Outgoing President Yahya Jammeh met religious leaders yesterday December 15 and urged them to go and talk to Gambians about peace and forgiveness because he wants peace and forgiveness. Seriously?
Well today is the 12th anniversary since the assassination of Deyda Hydara, a top Gambia veteran journalist who together with Pap Saine founded the Point Newspaper on 16th December 1991 coinciding with his wife’s birthday. Since 1994, Deyda played a fundamental role in ensuring that freedom of expression is upheld as guaranteed in our constitution. He fought for democracy and exposed the corruption in the AFPRC cum APRC regime.
He played his role effectively and efficiently as required by the constitution under Section 207 that the role of the media is to hold the government to account on behalf of the people. In his columns, ‘The Bite’ as well as ‘Good Morning Mr. President’ he was clear and direct in pointing out the shortcomings of the government and offering suggestions directly to the president. He spoke on each and every national issue to ensure that the respect for human rights and the rule of law are protected. He was a champion of free press and democracy.
Here is what he said was his role. Young journalists, please take note.
“Journalism is a profession with its rules and one cannot be a journalist and flout its basic principles. What’s more, the fundamental law of this land guarantees that we make sure that government is accountable to the people for things it does in their name. Here again we didn’t draft the Constitution, which got inspiration from the covenants and other international laid down rules about freedom of expression. Meaning that even if the Constitution failed to empower us to do so we could rely on these instruments that The Gambia as a nation ratified.”
On 16th December 2004, while driving some of his members of staff home after having a birthday party for The Point newspaper in their office, a group of killers assaulted them behind the PIU headquarters. He was shot dead instantly while some of his staff sustained injuries. Following intense local and international pressure, the government reluctantly launched an investigation and on 29th April 2005 the NIA produced its so-called confidential report on the murder of Deyda Hydara.
This is one of the most insulting, most falsified, most unprofessional and most criminal report ever produced by an intelligence agency in the history of investigations. In this report, the NIA Director General who was Daba Marenah at the time shamelessly wasted public resources by blaming Deyda for his own death. They claimed that Deyda had offended several people, groups and institutions in his columns. They went to the ludicrous height of maligning Deyda’s reputation by saying that he was even dating a woman which led to her divorce and the lady’s children and former husband were furious with him.
Without shame, the NIA said Deyda was rude, promiscuous, erratic and irresponsible. All in all, the NIA said the individuals, groups and institutions offended included Yaya Jammeh, Kofi Annan, Baba Jobe, Alphonse Benoist, Wally Muhammed Hakim, a Nigerian businessman, Green Boys, GAMCO, Capt. Bunja Darboe. They claim anyone of these people could have wanted to kill Deyda because of jealousy, settling old scores, vengeance, and some other ridiculous accusations.
Yet since 2005, the NIA did not arrest any person except Mr. Hakim for a brief period. No one has since been charged and the murderers of Deyda continue to live in peace inside the Gambia. But as a supposed professional intelligence agency, the NIA did not speak about the bullet that was removed from Deyda’s body. They did not say what kind of bullet and registration it has. They did not say what type of guns use that type of bullet and if that gun was registered and who is the owner of that gun. Every gun in this country is registered hence any bullet found should be able to lead the intelligence to the owner of the gun.
Therefore if Yahya Jammeh is indeed interested in peace genuinely as he spoke to the religious leaders let him re-open the Deyda Hydara murder investigation right now. In fact he does not need to re-open it because he knows who are the killers and who gave the orders. Let him arrest them and take them to court. Let him go to the family of Deyda Hydara and tell them the truth and seek their forgiveness. Let him go to the national television and tell Gambians how and why Deyda Hydara was killed because he has every information about the murder. This will show that indeed he means well for his people.
It was Shakespeare who said the evil that men do lives after them. But Shakespeare should have said rather the evil that men do lives with them right now.
Gambians, you gave your power to Yaya Jammeh and he became arrogant by attempting to place himself in the same position as God The Almighty. Only the ignorant, immoral and uninformed human being will become so arrogant like that. Yaya Jammeh has no power. Everything he has and everything he was able to do was not because he was powerful. It was because Gambians, you and me gave our power to him. We did the good and bad job for him. Instead of him becoming humbled by that and use that power to do good and serve the owners that power, instead he thought he was more powerful than even Allah Subhana wa t’Allah. When a human being reaches that level of vanity, Allah will show you that you are nothing other than a piece of dust.
Yaya Jammeh, Allah has just started to show you what and who is the true Source and Embodiment and Owner and Giver of power. Get ready.
By Madi Jobarteh