(Yea, yea, I know the smart asses will mention Sheriff’s friend Momodou Sabally too, but I will ramble on anyway!)
I don’t remember how I met Sheriff Bojang, Da Prince of Brikama, but I have always like the guy. He has always been smart and I have always liked that about him. He was tall, slim and handsome – and had that dark West African ebony tan shined with some secret oil and I liked that too.
Sheriff has always also been very confident of his intellectual ability and I liked that too. Whereas “Harmattan” and others took exception to my debunking of their writings, Sheriff Bojang took pleasure in the intellectual wrestling match and happily published my stuff. When some fifteen years ago Sheriff wrote his brilliant “Letter to my Nephew” advising Jammeh on how to govern, I wrote back as Jammeh in my much less brilliant “Letter to My Uncle”. When a few years later, a disillusioned Sheriff penned the excellent poem “Canny Lie”, I, not yet disillusioned, responded with a much longer “July 22 Rap-a-Revolution”. When Sheriff was hounded out of the Daily Observer and came to study in London, we met up for coffee at King’s Cross and I had a simple advice for Sheriff: “Don’t make yourself a refugee from your country”. And I think that has always remained with Sheriff. A poet like Sheriff cannot make himself a stranger to the very air and smell that inspires his poetry.
I think Sheriff may in fact be able to achieve something in his new job and what he needs to do is convince President Jammeh that opposing political views in the media are OK. Publishing houses such as The Point, Foroyaa, Daily News, Maafanta, Kairo News, Kibaaro and Gambia Echo should all be treated as partners with full respect accorded by the Government of The Gambia. Sheriff needs to convince President Jammeh that these news outlets should be allowed freedom, within the law, to criticise the actions of government and authority. After all, we have the powerful Daily Observer and GRTS able to give the governments side of the story. If Sheriff can deliver on this, I think Sheriff will have achieved something.
It is the end of the school day and I am tired, so I must end here. I wish Sheriff well in his new post.
Well said Sir. I don’t know you, but I hope to sometimes because you are a man of wisdom. Sheriff I hope will take note of this advice. Jammeh will fuck him and dump him because he will not listen to him.No media houses in the Gambia will be spared. Sheriff is a journalist and jammeh is gonna use him to counter, but I got news for him…The appointment of Sheriff will not change anything.
Surely Dida, another statistics of used, dump & or, maybe, recycled adventure being a risky undertaking here by sheriff…..pending the ability of one’s survival of the evil kanilai system, now he stand closer to being blamed, pending on how useful he was to aid, abetting of murderer, oppression & swindle……taking place in Gambia, against him own self & family….??? Yaya jammeh is a devil NEVER to be trusted….. What’s the yardstick or proof to induce that sheriff or any person can assume to be successful where all others failed….?? All that is clear is the Gambia is what matters….. No individual can falsely claim invisibility upon our state of affairs…. Gambians are DETERMINED, the international community can take note, we will reclaim from the kanilai tyranny plaguing our country which is source for instability anywhere in the world if not checked…..as no one else will do it for us….. UN, US, EU, AU, ECOWAS & ALL can be rest assured efforts WILL continue, to redress the tyranny being reason to recent events in Gambia. US can temporally detain some comrades while rest of us continue to salvage Gambia…. Any sheep clothed wolf….as this struggle, likes others, will deal with many mules in all sorts of ways & forms, can continue to dream slumber, ONLY to awake to reality staring in one’s face in post dictatorship, which is just round corner….. Continuous progressive ad hoc evaluations of progress of the struggle should enabled us to realise where we got it wrong, how to improve upon…. There is NO situational change, evidentially, an evaluation of our state of affairs under yaya Jammeh all indicates…. He will not wilfully surrender, for he knows repercussions for him & ANY who participated in murder & spill of innocent human blood, Gambian & otherwise… God bless Gambia from the jaws of murderous kanilai tyranny; Ameen.
Well said kemo, I think Dida seem to forget his encounter with dictator Jammeh . It is this naivety that make every one of his appointees Looks like fools . We heard the same argument when Sabally was appointed , that he was smart and brilliant and he will deliver to Gambian people . What happened to sabally , currently facing trial on frivolous charges . Dictator Jammeh will never change his ways . He has been doing this for long time . If Jammeh can betrayed all the people who helped him to be in power and those who helped to establish his government , who the hell is sheriff Bojang ? Dida, come up with more reasonable evident that Jammeh will listen to sheriff Bojang . Going by Jammeh own history , he shouldnt be trusted and is the biggest criminal ever to live in the Gambian history . Sheriff Bojang appointment is the end of his journalist career in the Gambia . Mr sabally was warned by closed family members about his association with Jammeh but he refused to listen but today he regreted why he had that association . It is only fools who keep doing the same thing and expect different result , so on that note don’t expect any thing different about the appointment of sheriff Bojang .
Sheriff like others before him, will serve less than 24 months. He will be disgraced and shown the exit; Period.
Mr Dida, you are sending Mr Bojang straight to Miles 2 by advicing him to advice Jammeh to accept “Fair Play” in the media. As of now I consider you the biggest enemi of your so-called friend and admirer Sheriff Bonjang. Amadou Scattered Janneh did exactly your advice and needless to say where he is now. Fatu Camara did exactly the same thing where is she now?
The likes of you Dida mixup academic acheivement and intelligence, the two are totally apart. Sherriff might be a good poet, a good writer but also s STUPID FOOL to throw himself in the crocodile claws. Dida You are also a dreamer thinking that you can transform a dictator to a democrat. How dare you?
The problem of Gambian intelligentsia is simply that, many don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. And the more one doubt and suspect his/her importance and self-worth, one become vulnerable to many things. The faith of Brikama Sherrifo borders on that. Writing essays and satire is a means of communication, but having entrenched principles and belief is another. I say, Dida’s love affairs with Sherrif is literary not nationalistic. I wouldn’t trust these two literary brothers(Dida and Sherrif) in the same room for long! Lol
Sherrif remain unmarried as far I know and Dida may also be single.
Gentlemen, have faith. Everyone has the capacity to change, even Jammeh.
Anyway, my Uncle is smart enough to “bodje” if need be. But I don’t think it will be necessary. Sheriff will succeed and become the longest serving information minister ever.
If I didn’t have a 7-year commitment here in London I would apply to Sheriff for a job as Editor-in-Chief of the Standard. (Ha, ha,ha – some of you may laugh!)
Nice piece Mr Halake but by your advice you have just asked the young Mr Bojang to commit suicide; Jammeh has a lot to hide and anyone trying to convince him to accord the independent media freedom under the law would be deemed a threat to his (Jammeh’s) continued existence and what may follow would be far from pleasant.
My advice to Mr Bojang and anyone aspiring to work for Jammeh is: ‘DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT’.
Thank you, Mr. Halake. Finally I got to read something sensibly written about Sheriff’s unprecedented ascension to Jammeh’s camp. This article is very insightful and of course full of wisdom.
Lol..Luntango, but seriously we will need the likes of you in the Gambia come the third republic. We will need editors who will not be afraid to take on the government when necessary and give credit when due.We want edittors who will bring the news to the people.I think you will make a good one.
Gentlemen. Daily News in Banjul (closed down) has this editorial on its website today on Sheriff’s appointment:
The Cabinet Appointment of another Journalist; Do We Expect another Media Law?
Banjul’s Daily News (website – actual paper remains closed) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The cabinet appointment of another journalist into the cabinet; and above all to serve as minister responsible for media is welcoming. The Daily News wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Hon Sherriff Bojang senior for what we call a big achievement. Bojang once again congratulations and we wish you all the best.
However we are worried, looking at what is happening to the media in this country.Your appointment has therefore raised our hopes too high. You are coming at a time when this country’s press freedom is at its lowest ebb. It is our thought that you would be someone who will be looking from inside rather than looking from outside of the ring. And therefore we do not need to tell you much; we think you know it already.
The arbitrary closure of media outlets is the order of the day. Just the day you were appointed Foroyaa newspaper which has already gone to press raised the question, and said the closure of media houses would be a thing of the past as part of their New Year editorials. They were calling on your government to re-open the Daily News; and at the same time asking if Taranga radio was closed. This is the kind of media landscape you inherit.
Your own media house was shut down for almost a year and half and you were extended a good will gesture at the beginning of 2014. Taranga radio was also closed at the same time when both Standard and the Daily Newspaper were shut.
Again reports have it that Taranga was shut again; just a few days after the attempted coup against the government of the Gambia. That latest closure was an extension of the closure of Citizen FM, and Citizen Newspaper, SUd fm and that of the Independent newspaper.
The above are against the backdrop of the 10 years unresolved case of the killing of Deyda Hydara which the media fraternity just commemorated. This is not to mention the very bad media laws that are already in place.
So Mr. Minister there is a lot on your table; we wish you all the best and hope you will be able to tackle them and tackle them well. The media fraternity is not expecting you to add salt to injury so may Allah guide you.
Madi K. Ceesay