Thursday, 31 December 2009

NADD, The Crocked Alliance: Only PDOIS Can Hang Onto It

Responding to Halifa Sallah's statements on Freedomnews paper

The UDP U.K branch knows that, this analysis of Halifa's Sallah comments may irritate a section of his support base, that is not our intention. We hope to respond in clarifying and putting a different perpective to his two part response to Pa Mbye.
Halifa's comments are in inverted comas and italise. We hope to foster a healthy dialogue which cannot at all times be friendly. But trouble societies must go through difficult discussions, burying our heads in sand and pretending as if all is alright is futile. The path to unseating Jammeh will take strange turns, but it will happen. We put our trust in God.
So help us God.

“Pa, the other issue of concern to me is your insinuation of lack of sincerity and principles within the NADD leadership. You mentioned lack of sincerity, principles and greed as the cause of the split in NADD. Could you identify those you consider to be lacking in sincerity and principles in NADD which led to its collapse? Could you also identify for me who are currently the insincere leaders in NADD and explain what led you to draw such a conclusion? If those leaders in NADD and those who have left NADD are insincere, unprincipled and greedy then why are you calling on them to unite to remove Jammeh? What is the significance of your lesson that unity is strength? How could the unity of insincere, unprincipled and greedy people give rise to strength to liberate a country?” Halifa Sallah

The questions raised by Pa Nderry Mbye were legitimate and requiring less aggressive answers from Halifa. The true colour of the leader of the defunct NADD has surface in every passing day. Halifa was holding key positions in NADD at every turn from the onset to the down fall. Any sincere and serious politician would have asked himself, why? Halifa knows for a fact, he is a political light weight whose main command base in writing on Foroyaa or to some of his fan base online. Twisting of facts on the breakup of NADD is clear to many Gambians who paid attention to the process which lead to the disintegration of a damned union. Halifa was always having an eye for the leadership yet, pretending to Gambians that, he is less interested in power and more interested in sovereign preaching. Who does Halifa thinks he is deceiving?

“Many people marvel at the fact that two parties with diametrically opposed objectives are the last to leave NADD but few marvel at the ingenuity which makes it possible to achieve the impossible. What is more intriguing is that the architects of the irony are calling for another marriage of convenience while at the same time calling for a dissolution of the earlier marriage of convenience.” Halifa Sallah

It is clear then that, Halifa now has a shore relationship with some members of the group who were the architect of NADD. He is blaming them for having the courage and wish to rid the Gambia of Yahya. This is interesting. Didn’t Halifa with over twenty years of political experience read or even show marriage of convenience in many parts of the globe including Senegal, Kenya etc? Is Halifa saying that, politicians must have one ideology to unite over anything?

You the youths in the Diaspora made it a principle that any body who refused to join the alliance of opposites should be seen to be insincere, unprincipled, greedy and unpatriotic. Hence you forced people to become what they were not and then accuse them of being insincere when they show their true colour.” Halifa

The regular media propaganda of the lone ranger in NADD/PDOIS wishing to heap blame on others except himself yet again by blaming committed well meaning Gambians on wishing to have a united opposition. Halifa’s reference to “...when they show their true colour” is a cynical attack on the UDP and others who pulled out of the coalition of NADD. What Halifa fail to admit and make clear with all his self-righteous rants are that, he singlehandedly became the thorn in the whole NADD set up.
Halifa’s delusion and false pride in his academic all roundedness means, he will never concede to any opposition leader no matter what. Therefore he will always use means to trigger a stalemate in negotiations and possible coalition talks. Halifa may be read on line by those Gambians interested, but on the ground, Halifa don’t stand a chance in any leadership primary elections. His equation is either him or no one else.
Halifa the political strategist, Halifa the constitutional expert, Halifa the Historian, Halifa the educationist, Halifa the sociologist/academic, Halifa the everything. What chance do other opposition candidates have with a man who belittle and looks down on all others? Yet seeing through Halifa’s inadequacies are much easier than he would make them out to be.
Him being the only sincere Gambian politician, and others power hungry, less educated, inarticulate, and less eloquent as he regularly puts it, Halifa’s arrogance surpasses every ounce of a humble and patriotic politician. If others show their true colour by refusing to bow down to his singular wish of becoming the flag bearer using treacherous means. Halifa is today the one showing his true self, by blowing his top in simple matters like that raised by Pa Nderry.

"Sincerity and full adherence to original principle means that opposites should not be allowed to mix. By now we would have had a more vibrant opposition and more opposition members in the national assembly by forming tactical alliances of one sort or the other." Halifa

Tactical alliance couldn't be possible because Halifa's craft was expose by then. He knew without such alliance he doesn't stand a chance to regain his seat, his campiagn was all base on attacking the UDP. Who does Halifa think he is? castigating an opposition party regularly and wanting them help you win a seat. Let him come to terms with his own contradictions.

“...all other alliances are based on one party putting its own agenda and principles on ice and render support to the principles and policies of another without any conditionality. You see a conflict of interest in the NADD alliance but not in the other Alliances.” Halifa

Here the PDOIS Serrekunda East failed candidate has declared openly that, they will not put their weight behind any other party thereby freezing their party’s principles. But in reality, it doesn’t have to be that way. Lesser parties can still promote their principles whilst openly backing and strategising a formidable election campaign for the bigger opposition party. What Halifa wish to convince us is that, NADD has a winning parliamentarian in Sedia, which proofs that, the new party was well received, all that is needed is uniting behind NADD regardless of the size of the opposition party.

“The existence of the law would have enabled PDOIS to determine whether it could continue to operate under NADD, since it has provided a victorious candidate for both National Assembly and Council seats in Wuli or fully assess the full implication of its withdrawal from NADD.” Halifa

The writing is all on the wall now. PDOIS produce a winning candidate in Wulli and Serrekunda, yet similar result occurred in NADD. What is baffling is that, why is PDOIS executive trying to hide away from the party’s identity in the guise of NADD? Is it that, PDOIS is synonymous with communism? Or that Gambians could not be attach to the party for over twenty years and now a fantastic idea emerged in NADD were the past can be masqueraded and reinvented in NADD.

"Are you convinced of the ineptitude of most of our critics who do not think holistically to evolve relevant strategies and tactics to shape the destiny of this country or do you want me to proceed to expose their barren conception?" Halifa Sallah

Now who would have thought, the man dupe the calm and intellectual brian power of the Gambia losing his cool. If he convince himself that, he has the best brian yet could not device any serious plan to unite the Gambian people, what else does Halifa has to boost about? 'Barren conception' that is a joke.

"Hence NADD could not die a natural death because people from a party who were never in for alloying their political principles accepted to bow down to the demands for unity and having done so on the basis of sound principles stayed the course and are now exploring how to achieve the same aim NADD set out to achieve while gradually breathing life into their own political organisation." Halifa

PDOIS will wish NADD remains. The support base hardly have a say, Halifa is the spokesman, leader, thinker, strategist etc. Why does he think people will believe the pretentious idea that, he will involve his party rank and file in NADD's future? NADD should be dissolve as political party, and alliance base on party lead utilise.

"For your information, since 2008 the PDOIS membership is being consulted on the need to hold a congress to review the way forward including its future relation with NADD or its nullification." Halifa
We eagerly awaits the result of the pending consultation. The irony for now is that, all we see is one man being the everything of a party. One wonder whether any body else's opinion matters in NADD or PDOIS.
Halifa's part two will be analyse so far as areas where he made explicit or implicit remarks against the UDP is concern. The UDP leadership will be convince not to respond to a frustrated politician who enjoys the media misinformation.
The part two is quiet similar in remarks to part one, hence the analysis will be less wordy as this one. The UDP reserve the right to respond to political advantegeous comments from its rivals. When the leadership of other opposition parties avoid making comments against the UDP by giving unity a chance, we will relent and also give unity a chance.
Halifa's supporters cannot silence us by using unity talks as tool, unless Halifa desist we will not.
The can call us lacking soveign education or civic knowledge, we don't mind, we too have our opinions on him.
UDP U.K coordinator

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sharing the Booty: Why Blame The Islamic Scholars

Suntou Touray
It is attractive and plausible for desperate Gambians to support statement against clerics in our current plight. The mere fact that, some clerics occasionally support Yahya Jammeh is sufficient grounds for all out assault on the personalities of our religious scholars.
The fact remains; Yahya Jammeh is a product of secular Gambia. He emanate from an institution whose members bluff more than any other of their extreme secular nature. The security apparatus of the Gambia is seen by many as the least place for committed Muslims. The culture of boozing, womanising and regular engagement in voodoo fetish spiritualism is common currency among the men of the security services. The army, police and customs lay no red carpet for puritans.
Yahya Jammeh came upon us through the army, a place where anyone educated only through the Islamic tradition is disqualified from admittance. The army is just one sector where religious educated or Arabic educated graduates have little or no opportunity whatsoever.
Yet today, few occasional comments by one or two Imams irritate secular Gambia so much, every single religious scholar is quantify as insincere, an hypocrite, and have you. Yet who stands to gain in a Gambia where a dictator like Yahya reigns over?
It is we secular educated Gambians who are enjoying with our dictator of Kanilia. It us who do all the jobs for him which he use to blindfold others in the name of development. It’s us who do all his PR propaganda for him; it’s us who act as his diplomats, validating him across the globe. It is us who form opposition parties against him and contest elections with him, making him legitimate in the eye of the international community. Yet we feel that, religious scholars who gain crumps in all of our mess should be blame because they are men of God and should stay away from politics.
The real reason some religious scholars make statements favourable to Yahya is simply in defence of the one thing that they can rely on to salvage comfort and satisfaction. Their religious principles and the environment in which they can promote what is also important. Yahya Jammeh plays Christians against Muslims, by privately and publicly making favourable comments toward the minority Christian community and attacking the Muslims scholarly base.
The strategy of divide and manipulate is deliberate and a ploy to force the Islamic scholars to favour him, if not he will make the environment in which Islam operates pollutant and difficult for the advocate of Islamic values. I know some people find the whole religious discourse a waste of time and unnecessary, but to others it is more important than any other activity. Therefore the Islamic scholars thread the actions of Yahya with utmost care. They use the scriptures to highlight the effects of dictatorship in a general context. They cannot name Yahya as the President and attack his actions. They have little to gain by confronting Yahya head on.
To make matters much clearer, how many educated Gambians live in the diaspora? How of the educated Gambians are then willing to criticise Yahya’s administrative styles and question his crimes against Gambians in the open witha real name and identity? Now we have to bear in mind that, some conservative estimates put the amount of Gambians in America to be 25,000, in U.K 15,000, In France and Spain much more. Yet this Gambians live over 6,000miles away from the claws of Yahya and his security agents. Only a negligible amount confronts the injustices of the APRC governments and its bully boys.
Comparing the inaction of secular educated Gambians who can go home, take good jobs with pensions and all sorts of benefits with or without Yahya’s government. Gambians who can’t compete with us in the civil service, private sector or for international jobs, we want those people to act in open defiance of a dictator who can kill or lock them on no grounds for what?
Yes, the argument may also be, if you will not condemn a dictator then don’t openly support some of his actions. A valid point, but as I alluded to earlier, if massaging the ego of a dictator means, he will leave people alone to practise their faith and go about preaching religion freely, then the scholars (few) of them for that matter, make comments favourable to Yahya. Whilst any open attack on his government will be taken as a case of hostility and open defiance. Which in turn means, jail or be ready for martyrdom.
Dictatorship is the worst form of government anywhere in the world. But do Gambians want religious personalities to fight secular political battles for them? In our current position, many will say, anything that can unseat Yahya is welcome, but post Yahya, how do we reconcile seeing clerics talking politics?
It is vital that we divorce the spiritual from the normal every day activity. Our Islamic scholars are well meaning and dedicated people. This men and women are educated to highest level. They know the implications of causing harm to people. They also understand the current political situation in the country. The means of involving them in resolving the political dilemma in our country should well be thought out. They have families, responsibilities and with little means from the state or private sector.
Most of the scholars gain their livelihood from NGO’s from other Muslims states. They teach, operate charities and so on, and get paid from charitable sources. Although many of the Arabic educated Gambians specialise in different field of studies, ranging from language, geography, engineering, electrical mechanics, education, theology, history etc, they don’t have the facilities once in the Gambia to learn Basic English language in converting their skills.
Finally, the Islamic scholar that went through proper training and attain high level education will never report one of their own, by doing so many know the implication of that. The Likes of Dr Mbye Kah, Sheik Muhammed Lamin Touray, Sheik Gibreal Kujabi, Imam Abdoule Fatty, Sheik Sidiya Ceesay etc, don’t need any financial reward from the state to sell a fellow scholar. They are all well remunerated through other sources. They are involved in well funded charities and recognised for their sacrifice and academic qualities. Dr Mbye Kah’s PhD thesis was a sort after book in the prestigious Medina University. These men are not recognised by many simply because the Gambia lacks a culture of religious patronage like Senegal. These men will not even entertain anyone venerating them. Islam doesn’t have any window for Priesthood. All this scholars earn their living by engaging in work, the Imam roles are only one part of what they do.
I hope we accord our scholars the respect they deserve and channel our frustration where it will make an impact.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Life of Usman Dan Fodio.

Dr Hakim Quick explain the life of the Nigerian Islamic scholar, Sheik Usman Dan Fodio. May his soul rest in peace. Amen


Sekou Toure like many other early African leaders have tags of dictatorship made against them. This is an inetersting issue especially, these leaders began by championing the poor, weak and enslaved.
What cause them to change and adopt the ways of the colonialist?

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Sunnah Fasting

Has many of you know, the 9th and 10th of Muharram is recommended to us by the noble Prophet Muhammad to fast. It is of high merit to do the ibadah.
This year, Saturday 26th and Sunday the 27th of December are the 9th and 10th of Muharram. If you cannot fast for two days, at least try for one day.
I hope all Jallow Kunda-folks observe this fast. Cherno Baba, make more prayers for everyone.
May Allah accept our small efforts and keep us on the deenul Islam. Amen.

Profiling Ustass Omar Bun Jeng (Omar Fadera)

Many Gambians who grow up in the 1980's and 1990's can remember the melodious voice of Shiek Omar Bun Jeng (Omar Fadera). His simple and down to earth approach to religion made him well respected and admired all around the Senegambia.

His many sermons on radio Gambia increased his popularity and reach to all over the Gambia. Born in Kiang and raised in Senegal, Bun can speak fluently in both Wollof and Mandinka. Those who listen to his Mandingo lectures alone never think he could deliver brillaint lectures in Wollof as in Mandinka. But Bun was versatile, melodious and humble.

His Qur'anic recitation is also highly touching. Bun Jeng settled in Kombo Gunjure until his death in 1995. The whole country mourn his demise.

Rest In peace, Bun, May Allah grant you jannah and forgive you your mistakes. Amen

The Sheik Bakawsu Fofana Lectures

Part one of Sheik Bakawsu's lecture.This are Youtube videos of the young Preacher from Jarra Barrow Kunda now settled in Sanchaba

Thanks For all The feed backs On Jaliba's Piece

After the Allgambian publish the research work I conducted on Jaliba Kuyateh, scores of readers emailed me expressing their appreciation for the work. I am ever grateful for the comments. In fact, as the part two will show, i took the initiative in researching Jaliba in defense of my love for the Mandingo customs and tradition.

Music is not big in my house, in fact, I hardly play any form of music to be honest. In visiting friends on days off, I am regularly entertain with Musics by Jaliba and the Senegambian musicians. Although, this few occasions of listening to Music never trigger any deep interest in Music, it made me aware of the entrench nature music affects, for the better worst Gambians.

Therefore, I started paying attention to the lyrics of Jaliba Kuyateh. If I cannot shake my legs to his songs, then what is he saying?

I have deep interest in Mandingo proverbs. In the songs of Jaliba, i notice he always use a proverb in each track. I then said, is JALIBA promoting Mandingo tradition in his own way? The old traditional music still appeal to me. Thanks to Janko Solo for his reservoir of knowledge on old music, He has taught me a lot on solid customs. His every utterance in wisdom in old school.

To cut a long story short, he was. My reservation then shifted to his shows were all sorts of dance routines and dresses are on display. But hey, that is for another discussion.

Jaliba will be interview at length on his next visit to U.K. Hopefully something may come out of the project. I thank Kayatta for the valuable observation and comments.

Forward with our cultures. Bolonba

Jaliba's recent videos are unfortunately not available on the Internet for rigorous analysis.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Dr Njombor of Freedom Newspaper Should Just Let Go

Reading through the Dr Njombor section of freedom newspaper yesterday, the editor did the decent thing by taking down the malicious piece on Fatou Jaw Manneh and then said, "he takes the comments of his readers seriously".
A few moments later, he is now playing the victim card by accusing us of publicity seeking and that we are his haters.
Instead of salvaging a battered image, Editor Pa should know that, focusing on other people's personal lives is a sign emptiness and a breed of idle mind.
Damage control is never as good as damage prevention. The Editor never wish to learn his lessons. He shouldn't crown himself as above the law of professional ethics and decency.

The freedom newspaper has done wonderful things in highlighting the criminality of Yahya Jammeh and his inner circles, yet the paper over the years refuse to block temptation of going after 'tabloid tales' brand of intimating and harassing ordinary simple Gambians.
Many Gambians that the paper attack have nothing to hide, but the mere fact, you are accuse of things abhorrent, you hardly have the stamina to engage anyone on unhealthy issues. The management of Freedom newspaper should come to the realisation that, enough is enough.
Fatou objected to discussing a impending article by the freedom on her for ethical reasons. Pa Nderry Mbye should know by himself that, exposing the private life of an individual is unnecessary and lacking taste. Why should Fatou advise Pa Nderry on the Freedom's editorial line?

If Pa cannot estimate the damage a piece will cause to others, then he needs to rethink his chosen profession.
Permutations of disquise assault on ordinary folks will not gain Gambian productive outcomes. The freedom should stop wallowing in playing the victim in sensitive matters like this. I see that approach as mere policking and sulking in pretense crocodile tears.
It is the reputation that freedom created for itself which culminated in fostering the disquiet of sound minded Gambians. No one is an enemy of the freedom, we are an enemy of bullying. Bullying Editor Pa must stop.
All i see is, the editor of Freedom asking himself, 'what rhymes well with today's news article?. Let the editor plays healthy rhymes, Gambians will always be quietly grateful.
I for one is not calling for any censorship of important broad base issues, in fact i relishes them. This is why, supporters of Halifa mistake ordinary Gambians with public figures. In as much as faceless, nameless folks are trying to mixed up the politician and the private Gambian, i know the boundaries to question the policies of Halifa Sallah. Never have I gone after his private life. But no one can also stop Gambians on discussing legitimate public interest issues. What concerns us all is a subject we should discuss.
The Freedom newspaper is not the victim here, but an aggressor and a paper that has gone beyond the limits.I fear that, the freedom is slowly turning into a monster that will hardly verify who is a legitimate target and who is not. A monster which will be the cause of its own demise. Post Yahya will we have any use for news papers like the Freedom is the editor continues on this line of journalism? I doubt it.
The freedom editor never write anything against his own immediate family, so exposing the privacy of ordinary peaceful Gambians who have nothing to do with Jammeh regime is unacceptable.
Finally, I for one don't seek any fame from this palaver, in fact, commenting on the subject further will only affect fatou more than anyone. I have platforms to air my views, I have never given the Freedom my photo to accompany any thing I previously wrote on the paper, so really, publicity is the last thing I seek. Anyone who goes through the content of what I write will see the subject I covered. I don't seek the approval of anyone. If I am honest and upright with my opinion, I am sincerely satisfied.
On the other hand, reading the Freedom weekly, one cannot but constantly see the editor making the paper into his personal life story. Full photos, cheap bragging and so on. The cheap accusations are an expression of his personal short comings.

Sunday, 20 December 2009


By Suntou Bolonba Touray
The dignity, reputation and self-respect of women need preserving. A key determinant in gaining an air of respect and nobility all across the world for women is associated with their dignity. Societies like that of ours still lay enormous emphasis on a woman’s chastity and manners. To attribute remotely any form of infidelity and casual indulgence in affairs outside marriage is not a small attack on a woman’s personality alone, but all those who associate and are related with such woman.
The scriptures warn the faithful to avoid accusing women of infidelity and lacking self-control. The warnings are so dare, anyone who accuses a believing woman of sex outside marriage without any proof; such a person is in the eye of the divine laws condemned to 80 lashes.
Two Gambian women were accused of having a boy friend on a widely read Gambian newspaper. These women are stained by the mere attribution of casual love affairs outside a marital sanctity. Many will suspect the credibility and validity of such statements against the women in question, but still some faint hearted readers may continue to believe in it.
The question all well meaning Gambians or people of concern should ask themselves is what good does such irrelevant news stories serve?
The private lives of independent women who are not occupying any public position where they are remunerated by Gambian tax payers, why should their private lives become a subject of our news papers?
Another vital point to note is that, why should hard working, well respected women be associated with having boyfriends? It is a simple chauvinist behaviour and an outdate attitude which needs to be do away with.
Isn’t there more respectable and better ways to question the conduct of a woman instead of going after her jugular?
Fatoumata Jahumpa is openly associated with the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, yet that is not a license to use her name in castigating the respectable sister in Fatou Jaw Manneh. One can write voluminous accounts of Fatou Jahumpa on her role in fostering sycophancy and selfishness, but that should not extend to her private personal life. No one can mistake the real intention of the so-call letter, the aim is to discredit Fatou Jaw Manneh not fatoumata Jahumpa.
Fatou Jaw Manneh has endured more than many of us. She continues to be part of the struggle and in the media business. Many who have smoothly sailed into the comfort of the Americas or Europe quietly went about their business uninterested in current developments affecting Gambians.
Fatou Jaw could have done the same and quietly lay low, avoiding media spotlight, thus safe guarding her private personal live. I doubt if the editor of Freedom news paper will publish anything against Fatou Jaw if she is not providing alternative media outlet for Gambians online.
In 2009, the privacy and dignity of Gambian women shouldn’t become a subject of our media debate. Let us talk about what affect us all in the public space of the Gambia. Writing about the private lives of people will do us no good. Regular readers on the online discussion forums also see these unhealthy exchanges. Some believe, by writing innuendos and concocted stories about others just to score futile points they have gain. One would expect the editor of Freedom news paper to have grown beyond such unhealthy style of journalism, but alas, salvaging personal point’s means doing whatever it takes for some.
The least we can all do for fatou Jaw Manneh is to respect her privacy and stop manufacturing lies on her private life. I am very sad to read untruth about prominent women in our male dominated circles.
Fatou Jaw Manneh’s dignity remains intact. There are certain habits which are more sinful than drinking alcohol; lying against the dignity of others is one such act.
The editor of Freedom newspaper should retract that so-call letter and apologise to Fatou Jaw for aiding the transmission of a character assassinating lies. He needs to take note of our social norms and values, and stop trespassing on people’s privacy.
The letter shouldn’t have pass through a vigorous editor’s lenses. The piece is scandalous, rude, unnecessary and in bad taste. Fundamentally it also exposes the ever uncompromising stance of folks in demeaning others to for whatever selfish reasons.
"foro son tee menti, jaaw salalela, namee tasinin, Allah saa bo ikan" (what is not the habit of one, a jealous sob can ascribe it to you, but in the end, God will preserve your dingnity)

Saturday, 19 December 2009


"Ladies and gentlemen, I knew long time ago that Ousainou Darboe never meant the the above words he uttered thus what I told Baboucarr Ceesay in Minnesota. I always knew that his party and tribal affiliation was supreme to him which is contrary to the above statement. Mr. Ceesay I say it like it is. I observed a big coincidence that only Mandingos came here in the defence of Osainou Darboe. My brother, Jammeh and the APRC always knew this and they have been using this to win the past two elections. For your information, all the other tribes abhors the Mandingos but they will not talk about it in the open but they will say it loud when they go the polls." Keba Foon a Wollof supremacist in 2005.

And they said that STDG is neutral. What a joke. How can Keba Foon be the head of a group who utter nonsenses like the statement above. The words sounds like that which a pet of Halifa Sallah would say. Keba Foon a Wollof supremacist aim to deceive the UDP into accepting dubious plot to hookwink Ousainou. Thereby permitting the nonenity Halifa to able to capture the NADD leadership by deception. What the Keba foon's fail to know is that, Halifa's influence ends online with his harden followers. So placing Halifa on Gambians in equals to telling Jammeh please don't go on any campaign.
Keba Foon is not alone in the Mandingo hating. He was speaking for a collective group. Let them know that the days of maslaha on Gambian issues are over. The days of allowing few cligues to undermine a whole is over.
Let Keba wake up to the new Gambia. An idoit per excellence.

Was Bakuwsu Arrested?

Reading through the freedom newspaper today:
I came across a story which states that, Sheik Bakawsu Fofana originally from Jarra Barrow Kunda was arrested for having a difference of opinion with the members of the supreme Islamic Council Gambia.
I have personally listen to tapes of Bakawsu lectures and watched a few of his DVDs to know his style of preachings. Bakawsu is a young man of 36 years as compared to Imam Muhammed Lamin Touray, the president of the Islamic council. Bakawsu and Imam Muhammed Lamin are very close friends. They both studied in Medina university and are both well verse in Islamic jurisprudence and general knowledge on Islam.
Bakawsu did his BA in Qur'an and Hadith studies, and his style of preaching is more or less base on those two sources. He doesn't mince his words and he hardly avoid stating the obvious. lecture of Bakawsu:
Mandingo speakers will appreciate his clarity in speech, although he has some speech impediments. Bakawsu's controversial lectures includes his advise to the Jola community to take religion seriously and seize following customs which are tantamount to Idol worship. He also do regularly advise women to dress modestly and avoid revealing their under garments.
He is also a no nonsense preacher when it comes to addressing we the secular western educated Gambians. He commented, "whenever there is a religious function to do, the secular educated Gambians would like to pass on the role to others." He further said, we spend most time on material pursuits and divide the resources of our country among ourselves. He said "from early age they go to school up till they enter adulthood, then they start to work from 9 to 5. They hardly have time to learn about their faith. When they retire, they commence reading newspaper by street corners and engaging in political debates all day on end." Bakawsu further advise that, co-education should abolish in the Gambia. He said co-education has killed the jealousy that couples should have on each other. on another topic, he attack the new custom female wrestling on TV.
Bakawsu on the opening of his local Mosque in Sanchaba, invited Imam Muhammed Lamin Touray as main speaker on the event. So for those two parties to fall out over mundane religious matters like the date of Tobaski is rather funny.
There is more to the story than the paper made it to be.
It is my believe that, both Bakawsu and Imam Muhammed Lamin have gone through rigorous training and intense research to be able to deal with a difference of opinion on the sighting of a moon. They have both dealt with issue far more advance and serious. At this juncture the freedomnews paper didn't say who in the supreme SIC did the reporting to the police, but since Muhammed Lamin is the president, we have to put him in the know of things. Imam Muhammed Lamin is far more experience and capable to solve low level issues like this.

Hijra, Islamic New Year. 1431 Years since Hijra

Today is the 2nd of the Islamic new year Muharram. May Allah make it possible for us all to withness many more years to come.
Our thanks to all Gambian Muslim and non-Muslims and those on the Harunasilo and other deep philosophical spiritual path.
www.suntoumana.blogspot would like to extend this new year greetings to the editors and contributors of all Gambian online media (Editor freedom newspaper, editor Senegambia, Editors allgambian, Editors Gainako, Editors Maafanta, Editors theGambiajournal and Editor theGambia echo.) And also the happy greetings to all politicians and their supporters together with the list managers of the Gambia L and Gambia Post forums, not forgeting the Administrator of in cyber space.
December 18, 2009 was the 1st Al-Hijra (the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina), celebrated on the first day of the month of Muharram.
The importance of Muharram is that, no Muslim should reside in a country were he/she cannot perform their religious obligations. There is no excuse in that category. One is oblige to migrate to a place where a muslim is free to practise his/her faith without fear of reprisals. Also each Muslims should look into their spritual life and evaluate wether they have cross certain lines deem sinful, thus requiring self-analysis and repentance.
If one is indulging in sinful activities such as: consuming alcahol or eating pork, eating riba or interest, commiting unlawful sexual activity, abandoning ones kit and kin or family, abortion,unlawful killings of human beings, spreading mischeive by increasing corruption of people's hearts, causing devorce by interfaring in other people's marital business etc. Then one needs to repent and desist from such activity.
Allah is open to accept our sincere repentence. In fact to paraphrase, it is stated in a hadith that "God is willing to forgive a sinful person, to such an extend, even a mother whose child angered her, cannot be more please when that child comes back to her in humility and request her forgiveness. The Happiness God shows to a sinner who submit to him in repentance, is more powerful than that mother." This shows that, we shouldn't lose hope and continue on bad activities.
May Allah forgive us our mistakes and guide us into deen-ul-Islam, where we will do what the Prophet Muhammad advice rather than following biddas and innovations which are a misguidance and errors.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The making of tyrant. Revisit the old news

Gambia lifts ban on political parties

President Jammeh seized power in a 1994 military coup

Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh has lifted the ban on political activities of parties he overthrew in a military coup in 1994.

"You are free to choose and support anyone you want. But you do not have a right to instigate or take part in violence. If you do you will go six feet deep"

Gambia's President Jammeh
This announcement will, correspondents suggest, open the way for political parties to challenge the president in multi-party elections due in October.

In an address to a rally in Banjul he said: "You are free to choose and support anyone you want. But you do not have a right to instigate or take part in violence. If you do you will go six feet deep."

Mr Jammeh's order, which surprised many Gambians, coincided with the anniversary of his 1994 coup that toppled the elected government of Sir Dauda Jawara who is now living in exile in Britain.

Notoriously restrictive

The notoriously restrictive Decree 89 had until now prevented parties like the Peoples Progressive Party, which had ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1965, from participating in elections.

A former minister of Agriculture in the government of Sir Dauda, Mr Omar Jallow told the BBC's Network Africa programme: "There is no cause for jubilation."

He said the decree that had been in force was "draconian, despotic and obnoxious", adding that a country that believes in the rule of law and human rights "has no business to enslave its citizens" by discriminating against them on political grounds.

Mr Jammeh, who seized power as a young officer, has been under pressure from donors and the Commonwealth to provide a broader political base.

Pressure has also come from within. Local politicians who had become increasing restive had begun re-grouping and re-organising themselves, threatening to defy the ban.

Mr Jammeh has tried to win over Gambians by making improvements to the country's infrastructure, building new roads, hospitals and schools.

Most strident critic

In 1996 as a way of legitimising his grip on power he called presidential and parliamentary elections. Opposition participation was limited.

Although Mr Jammeh's party won the elections, his most strident critic, opposition party leader and lawyer, Mr Ousainou Darboe won 38% of the vote in the ten days of campaigning he was allowed.

Recent history
July 1994: Jammeh's coup, bans political parties
1996: Jammeh wins elections
2000: Students killed in anti-police protest
2000: Nine charged with treason
July 2001: Ban on ex-political parties lifted
The economy too has come under considerable strain. The slump in the numbers of tourists from Britain and other European counties and the fall in the price of groundnut crop, a major foreign exchange earner, are having an impact.

The tourist figures have not quite recovered from the ban, even though lifted, that was placed on travel to the Gambia following Mr Jammeh's coup.

Inflation is rising and two weeks ago a higher currency note, 100 dalais, was put into circulation.

Mr Jammeh's period in office, the opposition says, has seen the security agents becoming arrogant and unaccountable.

They owner of Citizen Radio, an independent station, had his offices raided and was detained.

He was later released following interrogation over a report he aired questioning the activities of security agents.

Gambian Police patrols on bike

Gambia's police try pedal power

The cycle patrols have had a great reception

By Ebrima Sillah in Banjul
For many years now, the Gambian Police has been battling hard to restore public confidence in its ailing image.

Allegations of corruption and inefficiency as well as bias, harassment and intimidation are not new.

Children ringing their bicycle bells can be seen, chasing them across the city

Ebrima Sillah

In response to these concerns the police are trying to revive public faith in schemes like the bicycle patrol.

A pedal power fleet has been recently introduced in the capital Banjul to reduce the rising level of crime.

Each patrol officer is provided with a brand new blue uniform and bicycle.

Officers no longer have to patrol on foot, sweating in the blazing sun.

Patrolling zones

In Banjul, there is new air of enthusiasm about the introduction of the new patrol scheme.

Police response times are much quicker

Before, complainants had to hire a taxi to transport police officers to the scene of a crime.

Now because Banjul is now divided into different patrolling zones, people can simply walk to the nearest zone and register a complaint and a police officer will soon be there to sort out the problem.

Cycling officers are attracting attention where ever they go.

Children ringing their bicycle bells can be seen, chasing them across the city.

The pedal patrol at the moment runs from early morning to early evening but local people want the patrols increased to around the clock.

And other parts of the country with big crime problems are demanding that something similar is tried in their area.

The police are taking the demands seriously.

There are plans to cut back on administration and increase the amount of patrols across the country.


Our prayers goes to the family and friends of Deyda Hydara who was gun down on the 24December 2004. I was on holiday in the Gambia on that faithful December month. I couldn't believe what i heard on the news. Deyda was a well known personality in the media circles in the Gambia. Whoever killed him, should expect his own punishment. We might escape the law of our lands, but we cannot escape the law of the sustainer of human kind. I pray that, God bless the soul of Deyda and grant him Jannah.

The accusing fingers points to the dictator of Kanilai and his willing Hench men and women. Our message to them is, each blood you spill, your soul shall bear the brunt of the punishment later. You cannot escape the infinite justice of God. The death trap is, as you kill, your soul is wasted forever. You have little hope for salvation. Crimes committed on such abominable proportion demands equal recompense.

Why should people allow themselves to be used by another mortal man? Why should men place themselves at the service of other human being by committing acts which literally destroys ones present and next life?

It is so sad that people are allowing themselves to be bogey men for evil dictators in the capacity of Yahya Jammeh and his ilks.
Down with dictators and murders, down with all those who do the dirty jobs for them.

"There is no obedience to the creation in the disobedience of the creator" prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). All those who abide by unlawful orders in killing fellow Gambians are the lowest of the low. Their lives are not worth living. Be man enough and decline to undertake such commands warranting in taking the life of another human being. What you do today will always live with you.
Rest in peace Hydara

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Short story Book

The adventure i took a while ago to write short stories has now took off. I am writing slowly since all the stories i intend to cover are true accounts. They are interesting and shall covey serious moral tales. It is difficult to change names, places and events in true tales. But i believe in relaying true account than fiction. People can connect more with reality than made up stories.
Some of the events are difficults to recollect, but some research is done to peice together the major accounts.

Jaliba's interview

I have now completed compiling the Jaliba Kuyateh interview. I will add the piece and the photos in due course.
I hope it helps in increasing readers understanding of Jaliba's brand of Kora Music.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Analysing UDP's leader's U.S interview on GambiaJournal

After opening greetings, lawyer Darboe commences by explaining how he enters politics. Clarifying that subject is curial especially with some opposition members of PDOIS throwing accusation that, other politicians are power hungry and less eloquent. That label interesting fits well with the PDOIS hierarchy rather than the UDP leader.
People approached Ousainou back in 1996 on a return journey from the U.S, a constitution was written and Ousainou was asked to lead the party. Darboe accepted the position at the behest of the brutality and ruthlessness of the junta. After due consultation with close family member, and also after some personal encounter with ordinary Gambians, Darboe took the challenge to lead the biggest opposition party in the Gambia.
Darboe’s firm base is his strong core support of extended and immediate family members. The overwhelming urge to challenge the dictatorship and also to bring back justice to the Gambia. A man born in a family must have their consent before embarking into a career of politics which consumes a good part of one’s family and social life. That decision alone by Darboe entails that, democratic values and credentials are solidly entrench in him at all times. Some will jump at such an opportunity, with or without the consent of the family.
Darboe is a key player in the Gambian legal profession, he use to have a wide cliental. After coming into politics, all major big clients left his chambers and Darboe for the sake sacrificing for the Gambian people, accepted that in good faith.
Now this is also another vital point worth elaborating on. We constantly hear sounds from the camp of PDOIS that, they have sacrificed for the Gambia as if no other person as done any genuine and even more sincere sacrifice. A man who have much to lose by exposing his business empire and one who doesn’t have one in the first place, who is more genuine?
PDOIS members safely employ themselves in the media business (Foroyaa) were all the founding members contribute to the paper. They sell the news paper and generate income from it, yet they play as if they are the poorest of Gambians. This is not to say, some of the international conferences some members attends, earning them cool figures.
Darboe was also honest in acknowledging that, the APRC regime did have a mark on the infrastructural landscape of the Gambia. This is not to say, all those infrastructural visible landmarks are necessary or properly undertaken. Therefore the mere change in some areas of the Gambia infrastructure is not enough determinant as sustainable development.
Darbo was also humble in his regret of having some decisions wrong. Among them is boycotting of the 2001 parliamentary elections.
Suspending the political activity of the UDP whilst the negotiation of NADD was going on was also another area of regrets. The effect was the slowing down of the grassroots activism. The symbolism here is that, if Darboe wasn’t interested in a united opposition alliance, why should he freeze all UDP activities just to give NADD a chance? A chance which was destroys by double standards and pettiness. Yet those same figures that destroy that chance have the audacity to face Gambians and blame the UDP for pulling out of a crafty plot to use UDP base whilst working against its leadership.
On the subject of the NADD break up, “the UDP broke away from NADD the political party not NADD the loose alliance of political party.” Darboe
The key problematic issue was the notion elements within NADD having the thought that apart from them, no other politicians have the ability to bring the rule of law back in the Gambia. And also, the futile thinking that, one has to be an orator or key note speaker to be selected as flag bearer proof that there was no sincere aim on the part some opposition figures for true unity in removing Yahya.
“The NADD constitution was bypass and new rules were written to make the selection process even harder. The UDP will join in party alliance but not in a new political party.” This is the situation when one man thinks and convinces himself that, he is the most educated and competent Gambian there is.
Darboe is prepared to concede the UDP leadership. One has to understand that, Ousainou was approach to lead the opposition party, power hungry is not an issue for him. But this is going to be a UDP internal matter. No concession will be made to other opposition parties without proper democratic exercises.
“The decline in votes for UDP is linked to all other political parties. The voter apathy is a serious problem in the Gambia, also in other parts of the world.” Darboe
Darboe maintain that, “the hope is that, the independent electoral commission will be dignified enough to uphold fairness and just election process in the Gambia. But it is hard to be optimistic about the fairness of the Gambian election process.”
The important issues to be gain from Darboe’s radio interview are that, the accusation from the camp of certain opposition politicians that he is power hungry and wish to be president at all cost is nonsense.
Darboe did not invite the leadership on himself but by the people.
Darboe is today willing to hand over leadership to capable members within the UDP. But the UDP will not be deceived by oratory and double standard self-perfectionist, self-righteous politicians who are not members of the UDP.
The UDP will not be allowed to be use as a springboks for any reason, the party command respect both within and outside the Gambia.
The party leader has suffered grossly by his stands, his supporters have suffered more than many, and some of its members are still missing.
No opposition political party can claim to want a decent and peaceful change in the Gambia than the UDP.
This analysis is an independent work by the UDP United Kingdom branch, Ousainou was not consulted before or after the publication of this material. We believe as Gambians, the right to air our views with an independent mind, without fearing anyone. The UDP UK will also not shield the UDP party from criticism by Gambians, although we may respond to queries and issues raised in media and other publications in a polite and tolerant manner.
Ousainou if given the chance will be a Gambian president, not only a UDP members president, therefore, there is no point protecting our opposition leaders from scrutiny and criticism from the wider Gambian community. We don’t have that right to probe people for their motive of criticising our party.
Thank You
UDP U.K Coordinator (Suntou Touray)
For membership in U.K or more information on the UDP activities email me:

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Yahya is sacking and re-employing his generals and other staff for few reasons:
To blame the sackings on others. By alluding that, he was informed by X, Y, Z. So the re-appointed General or civil servant will now pick up a serious emnity with rivals or colleagues.
Yahya is planting suspicion and animosity in work places and the military infractstructure to get his way. By making senior military men/women suspect each other, he is the only winner.
Yahya can now explain to Drammeh that, his sacking was as a result of Mr X saying so and so. Drammeh will then watch such a person with every bone in his body.
The Jolas are as disadvantage as all others. When you listen to the querries from Jolas, there you will see how Yahya is treating them. Many who were supporting Yahya for flimsy allegiance has now packed up long ago, Yahya never wish any Gambian to have a name, fame or wealth beyond him. The cancer and hatred he harbours will destroy all who feel that, we the critic are useless time wasters. As soon as they start to acquire some few bones, Yahya will turn against them as he does with those before them, be it Jola or Fula. There are reliable information pointing Yahya making night visits to residence of his Ministers, just to see what sort place such people have. How sad can he get?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


What do the future kings see?
As in Vadasco’s portrait to the Spanish king
Is this life the end of it all?
God is never dead
Man’s inhumanity and vanity
Is man’s attempt to divert attentions
To the void
Of the blank pages reflecting greed
Cruelty, power and control
Seeking fame and fantasy
Devouring the weak
Inflicting carnival of death
Picnic of fears
It is there then
Man plunge into illuminating the uncertain
Craving superstition and darkness
Atheism and boundless dive into the abyss
Of yes, yes to this world
Speaking flawless
Acting saintly
Alas, the creams fake the vision
Of course, they all intend to be the real contenders
Or shall we say farce pretenders
The Gambia shall watch and make sense of
Hats in our ring!!!!!
It shall all come to pass
In our own grand pendulum’s self-promotion
The truth is not hidden any longer

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Man or Animal

Following on from the footsteps of the father of monotheism, the Prophet Ibrahim (May God be please with him), sacrificing for the sake of God became an Islamic duty. The well narrated incident when God command Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, testing the words of the Prophet to actual deeds. The attempt of Ibrahim to do what his lord commanded, determine to proof his obedience to the only God, the unique.

Ibrahim’s symbolism prevent mankind from adopting the ultimate of sacrifices: the sacrificing of man instead of lower being animals. Man is the highest of all God’s creation, under whose care other living beings are left charge of. Although, believers are commanded to have animals as food (of which are the ones permissible to us), man can domesticate any animal it has access to.
The Abrahmic tradition which is a manifestation of obeying God and tasking oneself to dutifully undertake what a true believer will always do. The prophet Muhammad continued on the Abrahmic tradition of sacrificing for the sake of Allah.

Christians unlike Muslims don’t observe any sacrifice deeming it unnecessary as they are exempted from doing any such act. The Christian reasoning of not doing animal sacrifice which can be eaten is the incidence of much higher spiritual journey.

The Christian God, the begotten son of God, Jesus Christ was sacrificed on the cross. Since Jesus is a perfect man and also of God’s stock, his death on the cross replaces any form of lower being sacrifices. Paul preaches that, Christians are exempted from male circumcision and practising animal sacrifice because Jesus’ death, his blood spilled suffices all future sacrifice for mankind. The only qualifying grounds to benefit from Jesus’ death and his blood is to believe in him as your personal saviour and lord. In short as co-equal with God.

Muslims on the other hand, carry on the sacrifice of edible animals which the Sunnah recommends for us. The act of sacrifice which some modernist Muslims avoid or down play indicates the lack of deeper understanding of the reason why the act is undertaken.

The virtues attached to observing Eidul Adha is of high merit and religiously fundamental. In Surah Al-Baqarah 2:196 God states “if any one wishes to continue the umrah on to the Hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all.” The sacrifice of animal (hadi) comes after the fifth pillar of Islam is done with. So sacrificing for sake of Allah is not a light matter in Islam as some of us now think.

Allah further states that we should “eat of them and feed the poor and the beggar...” quran (22:36). The verse further bring to sharp focus the importance of understanding that, God does not have any need of the blood or the meat of the animals, but the piety of the worshippers that what he is interested in. This also dismisses the voodoo practise slaughtering animals for idols. The idols are said to be interested in the blood of the carcass.

The event of sacrifice (eidul-Adha) Tobaski in Senegambia is a day of thanks giving, remembrance, forgiving, friends and family reunion and a day of happiness. Therefore attending the eid prayer is a highly recommended act of Sunnah. Any Muslim who willfully abstains from it, should look into him/herself for scrutiny. Also if one attend eid congregational prayer; it becomes obligatory to listen to sermon after the two units of prayers.

The animal can be sacrifice on the day of eid after the prayers not before and also three days after the eid. Eid is a day of remembering the greatness of God. He gave us mankind the ability and the right to eat of lawful animals; therefore he should be thank for giving us that privilege. We shouldn’t engage in acts of disobedience on the day of eid like it is in some places.

Man or Animal:
Since man is the higher being in the animal kingdom. The Christians rely on the death of the sinless man, whilst in primitive cultures human sacrifice is utilise for very important rituals. Although the distinction between the Christian abstinence from animal sacrifice was a one-off bloodletting of the Son of God, which fulfill the rites to all Christians in all generation. In comparison, that singular event doesn’t eliminate the similitude with ancient human sacrifices.

God on the other hand, don’t accept the life of man to be a sacrificial ornament, we as Muslims don’t condone that. Sacrificing one’s life for the good of others can be in other avenues, i.e. defending ones country, family, own life etc but not as similar with taking the lamb to the slaughter. This is why suicide is grossly forbidden in Islam.

Animal sacrifice has much more benefit and reward. The meat is eaten, we have less ties with animals than human and the atmosphere will be jolly not sad.

Also we as Muslims don’t believe that, God sacrifice his own Son for the sin of others to come. Sin even lay people like myself can tell is ever increasing, therefore God sacrificing his only Son for us make little sense.

The virtues of eidul Adha is also enhancing an Islamic identity and also acting as a corner stone of Muslim unity. A departure from pagan festivals during the early days of the Islamic religion. Increase brotherhood among Muslims by sharing the meat; greet each other and gaining reward. A further test as to whether men of religion will use their wealth in acts of worship. Spending on the family, friends, the poor, the love of material versus the love of God.

May God accept our efforts and forgive us the sins committed. Amen.
Happy Eidul Adha in advance.


Friday, 20 November 2009

The King and the Guewel a comment
The story commented on is on the link above. story by Amran Gaye U.S
A critic: Suntou Touray

The story although fictional is compelling reading. The writer it seems mixed up two traditions which at the heart of the message are in conflict.
A Muslim King who practises fasting at the same time engages in blasphemous act of unjust rulership and tyranny. This kind of portrayal is stereotypical Islamic identity commonly seen in Senegalo drama tradition.
The writer's intention is not to place a Muslim ruler in an ugly light, since at the same time he featured the king's son as a good, kind and upright brave young man who later took vengeance on behalf of the people. The similitude is that of the Qur'anic verse "we take the dead from the living and the living from the dead..." meaning, a complete evil person can gave birth to a righteous offspring, and vice versa.
The troubling part of the story is that, the period the storyteller wish to depict is a time frame when Islam was never in the region. It would have been much compelling if he make use of the animist heritage which also has good and kind men as well as evil and tyrants.
Personally, I enjoy the story although still disturbed by the culture of placing religious characters in a bad light.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My graduation photos

I have graduated on the 10th of Novemver. It was a joyous occasion with family friend's.


An Appeal for the unconditional release of Alieu Jobe (Former Treasurer, Gambian National Treasury). Free him Yahya so Alieu can be reunited with his family for this 2009 Tobaski.
By Suntou Touray
This petition is necessary for many factors, but the most important of them all is the denial of a father to the children of brother Alieu Jobe. Alieu Jobe was imprisoned in March 2006, due to an alleged foiled coup attempt by an extended family member, the absconded Col. Ndure Cham.
Alieu Jobe is a career accountant who studied in England until 2001. After completing his ACCA qualification, he departed to take up his Job at the then Gambian Accountant General. A patriotic decision by all standards.
Alieu Jobe decided to return to the Gambia with the best of intentions. He gradually progressed through the ranks of the Treasury to become the chief Treasurer of the country. At the time of his arrest, with a forced confession live on Gambian State Television, Alieu was the highest position accountant in the Gambia.
The personal recollections I have of Alieu Jobe are incredible and outstanding. In early 2000, whilst venturing into the accounting professional studies, I met Alieu Jobe at the then prestigious private accounting training College, the AT Emil Woolf (Accounting Tutors) at the centre of London.
Alieu was always friendly and open to advice us new students at the time. I meet him at the abulution area of the college complex. He is a devout Muslim who wouldn’t harm a fly. After exchanging pleasantries, Alieu became a friend on college level. He always assist in academic matters were necessary and treat everyone with utmost respect and kindness.
He is married and has young children who are today missing a dear father to a twenty years (20yrs) imprisonment for treason. Alieu’s life is today in serious jeopardy and his career largely destroyed.
The details surrounding the jailing of Alieu Jobe and other alleged co-conspirators are solely from government sources. Outside independent account was never part of the trial process and Alieu’s incarceration was hasty and as usual draconian.
As fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and friend of Alieu Jobe and the rest of March 2006 jailed political prisoners, we call on the Gambian government to
unconditionally release Alieu Jobe, Munirr Darboe, Yaya Darboe and rest of the March alleged coup plotters.
Every father adores and loves to share private time with his family. The natural love and compassion we all have for our children is unconditional and cannot be explained. The small everyday things of playing, smiling, and walking about with one’s children can never be bought in any market place.
As Muslims, Christians and Animist, we call for the compassionate release of Alieu Jobe and Co by the Gambian government. Recent events in Equatorial Guinea proof that even convicted foreign mercenaries can be pardoned. The case of English born Maan is clear testimony that whatever proofs the Gambian government has against the soldiers and the civilian Alieu Jobe, they can be released unconditionally.
The annual Tobaski Muslim festival is that of celebration, forgiving and pardoning. If the Gambian constitution accords the power of clemency in the office of the President, then using those constitutional or state powers to better use is paramount. Alieu has close family and friends who can impress upon the president to release him, but the significant pity us Gambians have of each other should also come into play in matters like this.
Alieu can be forgiven; Muniru, Yaya and co can all be released to be united with their family and loved ones for this Tobaski 2009. Will the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh utilise his presidential powers to good use on the case of Alieu Jobe and Co? Only time will tell.
I call on all concerned Gambians to add their voice into this proposal, Let Alieu and the rest be free!!!
Suntou Bolonba Touray (aka Alhagie)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Point of View--- A Talking Point With Cherno O Barry

An in-depth discussion on Gambian writers welfare and current issues with Gambia University lecturer Cherno Omar Barry.

Cherno Omar Barry has played a pivotal role in the creation of the new Writers' Association of The Gambia. He has also, through the inspiration and the guidance of a French academic, Dr Jean Dominic Pénel, created the Gambian writers’ website which regularly popularises books authored by Gambians. This interview is intended to reveal more about Gambian writers and their works. Along the way, we will also try to establish the obstacles the writers face and how ordinary Gambians can easily benefit from the work of their fellow countrymen.

Interview conducted by Suntou Touray for his column, the point of view- (A Talking Point)

Q&A Tell us a bit about you?
Cherno: Not much to say. I am an academic whose main interest is resuscitating the association of writers in the Gambia, improving the reading culture by promoting creative writing on themes interesting to our young readers. I try to advocate for quality and relevant production. I read and write as much as time can permit me to. My reading interests are vast but I am specifically interested in children’s literature, women writers and themes close to our socio-cultural and historical context.
Q&A What is your current engagement?
Cherno: I am a lecturer at the University of The Gambia. I am a researcher too presently involved in completing my doctoral thesis.
Q&A Who are the Gambian writers?
Cherno: There are many writers and some of these have succeeded in publishing their works making them authors. That having been said the question seems too vague for a simple answer. I will say Gambian writers and authors are those who have penned good works on issues of interest to The Gambia and to the world at large.
Q&A Why did you create a website for Gambian Writers?
Cherno: The interest started when I began doing my Maîtrise-ès-lettres in Semiology. I began to discover books by other Gambians other than Dr Peters and Ebou Dibba. Upon discovering Dr Tijan Sallah, Nana Grey-Johnson, Sally Singhateh, Ebou Gaye and Essa Colley but to name a few, my interest deepened. However one major problem was works by these writers were hardly available to us and Gambians seem unaware of the existence of most of these writers. Then Dr Jean Dominique Pénel organized the first exhibition of Gambian writers on 19 April 2002 at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne. It brought together several writers and I was honoured to be the Master of Ceremonies. Using Dr Pénel’s extensive research, I started translating some of the book reviews in English and adding a little of my research, started publishing these on the Daily Observer newspaper early 2004. The website came into existence first as a blog in 2005 and became developed into a site in 2007.
Q&A How do you sustain the site for the Gambian writers, considering the fact that, you are a busy man?
Cherno: Most of the information was already available and just needed uploading. What’s more difficult today is keeping up with the recent publications. It is unfortunate that very few Gambians are ready to be committed to this. I have made appeals to Gambians for assistance and some of the reaction is I should maintain a blog. It is my humble believe that a blog is fine but a website makes the shared information more appealing. Nonetheless, as it is a passion I wish to nurture, I will continue to nourish the website until an association takes it up.
Q&A Where can one obtain books authored by Gambians?
Cherno: This is becoming difficult, Suntou. The only available outlet in The Gambia is Timbooktoo and even Timbooktoo has few or none of the renowned authors such as Dr Peters, Dr Tijan Sallah or Nana Grey-Johnson. Ebou Dibba’s books are still provided by Macmillan The Gambia. All others are out of print except those who have published outside The Gambia.

Q&A To the best of your knowledge, what sorts of subjects are the common currency among Gambian writers
Cherno: Socio-cultural issues mainly. Recent writers are trying their hands in folklore too. Few really tried dealing with political issues and some of these are Gabriel Roberts with the Goosieganderan Myth and Baaba Silla with When the Monkey Talks.

Q&A Which author has written the most books?
Cherno: Hard to say when one does not have all the statistics but I prefer to compare two authors. Nana Grey-Johnson is the most successful self-published author and Dr Tijan Sallah the most published. Each has published close to ten books.
Q&A Are you an exclusive association of like minds, how does one qualify to be in the Gambian writers association?
Cherno: The present association encourages all writers, Gambian or non-Gambian residents to be subscribed members. If one is interested in writing and hopes to contribute to knowledge production, then one can be considered as qualified. The association is trying to bring on board aspiring writers too who may eventually have avenues to publish their works.

Q&A What criteria does the association use to determine an author/writer?
Cherno: There is no particular criterion. One is an author if one has published and one is a writer if one is indulged into knowledge production and sharing.

Q&A Why is it difficult to come across serials or reviews of books by Gambians?
Cherno: I believe Gambians should take up that challenge. We have several Gambian experts who are critics, analysts and essayists. They must come on board to help promote as well as critique works of Gambians. This is more vital today than ever where the University of The Gambia is the main champion.

Q&A What are some of the inherent difficulties writers in the Gambia face, what ways do you believe those obstacles can alleviated?
Cherno: The following in their order of difficulties: publishing, marketing and protecting their works. Self-publishing is the easiest avenue yet this has its setbacks. Some of the setbacks are financing the product and producing a work of international standard. Marketing is difficult because effective distribution means there are consumers. Unfortunately, with the dying reading culture and the difficulty in living standards, the consumers are far less than expected. Though the copyright bureau already exists, it is yet to fully institute a system of protection for authors. Hopefully the association can help alleviate these obstacles once it is officially instituted.

Q&A What advice do you have for a beginner in the field of writing?
Cherno: There is a fallacy that writing is very simple. Certain skills need acquiring for good works to be produced. Aspiring writers need to read a lot especially in their areas of interest. Let them not be discouraged by the obstacles faced in publishing. There is also the possibility of co-publishing which would probably simplify the burden of publication.

Q&A Is there a peer review panel in the Gambian writers association?
Cherno: There is an editorial sub-committee, if that is what you mean. This sub-committee is mandated when the need arises, to edit works the association may require to publish. It can also review and recommend works suitable for consumption in the schools. However, if you mean a peer-review magazine or journal, then that stage has not yet been attained. However, the possibility cannot be ruled out completely.

Q&A How daring are the topics covered among Gambian writers? For instance, Can anyone ridicule religious or cultural practices? Bearing in mind, Baba Galleh debit book was about the subject of female circumcision?
Cherno: It is the belief of the association that writers who write on themes that will cause a national unrest will be dissociated from the association. Understand me well here. We encourage Gambians to write on issues harmful to our health and our well being. Female genital mutilations, forceful marriages, teenage pregnancy, child abuse, rape, murder, irresponsible accidents, drug abuse, delinquency, the Bumster issue, women’s delicate issues, and et cetera are very important and contemporary. Writers can write maturely on issues affecting the Gambian society, Africa and the world at large without being disagreeable. Other writers have set the pace to emulate.

Q&A Literary freedom is an issue in most parts of the developing world, is the Gambia any different?
Cherno: Writers in general have issues with their country particularly in third world countries. Yet these writers have a moral responsibility to translate the hopes and aspirations of every nation. It is incumbent upon them to pen to posterity the daily events of those people as well as the history and beliefs. Writers can be wrong particularly when their works are purely subjective but nonetheless, they serve a fundamental purpose in changing history. In The Gambia, however, no Gambian writer has been arrested or intimidated so far for exercising one’s literary freedom. I know our journalist colleagues have had a large share of this, but it is not uncommon to hear of writers in our sisters countries living in exile for expressing those thorny issues their country’s governments are not willing to hear about. Yet, once we attire ourselves with the mantle of ‘voice for the voiceless’, we expect to face such challenges even if we are living in The Gambia. What the association intends to promote foremost is to help enlighten its general populace. Issues can always be handled intellectually without disseminating misinformation or causing anger, uprising and dissent.

Q&A Can you give an example.
Cherno: Before Africans can properly develop their countries and bring positive changes, they must be educated. Others cannot fight our causes so let us take up our problems ourselves and the best way to find these solutions is to educate our own people. It is no use crying ‘wolf wolf’ when the sheep one is trying to save continue grazing languidly impervious to your cries and the looming danger.

Q&A Any final words on the wider issues of writing in The Gambia?
Cherno: We call upon Gambians abroad to support the association. The first form of support is financial. All other forms of support, such as marketing Gambian works, seeking less expensive publishing houses would be encouraged. Donations of books to schools and higher institutions, photocopying and printing machines to the association to raise funds, and other learning materials shall be most welcome.
Thank You Cherno Omar Barry for the opportunity
Cherno: It is my pleasure!
Suntou's final words
The Gambian writers’ website can be browsed at It has rich resources on the works of people like Dr Lenrie Peters, Dr Tijan Sallah, Dr Sabarr Janneh, Essa Bokar Sey, Cherno Omar Barry himself, Baba Galleh, Gabriel Roberts, etc.
In this age, all efforts should be made to support our nationals in this noblest of professions. Societies advance through reading, and the appropriate starting point should be from works authored by our fellow countrymen/women.
The site contains vast arrays of poems, short stories and mini adventure tails. I would recommend it to all Gambians.
Cherno Omar Barry can be reach at If you have a work needing advice on or if you have the capacity to enhance the future progress of the Gambian writers Association contact him. I found him to be extremely humble and intellectually astute, let us network and create a better Gambia.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Delinking Islam From FGM Part Two

What Muslims and Islam say About FGM Part 2: Some perspective by Suntou Touray
Delinking Islam from female circumcision is paramount in this age of subliminal mind games. What many perceive as modern and total a-religious is in-fact a disguise. Therefore, Muslims should be jealous of the beauty in Islam and its message of enhancing the human dignity and well-being.
God want ease for us, in surah Al-Baqarah (2:286) God state that, he never burdens us beyond our capacity. We should worry ourselves with matters that are humanly possible and physically beneficial. This doesn’t mean, every other issue should be treated lightly, it only means we should avoid self-harm and defective practices.
Zahrah Awlah, a leading Kenyan Muslim commentator posited the following reasons for Islam being associated with female circumcision:
●To protect chastity/virginity
●To reduce sexual desires in women
●To enhance fertility and childbirth
She went on to observe that, “FGM doesn’t guarantee any of these”. She further detail categories of FGM, Type 1, 2 and 3, were she quoted the leading Canadian Islamic scholar Dr Jamal Badawi.
Dr Badawi explained the types as follows:
1- Type I: Removal of the hood (prepuce) of the clitoris only.
2- Type II: Removal of the entire clitoris (cliterodectomy) along with part of the labia minora, which is sutured together leaving an opening.
3- Type III: Removal of the entire clitoris, labia minora and medial part of the labia majora, stitching both sides of the vulva together leaving a small opening. This is known as “Pharonic Procedure.” This also involves “closing over the urethral and vaginal openings with the gutted labia minora/majora, leaves a hole that traps traces of urine and menstrual blood. This can cause infections in the woman or girl and complicate childbirth if the individual is not opened in time to prevent this from happening. No form of FGM has been proven to reduce sexual desire or promiscuity, but FGM may hinder sexual intercourse, having a devastating effect on women in later life when they marry.”
The Gambian experience in type three is limited to a particular ethnicity. But overall, many young women who underwent the type 1 and 2 female circumcision early in their life don’t manifest the side effects of type three. It is important this point is made clear, since the argument shouldn’t be allowed to take a one route condemnation.
The Qur’an teaches that, men and women are the garment of one another. In eliminating cultural practices that are unnecessary to society, both sexes must play their part. (An-Nisaa’ 4:1), making them equal before Allah in Islam. Men are said to be protectors, "qawwamun" (An-Nisaa’ 4:34), of women. And Allah has ordered both men and women to be modest in their gaze and guard their chastity. These verses prove that FGM in Muslim communities is unnecessary, and it is God-consciousness (Taqwa) that keeps Muslim men and women from illegal sexual intercourse or indecent thoughts, and not the absence of any part of their genitalia.
Dr. Jamal Bad­awi refers to the following types of FGM:
Dr Badawi further elaborated that, “no mutilation is allowed by Islam, even on the battlefield. It is unjustifiable, brutal, inhumane, and it violates Islam.” Dr. Badawi continues that “female circumcision is not in the Qur’an and no hadith requires it, although there is a difference of opinion among some Muslim scholars on is religious basis.”
However, the proponents use one main hadith relayed by Umm Atiyyah Al-Ansariyyah in which it is reported: "A woman used to perform cir­cumcision in Madinah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband” (Abu Dawud 41:5251). Experts on hadith have declared it weak (dha'eef). (See Awn al-Maabud fi sharh sunnan Abi Dawud Vol.14 pg 122-126)
In essence, the defence of female circumcision is itself weak. But one cannot ignore the fortitude of the scholarly argument in favour of simple circumcision which only recommends a tiny bit taken off the clitoris, rather than mutilated version.
The Islam encourages the Right to all lawful Fulfilment in Marriage!!!
The Qur’an says: [And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.] (Ar-Rum 30:21)
The above verse describes the ideal marital relationship for Mus­lims, and it is the right of every Muslim to find a mate and achieve all the benefits that come with that. In cases where instead of circumcision, the person underwent FGM, then there are serious issues that are suffered in later life. These according to some experts are:
●Lack of sensation, due to not having a full and healthy clitoris and other external genitalia
●Flashbacks of FGM operation on her wedding night
●Problems relating to the infibulations when in many cases the hus­band opens her with an object on the wedding night and thereafter he can penetrate more easily
●Other problems trying to sexually relate to her husband because of the negative attitude towards her sexuality
● Not understanding her Islamic right to sexual enjoyment
It should be again maintained that, the types practice in the Gambia are said not to fall under the mutilation category in a larger part. However, the mere practice of female circumcision on itself is unnecessary if the reason is to restrain young unmarried women. There are much more other issues relevant in ensuring morality and chastity is a pillar in our societies.
[Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you diffi­culty.] (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
Islam came to bring glad tidings, not bad news, and enlighten the ignorant, not keep them in the darkness. Islam does not allow its fol­lowers to harm themselves intentionally, and it vehemently protects the rights of women and children, who are among the weakest of the groups in every society. “And the best among you are those who are best to their women” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban). For further reading on this subject refer to the link below.

Thursday, 29 October 2009


In has much i wish to avoid focusing on the style the foroyya newspaper adopted in reporting the UDP rally and subsiquent events, one cannot but comment on their strategic ploy to make the issue down bit. The Foroyaa reportage culled from higligthed serious opportunism on the part of Foroyaa, the arm of PDOIS. They claim that,whatever was mention on the UDP rally was reported by their paper. As if rallies are the same as news paper items. If it is trust and mutual cooperation we are all advocating, the Foroyaa should change its stance and see to it that, their views or way is not the only way.
We want to respect the persons and agendas of all the opposition, try to bridge the gabs, therefore, Foroyaa activitiues on this issue isunprofessional and politically bias.

In an earlier coverage on the episode, Foroyya went as far as quote anumber to the people that attended the rally. Were they guessing ordid they actually count the number of people that attended the rally?Foroyaa should do its best to always be seen to be independent ofPDOIS, if not their side of stories like this will be rejected and/ortaken with a pinch of salt.

A complete Disgrace: Colonial laws use against Gambian/Africans

The Gambia gain its independence some 40 years ago, yet to this day, ancient colonial laws which were legislated to slow down or derails Africans quest for independence is still being use in the tiny republic of the Gambia. The country's so call patriotic Pan-Africanist president never hesitate to launch at western powers, yet he two time with their old fashion, outdated draconian laws.
No wonder some people always go on praising the high intelligence of African dictators. This is no compliment but open and arrogant selfishness. After independence, all laws which are inherently against human rights and the progress of society should be eliminated. It is a disgrace for the Gambian president to still continue allowing unfit and unsuitable laws to exist in an independent African country. What an irony!!. Alas, we are doomed.:
The APRC government is using colonial laws to deny Gambians a constitutional right to assemble. Who would thought, just few weeks ago, Jammeh was ranting against former colonial powers for unfairness and what have you at the U.N, yet he is conveniently using their outdated laws against the Gambian/African people he was patronising. A dead bit president, dictator of highest excellence.The behaviour of the APRC government clearly shows their cowardice and lack of confidence. If you believe to be strong and wise, patriotic, then allow your opponent to challenge you on equal terms. Jammeh has always use poor souls to fight his battles, whenever he comes to the realisation that, he is no longer a baby, let him stand up and allow decent people to exercise their rights.
Any day he allow the state own TV and Radio to broadcast freely to Gambian people the views of civil society, that day Jammeh can claim to be man enough to rule the Gambia. All of Africas murderers were found to be terrible scared little souls, they use poor soldiers, sycophants, and half-baked loyalist to intimidate and harass defenceless people.
This will not go away, The UDP will continue to stand firm from now on, whatever happens, good or bad, Yahya Jammeh is to blame. Because of decency, we as Gambians don't want to spill the blood of our brothers and sisters. Evil dictators drove Africans into committing bloodshed, there are many ways to get even.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Jaliba Part two

Part two:

Ebrahima Kamara, a Gambian ethnologist in Sweden expose to us the coloration between the music that Jaliba plays and that of his predecessors: the full analysis is stated below:
“Lalo Kebba Dramé and Jali Nyama Suso were well known for taking “KAANO” out of the moral closet of the Mandingka”. But they did not come as long as Jaliba and one reason could be a generational difference. “The question is; does that affect their skills or understanding of the kora and the uniqueness of the instrument? NO, they did all they could to understand the instrument and its ability.
Is Jaliba a better Kora player than them? NO! On the other hand we are in an era of renegotiating positions hence the old positions are ineffective. The renegotiation of the position of the kora to give it its right position in this era starts with its tuning system. Before it was tuned according to traditional tuning system but today it is tuned according to the 440A note, a western tuning system. There are arguments that tuning the Kora according to the western note system does not only reduce it to an ordinary piano but also reduces its tonal range, melodic spectrum and richness of harmony. So in that sense Jalibas have already given up a basic principle of the uniqueness of the Kora as a traditional Mandingka instrument.
Secondly, culture is dynamic it influences and is influenced; culture is constantly on the move from the original local environment to new localities where it is reconceptualised and redefined to fit in and to serve new purposes. An example of such a redefinition is the new form(s) of Mandingka ceremonial dance(s) and drumming existing in Sweden today. Swedes dance lengengo not for the same reason as the Mandingkas from whom it originated rather they dance it for recreational purposes and other reasons that fit the new context (Sweden) different from kullio or manjótaa contexts
My personal reason of not listening to Jaliba as I use to is because he has left the path of Afro-Manding, which made him what he is, for something that he did not fully understand, making his renegotiated style of music uncertain and fragile; but that is just my hang-up. Am not saying he is wrong in renegotiating his position to enable him to bring his music and the kora into our times, but he should not loose himself on the way, after all the market looks for something unique and the Afro-Manding sound is unique.”
From the comments of Mr Kamara, we can deduce that, Jaliba disembark on the typical Mandingo base kora territory to invent a new dynamics for himself. Whether this is good or bad is up to fans of Kora and Manden culture to determine.

Njok Malick a young Wolof music promoter who occasionally brings Jaliba to Europe sees the adaption as part of marketing ploy on making Kora relevant. He said “the incorporation of mblax into the Kora tradition is meant to increase fan base.”
That statement made a lot sense, but Jaliba in his interview claim, the inclusion of wider instruments in meant to be inclusive. Njok Malick further mention that, “Jaliba still has the ability of playing in two settings. Traditional and contemporary. In the traditional settings, Jaliba plays only the kora and sings old time songs, whilst in contemporary settings the shows are more or less to entertain diverse fans who belongs to all the tribes in the Gambia”.
That being said, Jaliba don’t seem to play any instrument associated with second larges tribe in the Gambia, the Fulbe. Although, i will hasten to say that, Jaliba has composed brilliant songs for the likes of Morro Baldeh, my own neibour from Wulli Sare Pendeh in “Fulo be nyakoi” Barry Sukuta in “meen kadi ko mi pulo niamina”, and now few Sarahuleh money men are praise in Kissingma Bachilley “sarahuleh yeeh banah yaa le lon”.
Njok who brought Jaliba to England in 2008, indicates that “Jaliba is in a tough industry, were moral values are a smaller part of the music industry.” When i asked Njok about the extent Jaliba’s wives appear provocative in his shows with mblax dance and Mandingo lengen, Njok said “you are looking at Jaliba’s wives in wrong context. The women are musician in their own rights. When the show is on, they are not Jaliba’s wives butt musical companions or band mates were the mix most be to perfection. Whatever it takes to please the punters is what the women will do, including provocative dance.”
Njok’s observation demonstrated that of an experience man in the entertainment industry. Jaliba himself can be seen motioning his wives to dance to the ‘kajo or lengen’ with the hard hands of Bakary Kamara aka General (the traditional drummer), whilst Nyaw or Momodou Niang tear the show apart with his double Wollof drums.

Pa Modou Njie aka Gainde, proprietor of the famous on the other hand sees Jaliba has a star attempting increasing the fan base and income generating capacity by his relax songs . He said “One thing that is obvious is that Jaliba has taken a totally different line from the traditional ´Jaliya´. Not only did he incorporate modern electric instruments like guitars, keyboards etc, even his songs have somehow shifted from the traditional ‘praise-singing’ style earning him an audience within the younger generation. To say if it is for the good or the worse is a question of taste in my opinion. Jaliba himself describes his music as kora pop.
Gainde solve the puzzle in the kind of Kora music jaliba plays. I believe Kora pop is a good definition. This will appeal to younger fans. Gainde further indicates that he Personally, “...enjoy kora most in an acoustic setup (with other traditional instruments like the fula flute, xalam(kontingo), calabash, dundungo(local drums) and maybe an acoustis guitar.” Jaliba by all accounts has dive in for the wider audience than the traditionalist who are unhappy with his transformation.
Is the Manden Kora tradition a casualty in the Jaliba experience? The answer is no, since Jaliba may be Gambia base but there are other Kora performers who still plays to historical traditional styles. Toumani Jibateh is one such person. Jali Foday Suso is also another traditionalist, although lived in Chicago U.S for many years.