Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lessons from the death of Kebba Dibba and others

The late Kebba Dibba of GRTS
By all accounts, Alhagie. Kebba Dibba was a kind and gentle human being who was generally acclaimed as an excellent print and television reporter by colleagues and consumers of news alike.

The outpouring of Facebook tributes from Gambians of all works of life following the announcement of his untimely death is testimony to his general appeal to those who ardently support Yaya Jammeh as well as the ferocious opponents of the Gambian dictator.

As a television journalist at the government-owned and controlled GRTS, Mr. Dibba served Jammeh well with regular interviews that were noted more for their propaganda value than newsworthiness in line with the standard dictators' manual of using state media to disseminate propaganda to advance a personality cult designed to perpetuate the dictatorship's grip on power.

Despite Mr. Dibba's loyalty to Jammeh that was on visual display on national television, when the veteran journalist fell ill, neither the state-owned television nor the person of Yaya Jammeh lifted a finger to see to it that he gets the medical treatment he desperately needed until last weekend when he was finally transported to Dakar where he died a few days later.

The lack of attention paid to Mr. Kebba Dibba by Jammeh when he was gravely ill and in need of urgent medical attention is consistent with the dictator's lack of empathy for anyone outside his immediate family comprising of his wife and two children.  Jammeh is known to abandon allies who've outlived their usefulness and Kebba Dibba was just one case in a string of cases involving former close allies and collaborators of Jammeh,

Mayor Musa Jammeh and Captain Tumbul Tamba both served as personal body guards to Jammeh and were known to be more loyal to Jammeh than to the state they both swore to serve and protect. Both fell ill and were abandoned by Jammeh to die slow and miserable deaths, leaving their young families in a destitute state without state assistance to this day.  

Momodou Sagnia, an avid supporter who managed Jammeh's television image as Managing Director of GRTS was abandoned when he became ill and infirmed for several months before Jammeh succumbed to pressure from family members to send him to Cuba for treatment.  Mr. Sagnia later died.  Lessons to be drawn from these and similar instances of neglect and abandonment by Jammeh of former allies and supporters are clear : support the dictator at your own risk.