By Lamin Gano
While trying very hard to stay focused on revising my 22 reasons for Jammeh not to run for a fifth term, I can’t help being bombarded with and distracted by questions. For example is it not hypocritical of me to call Jammeh my godfather, flash his pictures all over my blog and promise to be his post-president security officer while at the same time calling on him to quit? Why am I challenging him now and not earlier? And what is my position on the “struggle”. In this blog post, I will seek to answer these questions starting with why Jammeh is my godfather.
A few months after I was appointed as the ADC to President Jammeh, we were in Kanilai when one of his orderlies called me aside and told me that a senior officer was briefing Jammeh on me and the officer said that the only security lapse on my part is that I abandon my duties to go to the mosque during prayer times. The orderly then advised me to skip my prayers during duties and to stick with the group at all times. The response I gave to him is too profane to repeat on this medium.
Anyway, a few weeks after that, I was in the State House mosque for prayers when a soldier notified me that I was called by President Jammeh so I went straight into his office. When he asked me why I entered his office in slippers, I told him that I was coming from the mosque. Jammeh then said to me: “well, there is only one thing that will not disappoint you in this world and in the next and that is your prayers” and he advised me never to compromise my prayers. Although I had already pledged to put my life on the line for him, that was the day Jammeh won my total respect and loyalty and those feelings are intact up to today.
However, in spite of my person feelings of loyalty, admiration and respect for Jammeh, I sincerely believe that democracy and limited presidential term limits is important for peace, security, unity and development for the Gambia and all other African countries. In this regards, my position is that, Jammeh has over-stayed in power and needs to give way for a new dispensation.
For those who view such a position as hypocrisy or sitting on the fence, do you sincerely want to tell me that you have never disagreed and stood up against someone that you care for and respect such as your parent, sibling, spouse, boss, neighbor or friend etc?
Another question I am asked is why am I challenging Jammeh now and not earlier such as prior to the 2011 presidential elections. The answer to that question is very obvious. At that time, I was an officer of the Gambia Armed Forces and a disciplined and professional soldier does not call on his commander-in-chief to step down from office. In which Armed Forces in the world would you find a soldier on active service blogging on national politics? That is a privilege only for civilians and as a private citizen, I chose to exercise my right to freedom of thought and expression through blogging.
Perhaps the most critical question I am being asked is whether or not I am a member of the “struggle”. That really depends on the meaning of the term “struggle” and its modus operandi. If being a member simply means “a person who desires political change in the Gambia” and the modus operandi is based on the principles of peace, security, decorum, the rule of law and democracy, then I am a full-fledged member. If however, the conditions for membership to the “struggle” is to sling mud at each other and to throw profanities, criticisms and allegations at Jammeh and at our national institutions, then I am not a member of the struggle.
Whether we accept it or not, there are thousands and thousands of Gambians like me who have no anger or hatred against Jammeh and his governing institutions but who do not like the existing state of affairs in our country and are determined to actively participate in bringing about a positive change. For anyone to claim that it is either their way or the highway is being undemocratic and resentful of the principles of diversity and inclusion which is a bedrock of Western Societies in which a significant number of our compatriots are residing in peace and dignity. After all, The Gambia, like all societies in the world, is composed of people with divergent views, experiences and ways of doing things. We will therefore make a rapid progress towards our common destiny if we learn to accept and respect our diversities and differences in opinion and actions.
In conclusion, I took up blogging as my preferred method to add my little voice to the discourse on contemporary issues affecting the Gambia especially in this important year of presidential elections. I believe that the Gambia is at a very important political cross-road and that 2016 is the year of change for the Gambia because that is what the majority of the Gambians want and I am optimistic that we will achieve that through the ballot box.
Furthermore, I also believe with total conviction that the majority of Gambians are a happy, peaceful, forgiving and God-fearing people and these attributes will overcome any disappointments, rancor, frustrations or anger that they may have against the Second Republic. Therefore, the only blood that will be spilled on Gambian soil in December 2016 is that of livestock and cattle as we celebrate the advent of a new government.
Long love the Republic of The Gambia and long live our peace, security and harmonious co-existence. Together, we can make Gambia smile better!!!!
Gano yes it may not be your duty to tell Jammeh to step aside as a professional soldier, but as a professional soldier too, you should not obey illegal orders from Jammeh. I’m 100% sure u know very well when you were serving Jammeh that he had caused so many destruction to lives and properties in the Gambia.You know more than anyone of us that Jammeh will never listen to what you are saying. The question that comes to mind is why don’t you champion for jammeh to give democracy and rule of law a chance?. Oh I forget, u are scared to be sent to his hotel lol.
@Alhagie: “Oh I forget, u are scared to be sent to his hotel lol”.
Luntango says: Alhagie, I don’t think Gano is in The Gambia when he is writing all this!!!
“… a senior officer was briefing Jammeh on me and the officer said that the only security lapse on my part is that I abandon my duties to go to the mosque during prayer times”. And of course, the President commended Gano for praying – and earned Gano’s UNDYING loyalty.
Gano, President Jammeh was nice to many people, including myself … while one is on good terms with him. When you fall out, your constitutional rights are thrown out of the window. I was detained for 14 nights and others have suffered far, far worse. It is the constitutional infringement issues that concern most Gambians and friends of The Gambia – not the issue of whether President Jammeh is a nice person while dealing with us when we are his friends.
“Challenging” your proclaimed “God-father”, is rather incongruous! One may advise one’s “Godfather” – but only in private and very politely on one’s knees! Not in an on-line blog! But I can’t fault the wisdom of the point you make itself: in 2011 I published in all the On-Line papers and in the Daily News my “GOVT of National Unity” call … and if it had happened, it could have saved The Gambia from all the Diplomatic and Financial Aid problems that followed since 2011 – including the killings at Mile 2 that led to the rupture with the EU. KairoNews republished it recently under my name and you can read it.
Historical photo you have above. I suppose you are referring to Tumbul (second on Jammeh’s left) when you are talking about the “briefing”. Tumbul would make God himself wait to do his duty of guarding the President – infact he sacrificed his life by reporting to work before he had completed his course of TB treatment. With TB you must finish ALL the medicine even if you feel cured – if you don’t, the TB returns more angry and kills you.
PS: When I was at the Daily Observer, I tried to get the staff to finish their work first and then pray! My Islamic up-bringing taught me that there was nothing wrong with saving a prayer for later!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But my Gambian in-laws take a different view!!
Dida, I think you are very right about Gano’s believe that the president was nice to him and therefore he pledged his loyalty to him. Jammeh has been nice to so many people who he betrayed and later killed them. Baba jobe and Daba Marenah are good examples. One characteristic of Jammeh is that he is the nicest person ever if he wants something from you, he will give money, power, women and anything you want but as soon as he gets what he want, he will throw you under the bus and get rid of you. This is what Gano didn’t know about Jammeh. Gano himself is very lucky to be in the west. He is a fool who thinks he is smarter than Jammeh. Yaya Jammeh is capable of doing anything under this planet.
As Mr Gano continue to look for cheap popularity , he failed to understand that it is every Gambian’s constitutional right and responsibility to speak his or her mind about issue of national concern . Those who are asking him relevant questions regarding the atrocities , human rights abuses and his faillure to answer basic questions during his tenure as public relations officer of The Gambia Armed forces , do have constitutional rights and responsibilities to seek answers as well . Mr Gano was entrusted with Public office and therefore his is accountable to Gambian people . In his article , he indicated that he has total respect and loyalty to president Jammeh when jammeh told him that ” there is only one thing that will not disappoint you in this world and in the next and that is your prayers “. Lt Col Gano , with all due respect , Jammeh’s advise to him in that capacity has not benefited or protected the general welfare of Gambians who paid his monthly salary and other allowances as military officer . This statement indicate to me that his support and respect for Jammeh was or is based on personal interest. This is also evidenced by Jammeh’s sponsorship of Mr Gano’s masters degree program at United Kingdom . Without mr Gano’s personal benefits which he received from dictator Jammeh such as educational sponsorship and corrupt promotions
at the expense of well qualified personnels within the military , I am sure Mr Gano won’t have shown that kind of respect , admiration and loyalty to president Jammeh . Putting on Gambia’s military uniform is a noble and selfless sacrifice which should enable him and fellow soliders to have that sense of patriotism to the country and duty to safeguard the interest and wellbeing of the citizens . While the Dictator may advise him to take his prayers so seriously , mr Gano has failed to understand that it was the same Dictator Jammeh who has confiscated and trampled on the rights of others to pray at their own will .our constitution guarantee religious freedom which the Dictator encouraged and admonished him to respect but jammeh has also violated the same constitutional rights of his fellow citizens who mr Gano was sworn to protect .What an irony ?
Mr Gano went further to state that ” I had already pledged to put my life on the line for him , that was the day Jammeh won my total respect and loyalty and those feelings are intact up to today ” .
Again , mr Gano has shown us how much respect and loyalty he has for Jammeh but has shown no respect and loyalty to constitution and the people of The Gambia . What a disgraceful and ignorance officer . Such an ignorance and distasteful statement culminated from years of unprofessional and unethical behaviors he learned in the military which violates ethical foundation of any professional army . Mr Gano should have pledged his total loyalty to the constitution of The Gambia , which he was sworn to protect and defend as well as territorial boundaries of the country and her people . As military officer , Mr Gano should have owed loyalty and allegiance to Gambian’s constitution and that would have served as an inspiration and exemplary behavior to his juniors but a blind loyalty to the Dictator who killed his own people, was not only troubling but it showed lack of patriotism . Mr Gano has failed in his responsibility as a military officer because he has based his respect , admiration and loyalty to Jammeh on simple advice of prayers which his parents should have instilled in him since he was a child .
Mr Gano continue to show us his ignorance about the meaning of true professional military whose main job is to defend and protect the rights and interests of Gambian people . Was Mr Gano unawared of human rights and constitutional violations while he served the Dictator as ADC ? Mr Gano calling himself a professional and a disciplined officer is truly laugable . Mr Gano and majority of soliders who served the Dictator Jammeh has violated the basic fundamental characteristics which our armed forces was build for . These fundamental characteristics which constitute professional armed forces includes public trust , duty , respect , selfless sacrifice , integrity and personal courage. One of the most important foundation between any professional military and the citizens is the trust . Since 1994 , Gambia’s military has betrayed the trust of Gambian people and they continue to act with total impunity . Mr Gano was a product of such a mistrust and distrust system where he learned as a recruit and to this day , he has more respect to the Dictator than the Gambian people or the constitution of The Gambia . This is why when mr Gano called the Dictator who killed his own people as his Godfather, We shouldn’t be surprised to hear such words from senior military officer who was indoctrinated and falsely made to believe that he owed his allegiance to the Dictator . Today , majority of citizens do not have any trust and confident in Gambian military because of various human rights violations committed by some military officers which are supposed to defend constitution and look after the general interests of the citizens . Gambian military in general lack experts who understand the important role the military play in democracy and political dispensation of our country . As a result , the military’s were used as a weapon to intimidate , harass or threaten their fellow citizens during political campaign , election and in our daily lives . Unlike their counterpart in Senegal , they continue to follow illegal orders and execute crimes with total impunity . As chief custodian of national defense , our military has moral and constitutional responsibility to ensure that political and civil rights of all citizens are protected and defended , failure to have such an environment in the country , has resulted to lawlessness , impunity and constitutional crisis . This is why Jammeh continue to violate the constitution on daily basis . As a result of these violations , citizens lack respect for army . Lack of respect for our armed Forces is simply due to unprofessionalism , lack of stewardship and majority’s ignorance of their responsibility to the citizens .
Selfless sacrifice to serve our country is an honor and duty to make differences in the lives of fellow citizens in terms of their welfare and security . This has not been the case in some soldiers in the armed forces who continue to show arrogance and lack of humility toward defenseless civilians . Their commander in chief has never shown any humility and selflessness towards his fellow citizens whose protection and safety is his utmost priority and number one job .
Majority of soliders lack personal courage to confronts injustices and impunity in the country . Their lack of personal courage to defend the rights of fellow citizens result to overall weakness and division among their ranks . This has enabled the Dictator to continue to abuse and liquidate those he see as a threat . Unless Gambian military have the personal courage , there will be division , lack of professionalism and lawlessness in country. Therefore I believe Gambian military is to be blame for producing officers like mr Gano who continue to show ignorance of their constitutional responsibility to Gambian people .
Thank you very much Bax. Agree totally with your take on these ignorant soldiers. Mr Gano and Mr Savage are not offering any solutions to the Gambian predicament instead they come on this forum wrapped up in self importance trying to preach to us about this and that. They more than anyone should know Gambia is dealing with a dictator of the worse kind so all options have to be explored. Ignorance is the biggest battle in our struggle, I thank u and many others for keeping us informed and enlightened.
Thank you Baba for your compliment . Mr Gano and many others who have played huge role in the oppression are today Turing tide for their own interest . The online media needs to focus on those who have geniune interest to bring about democracy and rule of law .
Gano, when the Murderous Oppressive Idolatrous kanilai DEVIL “called you in office at time of prayer”, wasn’t it trying to ‘play god’ to you; as a “Godfather”…?
You abandoned prayer to your true God, left mosque, rushed to answer to the Murderous Idol Worshipper Almunafiq DEVIL…??
Unless you excuse yourself, saying you went after praying, If you so much prioritize prayers as you pretend to portray, you could’ve continued praying & answer the DEVIL after; not that you did bad abandoning praying rushed to call of devil; it’s permitted in religion to skip prayer where necessary, when at work to earn genuine living….
Your Dubious godfather Murderer then camouflaged the same evidentiary EVILNESS you spotted, just like us all, & any sane human beings would, when come to the Murderous Oppressive kanilai Idolater yaya BANDITRY DEVIL jammeh; then it pretentiously asked you about slippers instead of booths….???
You must be brave to pledged to “sacrifice your life to protect the Murderous Oppressive kanilai Banditry DEVIL”; I would love to see what you would say when the Murderous Manipulative kanilai DEVIL Worshipper is lucky enough for legal prosecution, to be incarcerated for humanity crimes….
However, if you have grabbed your opportunity, like everybody else, genuinely repented on aid abet of Murderous Oppressive kanilai Manipulative Idolatrous Banditry against Gambians including your very own family & self, ready to contribute your constitutional quota for Gambia salvage reclaim, a birthright incumbent upon ALL true Gambians & friends; Gambians need all hands in confronting the devilish idolatrous dictatorship in whatever shape or form; in that we can & will spot the phoney characters…..
Gambians in the Struggle to avert catastrophic strife, to ensure the sustainability of peace & coexistence, as you rightly stated in your reasons for calling on your Murderous Oppressive godfather not to run in election again, will NOT leave any stones unturned, in the quest to salvage reclaim Gambia, by all & any means necessary….
The oppressed masses WILL always emerge victorious eventually; no matter how it takes…..
Oh my God! Was it not this Gano who said in one of his postings that he chatted with dictator Jammeh for about four hours untill they missed the Friday prayers? Now do you want to tell us that you compromize your Friday prayers because you have been chating with dictator Jammeh. I don’t trust this man.
Miche1521, Lt col Gano is indeed a pathological liar and an opportunist. In this article, he highlighted how Jammeh advised him not to compromise his prayers but in his myopic mind he forget that in his earlier posting he sat down with Jammeh for four hours and even missed his Friday prayers. This man is the biggest hypocrite you will find in the military. He is dishonest in his presentation and he will continue to lie. Someone who has respected his prayers like how he claimed to be good Muslim, will never sit down for four hours with a murderer without reminding himself about the prayers. He has more respect and loyalty to Jammeh than God who he claimed to worship. As Mr Gano keep writing, he will continue to expose his ignorance, lies, deceptions and his motives of looking for cheap propaganda. His main reason of being loyal, respectful and admiration of Jammeh was based on simple advice he claimed Jammeh offered him. I even doubt his story of saying a profanity to an orderly who called him for Jammeh. That was another lie. He is not a crazy person to say that to closed protection officer of president Jammeh. Jammeh torture his closed protection officers on daily basis. If jammeh send them on errands, if they mistakenly do the wrong thing, that is huge punishment. Mr Gano knows that very well. He is lying to his teeth. President Jammeh didn’t play with his security. Any solider found sleeping on the job or missed his duty because of personal issue, he dealt with them. Mr Gano is now enjoying his new found freedom in the west and he will continue to say anything he want just to make name for himself. One thing mr Gano will never do despite his cheap propaganda is to denounce or repudiate Jammeh’s human rights abuses in The Gambia. I challenge him to do that if he truly believe that Jammeh should step down.
Point of information Maxs: The “four hour talk” which led to Gano and Jammeh missing the Friday prayers in June 2008 was infact an Interview for the July 22 Army Magazine. President Jammeh completely opened up in that Interview with Gano (Gano was editor of the Army Magazine – I have a copy somewhere). President Jammeh said:
“The happiest day of my life was the day the Senegalese Army left The Gambia and I got off my sick-bed, picked up my rifle and went to guard the Head of State”.
It was a special occasion and that is why Gano missed the prayers. I am sure my in-law would normal make prayer his priority.
Dida, no matter how much you want to justify Gano’s missing of Friday prayers , Gano was simply lying about the reason why he became loyal to Jammeh. Why can’t he do his prayers since he mentioned that he would never compromised his prayers and his boss even advised him about his prayers? Do you see the hypocrisy and deception in his presentation? His parents should have taught him about the importance of prayers which most responsible parents do, so why Jammeh’s advice would be so special and important than his parent’s advice? I am sure Mr Gano has met so many Gambians who advised him about the importance of prayers. Is Jammeh more faithful or true Muslim than those people? Do you even believe that your in-law (Gano) would say a profanity to Jammeh’s closed protection officer who advised him not to skip his security duties for prayers? Dida, we have seen so many sweet talkers like Gano who exonerated themselves when they are in diaspora. So it is not a surprise to see him acting like he did nothing wrong. Mr Gano is privy to vital information regarding atrocities which he will not say in the public. Remember he was an army pro when lot of questions were been asked but never answered them. Gambian’s need decent and honest citizens who stand for truth and justice at all times but we do not need self righteous individuals who are looking for cheap popularity. Mr Gano could have made huge difference in saving the lives of those soldiers who were brutally murdered by his godfather in 2006 when he was in defense headquarters. He sat down silently without saying a word to the dictator. As an ADC, pro and senior officer he had opportunities to make huge differences in saving lives Which are wasted during his tenure.
”Well, there is only one thing that will not disappoint you in this world and in the next and that is your prayers”. Gano quoted Jammeh as saying.
Mr. Gano, I think your apparent devotion must be a total farce to be preached into Islam by someone who probably cannot even swift-hand write his own name in Arabic.
Hypocrites pretend to care about others’ ‘next world’ as if they were present when God was disposing of their very own life but Gano doesn’t seem to understand. Why do I have to be impressed with someone because he only urged me to do what I have been doing for more than twenty years as a daily hourly routine??
This is quite freaky a situation.