|Missing Journalist Chief Manneh|
Time is the blackboard and action the chalk of history. Human beings have the right to act and live as they wish but for our colleagues (Chief Manneh), it has been turned by President Jammeh's government as he has been missing for five years. Manneh was arrested by two plain-clothed personnel at the Daily Observer premises.
History has the duty to record their actions- those responsible for the arrest of Chief Manneh. The evil or good that many do may be buried with their bones. However, there are those whose evil and good deeds live after them. There are those who live at the expense of others and spread mischief on earth, such people are never remembered with found memories, such are the cursed of the earth.
There are those who live to safeguard the interest of others and those are the ones who could be remember for ever. Chief Manneh as he is fondly called live to safeguard the interest of others especially the voice of the voiceless by joining the noble profession (journalism).
The first anniversary of Chief Manneh was held Tuesday 17 July 2007, organised by the Network of Human Rights Journalists (NHRJ), funded by the American Embassy in Banjul. The well attended symposium was held at the Alliance Franco Gambienne. Despite the torrential rains that very day, the hall was full to
capacity with journalists, civil rights groups and the family members of the missing journalist from around the country.
However, no governmental official graced the occasion after NHRJ wrote to the then Secretary of State for Information and Communication Technology Mrs. Nenneh Macdonal- Gaye, former Secretary of State for Justice Mr. Kebba Sanyang who is now a private legal practitioner, Director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Inspector General of Police, who all failed to honour NHRJ's invitation.
As a General Assignment Reporter in my early days and who have the opportunity to participate and cover the event for The Gambia News and Report Weekly Magazine, the symposium on missing journalist was held
successful despite government officials boycotted the symposium.
The symposium dubbed '" Guarantee to Freedom of the Press in The Gambia" and was chaired by Mr. Sam Sarr, Editor, Foroyaa Newspaper who at the symposium expressed sympathy to the families of Chief Manneh. Sam Sarr adds; " for a journalist to disappeared for more than one year is a total violation of his fundamental rights. He also expressed delight that the media fraternity has not forgot Chief Manneh adding that efforts are been made to secure his immediate release but to no availed.
Kudos to NHRJ, as since the disappearance of Chief Manneh, the network that is an organised group of journalists committed to the promotion and protection of human and peoples' rights, to restore, defend, and
promote freedom, justice and democracy has been in fore front in the campaign for the release of Chief Manneh.
It is suffice to say that with all the provisions, among many others guaranteeing human rights and freedom of expression, " it is sad that Chief has been missing for five years now in our own society and up to
date we cannot know his whereabouts." Chief Manneh at the time of his arrest, he was exercising his
fundamental rights of freedom of expression. His continuous detention tantamount total violation of his fundamental rights and is unacceptable.
His continuous detention, and with the continuous violence against journalists in The Gambia provoke commitments to our own designed and ratified laws.
President Jammeh, it's time for your government to release Chief Manneh as well as to compensate his family a compensation of US$100,000.00. President Jammeh, release Chief Manneh so as for him to rejoins with his braved family. "We missed Chief Manneh and the alarm bell has ring for us to kiss him."
Sarjo Manneh father of Chief Manneh at the one year anniversary of his son told the forum that sine the disappearance of his son, the family has sleepless night, he urged all Muslims to join hands and pray for
him to see his son. He adds: " I have strong faith in Allah if not I will go mad," sarjo
Manneh told the forum.
For Sula Ceesay Chief Manneh's mother,has this to say " I prayed to Allah to protect my son wherever he might be detained."
Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa Article 4 (3) on Freedom of Information reads " Public bodies hold information not for themselves but as custodians of the public good and everyone has a right to access this information, subject only to clearly defined rules established by law.
Therefore, the public bodies that are holding the information on Chief Manneh, it's long over due to give the information about him, we need information on Chief Manneh, help us as custodians of information
especially the security apparatus.
Again, Article 4 (3) reads " Everyone has the right to access and update or otherwise correct their personal information, whether it is held by public or by private bodies". So it incumbent on both public
and private bodies to update us (journalists) on Chief Manneh's whereabouts.
As the government is duty bond to protect the lives of its citizens, President Jammeh the alarm bell has ring for the release of Chief Manneh.