“Freedom Newspaper Was The First TRRC”

By Abdoulie John

The Gambia’s investigative journalist and publisher of The Monitor newspaper, Baboucarr Ceesay, has described the North Carolina-based news site www.freedomnewspaper.com as “the first truth commission,” saying it laid the groundwork for the transitional justice process.

“Freedomnewspaper.com revealed things that were later confirmed by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC),” Ceesay told this medium in response to a request for comment on the untimely demise of Pa Nderry M’bai.

The Africanews Banjul-based correspondent’s comments come at a time when the TRRC has wrapped up its work with the release of a seventeen-volume report, which was last Thursday submitted to President Adama Barrow.

“On his Freedom Newspaper and Radio, brother Pa Nderry M’bai catalysed the publication of startling revelations of gross human rights violations under the dictatorial rule of former President Yahya Jammeh which were beyond human imagination,” he added while indicating that editor M’bai went to the extra mile to reach out to “victims and perpetrators for his readers to hear the horrific stories from the horse’s mouth”.

Tears continue to flow as many Gambians are still struggling to cope with the untimely demise of a journalist who dedicated his life for the triumph of the rule of law, democracy and social justice.

This is the reason why Mr. Ceesay said a good number of people are with the view that Freedom Newspaper and Radio epitomize the prime truth commission.

The Managing Editor of the Monitor reminded journalists about the urgent need “to continue the positive groundbreaking work that Mr. M’bai did”.

Mr. Ceesay lauded the role played by Pa Nderry M’bai in standing against the schemes of retrogressive forces.

“He afflicted the then comfortable dictator and his enablers and try to comfort the afflicted until the defeat of Jammeh,” he remarked.

“He Lives In the Heart Of Every Gambian”

Renowned Norway-based campaigner, Ndey Jobarteh, has added her voice to the chorus of tributes pouring in for the late journalist who passed away from a sudden medical condition.

“Today we are all struggling with this great loss of our nation, a disciplined, fearless journalist and an activist,” she said in a poignant tribute obtained by this medium.

On November 22nd 2021, M’bai died unexpectedly at a time when the West African nation is bracing up for December 4th Presidential election described by many observers as a “turning point in the country’s political history”.

With his death, Jobarteh said, the nation has lost an illustrious son who dedicated his whole life to the cause of our people.

Weighing in on the enormous power the online news outlet had during “The Struggle”, she said Pa Nderry M’bai “became one of the most influential figures” in the fight to end the regime of Gambia’s former longtime ruler.

To Jobarteh, the tragedy of the sudden death of M’bai is far from being a result of “an accident of history” but filled with symbolism as the Gambia are set to take part in first post-Jammeh elections.

“He served with distinction and honour. He was energetic and never the one to shy from any challenge or difficult situation and would never rest until a challenge is satisfactorily addressed,” she added while indicating that Pa Nderry M’bai understood is not bound to fulfill his duty to inform but also “to solve the conditions that are keeping them prisoners to oppression and poverty”.


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