Mathew K Jallow

Mathew K Jallow

By Mathew K Jallow

It hit Gambians across tribe and geographic location like a ton of bricks. For Fulas around the country and in the diaspora, it is a slap on the face, but for others, it was downright insulting. The denial of burial, of late Hon. Buba Baldeh, in his place of birth, Mansajang Kunda, by Yahya Jammeh, adds insult to injury.

It all began a little over a year ago with the denial of burial, at his home village of Wassadou, Foni, of the leader of the 1981 coup, the late Kukoi Samba Sanyang, and escalated with the denial of the use of, public space, the McCarthy Square, for the massive overflow of well-wishers, including sixteen Archbishops from around the world, for the burial ceremony of the late Anglican Archbishop of Gambia, Rtd. Rev. Dr. Solomon Tilewa Johnson.

The body of Hon. Buba Baldeh, loaded on the roof of a van, was visible as Senegalese officials tried desperately to convince officials on the Gambian side to allow the return of the body for burial in Mansajang Kunda barely fifteen miles from the border post. To-date, Yahya Jammeh has gotten away with the murders and executions of countless Gambians, including “so-called” accidental deaths of ex-military, Boye Bah of Sintet village and Sgt. Illo Jallow of Sare Mali, the poisoning death of NIA officer, Jaata Jallow, and the execution of Corp. Alieu Bah, among many other Fulas. In the beginning, Yahya Jammeh exploited the centuries old tribal animosities in order to use the Fulas as bulwark against other tribes’ hostile to his regime. This abuse of Fulas is not unlike Yahya Jammeh’s consistent torment of the Mandinkas, and ceaseless murders and disappearances of Foni Jolas.

But unlike most African tribes, the Fulas are renowned to be extremely tribal; the pain and hurt of one, is the hurt and pain of all. Yahya Jammeh must realize that Fulas did not spread from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and from the Sahara Desert to Central Africa by being cowards. Like his late father, Hon. Michael Baldeh, before him, Hon. Buba Baldeh was a gatekeeper into the heart of the Fula community in Gambia, something he did until his death two days ago. Today, every Fula in Gambia; from Kartong to Koina should feel slapped on the face with the denial of Hon. Buba Baldeh’s burial in the village he loved and the people who swore by him.

Without downgrading his love and commitment of all Gambian tribes, Hon. Buba Baldeh was first and foremost a culture aficionado, and his devotion to the cause of Fulanitude, and his love of the Fula people, is felt as far as Nigeria where he was, until his death two days ago, working with former Nigerian President, Muhammad Buhari, in the establishment of global Fulani association.

Today, the anger and frustration of Fulas associated with Hon. Buba Baldeh from Gambia to Niger, and from Senegal to Nigeria, is palpable. But Yahya Jammeh must be made to understand that the ancestors of the Fulas were not cowards. Musa Molloh Baldeh was not a coward. Alpha Molloh Baldeh was not a coward. Alpha Yaya Jallow was not a coward. Sheku Ousman Dan Fodio was not a coward. Amadou Hamadi Bubu was not a coward. The insult on Hon. Buba Baldeh, a modern day general among the Fulas, is an insult to Fulas, all across Africa. Where are your voices, Hon. Netty Baldeh; Sellu Jallow, Hamat Bah, Omar Jallow (OJ), Halifa Sallah, and Omar Sompo Ceesay. You each at one point or another had unbreakable relations with Hon. Buba Baldeh. It is time for this insanity to end. Hon. Buba Baldeh belongs in Mansajang Kunda. Bring his body of back where it belongs. Bring him home to rest in perfect peace for the rest of eternity, for Hon Buba Baldeh’s burial in Medina Gunass, is a slap on the face of all Fulas, and an insult to all Gambians regardless of tribe

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