Editorial: Suwaibou Conateh Betrays Gambians!!!Jammeh’s Award Is A Joke!!

Award for Jammeh? For What? What’s wrong with Suiwabou Conateh of the News and Report Magazine? Has Jammeh bribed or intimidated him or what? We are just curious. Suwaibou Conateh of all Suwaibou Conateh has betrayed the Gambian Media fraternity by trying to bury the truth. The qualities attributed to Jammeh in that misguided and cooked up award were figment of Suwaibou’s own imagination. We are for real. Conateh has mortgaged his fine legacy over night by issuing such an ward to Yahya Jammeh. History is going to judge Suwaibou Conateh very badly. We mean very badly.

Being a doyen of the Gambian media, Conateh ought to have known better. We call the Jammeh award as a mockery to press freedom, democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Suwaibou Conateh and his selection board are behaving as if they are not living in The Gambia. You don’t need to live in The Gambia to know the atrocities taking place in this country.

Many human rights violations had taken place in this country during the period in question. It appears that Suwabou and co careless about the basic rights and liberties of Gambians. They tend to give more prominence to Jammeh’s fake HIV/Aids cure than the rights and liberties of Gambians.

Suwaibou has joined the APRC misinformation machinery. There is no cure for aids. Jammeh had not cured any aids patient yet to warrant such an award.

The News and Report stands to be accused of giving false hope to Gambian aids sufferers by trying to recognize Jammeh’s aids cure claim. Jammeh is an obstacle to the cure of aids because the mixed messages he is circulating would only undermine the nation’s quest to tackle this global pandemic.

Mr. Conateh and co are either blind or dodging from the realities on the ground. No sane Gambian would believe their story on Jammeh. It was all cooked up intended to please a monster turned dictator Yahya Jammeh.

Where was Suwaibou Conateh when Daba Marena and four others were summarily executed by trigger happy state guard soldiers? Where was Conateh when Tamsir Jasseh, the late Lt. Colonel Vincent Jatta, EX NIA DG Abdoulie Kujabi, Foday Barry and other coup suspects were tortured? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when UDP’S Mariam Denton was held for couple of months without trial by the NIA? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when Razia Diab a former nominated MP was detained and abused in custody by her captives? Where was Suiwabou Conateh when MP Duta Kamaso was detained and dismissed from her job for no just cause? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when dozens of Freedom Newspaper subscribers were arrested and tortured by the NIA? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when the Gambian state illegally shutdown the Independent Newspaper? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when the NIA arrested his colleagues Madi Ceesay and Musa Saidykhan and tortured them? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when the Gambian state murdered Deyda Hydara? Where was Suwaibou Conateh when The Gambian state ordered for the killing of 44 Ghanaians and other 20 West African nationals? Don’t tell us that you were not in The Gambia when the said incidents occurred.

For the sake of posterity, we deem it imperative to speak our mind on such travesty of justice. In any true democracy, the private press is expected to assert its independence at all times. We have no qualms with the Daily Observer awarding Jammeh Man of the Year because that paper had clearly and openly manifested that it’s pro-government.

Unless, the News and Report Magazine wants to tell us that it had changed its editorial policy, there is no justification for such an award given to Jammeh. Independent Media organizations which worth their salt, served as watchdogs to the Government of the day. It scrutinizes Government policies and programs with the sole aim of promoting accountability and transparency. Such private media outlets, criticized the Government when necessary and offer solutions to the problem at hand. Let us live praise singing journalism to the Government gutter press. The private press is the bastion of hope for the oppressed Gambian populace.

Suwaibou’s move has shattered the hopes of many Gambians. He has not only minces all what he had been preaching over the years, but had shirked his responsibility as a father figure in Gambian journalism. Dishonest Intellectuals like Suiwabou are partly responsible for the current political woes Gambians are going through. They call the pot white when it is black. Intellectual dishonesty to some extent can retard development and democracy. What we have today in The Gambia is dishonest intellectuals and not serious intellectuals.

If Mr. Conateh is short of people to nominate as Man of the Year, he should cancel the whole program altogether rather than to give such prestigious wards to dictators like Jammeh. Jammeh don’t deserve that award. There are hard working and meaningful Gambians out there who are more qualified than Yahya Jammeh.

It’s a disgrace that Conateh is stooping too low by reducing his renowned Newspaper as a laughing stock to the world. History will no doubt judge Conateh and co for their journalistic dishonesty by openly trying to paint Jammeh as a good man, when he is not. Jammeh is an evil and shall die as an evil. We seriously questioned the sincerity and honesty of such an ward given to Jammeh.

What baffles many is that such awards are only given to the rich or people of high standing in society. Read these few words from Swibou “ 1.) The person selected must be someone who, through his/her work, profession or personal endeavour, is judged to have contributed the most to the public welfare and to advancing the country’s development in the interest of all Gambians.

2.) He or she must have contributed significantly in enhancing in a direct and tangible form, the social and economic status of Gambians as a whole.

3.) He or she would have put in place for posterity facilities and or infrastructures and other achievements that can serve as a lasting memorial of his/her contributions to national development.”

 Yahya Jammeh does not met the said requirements. Our farmers too need to be awarded. Suwaibou and co should look into such proposals. Their are farmers in The Gambia who deserved such an award. These farmers have not been to any extra-judicial killings, but Yahya Jammeh has been accused of such crimes against humanity. These farmers have not stolen dime from Gambians, but Jammeh has been accused of embezzling state funds over the years.

We are not the least surprised by Suwaibou’s action because one of his childhood friends in the person of Kanja B.A. S Sanneh is currently serving the Jammeh Government. Kanja is the Secretary of State for Agriculture. He used to live in Kansas here in the United States. Like many Immigrants, Kanja too was doing unskilled jobs. Thanks to the sacked Tourism Minister Susan Waffa Ogoo he was hired as a Minister. He left the US out of frustration. Corporate America could not provide him the job he wanted. He has no choice but to return home and joined Jammeh’s Government.

Kanja must have pressurized Suwaibou to offer such an award to Jammeh. But history will judge. The News and Report Magazine has now exhibited its true colors. The paper is no longer independent.

It was alleged that Suwaibou Conateh authored the coup statement which was broadcast on radio Gambia in July of 1994. Whether true or false, Suiwabou had compromised his credibility as a journalist by giving such an award to Yahya Jammeh.

Deyda Hydara must be crying in his grave today. This was not the Suwaibou Conateh we used to know. He has deviated from the truth for unknown reasons. Suwaibou should bear in mind that it’s only the truth that can set us free as a nation.

The question that comes to mind is: Has Jammeh bought the said award or it was given to him in good faith? Whatever the case might be, it was wrong on the side of Suwaibou to issue such an award without putting into consideration its long term implications.

Some APRC supporters were happy when we published the said award on Freedom. Critics like Modou Lamin Sanyang had this to say in an email to the Freedom Newspaper “Hi Editor, I recently visited your website, but it is becoming completely different from your past stories. I now admire your professionalism and sense of independence. Your news articles contained balance and objective reports. Please continue to provide alternative views and sometimes critise and come up with specific recommendations for government. You are now moving away from picking positive stories about our dear country and turning them into prophesies of doom. Your paper is now gain international interest considerations. The Gambia need many of your calibre. Continue to act as an accountability oversight for government without which certain democratic accomplishments would not be easy.

May Allah who knows all your life intentions fulfilled it for you

Thanks

Modou Lamin Sanyang.”

Sanyang the Freedom Newspaper harbors no grudge against Yahya Jammeh. We are here to carry out a job and nothing can make us shirk our responsibilities as journalists. The Freedom Newspaper is not closing its doors to Yahya Jammeh and the APRC. This paper is for all Gambians, irrespective one’s political affiliation, creed or tribe. Our primary task is to report the news faithfully, objectively and accurately.

Coming back to the Suwaibou’s sad story, we call on Gambians to remain steadfast and refused to sell their integrity because of money and position. Suiwabou Conateh has betrayed The Gambian media and its citizens. He is more of a sellout than a true journalist. We rest our case!!

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