GO: Hello there, Despot!
TD: I told you that I am not a Despot! You better stop this shit!
GO: What should I call you then?
TD: How about “Gambia” since you already disparaged my other titles in our last interview.
GO: Are you serious; Gambia?
TD: Yes. I am serious. In the very near future, I intend to add “Gambia” to my list of titles. I will ask my slaves at the House to pass a statute that will officially add “Gambia” to my name. I will and must then be addressed as Alhagi Dr. Sheikh, Professor, Gambia Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa.
GO: I have never heard anything like that before!
TD: Well, that is why I want to be the first to have done so! I like being first in everything.
GO: What do you expect to gain from that?
TD: To give notice to the whole world that I am Gambia and Gambia is me!
GO: I thought the whole world figured that out by now!
TD: But you knuckleheads in the diaspora have not still figured that out. So once I add “Gambia” to my list of titles that should wake you morons up!
GO: Oh Despot Babili! You really do not like Gambians in the diaspora.
TD: How the hell can I like you?
TD: I cannot have a good night sleep anymore because of you nincompoops! Look at what Freedom newspaper, Maafanta, Kibaaro news, Kairo news, Gainako news write and say about me. Whenever I go the toilet you are there in my head. When I am eating you are in my head. Because of you, my insecurities have gone up a thousand fold. I do not trust my wife, my kids, and the rest of my family anymore.
GO: Well, if you do not trust your own family anymore, you certainly do not trust anyone.
TD: You damn right I do not trust anyone. I make no bones about it too.
GO: Do Gambians at home and your praise singers in the diaspora know this about you?
TD: If twenty years of my kingship does not tell them that I do not trust anyone I am not sure what would.
TD: Look. You have to pay attention to what I do and not what I say. I call a spade a spade because I am the law and nothing is going to happen to me. My slaves cannot call a spade a spade in my kingdom because of fear of my wrath.
GO: Aha! Did I not say that about you in our last interview?
TD: Yes you did and I hate you for it. I can’t wait to lay my hands on you and send you to my Five Star Hotel and have you neutered.
GO: You know you do not have to neuter every male you sent to Mile Two. That is inhumane.
TD: I do not give a damn what you knuckleheads think is humane or inhumane. I care less about human rights. I rule my kingdom as I see fit.
GO: Who are these praise singers of yours in the diaspora?
TD: They all want something from me. I know it and they know it too. You already know my style, the “professor’s style.” I will use them and when I am done with them, I sweep them away with my electric broom one by one. Bena Bena! Kling Kling!
GO: Are they aware of your plan for them?
TD: They must be the most gullible persons in the world if they do not know what awaits them. Look, I do not have time for hypocrites and fools ok! I am a hypocrite and a fool. I can smell hypocrites and fools thousands of miles away. I am using them to try and drown out your voices, you diaspora idiots! I know you idiots are too sophisticated for them, but I can’t help it. I am desperate and need to do something about you pesky fools.
GO: I see.
TD: Take my Missionary as an example. I called him out about lying about me in his book. He works for me now and promotes my kingdom everyday. Yet, he has not requested the publisher of his book to stop publishing that pack of lies or withdraw the book from Amazon and other sellers or refunded those who bought the book thinking that they were buying a true narration of events of the 1994 Coup. On the one hand, he admitted to lying in a nonfiction book, and on the other hand, the book is still being sold and he continues to receive loyalties. You think I am not aware of this modern day hypocrisy.
GO: I really cannot say much about that since you see right through him.
TD: It is a contradiction in terms for a principled Gambian to support me.
GO: Please elaborate?
TD: Here is what I mean: My diaspora praise singers are not principled persons even though they pretend to be so. No principled person can support me. That would be a contradiction. Just research my diaspora praise singers and you will see what I mean. Don’t you see that they blow much hot air without ever backing them up with minimal common sense? When they sing my praises online and you idiots put them to the test they have nothing to say other than call you names. You think I do not see this in them.
GO: If that is the case then what good are these praise singers to you?
TD: They need me more than I need them. Period!
TD: Look, you fool! What are the things that my diaspora praise singers are doing for me that I am not getting from my mouthpiece The Daily Observer?
GO: I have noticed that, the Observer never ever reports anything that is critical of you or your kingdom.
TD: Are you out of your little diaspora mind?
TD: Do you for a moment think my mouthpiece will ever report anything that is critical of me or my knigdom?
GO: Why not?
TD: Because I own that crap.
GO: Oh really!
TD: Yes, you moron!
TD: The day that crappy paper reports something critical of me, I will sweep all those slaves who work there: young and old, male and female, beautiful and ugly out!
GO: I get it.
TD: No you do not. The job of that crappy paper is to sing my praises. Period! By the way, have you checked it out lately? If you have, you will notice that not a day goes by when it does not have my picture on its front page and print out in bold my praises!
GO: Do you think that the Daily Observer is loyal to you?
TD: Does it have a choice? If it does, I want to know what choice it has.
GO: Ok. I will admit that I cannot think right now of a single choice it has.
TD: You damn right you cannot think of a single choice it has. The fact is, it has none. If that crap of a paper ever prints out its daily news without having my handsome face printed out on the front page, that will be the end of its life as we know it.
GO: So the Observer is not an impartial paper?
TD: How could it be? I own the damn thing.
GO: But a “national” newspaper is supposed to be impartial.
TD: Who in his right mind can say that paper is impartial? It is a paper whose sole job is to sing my praises and I like it that way. The whole world knows this about the Observer. Look, it is not a secret where that paper stands, ok. Do you think that paper is pretending to be impartial? It is my mouthpiece and therefore does not have to hide it to anyone. It is one of my propaganda tools.
GO: I get it that the Observer is your mouthpiece and its job is to sing your praises each and everyday. May be you should just change its name to the “Babili Observer” or “Observer Babili” or better “Gambia Babili Observer” or something like that. After all you intend to add “Gambia” to your list of titles as you indicated earlier!
TD: I am not sure I want to do that. So long as my handsome face is on its front page everyday that is good enough for me. I also do not want any confusion about my Babili title with the name of a crappy paper anyway. I want to make sure that if you hear the word Babili, it only refers to me and not a paper!
GO: Ok. Let me switch gears here for a moment. What is with you and the Gambian young ladies?
TD: Do you know what percentage of Gambian men do just like I do with those Gambian young ladies?
GO: Not really.
TD: Well, you need a little lesson on Gambian history. Whatever you hear about me and most Gambian men do with Gambian women, you have to know that such like behavior has been with us for a long time. We have to sleep around. That is what we do. In order to prove our manhood, we have to sleep with as many women as possible. We use our religion to justify our slavery to our passions. Someone like me, I have lots of money to shower to those ladies. Most Gambian men do not have money to do likewise which is why you may not be aware of all that they do. In fact, most of them do not have jerk shit. Their wives are the primary breadwinners in their homes. Yet they leave their wives and children and go out to follow other women. It is not as if these Gambian men do not work. They do work and whatever little alms my kingdom gives them, instead of spending some of it on their families or saving some of it for them, they go and spend it all on other women who are not their wives.
GO: So you know all this?
TD: Yes I do. I am doing it and I know that they are doing it too. I cannot let them have all the fun you know! After all I am Gambia and Gambia is me!
GO: But such behavior speaks negatively on your character.
TD: I do not care.
GO: But you claimed to care for Gambian women.
TD: Yes I claimed to care for them because of what I get from them, namely, their votes, slave labor, and singing my praises. And I know how their men treat them. So I talk about those things to give them the impression that I care about their wellbeing when I care less. The way I have used women makes this point very clear.
GO: Why don’t you have your kingdom introduce a bill in your rubber stamp slave legislature and have those slaves pass it so that any Gambian man who impregnates woman, young or old, will be hold accountable instead of letting them run away from their responsibilities like cowards. The logic is not a complicated one. If a man can have a child, he should be able to care for that child regardless of how much alms he receives from your kingdom; whether married or not married.
TD: Such a law will never be passed in The Gambia as long as I am alive.
TD: Because my kingdom and very sector of it will come to a halt. Sleeping with different women and ruining their lives in the process is like a religion in this country. This is what we do.
GO: I do not think that is true. Brave and honest men respect women. They do not use women for sport. And, in fact, your religion does not teach that women should be treated as such. It is a shame that women are treated in this way in your kingdom, and you are not doing a damn thing about it. I believe it is high time for Gambian women to wake up and smell the coffee. Appointing a few women in your kingdom does not necessarily mean you care about them. It is hypocritical to, on the one hand, claim to care for women, and, on the other hand, to not only treat them as such, but allows such shameful behavior to go on. What a hypocrite.
TD: I am without shame. So what do I care!
GO: Most Gambian men need to understand that women are not properties or objects. Just because men were created before women, in the sequence of time, does not mean men are superior in anyway. Look around the world and you will see women reach heights that most men do not. When the playing field is leveled, women perform as well as men. The Bible never said anywhere about women being inferior to men. The word “partner” is used in Genesis in reference to Adam and Eve. Now for a partnership to work, there must be respect and equality. It is true that men and women do have different stations in life but this difference does not mean unequal. A difference, or as the philosophers put it, a “differentia” is a means used to distinguish two things that are similar in many ways yet have a difference. There are certain features that are unique to men and others that are unique to women. Nothing is said about superiority between men and women as human beings. How can a kingdom that treats its women as objects ever prosper? Are women not God’s creatures just like men? What about the “Golden Rule”! “Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.” The “others” does not mean men only. The “others” means human beings. Are women not human beings created in God’s image and likeness just like men? There is a certain lack of mental fortitude in the men in your kingdom. Slavery to the passions weakens the mind. And a weak mind cannot truly learn and retain anything worthy of being called knowledge. May be this is why there are very few well-educated Gambian men. There is a difference between being highly educated and being well educated. Without a mastery of the passions, a person cannot be well educated period!
TD: I see why I have a weak mind, but I do a good job of hiding it. That’s why I blow much hot air to disguise my weak mind. Hence, I rely on intimidation and fear tactics.
GO: But you have educated people working for you.
TD: Their minds are as weak as mine. I am aware that there are a few well-educated persons in my kingdom but because they are principled persons, they are not on my side. In fact, once in a while I read what they say about my kingdom. They are no different than you diaspora knuckleheads!
GO: May be you should listen to what they say.
TD: I will never listen to anyone. A despot king does not listen to his subjects.
GO: There is one other thing that baffles me about your kingdom.
TD: What would that be?
GO: Your VP!
TD: I like her because she is harmless to me. She is like one of my pets in my zoo. She is my numero uno praise singer. When I need slaves to go to one of my farms, she is there before the Cocks first crow!
GO: I have noticed that. At least if she is going to go to one of your farms to do slave labor, she should dress like real farmers do. I have seen pictures of her wearing “Grand Mbooba” pretending to be farming. In Gambian history or in the history of the world for that matter, who wears a “Grand Mbooba” at a farm or while doing farm work? That’s the height of hypocrisy. And it is ridiculous too!
TD: She wants to keep her job right?
GO: I have also noticed that she has become one of your sellers of sheep at your Kanilai farm whenever Tobaski rolls around. She is incredible. She is truly a woman of many hats or shall I say many “Moosorrs”. She is a VP, a slave laborer, a seller of sheep, a praise singer and who knows what else! Wow!
TD: I have to admit, she amazes me all the time and that’s not a small feat! What she does behind the scene is even more incredible.
GO: May be then, you should make it a requirement that all public officials in your kingdom must follow her footsteps and do as she does. If she can perform such feats at her age, then the younger public officials should be able to do the same too. Besides, you need all the hands you can get with your many slave projects.
TD: She will be my VP for hundred years! Slaves do not get as loyal as she!
GO: What about Ebrima Jawara?
TD: You think I give a damn about a person who wrote a book in which he threw his own father under the bus? No, I do not. This should be a lesson to all my slaves and to you diaspora fools. If you throw a parent under the bus, do not expect mercy from me your king, “ Yahya Gambia Jammeh.” One other thing, I am done with hiring people just because they speak out against the former president or the first republic.
GO: Why this change?
TD: Because, for one, the former president’s popularity is not a threat to me anymore.
GO: So you were not hiring those people because of their qualifications?
TD: Absolutely not!
GO: I run out of questions Despot!
TD: I have one more thing I want to get off my chest. I want to be the next chairman of the ECOWAS.
GO: Why? You are neither qualified nor fit to be a chairman for anything?
TD: My Missionary thinks I am well qualified, and I am being denied one of my birthrights, ECOWAS chairmanship, because of racism or superiority complex by those ECOWAS neocolonialists.
GO: And you believe that baloney?
TD: No I do not believe him, but I like it. It sounds logical!
GO: Don’t you think the reason why members of the ECOWAS do not want you as chairman have to do with the fact that you are a despot and unpredictable?
TD: I am going to withdraw my kingdom from the ECOWAS.
GO: Keep isolating yourself from the world. You are and will remain a prisoner in your own kingdom. Even Robinson Crusoe rejoined the world after living in an isolated island for many many years!
Interviewed by the Outsider