‘Gambians Are Right To Be Paranoid’

On the charges themselves, I find it very interesting that there are people today, who criticised Jammeh for favouritism, financial indiscipline and disregard of the law, ready to defend President Barrow against the same criticism, even where the critics have a genuine point.

Take the case of two security chiefs, for example: CDS Ousman Badjie (Jola) and IGP Yankuba Sonko (Mandinka). Both served Yaya Jammeh very well and Sonko, being IGP, is more culpable in Jammeh’s rule of terror, than CDS Badjie because it was the Police that were arresting people and handing them over to the NIA.

They were also denying opposition parties, especially UDP, permits to conduct their activities. Yet, it is CDS Badjie, a Jola officer, who is removed and replaced by a Mandinka officer, Masanneh Kinteh, who is also another Jammeh era CDS.

How does the administration defend such a policy? I am not saying that the decision is tribally motivated, but an explanation is required when others make the same claim.

How about disregard of the constitution? It is now 100 days since President Barrow assumed office, but for whatever reasons, he has not appointed a VP, though he is required to do so to have a constitutionally completed cabinet, as the constitution states unambiguously that: “Cabinet shall consist of the President, Vice President and Ministers. ”
The VP is also the constitutionally mandated official to represent the President in the National Assembly. So it is clear that the constitution intends for the VP to be in office by the time the National Assembly is constituted. Isn’t charges of disregard of the constitution genuine in this instance ?

We also learn that in addition to the huge bill incurred by the public treasury, due to the continued residence of President Barrow at a hotel, the coalition Government dished out up to D40,000 to each candidate of the coalition partners at the recently concluded National Assembly Elections. It is not clear if this money came from the Public Treasury, but surely, a government that claimed to inherit empty coffers should know better than spending so much money on campaigns.

Pa Nderry Mbai is perhaps the most vociferous critic of the coalition right now, just as he has been against Jammeh, but I don’t think anyone would believe that Pa is doing this because he didn’t get the job he thinks he is entitled to. He has genuine concerns and he should be engaged to address his concerns, if they are genuine or refute them, if baseless.

Gambians have very bad experience with our last two governments and we are right to be “paranoid” when we see signs of the past creeping back again. There are reports that President Barrow is embarking on a 4 nation, 5 days tour to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. If this true, then we are right to question the financial discipline in this government. There’s work to be done and it’s time for our President to concentrate on the job at hand.




  1. Bax, first of all I would say outright that you either have amnesia about the Jammeh regime’s tribalism which you always claimed did not exist or you are a political hypocrite who refused to acknowledge and accept the truth. During Jammeh’s era, you always denied Jola preferential treatment and nepotism in appointments and other benefits. Everyone in The Gambia knows that Yaya Jammeh has appointed Jolas in every major important positions in the country. Here are the evidence, The head of Gambian army was a Jola, head of NIA a Jola, prison, agriculture, finance, interior, local government, the navy, gamtel, ports authority, Grts, central bank, commanders of every military installation in the country, 99% of protocols at state house and majority of ambassadors are all Jolas which represent less than 10% of the population. You were indeed very comfortable with all these appointments and you are on the record here when you denied tribalism or tribal preferential treatment I always pointed out at the time. You must be in denial to think that the same status quo will continue. You and your new self proclaimed victims never complained about that and you passionately defended Jammeh on discriminatory policies. Go back to our numerous debates where I pointed out this problem at the time . Currently the appointments are fair. We have well qualified citizens in the positions. No tribal appointments. Pa Nderry never campaigned against Jammeh’s tribalism like he is now inciting hatred and bigotry against Mandinkas or Gambian people. Yesterday Pa Nderry was not credible as far as you were concerned then but today he has a concern about the government. When are you going to stop hypocrisy and admit the truth. You are always on the wrong side of every issue big or small. Today, Pa Nderry is very credible to you despite your past criticism of him as not credible. Please declare your true political position. Lately you sound like Baghdad Bob who was defeated in his false propaganda. My friend try to be consistent in your belief or politics. Pa Nderry was mute about Jammeh’s tribal appointments and he never publicly published tribal appointments done by Jammeh like he is constantly doing today. Every headline on Freedom is about Mandinka appointments.
    Concerning the appointment of Vice President, I think President Barrow should appoint someone because we have many well qualified citizens to fill the position. This is the only sensible comment you made.
    President Barrow is on the right direction to visit our neighbors who helped militarily to remove Jammeh from power, the help which you and PDOIS leadership never wanted or recognized because you believe that peaceful negotiations led to Jammeh’s exit, that is not true and it is never going to be true. You do not like ecowas military intervention.
    Finally, are you saying that anyone who worked for Jammeh regime shouldn’t be appointed by president Barrow? Remember we have to get someone who knows the military to cleanse it up. So Mr Kinteh and Mr Fatty are on the right path .

  2. I believe Pa Nderry Mbai is stirring a possible Tribal conflict the extent of which indicates a spiteful disregard to the Barrow Government.

    • Uninformed Hyperbole full of Platitudes. Yes PA Nderry may sometimes be a bit given to leaning toward Sensationalism on given Issues​ or Personality. Though, I may be wrong, I venture to hope that PA Nderry is not doing what he is doing in quest for a Job, nor as a call to Arms For or Against any Ethnic Group. Again, I may be Wrong and I hope to Allah/God that I am Right for the Sake of Security, Welfare and Peaceful Co-exitence of all Gambians for generation to come.

  3. Motafeh Mankajang

    Thank you, Bax. You can’t say it any better. You are spot on.

    What I find so weird is the name calling when concern some citizens calls out the Barrow Government on their shortcomings. You will be labelled unpatriotic, anti Mandinka/UDP, enemy of progress. It’s so sad how ignorant some Gambians are. But they should brace up. The Barrow Administration will be criticised constructively anytime they are found wanting. Once again, thank you, Bax.

    • So far, all the contributors made a valid point & I agree that Gambians have a reason to be paranoid about these appointments. I regularly cheer & praise the govt where necessary but I equally criticise them for appointments mentioned. Those tainted names who were enablers of Jammeh such as CDS Badjie & IGP Sonko have no place in the Gambian govt. In fact, I will task the govt to investigate them for their roles in getting Jammeh to do heinous crimes to the Gambian people. It is healthy to point & question these appointments & I still believe there are Gambians who have a case against them but are afraid to come out.
      As for Pa Nderry & his tribal sentiments, Gambians live as one big family before Jammeh came out with his vile intentions. Thankfully, Gambians are sensible enough to draw a line & show him where he rightfully belongs – Equatorial Guinea. Intertribal marriages are common in Gambian families & we celebrate each other’s festivities & that’s a beauty. I still miss that time of the year when we organise parties for Christmas & Tobaski.

      Thanks for publishing my piece.

      Simon Manneh.

    • Buba Sanyang

      Motafeh, the reason for that is because most people who criticise Barrow’s government almost always muddy their criticism with inappropriate or undue reference to Mandinkas. When people start to condemn Barrow, Ousainou and Mai on their actions and utterances instead of making any failings of these three a Mandinka issue then they won’t be labeled tribalists​. Just ask yourself how many times have you seen people criticising Halifa, Hamat Bah, OJ or Mama Kandeh and blaming their tribes? So as long as people keep blaming Mandinkas for any wrong thing done by Barrow then the Mandinkas will defend him and their tribe. We should all try and separate tribe from the actions of an individual.

      • Mr Buba Sanyang, you have hit the nail on the head . It is very interesting to see PDOIS disciples criticizing Barrow and the new leadership based on tribal line or false allegations of tribalism regarding appointments when in the past the same disciples and their leadership refused to condemn jammeh’s tribal vitriol against mandinkas. These people are not credible because they are not consistent. These people are working hard with the new self proclaimed victims like APRC members when they have seen the worse tribal bigotry and preferential treatment in jammeh’s era without saying anything. People like Sidi Bojang is a tribalist and bigot , apart from jammeh , he is the most ignorant bigot I have ever come across in The Gambian context . All his nonsensical comments is about tribe and mandinka bashing. He failed to realize that without majority mandinkas support for Yaya jammeh would have never been president in The Gambia. This is the fact he needs to install in his mind .

  4. Max, Bax” s observations are valid. We have a perception problem when it comes to the Barrow adminstration. And there is a thin line between perception and reality. President Barrow is not helping the situation either. If president Barrow was elected through a political party that also becomes the governing party, one can justify the comparison with Jammeh in building a tribal hegemomy. But he was elected by a coalition of political parties and any kind of favouritism towards any particular group or people is just wrong.

    • PDOIS disciples , motafeh , kamalo and Bax , which group of citizens did President Barrow favor right now ? You guys are beating about the bush . Can you please tell us which tribe or region did President Barrow favor since he took office? Kamalo, I think you are obsess with coalition. Coalition is dead since January 19th . The main objective was to remove jammeh from power. Constitutional, political and economic reforms will be done by the National Assembly members under leadership of UDP political party .

      • Max, I still believe in the coalition unless you guys give me the reasons to think otherwise.

        I know Gambians are averse to a party-led coalition but I am concern if our coalition has not morphed into one.

        You cannot separate the letter and spirit of the Coalition MOU with whatever goes on in the National Assembly. So the coalition is well alive and kicking and there cannot be any party agenda.

        It is going to be the agenda of the coalition in the National Assembly. And UDP having the majority cannot have it any other way. Now it is just a question of waiting to see what they will and can do.

        All eyes are on the National Asembly

  5. Max…

    I am forced to respond to you and your falsehood, though I would have liked to concentrate on the issues and not personalities.

    You should stop making claims without providing proofs. I challenge you to provide proof that I denied, defended and was comfortable with Jammeh’s policy of favouritism for people who served his regime well, Jola and non Jola alike.

    My disagreements with you on this issue, was whether the nepotism we see under the APRC regime, particularly in favour of Jolas or people with Jola sounding surnames, constituted a Jola Hegemony. I held and supported the view point that the presence of a tiny fraction of Jolas in top government/security positions (an insignificant fraction when the Jola population is considered), does not constitute a Jola hegemony.

    I have argued that for the vast majority of Jolas, the challenges of daily life under the APRC was not different from that of any other ethnic group. This was my position, as far as I can remember, and I challenge you to prove the contrary, if you claim so.

    Your falsehood knows no limits as evidence by your ludicrous claim that Pa Nderry never campaigned against Jammeh’s tribalism. I am not cheerleading for Mr Mbai but he has been the most vociferous online media critic of Jammeh’s tribalism and connections to MFDC. In fact, unless I’m wrong, the term “Jola hegemony”, in relation to the APRC regime, was probably coined by Mr Mbai or on Freedom Radio. It was certainly not coined by you, so watch yourself before you make any such claims here.

    Again, I have to point out your falsehood by challenging you to show me where I stated that Pa Nderry Mbai is “Credible”. I remember saying that he has concerns, some of which seem genuine to me, but I have never said anything about his credibility. I don’t even know the guy and have never met him or assessed his sources, so how can I vouch for his credibility? Please show me your proof.

    Your persistent and malicious false claims, for so long, that the PDOIS Leadership did not approve of the ECOWAS Military involvement in The Gambia, without providing a shred of evidence in support, is the clearest indication of the character you are. Another challenge for you to provide proof that PDOIS (and myself) opposed ECOMIG.

    It is the biggest shock to me that you, Max, of all people, should ask me whether “anyone who worked for Jammeh should not be appointed by President Barrow.” Wasn’t it you that labelled anyone in government or close to Jammeh, as helpers of the dictatorship and legitimate targets, including his mum and kids?

    Wasn’t it me who held and defended the view that those officials who are not directly involved in the crimes of the regime should not be targeted ? Wasn’t it me that expressed sympathy with those officials and Jammeh’s innocent family members who were targeted for insults repeatedly ? Wasn’t that the origin of your false claims that I sympathised with, and defended Jammeh and his officials? What an incredible character you are Max !!!

    • Bax , your suggestion that only a tiny fraction of Jola who occupied almost all the most important positions in the jammeh’s government did not constitute ” Jola hegemony “, at the time is hypocritical, misleading and pure deviation from the truth . Look at the evidence of massive appointments of Jolas in almost all the senior leadership positions in the government. That was a Jola hegemony designed to sustain military dictatorship. You have consistently supported ,advocated and defended this position so passionately to the extend that you offered your personal sympathy to jammeh, his family and his officials who are directly involved in human rights violations against Gambian people but you never offered your sympathy to the real heroes and victims at the time until you were forced to do so . How can passionately supported the zenab jammeh who advised his husband about how to entrench himself in power but hatefully dismissed the efforts of those who have protested against dictatorship? I have always stated that not everyone who worked for the Gambian government was directly responsible for human rights violations during military dictatorship. It amaze me now we are in the opposite direction in talking about the same issue . You are now full time supporter and propagandist for false statements regarding tribalism or tribal preferential treatment against mandinkas. Your continue support and propaganda in aiding and abetting those who made false claims that president barrow made tribal appointments is indicative of your bias against mandinkas. Your claim that jammeh’s tribal preferential treatment of Jola was not hegemony since tiny fraction of Jolas were involved but your support and expression of concern for claimed by the oppositions that president barrow appointments were based on tribalism is dishonest and double standard . How can you be against the claim of Jola hegemony which has significant evidence while you are now supportive and expressed concern for similar claim by the opposition of this new government? That means you have mandinkas problem. Your suggestion that pa Nderry coined the term Jola hegemony is indeed misleading and malicious. Go and read the headlines of freedom newspaper and find out whether pa Nderry consistently published story about Jola hegemony or tribalism in The Gambia like he is doing now . I have consistently discussed the Jola hegemony in The Gambia and the support jammeh got from the Jola rebellion in cassamance to entrench him in power . I always maintain that our national security was infiltrated by rebels from cassamance, the idea which you always denied. In fact you claimed that Cassamance has no role or influence in our election. I understand you are now an opposition since both of your desire political parties were humiliated in this last elections . PDOIS and APRC will never have chance to rule Gambia again.
      I do not call anyone names such as enemies or barking dogs except I stated desperate job seekers and new self proclaimed victims. I am very right that we have people who are desperate to seek job and people who claimed to be new victims like the story of Alhagie mustapha Faye who claimed tribalism even though he stated that one Mr Touray who is the official of PuRa was his family member because he was related to his former wife . What has tribalism to do with his false claims and he went further to suggest that lawyer Darboe was behind the denial of his license. It is the same false statements you used as your evidence to express your falsehood to support Mr pa Nderry false propaganda. Where is your credibility and pa Nderry when Mr Faye claimed that Mr Touray was related to his former wife but at the same time he claimed tribalism?

      • Did you say that I passionately supported Zainab Jammeh ? That will be a new dimension to your allegations (I’m struggling to remain civil here). Again, provide the proof. Stop making empty claims.

        I will tell you who I defended! Muhammed Jammeh and Mama Asombi Bojang: two entirely innocent people who got insulted and humiliated for nothing but being related to Yaya Jammeh.

        On that occasion, I told you that, in my view, you were no different from Yaya Jammeh for viewing his underage son, as a legitimate target for your political battles, just like he viewed Yusupha Lowe (son of Bai Lowe) as a legitimate target for his political battles.

        And I said, of those who view Mama Asombi Bojang as a Legitimate target fot their political battles, that they were no different from Yaya Jammeh, who also viewed sister Meta Njie (mum of col.Lamin Sanneh) as a legitimate target for his political battles.

        The ONLY difference between you lot and Yaya Jammeh, was that he was in power and you weren’t. It is not rocket science to see that you would have done the same if your roles were reversed.

        • Bax , you must remember that the time you offered your sympathy to jammeh and his family was when the Col Lâmin Sanneh’s mother and yusupha Lowe were kidnapped by jammeh’s regime . It was out frustration that I indicated that Muhammmed jammeh was a legitimate and fair target , including zainabou jammeh though mama asombi Bojang’s name was never mentioned in my posting . Muhammmed jammeh and his mother were a legitimate target just like jammeh targeted innocent people at the time . Instead of offering your sympathy to these innocent victims, you offered your sympathy to jammeh and his family plus his officials, I then pounded on you until you offered your sympathy to real heroes and victims. I still believe that zainabou jammeh should be arrested and charge for economic crime against Gambian people but I believe you will passionately support and defend her like you have done in the past. I am sure you have contributed to prolong dictatorship in the country because of your propaganda to support many of the jammeh’s regime actions .

          • Quote: “Bax , you must remember that the time you offered your sympathy to jammeh and his family was when the Col Lâmin Sanneh’s mother and yusupha Lowe were kidnapped by jammeh’s regime.”

            Actually, you are wrong. Your false allegations that I sympathise with Yaya Jammeh and his officials, and not his victims, preceeded December 30th incident. It was closer to the period when Binta Jarju was shot dead at the back of a taxi by soldiers. I remembered because I had to pull up my contribution at that forum, where I expressed sympathy and condolences to the family, to debunk your false claims.

            Your false claims about my support and sympathy for Yaya Jammeh and Zainab will never be true, no matter how many times you regurgitate it here, unless you can produce the proofs. Zainab Jammeh, unlike Muhammed Jammeh and (Mama) Asombi Bojang, is not innocent in Jammeh’s financial crimes. On the contrary, she may actually be a factor for the commission of those crimes, and probably, the biggest beneficiary. So, I agree with you that Zainab should be pursued by the state, just like her husband.

            I will rubbish any claims of a “Mandinka hegemony” today, just as I rubbished claims of “Jola hegemony” yesterday. I am not supporting the views expressed by Pa Nderry Mbai or Alagie Mustapha, but I support their rights to express those views without being insulted. However, if they publish any views claiming Mandinka hegemony in any forum where I am active, I will refute their claims, just like I did with you.

            I have no problem with your claim that Jammeh was favouring some Jolas and appointing them to senior positions, but I don’t agree with the leap that you made to claim Jola hegemony.

  6. Now, to the issue. Max, the way you responded to my views suggests to me that you delved into the conversation without understanding it. My point was not about the credibility or truthfulness of the allegations of the critics, but rather, the response to the critics by defenders of the Barrow Administration.

    I object to the labelling and name calling of those who criticise the new administration and express concerns about how certain things are done. I support an environment where we take on each other through constructive debates and convincing arguments, not labelling, name calling and snobbish dismissal of genuine criticism.

    The concerns expressed about tribalism, financial indiscipline or disregard of the constitution are not mine, but I think they are genuine criticisms, but if anyone disagrees, then the onus is on them to engage the critics and assure them that they are wrong. Let’s not call them “enemies”, “barking dogs” or “disgruntled oppprtunists”.

    I understand and I agree that the Gambia needs to build bridges with our neighbours and express our gratitude for their role in ensuring that President Barrow assumed his legitimate mandate, but not everyone agrees with the timing and manner.

    And given the state of our economy and finances, with the inherited budget deficit at over D4 Billion, is it financial prudence to embark on so many state visits, just to build relations and express gratitude. Personally, I think it isn’t and I should have the right and freedom to say it without fear of someone like you, calling me a hypocrite, disgruntled opportunist, enemy or barking dog. That’s the new Gambia we want, isn’t it ? Or you guys have a different Gambia in mind ?

    How about the ambassadors and other emissaries doing the job now, until the President can meet his colleagues at either ECOWAS or AU Summit, to formally do what needs doing ? We cannot slaughter Yaya Jammeh for wastage of state funds but be indifferent to what can also be seen as wastage.

    Why the urgency to embark on so many state visits now, when no urgency is shown in appointing a VP or opening the national media to divergent views. I heard another citizen who wants to establish a radio station complaining of being frustrated by officials at PURA. Aren’t we entitled to enquire when the change we voted for will be fully realised.

    A lot has been achieved in the short term, absolutely no doubt about that, but there is a lot more that could be achieved for less, if we begin to behave like sovereign citizens and hold our government to account and demand accountability, than like some loyal minions that must defend their masters, with their blood and tears, no matter what.

    Just my humble opinion and I’m no enemy of the new administration or hater of anyone /anything.

  7. Oh, the deal must have been slightly misspelt from Barrow’s quarters by just declaring his resignation from the UDP to run as an independent for a coalition. He must have forgotten to add:
    -my UDP membership will be re-activated again as soon as I won the presidential on a coalition ticket and sworn into office.
    But perhaps, the smart politics card players need some lights flipped off in order to prevail with their premeditation.

  8. Max, Bax might have not been pick up on refuting the existence of a tribalist Jammeh regime likewise you on your rampage on the police for having denied the UDP tour permits on several occasions, including the famous Fass Nyaga Choi standoff, during the same regime. IGP Sonko then was not in your good books I guess… If the Barrow government decides to maintain Sonko in such a high security position for reasons known to them, then they are liable as well to answering questions with regards to reasons why maintaining such a Jammeh bigwig in such a high security position. You Max, have once called for the resignation of people in high or in words sensitive positions like Sonko’s during the atrocious Jammeh regime.
    I think setting ‘it’ straight within the camps whenever necessary is all an indication of a flourishing democracy.

  9. Bax

    There’s an adage with Wollof & Mandinka; & possibly with others too that; “…when one beds (is related &/ associated) with dogs, fleas will plague you…” There’re areas (in most cases) where one can apply the (your) conventional rules (rationale) approach but there’re quite few, considerately &/ exponentially growing alarmingly in this “turbulent times” of ours due to some devils parading in human flesh who happens to chance onto the mantle in “politically unaware” nations such as ours &/ others…

    Do you expect a survivor, say in Aleppo Syria, who’s family been wiped & gassed to grin & wave some royal salute to Assad the Devil’s children; yet, closer home, you would be different if you were one of the Lowe & Sanneh families; if you are to admit & truly ratiocinate as you being the direct victim yourself; just why couldn’t yaya DEVIL too leave out the innocent relatives whose only crimes were by blood ties & association, if playing by your standard…???

    It’s called “Deterrent”; this is why nuclear weapons acquired nations today, will always think trice & avoid going to war against one another at all costs today; whilst the peasantry & mostly the innocent get the brunt of atrocities committed by few blood thirsty letting criminals…

    In hilarity (hilarious note 😁); for example; don’t know of you but; I’m not sure I can meet up with an old woman in a quiet dark place whom they said is God’s mum &/ leave alone & alive, if HE has one; I will send the poor mum to the same placed where He’s send mine to…

    I won’t be surprised; if you do some Royal bending salute to the same old woman though…

  10. Who kept the KING MAKER debate flaring for long??

    Gee! (BED), with dogs in the Gambia?? Mathematically or psychologically, no one wants to do that, because you might get worse than plagued by fleas. Culturally poor adage.
    Let’s leave that habit to the Westerners because they​ have the dog shampoo and
    Max and guys, we just got to be true to ourselves and to do so, we must be able to reach the contents of our hearts. Where it is ‘made in’ is where it comes from. The waste of the products are always there to be recycled.

    • Bourne, I want to give you an opportunity to explain your statement above and what you implied regarding the last paragraph?
      Your continued​ lack of understanding of the term king maker , exposes your intellectual backwardness and ignorance about the term. I do not need to explain the meaning of king maker again because i have professorially explained what it means as far as the usage is concerned. Now i am only interested to see your clarification in the last part of the above posting.

  11. ‘Intellectual’, is not a word to describe me with. Though I have regarded some contributors and commentators as intellectuals, you certainly don’t fall under that category of mine.
    Your implication of the term, ‘king maker’ simply can’t dictate a definition of the phrase to me for there is no intellectual sophistication in it at all for me to need your help. Max, the intellect in you falls to short off intellectuals for the simply reason that you don’t know how to say, ‘oops, sorry!, it slipped from my lips’. I recalled you referring to how the multi-million TV lady Oprah Winfrey, is dubbed a ‘ king maker’ instead of making available an intellectual definition of the phrase.
    What I mean in the last paragraph of my previous posting is that; we must do our best to refrain from labelling others of what describes ourselves. I mean, if you are a manufacturer, try as best as possible to make your product free of toxic material because recycling toxics is not a safe process.

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