(In Defence of My Uncle Sheriff Bojang!)
By Dida Jallow-Halake
I thank you for pointing out the drama surrounding my uncle, the Honourable Minister, in the pages of Kaironews and indeed as it turns out in the pages of the Daily Observer too.
At the outset, the title of this piece needs a clear exposition before your readers run-away with the wrong end of the stick!
Wikipedia: “Devil’s Advocate … someone who, given a certain argument, takes … an alternative position … for the sake of debate or to explore the thought further … The purpose of such a process is typically to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses … It can also refer to someone who takes a stance that is seen as unpopular or unconventional”.
“Unpopular” is important here, for the word “devil” in the title has the same negative connotations as it has in the Koranic, Biblical and Torahic sense: in all these great books the Devil is indeed condemned, without due process and without a trial! All these great books belong to God, the prosecutor and judge – hence the need, according to the philosopher for a “Devil’s Advocate” because “God has written all the books”!!
Halake appears, therefore Dear Editor, for the Honourable Minister Bojang, who has been condemned by many in the pages of Kaironews – without due process and a trial!
Charge Sheet One:
The first, and most serious charge, is that the Honourable Minister attacked his own “blood uncle” who, they said, “is old enough to be his father”!! Clearly this is a very serious charge, more so in our African cultures and traditions where our elders are revered.
The Defence is very simple:
The Honourable Minister was only responding to an attack – by his Uncle! The Honourable Minister did not throw the first punch. The Uncle did. The Honourable Minister merely responded. It could be said he should not have responded to his Uncle’s provocation. But surely, the Honourable Minister is a young man, and the young do get easily offended compared to the elderly. Infact, if anyone had the responsibility to hold one’s tongue it should have been the older and wiser Uncle.
It could also be fairly said that since the argument between the uncle and nephew is purely political, the familial and traditional respect issues do not arise.
Charge Sheet Two:
That the Honourable Minister is being hypocritical by being a member of the APRC Government and being a Minister – because it is said he used to support the opposition UDP of which the Uncle is a much admired and prominent member.
The Defence is again very simple:
The term “cross-carpeting” has entered the English Language because it is common and accepted that politicians will move from one party to another. The most well-known “cross-carpeter” in British political history is the most well-known and admired British politician of all time – Sir Winston Churchill himself, the man who beat Hitler! He changed political parties three times!
Of course, my uncle the Minister is not alone in being the only person who may have been a sympathiser/supporter of the opposition to have joined Jammeh’s Government! Many have done so! The charge seems to assume that Jammeh will be annoyed with the Honourable Minister for having once sympathised with or supported the UDP. This is a serious misconception! Jammeh would welcome all the UDP into his party if they would join him. Infact, I would bet that Jammeh would happily make the UDP leader the Vice-President if the UDP joined APRC in a Grand-Coalition!
In conclusion, the Defence makes a “No Case To Answer” submission on behalf of the Honourable Minister!