The Gambia’s former Minister of Tourism and Culture said he had trusted the late Momodou L. Shyngle Nyassi more than any of his friends and associates. Alkali James Gaye won parliamentary seat thanks to the frantic efforts and sacrifices by Mr. Nyassi who fell apart with his own native Jola speaking people in Foni.
Mr. Gaye’s message was conveyed by Alkali Conteh, a guest of a special tribute to Mr. Nyassi organised by Kairo Radio on Sunday. “My friend Alkali James Gaye called me and I told him we are paying tribute to Shyngle. He is aware of the program, and would have loved to take over the program from us if he has the opportunity to join us. He wants me to convey his message to the people,” Mr. Conteh said.
Mr. Gaye admitted having many friends and associates but that his trust for the late Shyngle Nyassi is above board. “I am saying this with my wife beside me, she may think I don’t trust her,” Mr. Gaye said, adding that his trust for Nyassi is unshakable. He described the late political hero as “a man who never minces his words. He guards his words religiously; he either agrees with something 100 percent or disagrees with it 100 percent.”
The former Propaganda Secretary of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) preached peace, unity and harmony among Gambians during the first and second republics. He died on October 7th 2013 during a brief visit to the United States. During his lifetime, Nyassi had suffered so many state-sponsored illegal arrests, detentions, torture and intimidation for refusing to support a Jola government. Shyngle remained defiant in his belief in a Gambia where “no one wins in a tribal animosity.” He had endured poverty during 19 years of the Jammeh era, an era that denied him receiving a single paycheck.
It is in this regard that Alkali James Gaye put Shyngle Nyassi in the category of Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. “Every country is endowed with good and bad people. South Africa was endowed with Nelson Mandela during the apartheid struggle; India got Gandhi during their independence struggle while the United States had Martin Luther during the civil rights fight.”
Mr. Gaye said by nature, a prophet is never accepted by his own people. He said Shyngle is in the category of Mandela in our politics, a fact that can only be substantiated by an outsider who observes and studies Gambian politics and politicians. “That person will see Shyngle Nyassi as a Moon among Stars,” he said.
“My friend is right about his description of Shyngle,” Alkali Conteh said, reiterating an earlier confession by the UDP leader. “Alhagie Ousainou Darboe told me he has not reached to Shyngle’s level of political sacrifice, and dedication and commitment. He said that of Shyngle is far above his. If the party leader himself has accepted this fact, then who else will dispute?
Conteh urged Gambians in the Diaspora to follow the advice of Shyngle that “we need to sacrifice our time and resources for the liberation of our country by supporting the opposition parties. “If there is any national symbol or emblem for the Gambia or UDP it can only be Shyngle Nyassi,” Alkali reiterated a Burama Sanneh’s statement, another panelist of the Sunday program, which also featured Maimuna Ceesay, Lamin Tunkara, Suntou Touray and Yaya Dampha. All the panelists singled out Mr. Nyassi for being an exceptional Gambian.