Face To Face With Intellectuals Who Matter


Intellectuals who mattet!
        Gambian Intellectuals who matter!

Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, Lecturer Sainey Faye and Kebba Nyanchor Sanneh

A series on the position and roles of Gambian intellectuals in the political struggle has kicked off on Kairo Radio. It is a topic that needs to be discussed, dissected and understood. What role intellectuals and academics have played in Africa, particularly The Gambia before, during and after independence? What have they done or not done and why? Why these educated elites feel comfortable and unconcerned about tyranny in our country? Do they have nationalistic spirit? Do they qualified to be called patriots when they don’t give a damn to the suffering of ordinary gambians? All these disturbing questions need fitting answers.

The anchor of The Talking Point, Mohamed Lamin Sillah – himself an established historian  – is widening the debate by inviting the intellectuals wbo matter on a live program on Kairo Radio this Saturday at 3:30 PM Eastern time or 9:30 PM UK time.   

Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow and Sainey Faye – both lecturers and intellectuals with substance – will be assisted by Kebba Sanneh, a well read political activist who will spice up the show with the radical elements of intellectualism. There will also be questions from the audience. This will be a healthy and educative, respectful and cordial journey that will showcase knowledge and raise awareness among Gambians, which is in line with Kairo News Media’s editorial policy.

ML Sillah was the former head of Amnesty International Gambia

The methods on how to permanently uproot the culture of siding with ruthless tyrants merely in pursuit of self-interest has been a dilemma to many concerned Gambians. We need our scholars and intellectuals to lead the way. Sadly, some have actually strengthened Jammeh without looking into the ramifications of their action on the bulk of Gambians who have been and are paying the price.

An unbiased, frank and open discussion will now be a regular stable occurrence on Kairo Radio. The aim is not to put down any academic or scholar, but to provoke them in realising that light can only brighten the pathway to salvation. If the scholars cannot change habits and adapt to higher social expectations, the laymen/women are doomed to destruction.

It is going to be hard, tough, uncomfortable and even messy. However, with an open line of dialogue, key players: politicians, civil society, students, social thinkers, men and women on the streets and homes will learn meaningful ways in understanding and seeing politics differently.

Our aim is to cement Gambianness in a different way. We will welcome scholarly materials focusing on defining our struggle from non-politician’s perspectives. Any area one has competency in will be highly valuable, be it Agriculture, History, Arts, Banking, Economics, law etc. The Gambia is facing serious meltdown on all fronts. Experts have to tailor their work to suit the whimps and caprices of our tyrants, hence, we need to go to work to help in preparing for a post-dictatorship era.

We can do this together. Send your suggestions, questions or concerns to the Editor on kaironews12@gmail.com.



  1. Good initiative indeed. Very welcome debate. However I would adivice the moderators to consider the following points to guide and guard the Debate/Conversation.

    First let me enumerate the “DON’Ts”

    1- Avoid the discussions to center on quoting scholars and academics just to show case kwnoledge of having read extensively on them.
    2- Avoid fixtures on race between blacks and whites, colonialism vs independence struggle.
    3 Avoid fixtures on who is faulty and who is not in aiding or fighting dictatorship.
    4- Avoid fixtures on which “freedom” groups and organisations and media did more than others in the struggle in the diaspora. Also avoid fixtures and building competition between political parties on the ground.

    Now let me enumerate the “Do’s”

    1- Fully concentrate on what dictatorship means to a people, the government and the military in particular.
    2- Concentrate on how dictatorships retard development, progress, research and innovation.
    3- Enumerate the different methods of bringing down dictatorships and give country examples up to the most recent one In Burkina Faso. “In fact the recent coup d’etat in Burkina Faso is a shining example and a pointer of how dictators build an army within an army to stay in power longer.”Jammeh has a similar army structure in the Gambia which also include foreign elements from MFDC, which consequences are yet to be known in post-Jammeh.
    4- Concentrate on the way forward by citing example of organisational, educational and information dessimination structures directed to the masses in the Gambia and the diaspora.
    Finally without MONEY the struggle will be slow, let Gambians be genereous in liberating our homeland. Freedom has no price.
    I firmly believe that if we stick to the above points, we will EMERGE with a masterpiece that will go a longway in salvaging our lovely country, the Gambia.
    Thank You.

  2. Good points Haidara .

  3. “We will welcome scholarly materials focusing on defining our struggle from non-politician’s perspectives.” This is quite interesting and please debate the question” who is a politician and who is not”. As far as the Gambian constitution is concerned, all citizens are politicians as long as you participate in entrusting authority to someone or you participate to be entrusted with authority by people, you are considered a politician. So a non-politician’s perspective would surely be interesting.

  4. Good initiative and very good points DH…

  5. I agree with @Haidara in his point of concern and considerations with regards to moderating the Kairo News Forums. I personally, so far so good is very much satisfied with the professional conduct of Kairo News staff in their different specialities in journalism. I think it is all the other way around; The laymen, the skilled workers and etc., should be the source of information for the intellectuals capable of governing a Gambia for its people.
    Once again I would like to remind all want to be politicians and want to administrators intellectuals in our future government to bear in mind that what they import in national development can never exceed that of the real nation builders such as the constructors, the mechanics, fisheries or the peanut and juicebag sellers in the street upon all facts that they are taxpayers.
    In the Gambia, what we simply need like many good examples of democracy and the rule of law elsewhere is; a current water system, improvement in agriculture, food production and its sustainability, good roads, energy, proper sewage systems, sidewalks, a working population, good and affordable education for the generations and the freedom to work and earn by all means as the law stipulates without the fear of being intimidated. I don’t think there is anything more intellectual to the national struggle than the above mentioned.
    Every right intellectual deserves respect doesn’t mean they will even have to go around looking for it. Those are the intellectual who will be indifferent even if you refer to them in a blunder like…….. ‘INTALECHUALS’. Write to such intellectuals in a note like,……’we need chisuls in the wokshop’,…….they won’t pretend they don’t understand what you are writing,………..knowing you need something in the workshop that sounds like a tool. The restoring of the good sense of freedom of expression in the Kairo online news forums is nobody’s responsibilty but the Kairo news staff’s. Many contributors too are doing it for one thing and thats their country and have not seen it as any priority or obligation on Kairo news staff to publish any articles or comment made by them. My advice to Kairo staff is,to stay focus and oriented in all their righteous endeavours or run the risk of being wrecked with the intellectual booga booga thing. Do some of them think that because Jammeh has criticised colonialism and the west in general so diasporans shouldn’t have a negative view of colonisation and the west’s policies for Africa. No, seeing it that way is the least intellectual.