Exactly a year ago, Gambians woke up with the shocking news of Bubacarr [Buba] Michael Baldeh’s death. The fall of man a who had left an indelible ink on our country’s political history was too bitter to swallow. Gambians soon poured in messages of condolences and prayers on the Baldeh family. They accepted Allah’s calling, and took the painful journey to convey the man endowed with an exceptional understanding and knowledge of grassroots politics to his final resting place in Basse town. And to their utter dismay, Baldeh’s casket was not allowed to cross the border. Clearly,this meant President Yahya Jammeh feared the political maestro even after he had died.
Baldeh, a former managing director of the Observer Media Company, knew his tireless activism was getting into the Dictator’s skin and asked to be buried in the holy city of Madina Qunas if he was refused burial rights in the land of his ancestors. Gambians united in bashing the Jammeh government for its abominable act of avenging anger on a dead soul. By then we all underestimated the heartlessness of President Jammeh who would six months later deny victims of December 30th attack burial rights. He is still keeping the bodies for unknown reasons, which goes against Islamic teachings yet none of the Supreme Islam Council clerics is raising eyebrows.
Bubacarr Baldeh was born in Basse Mansajang in Upper River Region. He was a House of Representative for Basse and Jimara constituencies for 10 years. Baldeh also became the Youth and and Sports Minister between 1992 and 1994. The talented politician joined the ruling APRC party, expecting to change from within. He fell apart with the party after he had refused to betray the late Baba Jobe. Baldeh got arrested and slapped with trump up charges but was cleared by the courts. The lion politician fled into exile in March 2006 after attempt on his life had failed. He lived in Senegal until his shocking death on July 9th 2014.
As we mark Bubacarr Michael Baldeh’s death, we pray that Allah forgive all his sins and place him in Janatul Firdaus. We once again mourn with the Baldeh family on a day that brings back pain and sadness.