‘Don’t Sign Your Death Certificate’

    Human Rights Journalist Fabakary Ceesay

I think it is disgraceful and sad to see Mr Ceesay acted in a very dangerous and unprofessional manner. The mere fact that he came late and was asked to wait was an indication that the hall was full. Fighting with the security officer who is protecting the President is like signing your own death certificate. This could only happened in The Gambia where citizens can now behave like they are above the law or beyond standard of protocols. Mr Ceesay is indeed a lucky man by all account. If this was in Yahya Jammeh’s era, he would have been dead by now. Mr. Ceesay would have also died if he had acted the same way in the United States. The police officer would have shot him to death and claimed self defense. In any civilized country, the security of the most important person like President is never taken lightly but in the case of the New Gambia, it is disheartening to see people doing or saying everything to destroy the good image of ECOMIG forces. This is demeaning our new democracy.

My advice to Mr Ceesay is very straight forward: never again argue with armed security personnel, let alone exchange punches with him if you want to live longer. Follow the standard of protocol and law at all times, especially when it involves the President who is not an ordinary person. Please understand the fact that freedom comes with responsibility. Do you understand that security officer has every right to deny you access to the hall if there was no space or if you acted rudely? In fact, I think you should have been arrested for obstruction of justice, failure to follow meaningful law and order, public disturbances and putting the security of the President at risk.

Ihope Fabakary will offer an apologise to entire Gambian people and especially to ECOMIG forces who are the true saviours of our democracy and freedom. Without the ECOMIG forces, Dictator Yahya Jammeh would have been sitting in the state house while Mr Ceesay cried in exile where he would follow law and order. This madness needs to stop and it can only cease when people have become responsible citizens who follow not only the law but also standard of protocol.

Food for thought Fabakary: maaku saaku [live well, die well]. You can execute your journalistic duties without signing your death certificate. Please don’t sign your death certificate.




  1. Max, thank you for providing the true information about this case. I have heard about it but was not able to get accurate information anywhere.

    Your commentary and analysis about the case is absolutely splendid. I hope Mr Cessay will take your advice with good faith and that he has learnt from the incident.


  2. Max

    Your statement is not different from that of those who use to commit all kinds of atrocities against the Gambian people just to please Yahya Jammeh. The arguments you are making now are the same arguments they use to give. They use to arrest, torture and kill either in the name of protecting the the president, maintaining security or keeping the peace in the country. Is these what we should expect to continue under President Adama Barrow ?

    • Luntango (Degaleh Wagh, Tabaa Bung Bang Yekumofo)

      Yes, too HARSH Max. But the man has already accepted he got unnecessary angry – but we all do that sometimes. The real question here is WHY the Media Houses and the GPU ran with statements CONDENMING ECOMIG when they knew the TRUE FACTS from the word go? See my piece on Journalism and Professionalism at Sambagate Snr (Facebook)

      • Dida , I am not too harsh but I am too straightforward with the facts . I cannot imagine in anywhere you have a journalist started a fight with security officer protecting the president. I thought Mr Ceesay attempted a suicide but luckily for him , he was rescued.
        As for GPU , some of the members are not even real journalist because a real journalist get the facts and report accurately to educate the masses. The best headline was ” A Gambian journalist assaulted an Ecomig soldiers ” as you have rightly indicated.

    • Fabaks, there are few things why Fabakary was very wrong in this case as indicated above.
      1. He came late and later confronted and fought the security officer when he was refused entry. That was an assault which could land him in jail or even killed .
      2. He fought with armed security personnel which was too dangerous for him to do so .
      3. He caused a security threat to the president when initiated a fight with the security officer who was protecting the vicinity where the president was. This could have caused other security breaches which could have put the president’s live in danger .
      4. His action was a public disturbance which violated public order act and therefore , he was a nuisance to the public interest and security of the hall and the president.
      Very lucky for him , we have professional security forces who are protecting the president at the time and these people were different from Jammeh’s security forces at statehouse. I live in the greatest democracy on the planet but I am not crazy to confront a police officer here in USA because all of them are armed to the teeth. when Jammeh was in power, most of the atrocities were done under his direct order . Fabakary’s case was simply a journalist behaving badly at the extend of risking his own life and that of everyone in that hall . President Barrow has nothing to do with this . Fabakary should indeed be grateful that he was never arrested and went to media to implicate himself which qualified for his arrest and legal troubles. Just think about it. Would you fight with an armed security officer unless you wanna tell me you are not only an idiot but a mental deranged person. Let me know what you would do in this case.

  3. It is also reported that the Finance Minister was denied entry when he turned up late. There is no excuse for a state minister turning up late at an event graced by the President, but the question has to be asked whether his refusal for entry, if true, was also premised on concern for the president’s security.

    Was he perceived as a potential threat to the President or does this seemingly, overzealous concern for the president’s security, meet more than the eye can see? Are we (Gambians) being treated with contempt by a certain segment of the ECOMIG? Let’s not play the “guardian angel” roles here. Let’s ask serious questions. This is not about Jammeh’s Gambia and that past cannot justify the present.

    There is no point citing the US, where non whites are shot for fun, to explain such a behaviour in the Gambia either. There is no relevance whatsoever. Let’s deal with the situation within the Gambian context and realities. Let’s remember that this is, at least, the THIRD incident involving members of the same contingent with ECOMIG. What is going on? That’s the question. If President Barrow feels this threatened by Gambians, he should step aside.

    • Bax , once again you have exposed your hypocrisy when you rhetorically asked that ” are We Gambians being treated with contempt by certain segments of Ecomig?”. That was a silly question by all standard. Gambian people gained their freedom through the blood and treasure of Ecomig forces and we must forever be grateful to them. I bet you will be happy to see Dictator Jammeh sitting in the statehouse to continue his human rights violations because in your mind you never wanted military intervention in our country. This is also the mindset all PDOIS leadership and supporters. But the good news is that Ecomig forces will continue to stay in the country until the indigenous citizens have FULL CONTROL of our security services . I hope The Interior ministry start the recruitment process ASAP to allow indigenous citizens to enlist in the military and other security services, that way we can get rid of vestiges of dictatorship , thus individuals with phenotypically violence expressed genes imported into our country.
      In any civilized society if anyone attempts to force his way to Presidential palace then the consequences are either you are dead or arrested . This applies in all countries. So the notion I shouldn’t mentioned USA as an example is ridiculous and pointless.
      President Barrow is not threatened by Gambians but he is love by Gambian people, therefore he is not going anywhere till the end of five years mandate as decided by the majority citizens .!

    • Luntango (Degaleh Wagh, Tabaa Bung Bang Yekumofo)

      You should be ashamed of asking this question my in-law! It is below you!

      “Are we (Gambians) being treated with contempt by a certain segment of the ECOMIG?”

      We expect such questions from hassling bumsters, not Pan-African intellectuals.

      • My in-law, I’m sorry to let you down, but my experience is that there is history between us and our Senegalese brethren, though we are ONE family and for the most part, we get along very well. I have blood relations in Senegal, some of whom have moved to Gambia a long time ago.
        My question is a perfectly genuine one, and more likely to be understood by those who reflect into the past a little bit.
        I am simply asking a question; not implying anything, but how do you explain the entry refusal of the Finance Minister.

      • Dida , This is Bax and this statement reflect who he is and what are his beliefs . He said worst things before and he was not ashamed of them. Remember that it was the same Bax who famously called peaceful protest led by Solo Sanderg and his group as a “distraction and threat to peace and security of The Gambia”. Bax also called the protest as ” messy and poorly planned ” and that the Dictator and his cronies had to maintain law and order . Not only him but sulayman Bah , a prominent PDOIS spokesman made the same comment about UDP peaceful protest . You should also remember that it is the same narrative that the entire leadership of PDOIS has always believe about the ECOMIG forces and this was why Halifa used kanillia rebel incited violent protest to blame the ECOMIG forces and new administration. Halifa Sallah defended Dictator Yaya Jammeh when Mr mai fatty claimed that the Dictator Jammeh stole millions of dollars during political impasse . If you connect all the dots , you will realize that Halifa Sallah became part of the coalition with the belief that he would be nominated as presidential candidate since lawyer Darboe was in prison . As a political opportunist , he mistakenly thought that there was leader vacuum prior to nomination. During the impasse, he spoke on behalf of the coalition and those statements were not only his ideas . He is not an intelligent or smart politician. He even encouraged the coalition leadership to embark on suicide mission to meet Dictator Jammeh but luckily intelligent people averted that silly and dangerous proposal. With all the rhetoric, Bax and PDOIS leadership hearts and souls are not in for this change of regime. I believe PDOIS and its disciples were an agents of military dictatorship.

  4. Kemotouray1@gmail.com

    Fabakary is in exile because of dictator Jammmeh so he has been removed through ballot box; he refused to leave. With the help of ECOMIG he ran away, then Mr ceesay is free to come home. So Mr ceesay should not put the law in his hand but it’s a mistake I suggest he will learn from it .

  5. This journalist was lucky. Why would he come late in the first place. And the least he can offer the Gambian people is to fight the security personnel of the President of the Gambia.

    I am independent voter but this kind of behavior should not be tolerated especially at the highest level of our democracy. I wonder how some of these idiots can be journalist anywhere on the globe.

    He was trying to play the victim role while he was the agitator. I applaud the fantastic work ECOMIG forces are doing in the Gambia. These soldiers have very high morals and discipline.

  6. Max…I thought you have always held the view that we owe our freedom to the UDP. Now, it seems you have transferred that honour to the ECOMIG, through whose “blood and treasure”, according to you now, we gained our freedom. Well, make up mind: who owns the honour?
    Regardless of the number of times you repeat your LIES about PDOIS, it will NEVER, EVER become the truth. So, at least in our case, Goring is wrong; falsehood, no matter how often it is repeated, will not become the truth in Gambia.
    The journalist and one of the principal witnesses to this event, has spoken and given his version of events. I will give you chance to read his testimony and respond accordingly, now that you will have more relevant information on the incident. I will, however, not be surprised if you turn round and accuse him of lying and falsehoods because that’s what you have become now: an apologist who will justify every action of the current government and its agents, as you SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL.Very sad indeed.

  7. Max,

    With all due respect you seem to be making up you own story out of Fabakary’s narration as reported by this very medium on the basis of which you argue and make your own conclusions.

    This is what you said

    ” He came late and later confronted and fought the security officer when he was refused entry. That was an assault which could land him in jail or even killed.”

    and Fabakary’s narration is as follows..

    ”though I arrived [at the meeting] late without knowing that the president is gracing the session. The security forces were very arrogant towards the people that came late. I approached one of them and exchanged words in our local language and showed him my accreditation. He let us in to the first level of the hall at the reception where he asked us to wait for a protocol officer.”

    ”After almost 2 hours, I saw Protocol Officer Jobarteh and talked to him. He went inside and came back after 30 minutes and asked the security to let us in. While I stepped back to pick my bag, this ECOMIC-Senegalese officer came and pulled my bag and said “the hall is full.” I told him since he is outside he cannot say so because the protocol officer had asked us to enter”

    ”He pushed me and I too pushed him. He hit me on my chest saying since in the morning “I saw you arguing with our colleagues in rude way.” I responded back telling him that he too is rude. Then he hit me again; I hit him back and pointed a gun on my chest threatening to pull the trigger. I never backed off after he hung his gun and pushed me and I pushed back. We exchanged few blows before two of his colleagues joined him to drag me out until I sustained injuries on my finger in front of lots of people. One hit me on my shoulder while the other hit me at the back of my head.”

    Did any thing in this narration indicate that Fabakary confronted and fought the security when he was refused entry as you claimed ? According to the narration he did not just come and forced his way into the hall. He approached one of them and exchanged wards and showed him his accreditation. They were let in to the first level of the hall at the reception where the officer asked them to wait for a protocol officer. after almost 2 hours he saw Protocol Officer Jobarteh and talked to him. He went inside and came back after 30 minutes and asked the security to let us in.
    Now who initiated the confrontation and the fight here ?

    • Fabaks, when the officer approached Fabakary and told him the hall was full , he said this statement below to the officer :

      “I told him since he is outside he cannot say so because the protocol officer had asked us to enter”

      The above statement is very problematic in the sense that Fabakary wasn’t only confrontational but he also indicated that the officer lied about the hall been full because “the officer cannot say so “. That wasn’t a nice respond at all . That respond was simply very rude and confrontational. Instead of complying , he didn’t care about the lawful order given to him because the protocol officer had invited him to enter. In this scenario, who should he listen to , a protocol officer or the security officer who was protecting the president? I believe he should have listened to the security officer who has every right to deny him entry especially since he had been rude to people. I believe the security officer was very professional and he must be commended for not pulling the trigger . Fabakary attempted a suicide by confronting an armed security officer who later laid down his weapon and used his empty hands to fight him. If this happens in USA , he would have been dead regardless whether he was green , black or white. This officer should be given a Medal of Honor for saving the life of restless man who should have been arrested and taken to psychiatric hospital for further evaluation. Fabakary’s behavior needs Further medical evaluation as evidenced by been suicidal when he fought with armed security officer or probably he has suicide ideation. The evidences such as restlessness, agitation , confrontational, and violent towards the security officer are all indicators that something was not right in his mind. His pride in narrating his story to media are all false assumption that he was not wrong and he lacked reality orientation, thus he has delusional thought , his behavior could be diagnosed as Narcissistic personality disorder . He was a rule breaker , showed no boundary to the security officer and concerns of others in the hall and falsely claimed been victimized through false projection of what happened during media interviews. Clearly he was troubled .

      • I will never defend the foolishness of Mr Ceesay for physically engaging a fully armed soldier, no matter how provoked he maybe, especially one from a force that has a track record of shooting unarmed civilians dead. For the records, a club goer was shot dead in Brikama in the 1980s, after a verbal altercation with a Senegalese soldier. So, Mr Ceesay was extremely foolish to have done what he did.
        However Max, you are an absolute disgrace. Having been caught out by Fabaks for presenting an imaginary narrative of the event, rather than apologise for misleading your readers, you have tried to justify yourself, but inadvertently, you have made matters worse by exposing ignorance.

    • Fabaks, here is what Fabakary told Pro-PDOIS newspaper Fatu network:

      “They said the place was full but allowed some people who speak French to enter which is the reason I confronted them,” he asserted.

      You can read the rest at http://fatunetwork.net/senior-human-rights-journalist-says-manhandled-ecomig-officers/.

      Clearly he was confrontational, angry, agitated and violent. Let me know what you think of this evidence I present here .

  8. First point: A gun totting soldier (a reminder of the past) should be concerned with securing the outside borders of the venue. Security inside the venue, especially in the hall, is the responsibility of the close protection unit, and managing seating arrangements inside the hall is the job of organisers and protocol, working with the close protection unit (for president’s security and comfort). The gun totting Senegalese soldier has no business with how the inside of the hall looks. His job, unless an emergency situation arises, is to secure the outer perimeter of the venue.
    Second point: The Senegalese soldier, rather than showing professionalism, as claimed by some, has actually behaved unprofessionally, not only by aiming a weapon (probably loaded) at an unarmed civilian, but by also acting on a matter that is out of his domain. He is reported to have stopped Mr Ceesay because he claimed that the hall was full, but the state of the hall…..

  9. ….(full or empty) is not the responsibility of the those charged with securing the perimeter of the venue, and thus, the Senegalese soldier had acted outside of his area of responsibility; a behaviour which is anything but professional.
    Third point: The fact that Mr Ceesay (and other late comers) was allowed through the first level of the hall to the reception area by colleagues of this Senegalese soldier shows clearly that he was not viewed as a security threat. The soldier himself did not cite security reasons for intercepting Mr Ceesay and since a protocol officer had asked the group to go in, the soldier has absolutely no justification to stop anyone from entering the hall, especially on the pretext that it was full, as it definitely wasn’t. Mr Ceesay may have been rude towards the soldier (which is wrong) but the soldier needs to know that the ocassion wasn’t about him.

  10. Forth and last: Imagine being the protocol officer who has asked this group to go in? How would you feel when you have gone round, checked that there was space for this group, come back to escort/usher them in, only to be told by someone who hasn’t even entered the hall, that you were wrong because the hall was full? Won’t you see that as an act of arrogance and disrespect?
    Imagine being a soldier in that same unit with this Senegalese soldier and being the one who allowed these latecomers through. How would you feel to have your judgement questioned by a colleague who did not even have the decency to consult you on the matter, if he feels differently to you? How would that make you feel, especially if you are a different nationality? I won’t be impressed and I will let you know about it, at the appropriate time.
    As far as I can see, the journalist was foolish to react in the way he did, but the soldier also shares blame for the escalation of the situation due to his inappropriate actions.