“The tongue has no bones but it is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”
Amadou Samba’s social media defenders are waiting to prey on whoever says or writes as it is. They have been following the Janneh Commission and taking stock of its startling revelations. They choose to shut up thinking time will fade with the story of a man who in his heydays bragged about managing the Gambia’s brutal dictator. It is a title Samba later shunned and even had the audacity to badmouth Yahya Jammeh whose business errands he (Samba) had been running left and right. The dictator trusted Samba so much that he appointed him board chairman of any government institution or parastatal that matters. Anyone in doubt can refer to the Janneh Commission.
One Jammeh trusted aide described Samba as a co-president who had unfettered access to the ousted dictator. “No one wakes up Oga even when his mother needs him. But he permits us to alert him whenever Amadou Samba shows up unceremoniously,” said the aide who got it perfectly right that the Gambia government would issue a statement condemning Sheikh Sedia Bayo for humiliating Samba in Dakar in November 2014. “Just connect the dots, you will see the logic. Samba is an essential economic pillar of Jammeh who enjoys state protection. Samba’s likes are among the inner circle members who pollute Jammeh with tribal hatred,” the aide said four years before Jammeh’s was dethroned.
We treated the aide’s account at the time with caution fearing to whip an innocent man without genuine reason. Now that Amadou Samba’s name has been mentioned in the Janneh Commission, we can no longer spare the so-called business magnate. Alagie Conteh’s last week’s testimony before the Janneh Commission lifted a lid on Samba. Some people felt like cringing when Mr. Conteh quoted Mr. Samba as telling Muhammed Bazzi that “I told you that Conteh is a Mandinka who hates the President’s development.” The statement — yet to debunked — implied that Mandinka people hated Jammeh’s development projects. What an irrational statement! How can Mandinkas hate Jammeh or his development projects when they voted for him overwhelmingly? This baloney must be condemned by all Gambians who care about social cohesion, unity and harmony among ethnic groups in the country. The hateful statement defeats the spirit of our National Anthem. Let us revisit the anthem in its entire form and see whether tribal slur or hatred has a place in, it.
For The Gambia, our homeland
- We strive and work and pray,
- That all may live in unity,
- Freedom and peace each day.
- Let justice guide our actions
- Towards the common good,
- And join our diverse peoples
- To prove man’s brotherhood.
- We pledge our firm allegiance,
- Our promise we renew;
- Keep us, great God of nations,
- To The Gambia ever true.
For us to live in peace requires busting of haters in our midst. Amadou samba’s failure to publicly refute Conteh’s allegations gives credence to the story.
Food for thought for the learned lawyer-turned-businessman: “The tongue has no bones but it is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”