Editorial: Barrow mumbled while his Ministers frowned at a Foroyaa reporter

It is to our dismay that President Barrow and some of his Cabinet Ministers frowned at Journalist Kebba Jeffang for putting forward a pertinent question, whether the recent 75 million Euros aid package provided by the European Union to The Gambia Government, has ‘Gay Rights’ condition attached to it? while covering the signing ceremony on February 9th.

Barrow looks very displeased for the question and in a diminishing voice response that ‘homosexuality is not an issue in The Gambia’, which Hamat Bah punctuated in an unpleasant gesticulation and shouted ‘very good answer Mr. President’.

The fundamental question Barrow and his Cabinet need to answer is, what is the uneasiness and mumbling to a question that deserved to be answered, hence the former APRC government has repeatedly claimed that ‘Gay Rights’ conditions attached to EU aid money are amongst the reasons that breaks down the EU-Gambia cooperation.

Country Correspondent: Kebba Jeffang

Journalist Kebba Jeffang

In fact that was paraphrased by Jeffang in his question.

Therefore, Journalist Jeffang`s questioned in good faith, which is a clear demonstration of his journalistic independence. Journalists should never be in the pockets of politicians and should scrutinise their conduct and rhetoric’s supposing that the ‘real story’ could lie hidden below.

From our perspective, the President and his Ministers mumbling with cynicism towards a journalist is an act of dishonesty that constitutes an attempt to silence independent journalism. Jeffang`s case and experience could have a negative impact on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

If Barrow couldn`t in explicit terms give a ‘yes or no’ answer or in implicit terms tell the reporter that his government will protect the rights of all people irrespective of sexual orientation for fear of ‘cultural backlash’, then he is not the type of a leader that practices ‘deliberative democracy’, which gave birth to his presidency.

SBN encourages all independent minded reporters to continue being the ‘watchdogs’ and not ‘stooges’ to any politician in the ‘New Gambia’, to contribute in the creation of an enlightened critical citizenry. Leaders who cannot articulate their system of governance on policy lines and programmes belongs to the club of ‘dumbish’.

9 Comments

  1. Karamba

    February 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I thought the President answered the question . Now assessing his demeanor and using that as a subjective standard of press freedom is a crazy supposition . Who says the president or anyone else has to like a question in order to answer it? His obligation was to answer the question and that was all. I think this editorial is attempting to inject cynicism in a simple Qand A from a president who values and has been trumpeting press freedom from the day he was elected. The president said homosexuality was not an issue the defeated tyrant made it to be and that we now have a democracy that by definition would treat all citizens the same. No special exceptions or discrimination either.

  2. Gambia Blood

    February 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Homosexual are human and have right as heterosexual to live freely in any society. Gambia is secular state not a sharia rule. There are Athiest, christians, Budish , Muslim and even Hiindus Gambians living in The Gambia. The question of homosexuality is very irrelevant in this time of our political history.

    • Musa Susso

      February 12, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Muslims cannot be secular! All believers(not hypocrites and disbelievers) need to know this fact.Secularism has three characteristics that are against the very basic teachings of Islam. These characteristics are: disenchantment of nature;desacrilisation of politics; and disconsecretion of values. Disenchantment of nature calls for nature to be free of religious explanation; desacrilisation of politics calls for politics to be separated from religion; and disconsecretion of values calls for the belief that no values are permanent. Science cannot say anything about metaphysics. Certain values in Islam never etc. Muslims cannot be secular. Both Islam and Christianity condemn sodomy or gay. No love for money should make us sacrifice our religion whether we are journalists or not!

      • Ebrima khalillulah

        February 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm

        Gambia is not an Islamic state! It’s a secular state and democratic. Democracy make room for all regardless of their gender,sexuality, religion, race. Gambians voted for democracy and with democracy comes tolerance to other people’s religion, sexuality, lifestyle and freedom to express oneself. So president Barrow should openly say the homosexuals are part of Gambian society and as Gambians they have right to be who they are. Heh heh isn’t democracy sweet? ???

      • abdoulie

        April 21, 2017 at 7:54 am

        You votes against an Islamic state because it is not democratic. Didn’t you know what democracy means? I am a Muslim I adhere to my religious values and I hate Gay rights but I am also aware of the fact that we are not an Islamic state. We are living in a secular state. I must say I like how Adam Barrow answer the question. It is not his responsibility to answer the question the way the journalist like him to but it is his duty to give a responsible answer.

    • Musa Susso

      February 12, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Muslims cannot be secular! All believers(not hypocrites and disbelievers) need to know this fact.Secularism has three characteristics that are against the very basic teachings of Islam. These characteristics are: disenchantment of nature;desacrilisation of politics; and disconsecretion of values. Disenchantment of nature calls for nature to be free of religious explanation; desacrilisation of politics calls for politics to be separated from religion; and disconsecretion of values calls for the belief that no values are permanent. Science cannot say anything about metaphysics. Certain values in Islam never change etc. Muslims cannot be secular. Both Islam and Christianity condemn sodomy or gay. No love for money should make us sacrifice our religion whether we are journalists or not!

  3. Drammeh

    February 13, 2017 at 6:57 am

    #i believe you Kebba

  4. Alagie

    February 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    I think you journalist should try to understand one thing, you guys are giving your self too much right that does not worth to be given to your selves. In as much as you have the right to ask questions for the interest of the consumption of the general public, the respondent also have the right to answer your questions with courtesy in-Oder to avoid conflicting statement. If a particular answer is not fit for public consumption then it should not be divulge until it is fit. question like this is very sensitive therefore needs serious debate in the national assemble before the president jump and give answers to journalist that does no go through national debate. Therefore the answer president barrow gave to this journalist is a clear manifestation that the president has think before answering that question. I think so many conflict around the world are cause by journalist because they dig information that are very sensitive and sometimes not fit for public consumption.we all know very well that Gambia is a secular state and every religion have the right to perform their believe as expected. So the president saying that homosexual is not an issue in the Gambia is his rightful opinion. Who is barrow to tell the journalist that yes/ No homosexual will/ will not be perform in the Gambia without the national assemble looking into that case. You should understand that practicing homosexual or not is not president Barrow who should decide that because he deciding that might cause him to to classified as a dictator and you the journalist are the first who will also publish that episode. Belie it is very difficult to escape from you the journalists. All these problems in the world if checked properly you journalists have contributed towards it trust me. If president Barrow answer yes you will have something to blame him of and if he answered No also you have a very big question mark for that as well.pls wait a while for the Gambia people to test peace and harmony just for a moment don’t bring up another controversial issue here yet Mr Barrow and his cabinet are yet to settle down pls lets give them little time and suspend some of these questions that are bias towards one side.My opinion.

    • Musa Sanneh

      August 6, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      The question asked was to find out whether the EU grant has gay rights string attached to it or not? What is wrong in asking such a question? There are some decisions the President take without the National Assembly delving on the issues. Doubt was casted by the former govt.relationship with EU and one of it that broke the relationship was the issue of gay rights, was true or false,the public need to know.

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