Wednesday, 14 November 2012 13:49(Opinion) – My Brother President Jammeh, I came to your country after fifteen years of absence and you did not even leave a donkey at the airport that I can use to ride on myself “aring aring” into the Greater Banjul Area? Hahaha.
The humour aside, I am a seasoned global adventurer with modest expectations as I am ever ready to even sleep under the bridge wherever I find myself on our planet earth.
SHAME ON ALL those who wanted to see me arrested, prosecuted, jailed, ignored, snubbed, poisoned, killed or wasted by the Yahya AJJ Jammeh government or its satellite agents once I set foot in The Gambia. I have been in The Gambia since Friday November 9 and not even a mosquito has so far dared to smell my noble blood.
As for the threats of armed rebellion against Jammeh by some usurpers and self-appointed “liberators” of Gambians, it appears as if the Diaspora-based regime change extremists are the ones being carried away by the propaganda. Here in The Gambia, people are not even taking notice. I am not seeing signs of panic on the ground and people are not behaving in any that could make you feel their lives could be messed up by supposed rebellion imposed from outside.
People seem to have confidence in President Jammeh’s capacity to prevail since to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Even some staunch Jammeh critics I spoke with told me they are against armed aggression as they still see room for constitutional change of government. Yesterday one businessman told me “let us pray the rebels would not spoil business for us.” People here appear more concerned about the negative impacts of armed rebellion on their businesses, families, properties and other personal effects than the motives of those threatening to use force against Jammeh. I am fortunate to be a bloody stranger who is known to be telling things as they are without fear or favour. I do not also have domestic political ambitions. These make it easier for people to speak their true minds to me.
I am humbled by the fact that people are still concerned about my safety and wellbeing. I have been advised not to talk freely on the phone and to be careful as the person next to me could be an informant of the National Intelligence Agency.
I landed at the Banjul International Airport on Friday November which coincidentally was WORLD PEACE DAY. My mission and intentions in The Gambia are peaceful and progressive anyway.
The immigration officers at the airport did not waste my time. They just looked at my German passport and stamped “TOURIST” on it. I collected my luggage and exchanged some Euros into Dalasi to pay for my transportation in the city. Before going, I gave my family members the shocker of their lives when I told them that I am now in The Gambia. I wanted to proceed to a hotel as I did not want to be a burden on any one but an uncle of mine insisted I sleep over at his place. Later I moves to an extended brother‘s place where I have been staying since.
Some of my family still cannot believe it is me as they gave up hope of ever seeing me again in their live times. Some thought I was a ghost. I was literally dragged out the bed to go through the joyous but exhaustive Sarahulleh “MAJAM” greeting marathon. Fifteen years is not fifteen days. The reunion was so emotional, refreshing, caring and warm.
I am in The Gambia to start the ground works on my film project on the menace of rape with the working title of THE WOMAN IN A BLACK JACKET. I promised to contribute my quota towards the development of our own Gambian film industry and I am here to prove that I am a man of my words.
I started the week with the usual official ritual with a visit to the two leading national institutions that are in charge of film in The Gambia namely, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, MoTC, and the National Centre for Arts and Culture, NCAC. One needs the blessings of the respective national government of the day to successfully execute a standard film project. This has nothing to do with raw politics. Am impressed by sanitization process initiated by the MoTC and NCAC. Though even the Permanent Secretary Momodou Joof admitted to the general slow pace of things in The Gambia, which is in sharp contrast to the time consciousness I am used to in Germany.
Later in the day I passed by the offices of “FOROYAA” newspaper to thank Editor Sam Sarr and his team for reporting on my film project before my arrival. I hope time will allow me to thank the teams of “The Daily News” and “The Standard” for publishing the stories on the same film.
While waiting for the next lines of action from the various government offices that have the documents on “THE WOMAN IN A BLACK JACKET”, I started during location survey for the different settings across The Gambia.
I scanned Latrikunda Sabiji where am currently staying and Bundung. I shortlisted my alma mater, Nusrat High School or Senior Secondary School, for the campus scenes. The meeting with Principal Karamo S. Bojang, Vice Principal Anang, School Secretary Aji Fatou, the bursar and teachers brought back fresh memories of my days as a dead stubborn high school boy who removed the word “fear” from his vocabulary.
Am proudly humbled by the invitation to give a motivational speech before the school assembly on Thursday, November 15 at 8 AM. It will be very interesting. Nothing political: just some inspirational words for the next generation of Gambian productive classes. Media houses that are interested in covering this event are free to dispatch their reporters to Nusrat this Thursday November fifteen at in the morning during assembly time. Thanks Principal Bojang for considering me as a personality who can inspire others.
Back to what brought me here in my Brother Yahya Jammeh’s republic; I hope the advisers and bureaucrats who got copies of my film project brief will not sleep on them. In the meantime, I am meeting potential actors and actresses at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne along the Kairaba Avenue for an informal interactive session.
I am yet to do the touristic sightseeing but the highway between Westfield and the Airport is in a very good state. I could not see a single ZEBRA CROSSING though. Pedestrians of all age groups, cows, goats, dogs, cats and cars all compete in using the highway in poetic choreography of chaos with cinematographic esthetics. I might integrate some of it into my film. I hope the police will at lease be controlling the breaks and lights of the vehicle to help prevent possible accidents before zebra crossing are drawn on the highways.
On the elite socializing note, my dear Teneng Mba Jaiteh where are you? Your co-manyo FJC took me out for dinner already and you are sleeping. Don’t blame me if you hear that other classy ladies on my hotlist took over your place.
Home sweet home The Gambia. What a crazy feeling to be back after so long. Everything about me is damned crazy anyway. The only mishap I experienced so far is that I lost my German ID card in a taxi. It must have dropped when I was trying to pay the fair cash.
I am so used to paying with credit cards, I need to learn how to be moving around with cash inside the pockets mixed with documents. I just hope the founders will not use it to break the law by impersonating me when I am away.
Written by Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu, currently in The Gambia
PRINCE BUBACARR AMINATA SANKANU
Currently in The Gambia
Gambian mobile: 677-46-20 add country code from outside.
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