Breaking News:Bantaba With Our Own Omar Bah-Ambassador Essa Sey Speaks!
BANTABA WITH OMAR BAH

ESSA BOKAR SEY
Retired diplomat

In our maiden edition of The Bantaba column, Omar Bah interviews Essa Bokar Sey, a former Gambian gerdamorie officer, diplomat, a bilingual, prosateur and social commentator. Mr Sey, now based in the US, who is a senior management member of the Freedom Newspaper speaks about the current political and social situation in The Gambia, President Jammeh, the opposition and many other pertinent issues. Read on.

Bantaba: What’s your honest opinion on Gambia’s political situation today? Do you think that President Jammeh is ruling the country rightly?
Answer: Mr Bah,Thank you for giving me the privilege to express my opinion or opinions for that matter vis-a-vis the current political climate in The Gambia. I would refrain from centralising things on the person of President Jammeh. After all Jammeh is Jammeh because Gambia is there.Any system that is leader-centered is bound to fail,any system that is principle-centered is bound to prevail period. By this I mean President Jammeh is a president because there are people to lead. He cannot be a president where we have only hills,stones and trees. This is exactly why the word “preside” is the root of the noun he uses as a title.If we are to evaluate the results of leadership we have to equally evaluate the response coming from those being led. When evaluations are done in a subjective way means no party will ever be wrong or right. If evaluations are done objectively means truth is not all that far away. Can one ever find absolute truth in this thick layers of political hay? It is so difficult where checks and balances are not respected. Therefore Mr Bah,winning elections is not the only answer to good governance of course it is an important spring board. This is why some people simplified it by saying  “democracy means access to resources”
Access to what and which resources? This is where effective plans matter so much.
This is where difference in political opinion usually emerges. I as a person can say that I am not satisfied “now” in the way Jammeh is running the affairs of the country. Does that mean am totally condemning anything he does? No. Why? Because there is absolutely no bad or good system in the world. However,what is not acceptable is where bad covers good.
President Jammeh does not entertain heated arguments or harsh criticism,this is  the major thing affecting his image in and out of the country right now. Genuine or constructuve criticism can either be harsh or not harsh. Is it him the one being crticised who should determine who says what or not? Of course not. If he has to determine who says what or not at any given means the word “dictatorship”. I do not think Jammeh should allow himself in every pool of unnecessary garbage talk! He has to stop talking every where at anytime without thinking about the repercussions. Him Jammeh always sees this as bravado whereas responsibility is far  from being cowardice.Infact strong men appear like they are scared when asked to lead. Leadership is not about a title,it is about respecting responsibility. Jammeh does not have to think that anyone who says…”Yaya this or that..”,is a bad element.How about if those he is calling bad elements turn around and insult him back? This means he is reducing his aura. This is why he is addressed HE. If not let him ask himself whether he was addressed HE before 1994? He knows he was not. Therefore Mr Bah,I would finally say that as far as I am concerned there is still much to be achieved under Jammeh,particularly when it comes to tolerance. Yaya Jammeh has to be tolerant. He must accept the fact that he cannot give or take away luck. He may resort to killing and jailing but let him also remember that God determines the time one dies therefore it always coincides with a cause. When the cause is political means the killer was speeding while God was determined to end life. This means Yaya can never kill the person who will replace him one day. There is one wolof proverb that says…”Banta bee touch bott,Bott dukoh giss” The stick that will destroy an eye,is never seen by that very eye”. He was born in 1965 when Jawara became the first Prime Minister. He replaced Jawara in 1994 by force. Was Jawara able to stop that? No. Has Yaya also forgotten the same God who was there with him at Denton Brigde? I hope not. If he does then he will meet God along the way.
 
Many Gambians both at home and overseas have expressed the need for Jammeh to go come what may. In your view, why should Jammeh leave?
 Mr Bah, for Yaya Jammeh to go or stay is phylosophically not within anyone’s powers. However there is also one proverb that says..”The voice of the people,is the voice of God”. Leadership is not always meant to reside in a palace. Prophets and spiritual leaders are also forces to be reckoned with. Have we ever seen a prophet who was sent to talk to Rabbits? Not yet.This is why I want to once again remind my old friend Yaya that, listening or talking to the people does not only stop at “48-0″ alsamaadeh”.As the latter is his latest motto in town. He has to remember that there can never be a star where competetors are absent. We always hear about this and that person can run faster than the others. Okay how about if there was no one running with the person who took first? Was there going to be a winner? This is why humanbeings are the answer to every challenge a leader faces.
Sidelining or snubbing those who oppose Yaya in Jarra or Niumi is not the answer. The answer is mutual respect. Mr Bah as far as am concerned Yaya Jammeh will certainly go one day. There is no one who will ever rule on this earth more than time. Time is the only everlasting ruler chosen by the eternal one called God.You see Mr Bah when people tell Yaya that his opponents want him to go,he in return angrily retorts and says..”I am here to stay for another 40 years” Do you know why? In his mind he thinks this will make some people go mad and they cannot do anything about it.(Laughter) Mr Bah,if anyone tells you he or she will live for ever or be somewhere as long as they like, please do not get angry. Simply remind them that Allah is watching and hearing. Infact if I want to see someone off a place  I will not confront the person. You know what I will do? I will ask God  to grant my wishes too. In as much as Yaya can pray and quote Allah let him also remember that Allah or God is no one single person’s purse.Wolof says..”Yalla du kalpeh kenn”-God is no one’s purse or wallet. I will not say I want Yaya to go. All I will say is that May Allah be the judge.
No one can force God or Allah to do something before the time He chooses to do so arrives.
This is a phylosophical fact. However this same fact makes us respect intellectuals like Halifa Sallah and Ousainou Darboe. They have said and done what is expected with maturity the rest is to be completed by time. “Do not despair” can all by itself balance the motto…”48-0 alsamaadeh”. When wisdom dictates force freezes!
 
For the first time in Gambia’s body politics that journalists are killed, forced into exile, while coup suspects are being exposed to brutal torture and summarry executions. Your views on this?
I agree with you about the torturing and killing of Journalists. Because I lost an old mentor and a friend Deyda Hydara. This however does not mean I am accusing anyone directly. All I can remind the state here is that, responsibility and accountability are twins. Even if the blame game is still spiralling over Deyda’s death I cannot see how the state can exonerate itself from this crime. Why? Because it is the state’s responsibility to protect its citizens therefore whoever killed Deyday should be tracked down and brought to justice period.When national duty comes  a state should not argue and coil back. In such cases the state should perform and inform. Regarding coups and coup suspects,I think this regime is always suspicious of anyone who openly criticises it. Let alone if that person is or was a member of the armed forces. Anyway the lessons gathered out of such torture sessions are two fold. One is that some people tend to kill before thinking and two those who perform these dirty duties are also not safe from the same blast furnace of tortures. Today there are people behind barrs who were so close to Jammeh as soldiers. If they tortured others in the past then there turn has come. If they did not torture anyone then their innocence will free them one day. That is why one has to be very very careful in accusing others of things like coups.
There maybe genuine accusations but most of the time these accusations are motivated by internal fights. This is where Jammeh has to be careful. Even if he strongly believes  that someone wanted to overthrow him I think he should always exercise restraint and resort to the courts. As time goes on he may rediscover something that was hidden from him by those he is sending around town to effect these random arrests. Torture cannot breed peace it only breeds more hatred and tension. Infact if the system keeps resorting the courts is better because that can win the confidence of outside governments. Jammeh can while and yell all he wants but he himself knows that his government needs the west. Let him stop these wild tirade and concentrate on being a valuable citizen. Value cannot be achieved in the absence of standards. There are International standards any society or leader has to accept and follow. These are things that aren’t negotiable. If he chooses to think that by arresting and torturing people he will be feared then he has chosen a very long and wrong path.
 
 Do you think history will  judged President Jammeh fairly with all the atrocities associated with him and his government?
Asnwer:-Mr Bah well the words complementing the root of your question have determined the end!(Laughter).That is,where you mentioned the atrocities associated with him. Today I saw him received Bensouda of the ICC. I hope Jammeh did understand the purpose of her visit around Africa? Bodies like the ICC are useful to that effect. Bensouda was so fair in her way of explaining the process. This is why she said Charles Taylor will receive a fair trial. Usually celebrities or former well known leaders like Taylor are tried by the media before the gavel of a prosecutor strikes the table. Those who try these leaders are from opposite ends. They are either extreme and blind loyalists or very subjective enemies deriving their hatred from personal vendetta. These two are not qualified the fate of a person like Jammeh when he leaves office. However,courts are after facts,evidence and credibility. If Jammeh ever leaves office and then facts,evidence and credibility exonerate him then do be it. On the other hand if they hang him then he should not cry foul either. History is a not reliable judge by the way. This is why a french writer said…’Seuls les embeciles sont reccompenses”- Always it is the idiots that history compensates. This is indeed a phylosophical perspective. This is from a writer’s mind during an era of domination in  a country that has gone through one of history’s darkest days. Therefore we will wait and see if history will once again be the same unreliable judge or not. History can know the bad side of someone and then decide to cause a natural death for the person without him or her being tried.This is what I am driving at..Laughter.

Recently the President announces salary and personal protection package for ex-Presidents. Do you support the move? If No, why ?
Mr Bah,I think the answer to this question can be found in the one for question four.
These laws are man-made.They are not biblical or dogmatic per se. I know this system is trying to copy what obtains in the USA and other parts of the world,however,they also have to remember that a president in the USA,France or UK will never say that he or she will rule for the next forty years! These are societies where checks and balances have gone above the whims and caprices of one single soul. In July 1994 Jammeh overthrew and banned a constitution that was there for decades. Who says what his regime is putting in place will live after his departure? History will then be called back and try him and his followers. History may not be a good judge but one thing I know is that history repeats itself.

Do you ever regret serving the APRC government? If no why?
Answer:-Serving under Yaya is and was not a crime. After all I was at the ministry of external affairs in 1993 well before Yaya came to power.President Jammeh himself knows that. I do not regret serving under him,neither do I regret having served under President Jawara before Jammeh came to power.What I regret is that an army was created by Jawara.
We could have simply stayed like Costa Rica. Do we even need an army and armouries in the first place. What I regret is that families were torn apart for the sake of evil politics. I was lucky that I didn’t suffer the same fate but I know plenty of my friends who did. It is still continuing. This is what I regret. My regrets aren’t personal but national. However,I would advise that those causing these national regrets not to regret when we no longer regret.
We are indeed bent on yielding fruits that will help everyone  forget these national regrets inluding Jammeh himself.
 
What makes you to disagree with Jammeh on his policies?
I disagree with Jammeh? Who said so? (Laughter…..) Hmmm…Jammeh’s policies as I mentioned earlier on are meant to be left flowing without challenges! This is where I find it hard to cooperate with this old friend. I am one person who will never bow before a humanbeing God willing. Especially where I find the reason not to accept what the person is doing. Jammeh himself knows this.As I always say…I do not hate Yaya,I will never hate Yaya and I do not intend to teach my kids to hate him or his family. No. At the personal level believe me if I were to meet Yaya I can forgive him and forget everything bad he did to me and he knows that he has wronged me! Yaya maybe too arrogant to apologise to people directly but if he fails to realise this it will be the cause of his downfall one day. However,when it comes to national issues I will never give up my stand if he also chooses to think that anything he does or says should be considered a natural law. No,thats not accurate. This is where our souls cannot converge anymore. I care less if Yaya stays there forever while waiting to slaughter me.Me not going back to The Gambia is not  a gold medal for him too. Who is the loser here? Our country period. How many other people are away like Essa Sey? So many. What develops a country much better than human resources? Nothing else. One thing is certain God is everywhere on this planet. I can leave far away and forget about my nostalgia for the sake of what I believe in. My disagreement with Yaya is too deep but is not personal. There are people who wanted to sell that notion around but over the years they have been proven very wrong. Now they know where the truth lies.
 
If you have the chance of meeting him, what would you tell him?
I will tell him this…Your Exellency Mr President..How are you doing today?” This is if he is still occupying the seat of power. If he is not then I will tell him this..”My good old friend brother Yaya..how are you doing today?” I chose to address him with his title because he is there and representing us at the UN General Assembly every september. One can be angry and blow rhetorics around but that does not mean he is not to be called President. He is one and we have to recognise the difference between what we feel and what reality is.
Apart from greetings I will never disrespect Yaya in public until when he chooses to start it. I think if Yaya has not forgotten the past so suddenly he would never start addressing me with disrespect outside The Gambia. Inside The Gambia he can get me chained and killed because he has the power and  I do not. One man cannot fight a dozen anyway. Being realistic is not the same as being submissive either.

Is this the Jammeh you used to know at the Fajara Barracks? Has he changed for the better or for the worst?
What is the better? and what is the worst? is my problem here…(laughter).
As far as I can remember Yaya Jammeh is still the same old character I and others like Lt Binneh Minteh used to know. He is the same man who sang the songs of despair with endless complains about how corrupt the Jawara regime was. He is still the same person who use to spend hours and hours at mile seven near radio Gambia cursing the old PPP cliche he called thieves. Whenever,I tune into GRTS via my broadband system I see the same Yaya and the same character. The only thing that has changes in Yaya is his weight.
He really has grown weight.He has to do some jogging and stop being constantly angry. After all when Yaya threatens the whole world has he forgotten that he lives in this very world with those he is threatening? Why all the fuss after all?
Jammeh has to know that time and generation are concepts therefore one has to live with these two in order to be able to adapt. Has he adapted to what surrounds him now?Physically he has but internally Jammeh is still the same guy who thinks that the whole world is a battle ground(laughter).He also forgets that noise does not mean bravery.

Comparing the Jawara government and that of the ruling APRC, which of the two  do you think is the best as of today?
There is an old Chinese phylosopher who said this..”between two evils choose the lesser one” This however,does not mean that any of the regimes is evil,I am simply speaking in riddles here. As far as tolerance is concerned Jawara is my star. As far as relations are concerned Yaya and I started a long time ago ie in 1985. Therefore I would simply not choose here because I was not a fan of PPP at school whereas I have parted with Yaya now.To be candid from high school days to now the party I admired and still admire is PDOIS. I have friends who disagree with me on this but my liking for the party is more natural than political. I grew as a chap searching for certain answers..political ones at the time it was PDOIS that  could help my growing mind. Jammeh himself cannot deny that the teachings of PDOIS brought us closer while serving in the army. I will not be surprised if he denies that now,however I still have our old pictures too so let him be careful not dispute this fact(laughter)
 
 

As a former seasoned security officer, do you think Jammeh would leave office peacefully or violently? What type of person is he?
Am I a seasoned security officer? (Laughter) Mr Bah do you think I am? Anyway,for Yaya to leave peacfully or violently depends on Yaya and those who advise him at the moment. You see sometimes those who surround a president add more salt to what he or she does when it comes to change or relinquishing power. This is the same trend that caused Charles Taylor his current predicament.The same circle surrounded Samuel K Doe.
The same surrounded Sadam Hussein,others and others. Today we have seen Former Colonel Mengistu sentenced for life in absentia. Therefore the issue of leaving in peace does not lie in Jammeh’s hand because Abacha was more armed and more powerful than Yaya. Didn’t he leave peacefully? He left a dead man while Nigeria stayed behind a peaceful country. Peace cannot be controlled by one person. Peace cannot be forced either. Peace has to be created as a fountain of tolerance.So him staying or leaving in peace can be deternined by society but not him.

You are among the few former government workers speaking out at this hour. Many are afraid to speak their mind on national issues. Does this mean that you have nothing to hide? That you are not afraid of Yahya and his government?
Answer:-Anyway Bah I said a similar thing on a podium in New York during the innauguration of NADD in 2005.That is,I cannot clean or dirty myself,it is the citizens and a future responsible government that can do so. Whoever leads that government will also be accountable therefore accountability is an ongoing process. You see Bah,when a government thinks that at anytime someone talks he or she should be muddied means that government is not responsible. Creating stuff is easy but forcing God to accept what has been created is not so easy. What I care about is what God see and knows. The rest for me is just form but not substance.

Can you tell us your relationship with the Freedom Newspaper? What inspired you to be part of Freedom?
My relationship with the freedomnewspaper started when Pa Nderry Mbai the proprietor called me one cold evening asking for my views regarding his readiness to launch an online paper. I replied in all honesty therefore advised Pa to register the paper legally get his Federal ID and then move on. He infact had already thought about doing that therefore my advise did not fall on deaf ears. Sometimes like in every relationship there are points where we agree or disagree thus brainstorm and move on. Pa Nderry infact asks me to share the responsibility of editing etc with him,however what I always tell Pa is this…I don’t want to be too involved in that because am not a trained journalist. I can help in managing the administrative part but would rather leave the journalistic side to the one who was trained. Indeed literary writing has been in me well before I met Pa therefore I execise my brain facets every now and again(laughter) when time allows me to do so. Pa is a highy disciplined chap whom I admire very much. He is also my “goro” or in-law because my wife is related to Uncle Fafa who is Pa’s uncle as well. Gambia is just too small(laughter).

As a management member of this leading paper, your presence here might further scare Jammeh to death as many people said you know a lot about the AFPRCand the APRC government?
No, No, No!!! Sure Jammeh knows that I will not be irresponsible therefore say anything and everything for no reason.I cannot know the AFPRC more than Sanna Sabally so I respect Sanna too when he speaks. He knows things that most of us don’t. Binneh Minteh also knows a lot about the AFPRC that I don’t know,however I know a lot more about the post-96 era than they do too. This is why we need to synchronise and exchange information. No one single person knows it all by himself. For Jammeh to be scared to death? I do not think so he will be scared to death just because I was working with him and I am helping manage this paper or other matters of concern within a legal framework. Why should Jammeh be scared when he said that,even the rabbits in The Gambia know his government is not corrupt?(laughter). Mr Bah Jammeh is a macho man you know….(laughter).

Having served in Taiwan as Gambia’s Ambassador, what can you tell us about Taiwan’s cheque book diplomacy? Do you have respect for Taiwan?
Yes I do strongly respect Taiwan.Taiwan is a society that derives its historical roots from a civilisation thats 5000 old. Taiwan is not recent it is old and valuable within the world community as a society. I have friends in Taiwan and I still value that friendship. My vision towards Taiwan is not political,it is human and natural.
However when it comes to my political perspective I think Taiwan has to rearrange itself internally. They cannot buy minds,minds have to be convinced. I do not also think Taiwan is using cheques to court friends,I think their approach is genuine based on Chinese culture,hwoever the timing and the fashion is not understood. Taiwan could have simply created a research center therefore be looking into its  diplomatic”sales strategies” as far as convincing the world is concerned. This way they would be able to maintain “people-to-people” relations instead of “state-to-state”. The latter worries me  a lot as far as the way Taiwan is conducting its affairs with countries like The Gambia is concerned. Taiwan has to think about the importance of changes within these countries. This means they have to put in a mechanism that entertain continuity but not to rupture relations(political or economical) with their traditional friend in the event that a state they befriended is changed! This is a trend I have always observed while in and out of Taiwan. If the regimes in Taipei want to stay in Africa during this era when Mainland China is gaining ground they have to work with the people and stop using presidents or states unilterally. This maybe helpful for the short term but risky for the long term.Taiwan despite the fact that is yet to be a member of the UN cannot also be totally ignored because they have established good democratic institutions within the Island. I did visit almost every corner in Taiwan and I have seen first hand how much they have developed that place. In The Gambia also our people should not expect the Taiwanese to tell how we should handle our leadership. They have seen how they the Taiwanese are handling the scandals surrounding their current president. This means the people are all the same every where it is only the states that cause most of the smoke.
Even if I were to be the head of state in The Gambia I may still want to maintain clean relations with Taiwan not because they have money but because they are people who love their land. I know that for a fact. Therefore I fully respect Taiwan. I do not agree with the way they handle their diplomatic moves towards Africa but I know they can be helpful when guided by genuine progress reports on given projects.

Is Jammeh government being sincere with Taiwan after knowing that it cannot fight its case at the UN? Is the Gambia  capable of bringing Taiwan at the UN?
Mr Bah being genuine is relative. He can be genuine in pushing his desire as a head of state and a personal friend. However,he can also be accused of not being so genuine with himself for not recognizing the fact that Mainland China cannot be forced by small Gambia with bitter words on the podium of the UN General Assembly. Jammeh has to know that sweet words are more powerful than bitter ones. This means he cannot use his membership at the UN to fight a war for other communities even without understanding the depth of their history. Taiwan and Mainland China are like two bucks in the same farm,one is bigger than the other but they are both fed by the same pasture. This is why any country or community cannot just come into this Sino problem and start fanning the flames for the sake of money. The Gambia has been gaining from Mainland China before 1994. I was the one who personally received the diplomatic passports of the embassy personnel who were representing Mainland before Taiwan came back. Taiwan was in The Gambia until the seventies. So Jammeh did not teach anyone about Taiwan. The Gambia’s history has been linked to Taiwan well before he came to the state house. I do not think Taiwan’s problem can be solved through endless UN Resolutions,this is a problem that started when Changkhai Shek was there during the Mao era. It has since been biting every political muscle therefore will need seasoned diplomacy but not immature ranting to be solved.

Did you receive any money from Taiwain onbehalf of the Jammeh government under your capacity as Ambassador?
I have never personally received any money from the Taiwanese authorities in favour of Jammeh. However,much one dislikes what Jammeh does,it is always better to say the truth for the sake of Allah or God. All I can say is that loan were signed and funds forwarded to benefit the people in our country. These are loans archived in government shelves. The parties who worked with me in 2001 are former SOS Musa Silla,Famara Jatta and Assan Drammeh. Assan did a fantastic job in his report and in preparation of the MOU under the direct supervision of Musa Silla. Musa is a seasoned administrator who did so much for the country. I can still remember when all of us worked until 6am with one Mr Yang.  A copy MOU leading towards the loan agreement of $35Million US Dollars for the purchase of electrucity generators is still with me. I can divulge it where necessary.

Please tell our readers who you are – your origin, family, regional, educational and employement.
I am Essa Sey the son of Bokarr commonly known as Samba Sey(father) and Adja Haddy Bah(mother). Both parents were born and raised in Kuntaya village Jokadu district North Bank Division. I attended Kuntaya Primary School,Kerewan(Baddibu) Secondary School then to ArmItage High School where I graduated with a WAEC certificate in 1982. From there I went to work at Bansang Secondary School,Action Aid The Gambia,The Gambia Gendarmerie(5 years).In 1990 I left the gendarmerie and went to The Gambia College to do an HTC Program(French/English),then to France at an Institute called Besancon in the region of Franche Compte where I was certfified to teach French as a foreign language.During this period I also attended  training courses at the Dakar University IFE-Science Humaine(Branch).After coming home from France the then director of schools was Mrs Ramatoulie Seck. I was posted to Tahir Ahmadiyya High School Mansakonko where I stayed for a month and then came back to attend an Interview of a job I was applying for at the then ministry of external affairs as protocol welfare officer. I was interviewed at the PSC-Public Service Commission. The then chairman of PSC was former secretary general Mustafa MB Wadda.I was offered the job after crossing the Interview and then started working on the same post from october 1993 to April 1994 when I was sent to Sieraleone to do a short course on Public Admin and Diplomatic Report writing,a program sponsored by the commonwealth. In July 1995 I was posted to France as first secretary. In 1997 I was promoted to counsellor at the same mission. In 1998 I was posted to the United Nations. In 1999 I was promoted to the rank of Ambassador to serve in France,Russia,Spain,Switzerland,Portugal,Hungary,UNESCO etc.
In 2001 I was posted to Taiwan where I served until 2002 then was transfered again to Washington DC where I was until June 2003. That was the year God decided for me to leave and do something else. From september 2003 I was hired to teach at Hurst Euless Bedford Independent School district in Texas. I taught there until June 2005 when I was offered  a similar job in Kentucky Louisville where I was until I picked up a job with Samsclub Walmart at the marketing department. This is a job I did for 6 months while doing a training program on Interpretation/Translation. On  the 15th of December 2006 I left the latter position for a better one with the Health Services-Marketing/Public Relations. This is a position I like Omar because it has urged me to revisit a lot french texts(laughter). You know Omar life is a long process where we either go down the hill or stay up waiting to go down. It is always good for one to get ready for change. During the early days of my new life I was thinking a lot about how I can continue maintaining my handi cap child Baba Sey because he does not walk or talk. This was my most immediate concern therefore I cared less if I carried cartons or logs to feed my family. This is why I will never forget an advise a Gambian in the name of Sheikh Omar Faye world bank officer gave me. During the first week of my new life Mr Faye advised me not to think about what I was before. He told me to pray and play my cards very well(laugh). He gave me genuine and frank advise. I applied that and then saw myself growing again. Indeed I received very good moral support from some Gambians. People like Modou Darboe and his wife a good sister I will ever live to remember in my life. I do not see anything on earth for the rest of my life that can make me forget the moral support these people gave me in 2003,2004. Never. Today where ever they are,I am saying to them that their man did not lose. God is great! God so great failure is far away for now. Omar faith means humility. If Jesus was a shepherd and Muhammad(PBUH) was employed by his own wife as a marketing sales person… who am I not to face the challenge  path of life? I really,really thank God for creating critics besides me. You know why? Because I always think about the dangers of failing within these critics. This Omar is a good propeller for any person any where. I hope I have told you something about me?(laughter)

In your own opinion, Gambians are rabbits or human beings in the eyes of Jammeh?
Sure Jammeh sees Gambians as humanbeings not rabbits.He maybe angry and giving examples but I will not “certify” him with.

What is dictatorship?
Dictatorship is an outcome of dictatorial methods,period. It means totalitarianism and totalitarianism is a disease in itself. Literally speaking you will remember when you were at school Omar right? (laughter) In class when a teacher says today “we have dictation” means each and every student is expected to write down verbatim what the teacher is reading aloud.This cannot happen in democracy! Why? because the president does not know all the subjects affecting a country more than everyone. This is why concensus is better than dictatorship. This is why voices are better than a single voice. This is why God,Allah loves it when we pray at congregations. This is why the USA is more powerful than any country on earth today. The answer can be found in their name. United States of America is the answer. These are fifty states coming together. These are fifty governors elected to serve in various states. This is why the terms “state level” and “Federal level” exist.
This is why it is people who helped capture Milosovic not rabbits. The people are the base nothing more nothing less.
 
What do think holds in today’s Gambia?
In today’s Gambia? The reflection can be found in what the people say. Please read my previous answers. I have said it in there…(laughter) do you want to squeeze me more than Pa Nderry does?(laughter).
 
People say Jammeh is more timid than a wild goat, how true is this assertion?
Jammeh timid? Anyone who says so does not really know Yaya. He is far from being timid. No no no…Yaya is not timid Omar.

Some religionists say Jammeh is a punishment to the Gambian people as a result of whatever wrongs we might have committed, what is your opinion on this?
Anyway exactly as I said earlier on. That is, no one can speak for God or Allah.There are people He has given certain powers but not to the extent of representing His own decisions. I would not say that Yaya is a punnishment because this may mean am questioning Allah. I will of course continue speaking against anything he Yaya does and I find it unacceptable.You know…people sometimes forget that Allah created “Fir’Awn” Pharao. He the same Allah created all the former ruthless rulers we had on earth. Alongside Him the same Allah created people to rise up against what these rulers are doing. The same thing used to be said against the former President of Mauritania. I was part of a research group where I worked with a Mauritanian who used to work for Discovery Channel. Therefore I have first hand knowledge about that former president too. He was Jammeh’s friend. Today hasn’t this man left Mauritania? Of course he is gone. Has God or Allah left Mauritania? No He is still there and will be there after President Vaal and others leave! Let us work towards the truth and then leave Allah or God determine when and how He will destine the future of The Gambia.
 
The Gambian economy is ailing, what do you think needs to be done to revamp it?
Why not we leave this answer for another Interview? (laughter)

What do you make of the Paul Commision established by Jammeh which he refused to face even though he has more currption charges hanging on his head?
The Paul commission for me was done because the government had to show the records of its book keeping to the IMF. Was it done in the right and the right spirit? Ah well Omar..Hmmmm…can you also tell me where Justice Paul himself is at the moment?(laughter). I do not have faith in that commission but that does not mean I do not have faith in these learned men of law either. Being knowledgeable does not mean being honest either. So the rest for posterity to judge! I have not read the commission’s report at length yet. Now that you have asked me this question can you please allow me read and then answer your question during another Interview please…?

In your own opinion, should those socalled intellectuals who continue to serve Jammeh for their selfish interest despite all the odds, which they very well know about, be hanged at the nearest lamppost?
So-called Intellectuals? I do not know about any so-called Intellectual serving Jammeh. Some of these people were there before he came. Some of them are more genuine than Jammeh himself. Loving one’s country should be seen as a public announcement. It is part of faith. The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) said this…”Hibbul Athan Minnal Eemaan” He said loving one’s nation, people or community is part of faith. This is why Jesus also chose to die for those who believe. Why? Because he loves them more than they love themselves. However, despite the fact that there are genuine people everywhere, on the other hand there are those who think than man proposes and disposes. This is wrong. Instead it God who disposes. I do not want to blame these people you call so-called Intellectuals Omar. I do not also think that hanging someone at a lamppost will stop anything be it hypocrisy or mismanagement. In fact, Omar I think the best punnishment for a person who did wrong, is for that individual to live through life and those he or she hated or disagreed with rise up! This is the best punnishment. Let anyone who is a so-called Intellectual and being blinded by personal interest at the expense of saving the nation live and witness the clouds of change. Those clouds most rain on us one day Omar God willing.

Democratic means have failed; coups have failed; do you think rebellion through which innocent civilians die or a popular uprising are the only options left to get rid of Jammeh and his dictortarial rigime?
Democratic means have failed? I do not agree on that one Mr Bah. Democracy is not a test to be timed by invegilators. It is an ongoing process. In fact, can you also tell if Jammeh would just jump and resign tomorrow? It was in 1986 that parties like PDOIS came into existence. It was in 1996 that one of the students Halifa and Sam Sarr helped pay his school fees became the second elected president of The Gambia. He is Yaya Jammeh. I also received help from Sedia Jatta because he gave me a book to read in Bundung while I was in the gendarmerie doing a private course in French. Sedia must have forgotten that. These are part of the democratic process. Remember I told you, there are people who believe that democracy  means “access to resources”.
This is why I do not concur with forceful ways of changing a government. This is why Yaya Jammeh should always be careful when sending his whirling accusations. Omar never ever go in for armed rebellion. You see my late father Uztass Bokarr Sey used to tell me this..”Essa petrol cannot put off fire, it only adds the power of fire”. By this dad meant to tell me that fighting in the streets was not good. I think bullets cannot solve a problem every where. Mahatman Ghandi succeeded. Nelson Mandela succeeded. So will decency continue succeeding against evil.

At the moment, security has been beefed up at the Denton Bridge where armed paramilitary officers are included in the guards there. Militarily, as a seasoned former security officer, what do think is in the minds of those in charge of our national security?
Oh yeah…hmmm…I did not know that! I think Yaya like exposing his armoury all the time. Just as I said he thinks that the whole world is a battle ground. I will not give in any security advice here because that means wasting my time. Yaya thinks that he has the best security on earth. Well…so be it. He can keep on beefing up while serving beef to those guarding the bridge! (laughter).
I really care less about these ways of doing things. I will never pray for war in my country even if it means me living abroad for the rest of my life, I think democracy is a good answer.

Who is your best Gambian personality at the moment?
Answer: At the moment? Omar you are really Interesting. My best Gambia personality at the moment or personalties?-Laughter. If you had said two or more I would have started with you as the Man of the Year 2006 for Freedomnewspaper (laughter). For now my best man is Halifa Sallah, I like the man, its just natural. The first time I saw him in action was during a rally at Nema Kunku. I could not go away, by then I was in the crack unit of the gendarmerie serving with Yaya. Halifa has always been a guy I admire and I told him this directly.

What is your opinion about opposition leaders, Halifa Sallah and Ousainou Darboe?
I think they are doing their best under very difficult circumstances. In Africa being an opposition is always too hard. No enough money, no effective means of communication, the illiteracy rate is too high, governments still see themselves as former rulers of The Songhai empire. Our own house is really not in order as far as tolerance is concerned. Omar democracy cannot flourish where ignorance is prevailing. Our own illiteracy rate is at 70% as at today! Thats serious. A small percentage of Gambians are able to read what we write on the internet etc. In fact, most of those who can read do not have access to cyber cafes. When someone starts being active on line the person is trailed as a security threat! This is why you are out of The Gambia today Omar. I really think Ousainou, Halifa, Hamat, Waa, OJ should have their legacy written with respect. They have done their best and will for sure never be forgotten by me and my family to start with. Opposing Yaya is not a crime, it is a duty. Yaya himself should haved loved them more than anyone. He is trying to prove himself because he knows there are critics. He cannot expect a good legacy while trying to bury the good of his critics.
 
Where are Jammeh’s execution chambers actually?
Answer:-Jammeh has execution chambers Omar? All I know is that he calls the state central prison Mile Two his hotel. Someone who likes teasing people for sending them to prisons should know that he or she is creating a very dangerous precedence for himself too. No one should laugh at a leper or a prisoner. There is an Wolof proverb that says…”Kassoh Jombut Kenn”. This means no one is good enough not to be jailed one day. So I think Jammeh has to be very careful when he scorns at people by calling Mile Two his hotel.
 
How many executions have you witnessed?
Answer:-Me witness executions? Well Omar those executing (whom we are yet to identify directly) can answer that question for you. I was a diplomat serving abroad from 1995 to now. I cannot recall having seen any of the prisoners being mentioned here let alone attend executions.Execution is not all that a good thing for anyone to brag about. How would I have felt if any of those being killed was my own brother or sister? Too bad! This is why I do not even like talking about this painful and fearful experience. I really think Gambia deserves better than blood bath.
 Thank you Mr Bah and the editor in chief of this powerful medium.

Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, February 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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