Ideology Critique: Ousman Manjang On Sajor Jallow’s Abduction

Sidibeh I sincerely join Mr. Ousman Manjang in demanding for the immediate release from detention of Mr. Momodou Sajor Jallow who was as swiftly stripped of his ministerial position soon after he was appointed. I would also like to use this occasion to call for the release of Ousainou Darboe and all leaders and militants of the UDP, as well as all political detainees unlawfully jailed or made to disappear by the APRC government led by Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Manjang’s readiness and willingness to trade places with Mr. Jallow gives credence to his personal closeness to the erstwhile minister and former MOJA comrade; a closeness that goes beyond political fraternizing, borne undoubtedly of decades of camaraderie welded together perhaps by personal, and shared emotive sensibilities over the years. I understand and respect that relationship. Yet it appears that Mr. Manjang’s characterization of Mr. Jallow’s credentials is done at the expense of MOJA’s credibility as an ideologically firm and politically progressive organization. To suggest that political pluralism inside MOJA was as teetering and unprincipled as to promote allegiance to democracy and tyranny at once, or to enable spouses to separately struggle for justice and imperious repression is a uniquely unfortunate misrepresentation, to say the least.
MOJA was ideologically opposed to coups for various reasons: it held that coups are the outcome of conspiracies generally lacking both political and organizational roots within the masses they claim to rescue; that from our African experience, coup-makers have proven more than often to have the capacity to morph into dictatorships more brutal than the governments they overthrow; and that soldiers substitute themselves for the working classes they hope to lead, conveniently forgetting that they acquire legitimacy by the usurpation of a monopoly of violence. These were the ideas behind the reasons MOJA officially gave for not endorsing the AFPRC takeover, although it offered its subsequent government critical support. The 1994 coup was a fait accompli and all of us in MOJA welcomed it, if even half-heartedly. But some members, including Mr. and Mrs. Jallow, made a calculated and decisive choice to join the AFPRC caravan. Mr. Jallow continued to serve the APRC regime even after it butchered schoolchildren in April 2000. The decision to serve the AFPRC and APRC regimes was Mr. Jallow’s alone. It was not the consequence, directly or indirectly, of the tradition of political pluralism in MOJA. It was deliberate schizophrenic and banal opportunism.
Let me be clear. Everyone in MOJA knew what the difference is between despotism and democracy, between tyranny and humanism, between wholesale impunity and the rule of law and between a brutal and a brutalizing crackpot and a just, fair and visionary leader.
Of course it is Mr. Manjang’s prerogative to attempt to give Joe Doke a finer name. But what anyone can see is a Sajor Jallow, who with his left hand, helped in “… empowering the poor, the disadvantaged and dispossessed …” (Manjang’s words); while with his right hand, went on with “the more important business” of serving a despotic crackpot whose agents excel in crushing the heads of Gambians and murdering peasants in the Foñis and elsewhere; a bloody zero-sum game of empowering the dispossessed while brutally dispossessing them.
I pray and hope that Mr. Jallow, together with all other political prisoners and detainees, is immediately set free and that he subsequently acquires the good sense to join Jainaba and his family who must be agonizing over his undeserved incarceration. He has been after all an ardent AFPRC/APRC loyalist for a good part of twenty years.

Thank you for offering me this space.

Momodou S Sidibeh




  1. Mr Sidibeh , I must say your article is written and it is fair assessment of false narrative indicated by mr manjang in his show of solidarity with mr Jallow . It is indeed a dishonesty , malicious and outright fabrication to indicate that former minister Jallow helped in ” empowering the poor , disadvantaged and dispossessed “. In this day and age , people should stop telling lies in public space to defend their friends or family. This is a pattern and culturally acceptable phenomenon in Gambian society where many people will tell lies to portray good image of their loved ones , friends and relatives just to defend them and in the process they expose their own dishonesty without knowing it . I hope mr manjang will rewrite his article and tell us the true picture of his friend who has been aiding and abetting the dictator for the past 22 years .

    • Malick Sarr

      My first reaction after reading the headline was they must be either related or are friends. Gambians are a big part of the challenges facing the nation. What a opportune time to call for the release of Darbo & Co?

  2. Here! here! !! Mr Sidibeh. In spite of the deafening noise coming from multiple cyber warriors, it is pleasing to note that there are sober Gambians who stand above the fray of ideological camaraderie, kinship, and all other ills affecting our political discourse, and are able to analyze in an honest manner, the predicament of our people.

    We see suddenly out of the blue, people who for the most part of the 20 or so years have either been subservient, complicit or indifferent to horrors playing out in Gambia, suddenly monopolizing the pages of online media, heroically condemning the regime, and vehemently throwing in their support for one candidate or another or for a friend who has suddenly fallen out with the brutal dictator.

    The situation in Gambia is real and terrifying, and has been the same since the inception of this regime. As we speak, people are still being abducted and tortured by the regime. Instead of dealing with this tragedy, people are vying with each other in cyber space about the unproven qualities of their various candidates.

    Jammeh is indeed the devil incarnate and he has declared war on Gambians, unless we devise a way to meet that challenge directly and successfully, we will continue to be at mercy of Africa’s most unrepentant and brutal dictators.

    Since the opposition could not even form a common stand regarding electoral reform, something that directly affects their chances of beating Jammeh at the polls, it is hard to see how they can coalesce around a single candidate, even more so for that candidate to take the fight to Jammeh.

    May Solo and many other of his murdered compatriots rest in peace.

  3. 1) There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. Erich Fromm

    2) “The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.”
    ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

    3) “Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues. Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace but their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude – and destroy if possible – those who, by the simple fact of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts. Blessed be the one at whom the fools bark, because his soul will never belong to them.”
    ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angel’s Game

    4) “The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.”
    ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

    5) Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point – that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you. There is only one alternative – self-value. If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved. You will always think it’s a mistake or luck. Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within. Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences. Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security. Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them. ~Jennifer James

    6)Whoever Is Trying To Bring You Down, Is Already Below You
    Keep being so childish I’ve heard people laughing at how stupid you make yourself look

    7) I am very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity, and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity.

  4. Momodou Sidibeh

    Max, Ousman Manjang is the last person to engage in falsehoods and lies of any measure. Knowing him so well as a comrade and mentor, I take umbrage at your characterisation of his person. Although I am unaware of Sajor Jallow’s work for the poor in recent years, I can assure you that he was more instrumental (than anyone else for that matter) in the transfer of millions of dalasi of project funds from a couple of aid organisations in Sweden to Gambian workers in the early 1990s. Mr.Jallow had his eyes set on the trappings of power, but I also suspect he carried the incredibly naive notion that he could do good revolutionary work for the poor once in government.

    Mr. Manjang’s article, heavy with a rhetoric of innocence was an appeal for Mr. Jallow’s release. Mine was a corrective critique in defending MOJA’s integrity in his unfortunate rendering of Mr. Jallow’s ideological innocence. In fact Mr. Manjang not only accepted the “technical correctness” of my critique, he encouraged me to publish it – something I would have done anyway. This fact shows his acceptance of fault, an instance which ought to convince anyone that his intention was not to mislead.

    Many thanks,
    Momodou S Sidibeh

    • Mr Sidibeh , I am surprise to hear you that I took umbrage (meaning offense or annoyance ) about my characterization of mr manjang’s description of mr Jallow in helping ” empowering the poor , disadvantaged and dispossessed ” as falsehood, malicious , and lies . I think any right thinking human being will understand and acknowledge that such a statement by mr manjang is not factual correct because mr Jallow has been supporting the regime which has systematically oppressed the Gambian people for the past 22 years and therefore it is dishonest statement to indicate that mr Jalow helped the poor and disadvantaged . If you are unware of mr Jalow helping the poor recently then why you would take umbrage at my characterization of mr manjang’s article as pure lies and falsehood . Is that not a hypocrisy and contradiction to your article in which you indicated that mr Jallow’s left hand helped in ” empowering the poor , disadvantaged and dispossessed ” while his right hand went on to serve “the despotic crackpot whose agents excel in crushing the heads of Gambians and so on”. So you are willing to defend the integrity of your organization in your so called ” technical correctness ” critique but you can give false assurance that mr Jallow is more instrumental in transferring millions of dalasis of project aid to The Gambia while you expressed his desire to be in power to help the poor . Do you really sit down and listen to yourself before you post this reply . I do not based my argument on false assurance but simply based on facts . These facts are : We all know that mr Jallow has been strong supporter of the regime which has been violating the rights of the Gambian people . We also know that this regime has not empower Gambians in every sense of word , therefore it is foolish notion that any person who serve such a despicable regime has the desire to empower the poor and disadvantaged especially when mr Jallow never talked about the poor human rights violations and economic deterioration in the country . How can you suspect that he is in the government to help the poor , is that not another lie you are fabricating about him ?
      Your respond to my posting did indicate that you care more about your pseudo organization than speaking the truth on the poor human rights violations which mr Jallow gave a blind eye when he served the regime . Therefore it is indeed a dishonest statement for anyone to suggest that he care about justice , empower the poor and disadvantaged members of his country . It is time to stop defending those who played a role to oppress our people . It is only when we are honest and decent to speak the truth that we can collectively salvage our country from dictatorship . The welfare and interest of Gambian people is far more important than any organization.

  5. Momodou Sarjo Jallow participated in enabling the same MURDEROUS kanilai ALLIGATOR who just snapped him up; as been done to many, many innocent people before him, whilst he (Sarjo) entrenched the continuity of those criminalities by physically serving WILFULLY within the so-called government of “Culpables” & “Accomplices” in the very same crimes that just consumes himself too…???

    Sarjo Jallow allowed himself to be used & wilfully participated in pacifying the population when the innocent April Student Demonstrators were martyred, barbarically gunned down under orders of SADISTIC kanilai KILLER DEVIL; one could vividly remember, for example, Sarjo’s calculated manipulative “appeals” on GRTS for calm; buying time for the MURDEROUS DEVIL’s consolidation of the tyranny which continues to wreck havoc that we all claim to resent & stand against verbally, why not in deeds & practice too…??

    I concur with Sarjo’s innocent family, who are caught up in this, just like any other family, as all humanity continue to suffer from the MURDEROUS MADNESS currently in spate in Gambia; BUT how is Sarjo more deserving than say Solo Sandeng, Krummah, Deyda Hydara, Korro Ceesay, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, Femi Peters, Buba Aye Bojang, & ANY other innocent souls that all suffer & continue to do in a way or the other; as ALL humanity are collectively affected by what obtains in Gambia currently…?

  6. Lamin J. Darbo

    Interesting Mr Sidibeh and I salute your courage for taking the position you did on Mr Manjang’s public reaction to the unlawful and condemnable arrest and disappearance of Mr Sarjo Jallow. I read you and Max as expressing the exact same sentiment, albeit in different words. Although Sarjo’s charitable work in the early 1990s is probably unknown outside a particular circle, his association with the government of Professor Jammeh is a matter of public record. That record, I must state, will likely remain the central aspect of his public legacy. I take it as given that you, Max, LJDarbo, and countless others, are challenged by that incomprehensible association between an assumed progressive like Sarjo, and the brutal totalitarian sysem engineered and maintained by the Professor. Max deals with the objective record, whilst Manjang, and to some extent yourself, with something akin to privileged information. Manjang vastly overstated the case and taints his personal reputation in the process. Again, I salute your courage but must state that Max does not deserve your umbrage.

    • Thank you Lamin J Darboe , you have given the final verdict . I commend your sense of impartiality and your stand for the truth . Whenever we have such tenuous issue we need your learned and objective judgement to deliver the truth . Thank you .

  7. Thank you verry much Bajaw, you really heat the nail on the head. They themselves have sharpen the horns the the Bull thinking that it will never turn its sharp pointed horn on them. But unespectedly, the Bull is on the loose and is undiscreminatingly knocking everyone because he is sufgering from a mad cow disease.

  8. Momodou Sidibeh

    Modou, Max, Lamin, Yes, I am probbaly guilty of generating Max’s second reaction, even if this privileged information is dismissed by him as a fabrication. It would have been a case of intellectual dishonesty, if having known what good deed Sajor Jallow carried out in the early 90s, I chose to expose only his oiling the engine of tyranny in subsequent years. .
    It still remains the case that his hands did different things, with the actions of the right one totally eclipsing anything else.
    The case raises a number of important political questions including, as Modou (I think) mentioned, the matter political opportuinism in our polity. It continues to wreck genuine efforts at coalition-building, and so helps to cement the status-quo.
    (And if it is of any use at all, allow me to state that I was actually in the street demonstrating on behlaf of Solo Sandeng and others).
    The original text is no longer owned by me, as we say.
    Thanks to you all.

    Momodou S Sidibeh

  9. Lamin J. Darbo

    Thank you Max and I am learning tremendously from this Kairo-created forum.

    No need to mention your participation in the Solo Sandeng demonstration Sidibeh. You and I are, respectively, from the neighbouring communities of Kartong and Gunjur. I was around when MOJA – G was formed, inspired as it were by the Liberian chapter, the home-country of the organisation. That period, from the late seventies to the mid- to late-eighties were tempestous and unsettled times in African politics generally, predominantly the era of the baddies, the dictators who preferred personal rule, created no walls between them and the state, wantonly looted their countries and brutalised their citizens, and in the process set the continent behind for decades.

    I know of you and Sarjo Jallow, and Ousman, of the likes of Fakebba Juwara, and Jainabe Bah. I followed you on the L and read your inspiring thoughts. I am in no doubt you are still committed to a transparent public space rooted in accountability and the rule of law, of civility and ideas as the bedrocks of public intercourse. Just a few weeks ago, I was talking about you with a mutual friend at my Sukuta Chambers. That you resisted the temptation of associating with power for the sake of illusive personal glory is itself commendable. We are both proud of you. When I say I salute you, I meant that.

    A little of your antecedents is now in the open but had I placed that at the front of the conversation, it could have muddied the waters. Herein my preference for dealing with Sarjo’s record as demonstrated in the public space by none other than the man himself over the better part of two decades. Liberation from domestic imperialism is inevitable, and if he choose to, Sarjo may have some explaining to do.

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