Sidibeh I sincerely join Mr. Ousman Manjang in demanding for the immediate release from detention of Mr. Momodou Sajor Jallow who was as swiftly stripped of his ministerial position soon after he was appointed. I would also like to use this occasion to call for the release of Ousainou Darboe and all leaders and militants of the UDP, as well as all political detainees unlawfully jailed or made to disappear by the APRC government led by Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Manjang’s readiness and willingness to trade places with Mr. Jallow gives credence to his personal closeness to the erstwhile minister and former MOJA comrade; a closeness that goes beyond political fraternizing, borne undoubtedly of decades of camaraderie welded together perhaps by personal, and shared emotive sensibilities over the years. I understand and respect that relationship. Yet it appears that Mr. Manjang’s characterization of Mr. Jallow’s credentials is done at the expense of MOJA’s credibility as an ideologically firm and politically progressive organization. To suggest that political pluralism inside MOJA was as teetering and unprincipled as to promote allegiance to democracy and tyranny at once, or to enable spouses to separately struggle for justice and imperious repression is a uniquely unfortunate misrepresentation, to say the least.
MOJA was ideologically opposed to coups for various reasons: it held that coups are the outcome of conspiracies generally lacking both political and organizational roots within the masses they claim to rescue; that from our African experience, coup-makers have proven more than often to have the capacity to morph into dictatorships more brutal than the governments they overthrow; and that soldiers substitute themselves for the working classes they hope to lead, conveniently forgetting that they acquire legitimacy by the usurpation of a monopoly of violence. These were the ideas behind the reasons MOJA officially gave for not endorsing the AFPRC takeover, although it offered its subsequent government critical support. The 1994 coup was a fait accompli and all of us in MOJA welcomed it, if even half-heartedly. But some members, including Mr. and Mrs. Jallow, made a calculated and decisive choice to join the AFPRC caravan. Mr. Jallow continued to serve the APRC regime even after it butchered schoolchildren in April 2000. The decision to serve the AFPRC and APRC regimes was Mr. Jallow’s alone. It was not the consequence, directly or indirectly, of the tradition of political pluralism in MOJA. It was deliberate schizophrenic and banal opportunism.
Let me be clear. Everyone in MOJA knew what the difference is between despotism and democracy, between tyranny and humanism, between wholesale impunity and the rule of law and between a brutal and a brutalizing crackpot and a just, fair and visionary leader.
Of course it is Mr. Manjang’s prerogative to attempt to give Joe Doke a finer name. But what anyone can see is a Sajor Jallow, who with his left hand, helped in “… empowering the poor, the disadvantaged and dispossessed …” (Manjang’s words); while with his right hand, went on with “the more important business” of serving a despotic crackpot whose agents excel in crushing the heads of Gambians and murdering peasants in the Foñis and elsewhere; a bloody zero-sum game of empowering the dispossessed while brutally dispossessing them.
I pray and hope that Mr. Jallow, together with all other political prisoners and detainees, is immediately set free and that he subsequently acquires the good sense to join Jainaba and his family who must be agonizing over his undeserved incarceration. He has been after all an ardent AFPRC/APRC loyalist for a good part of twenty years.

Thank you for offering me this space.

Momodou S Sidibeh

Stockholm/Sweden

Ends

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