills in the society. They have a moral responsibility and also the authority to speak out on any issue that affects their congregations. Continue reading
Historical records of Mr Jones writing shows he was radical, and an activist journalist who wrote with authority.
By Modou S. Joof
“A fearless, outspoken, unbiased newspaper is not only a desideratum to a backward and underdeveloped nation, but an indispensable tool for progress,” Gambian journalist Melville Benoni Jones wrote in an editorial in the Outlook on May 3, 1960.
Historical chronicles about Mr Jones writing and journalism has shown him to be radical and an activist journalist who wrote with authority.
In a recent account, a Gambian historian described him as having combined “crusading journalism with militant politics and trade unionism to challenge British colonial rule.”
But what did the man popularly known as “M.B. Jones”, whose work pre and post colonialism included the fight for a free and independent press, meant by (a fearless, outspoken, unbiased newspaper… indispensable tool for progress)?
Gambian historian and researcher Mr Hassoum Ceesay explains: