It was Nelson Mandela who once said that “imprisonment was a badge of honour”. Or was it Dr Martin Luther King?
As Yahya Jammeh departs The Gambia, and Gambians and the world celebrate, Pa Mbai must surely be allowed to celebrate, having been honoured for over ten years as Dictator Jammeh’s Public Enemy #1.
Pa Mbai deserves the honour because, unlike many, he has remained steadfast in his condemnation of Yahya Jammeh’s rule – and has never minced his words nor taken hostages in his determination to make life as difficult as possible for Yahya Jammeh and his supporters.
Once Yahya Jammeh killed Deyda Hydara at the Point, burned down the Independent Newspaper and harassed, cowed and disappeared journalists at his own Daily Observer, it fell upon the online media to highlight the injustices and misrule of Yahya Jammeh’s regime. It is indisputable that the one person who stood out in the task of exposing the misdeeds of Yahya Jammeh with absolute dedication and commitment was Pa Nderry Mbai. A certain Momodou Sanyang of GRTS once walked into my Daily Observer office, looked at my computer screen and said: “Freedomnewspaper cannot be read on this premises”. I smiled at him and said “Pa Mbai knows what is happening in The Gambia than my Daily Observer journalists do. They have to read him!”
Pa Mbai was Yahya Jammeh’s headache long before others came on the scene. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the European Union, etc, were much influenced by Pa Mbai’s reporting of what was happening in The Gambia. That led to the UN and donor partners giving Jammeh a hard time and holding him to account.
In conclusion, Pa Mbai is justified to a sense of satisfaction in the battle with Yahya Jammeh. Maybe the new Government of The Gambia will recognise Pa Mbai’s effort with an ORG – Order of The Republic of The Gambia.
Arise Sir Mbai!
Notting Hill, London, UK.