By Kaba Sallah
Pa Nderry Mbye of Freedom newspaper Online, recently scored two long and interesting interviews with Captain Ebou Jallow, the first spokesperson of the Yaya Jammeh Military junta. Ebou Jallow was the face and voice of the military junta early on in 1994. Captain Jallow was also the first high profile member of the junta to abscond, sometime in 1996, under controversial and mysterious circumstances. He absconded not long after the mysterious and gruesome assassination of then Finance Minister, Koro Ceesay. So Ebou Jallow’s arrival was a difficult and confusing time as Gambians began to see the first signs of trouble after the excitement and drunkenness of the toppling of the elected government of President Jawara.
So Ebou Jallow’s interview may sound exciting to the younger folks, but no new grounds have been broken yet. Ebou’s version of events and the depth of his involvement is at best, highly sanitized and aimed at cleaning his image and reputation.Mubaraks not an attempt to take on Ebou Jallow, personally, but a cautionary message for the faint hearted, to do their own research. Ebou Jallow’s record on his position and involvement in the junta speaks for itself. Long before the advent of the online resistance media and radio stations, there were Online fora, notably the Gambia-L and GambiaPost. Just Google Ebou’s name for yourself and see what comes up, and make your own judgment. Ebou had long running cyber battles with the” original” resistance to the junta, when he arrived in the diaspora. So, in short, Ebou Jallow has been fighting this battle for acceptance as a bonafide member of the resistance to the Jammeh Junta. In my opinion, Ebou Jallow is no different from those who also knowingly joined the Junta, only to find themselves running for their lives. We have accepted these people after they have repented, so we should accept Ebou as well, it is about time.
Ebou made several admissions and claims, and several are worth further examining. In his own words, Ebou Jallow painted a picture of confusion and immaturity once the junta realized they really had control of the country. This reminds of the saying that revolutionaries do not necessarily make good governments. The junta members themselves were clueless, jumpy and insecure. Another point is that, not only were the Junta members young, but also angry and vindictive. In his own words, Ebou Jallow also negotiated a $35 million in the name of Gambia, from Taiwan. Ebou admitted he accepted $100,000 of that money, which could be equivalent to some D3 million or more in today’s exchange climate of hyper-inflation! Accountability dictates that one day, Ebou Jallow will make a good state witness for illicitly acquired wealth. By the way, Ebou has not mentioned that he saw any proof or evidence of President Jawara’s “corruption”! I guess they were too busy sharing the loot and rewards of using brute force! How about the list of shady characters that Ebou met, from money launderers, drug smugglers to merchants of death of the under-world, all for a small country like Gambia? That’s a topic for another day ….
Ebou described himself as a “Banjul Ndongo”, and he saw the junta members also as Ndongos. The definition of Ndongo has a romantic connotation, but is anything but. Ndongo could also be defined as a someone who is “street smart”, but also a thug, anti-authority, anti-social, an opportunist, a bully, just to name a few. So a group of Ndongos running our country was a recipe for disaster and a bad omen for things to come. So it was no surprise that, Ebou, as a Banjul Ndongo, who looked better in a suit, looked well-fed, well-spoken, and was chosen to be the face of the Junta. In comparison, Yaya Jammeh looked malnourished, with cracked lips and sharp and bony facial features. Jammeh, if anyone noticed in the early pictures, started wearing dark glasses to hide his sunken eyes. Gambians also noticed this physical appearances and speech impediment and disability. His street name was “Tony Daaba” – Senegalese comedian with similar characteristics.
Compared to Ebou Jallow, Jammeh has a muttered speech and his voice is feminine. Gambians want to crawl under a rock anytime he opens his mouth, to this day! Gambians are known to be very expressive and able to communicate, but Jammeh is limited in that department and no one dare remind him! I said all of this to point out that Jammeh came to power with a chip on his shoulder, that he had a score to settle and an inferiority complex. In his own mind, that he is not getting any respect because of his Jola ethnic background, Ebou said as much. Jammeh’s early pronouncements and policy decisions supports this theory that he wants to uplift the social status of the Jola ethnic group. The Jola are known as hard-working, industrious and independent people, in Senegambia as a whole. They never asked for pity, but Jammeh, through his policies has continued to pit the ethnic groups against each other. Today, it does not take much to see that Jammeh’s senior officials, especially in the security services, are disproportionately Jola. Jammeh continues to demographically manipulate the ‘facts’ on the ground by grabbing arable land across the country and resettling the paramilitary “ Green Boys” and Casamance “migrant” voters.
Finally, it is shocking to hear Ebou describe the level and depth of moral and ethical background, the debauchery, of the so-called Ndongo junta government. Ebou proudly admitted that the junta established a “slaughterhouse” – translation, a brothel for sex for the horny young “revolutionaries”! Thought Revolutionaries are so supposed to hold high moral values to mirror those of the people they purport to defend, but these revolutionaries were “soldiers with a difference” , they were alcoholics and sexual perverts. Throw alcohol, money and prostitutes (women) in the midst of any revolution, it will collapse or degenerate into a rock band! They established a special wing of the NIA, according to Ebou Jallow, led by the late Mouniru Dabo, who supplied the junta with prostitutes from Guinea Bissau as “comfort women”. Gambian women could not satisfy them, so they openly engaged in sex-trafficking to tame the wild revolutionaries with rampant sex and liquor! Remember these were hard working revolutionaries who needed these perks of power, and Ebou, admittedly as a married man at the time, partook in those taboo pleasures of the flesh, as a man of the people! …
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is no laughing matter, a country needs a steady and experienced hand, not a bunch of horny, sexually deprived and depraved, and broke, and angry juveniles. Those young Ndongos never matured into real men, and today, only one of them is left standing – Yaya Jammeh! Remember, there is no honor among thieves….these were my conclusions and observations on the Ebou Jallow interview, …what is yours after you completed your research?