|Mrs. Asombi Bojang with her son, ex-dictator Jammeh|
"Asombi", as she was affectionately known by many, was born in Bugingna, Foni Kansala, West Coast Region. According to a prominent member of the family, she married Jungkung Jammeh of Kanilai and had one son; that son being Yaya Jamus Jungkung Jammeh who seized power in 1994, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A long term resident of Bakau, she was a petty trader at the local market. She was known to be humble and very kind and generous, and in spite of being a woman of limited means then, she was a guardian to numerous kids from Foni to facilitate their attending schools in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA).
It was public knowledge that Dembo "By Force" Bojang, a prominent resident of Bakau who is currently serving as Religious Affairs Adviser to President Barrow "contributed immensely towards her welfare when she lived in Bakau" according to sources close to the Jammeh family. Even during her 18 months in exile, every effort by Mr. Bojang to get her to return home was met by an emphatic resistance from Yaya Jammeh.
In a text message from another family source familiar with my close association with the late Abdou Draman Touray said and I quote " Mr. Sanneh, can you imagine that the Touray brother ( Draman and Hassan) were providing some of her needs and expensive medication from the US for the old mum. In fact, Draman Touray offered to pay for her tickets from Malabo should she decide to come home."
Many Gambians, even in death, will continue to be highly critical of Asombi Bojang for not playing the influential role that is expected of a matriarch in helping stop the human rights abuses and high level corruption that was the hallmark of her son's 22-year dictatorship, and rightfully so.
However, Asombi was also known to be opposed to the undue influence Zainab Jammeh had on her son, and the fact that she (Zainab) helped implant a new class of Lebanese businessmen - in my book, they are members of international criminal cartel - the likes of Mohamed Bazzi who are playing, to this day, a detrimental role in the life of our country - The Gambia. Perhaps, we are expecting too much from an old lady, swept into unexpected prominence by the treasonous act of her son - an overwhelming role she was never prepared for or expected to play.
Meanwhile, plans are afoot to transport Mrs. Asombi Bojang's body to the Gambia to be buried in her home village, according to a family source. The Government of Adama Barrow is not expected to borrow a leaf from Jammeh's playboo by denying the body to be flown in and buried in The Gambia as the ex-dictator has done on several occasions when prominent opponents to his former regime died in exile.
In a related development, a high level delegation comprising of the United Nations, ECOWAS and a couple of Heads of State will be travelling to Malabo on Tuesday to meet with President Nguema and Yaya Jammeh. Although the mission was prompted by the death of Asombi Bojang, during such occasions the scope of the mission is usually broadened to discuss other important matters relating to the status of Jammeh and his entourage.