July 2019 – Madi Ceesay fails to tell the TRRC of Gambia that he received $17,000 from billionaire George SOROS’S OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION /INSTITUTE for the re-opening of the independent newspaper back in 2007.
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It was back in the year 2007, when Madi Ceesay, the former Manager of the defunct Independent Newspaper, received a funding in the sum of seventeen thousand United States dollars ($17,000) from the US based Open Society Foundation Institute (OSI) to purchase a landed property that will facilitate the securing for a new bond for the reopening of the Independent, Freedom Newspaper can reveal.The paper was closed by the Jammeh government in March of 2006, following the publication of a coup story. Its Editors were arrested, and tortured.
OSI was founded by the US billionaire George Soros. The New York based Committe to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was instrumental in securing the said funding for the Independent. Part of the arraignment was, if efforts to reopen the Independent were unsuccessful, the grant would be used to help train Gambian journalists.
Madi Ceesay, himself, proposed to the donors that he would use the funds to support independent journalism in The Gambia. That was what led to the formation of his media Agenda—non-governmental organization, which among other things; was to provide training and security for Gambian journalists.
Lamin Camara of the DANDIMAYO LAW CHAMBERS was the Lawyer for the Independent Newspaper at the time. Camara was instructed by Alagi Yorro Jallow to go to court to secure the reopening of the Independent Newspaper.
On July 17th 2006, Camara, wrote to the former Inspector General of police to inform him that he has been instructed by the Management of the Independent to pursue the reopening of the paper.
“As you are already aware the Independent Newspaper is and has been closed now for almost 4 (four) months now The Managing Editor and the Editor were both arrested and detained for almost 22 (Twenty-Two) days and later released without a charge. In a similar development a reporter for the same Newspaper was a arrested and detained for almost 63 (Sixty-Three) days and later released and charged,” Lawyer Camara wrote in a letter addressed to the IGP.
“Sir, am not aware of a court order for the closure of the Independent Newspaper and my client have not been informed either, of the reason(s) for the continued closure of the paper.
Be that as it may, the Independent Newspaper have not committed anything to warrant a permanent closure without the proper procedure laid down by law being followed. In the circumstances therefore, I, on behalf of the Management of The Independent Newspaper respectfully urge you to reconsider your decision to close the newspaper and render several of its employees jobless, in addition to the denial of another vital source of information to the readers of the esteem paper,” he added.
Lawyer Camara ended his letter by telling the IGP that it would be in the interest of democracy, good governance and the positive image of the country that the Independent Newspaper is allowed to open and continue operation, albeit parameters of the law.
The Independent Newspaper was bonded by the late Alhagie Dodou Kah. Kah had to use his Fajara M Section home to bond the paper.
It was in fulfillment of Decree 70 and 71, which requires Gambian publishers to provide a landed property as a bond. Such property must worth one hundred thousand dalasis at the time.
Alagi Yorro Jallow, the former Independent Co Proprietor and Managing Editor, secured the bond through the late Alhagie Dodou Kah. Kah died in 2004.
A word came from Banjul that the bond for the Independent had been allegedly withdrawn by the owner of the house, per communications in our possession. CPJ was communicating with the Independent lawyer, through Madi Ceesay. it was allegedly claimed that both Baba Galleh Jallow and Alagi Yorro Jallow were in the picture.
Though Independent Proprietor Alagi Yorro Jallow tells Freedom Newspaper that he was not aware of the purported withdrawal of his paper’s bonding. Jallow says the man, who bonded his paper Alhagie Dodou Jah, died in 2004 and the Independent was closed in 2006.
Jallow adds that if there was any withdrawal of his paper’s bonding, he was going to be aware of it; hence he rejected such claims.
” I posted the bond, and I should be the bona-fide person, to withdraw the bond, if there should be any withdrawal,” Jallow remarked.
Jallow also told Freedom Newspaper that Madi Ceesay never disclosed to him that he had received $17,000 funding from OSI for the reopening of the Independent, through the purchase of new property for bonding of the Independent.
Madi Ceesay is the UDP member of Parliament for Serre-Kunda West. He testified before Gambia’s TRRC on Wednesday. Ceesay never disclosed the $17,000 funding he received from OSI. Ceesay’s nondisclosure for such funding worries his colleague Alagi Yorro Jallow. Jallow said the TRRC is missing an important piece of information as far as efforts to have the Independent reopened was concerned.
Both Ceesay and Lawyer Camara could not be reached for comment.
BREAKING NEWS-MADI CEESAY FAILS TO TELL THE TRRC THAT HE RECEIVED $17,000 FROM BILLIONAIRE GEORGE SOROS’S OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION INSTITUTE FOR THE REOPENING OF THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER BACK IN 2007!!
Madi Ceesay is a veteran independent journalist from the Gambia who has suffered attacks and imprisonment for his work. He is also a leading press freedom activist, serving as president of the Gambia Press Union, which has spearheaded efforts to fight impunity for attacks on the press, including the unsolved December 2004 murder of prominent newspaper editor Deyda Hydara.
The tense national climate was laid bare when the Press Union organized an international conference to mark the first anniversary of Hydara’s murder. Police barred journalists from the site of the murder, along a public road, and they assaulted a reporter.
In 2006, Ceesay took over as general manager of The Independent, a leading private paper that has suffered frequent official harassment and two unsolved arson attacks. In March, security forces sealed off The Independent‘s offices and detained staff after the paper published critical articles about a purported coup attempt. Ceesay and the paper’s editor Musa Saidykhan were held for three weeks without charge by the National Intelligence Agency.
Before joining The Independent, Ceesay worked for 10 years for the respected independent weekly Gambia News and Report, first as a reporter and then as its deputy editor.
He was jailed before, in 2000, while covering the opposition United Democratic Party. Ceesay’s advocacy and leadership have been crucial in the Gambia, where frequent attacks, imprisonments, and other forms of harassment have made the nation one of the worst in Africa for the press.
TRRC MADI CEESAY DAY 67 PT1 17.07.19
18 July 2019
Madi Ceesay and Musa Saidykhan Wednesday gave a detailed account of their suffering after they were tortured by a gang under the leadership of late Tumbul Tamba and late Musa Jammeh in 2006.
Ceesay was a General-Manager while Saidykhan was an ex- editor-in-chief of the Independent Newspaper.
Saidykhan said he started his journalism with the Daily Observer from 1997 to 2001. He became the editor-in-chief of the Independent Newspaper from April 2005 to March 2006. He is currently the editor of the Kairo Online Newspaper.
Madi Ceesay was the General-Manager of the Independent Newspaper and served one term as the Gambia Press Union president. He also served a term as the Vice President of West Africa Journalists Association (WAJA). He began his journalism career in 1995 with the News and Report Magazine. He is currently the National Assembly member for Serrekunda West Constituency.
The two were arrested on the 27th March 2006in relation to a story that was published by the Independent Newspaper following the failed coup attempt by Lieutenant-Colonel Ndour Cham, a former chief of defence staff of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF). Both of them told the Commission that the story was challenged by the person said to be arrested in the aftermath of the 2006 abortive coup, adding that a correction was made on the following day. Despite the correction, the two were arrested by the NIA and subjected to interrogation for the error made.
They told the TRRC that they were subjected to severe torture at the NIA under the command of Tumbul Tamba and Musa Jammeh. For Saidykhan, he said he was tortured twice by the torture team with the use of wires, gun butts as well as using a device on him which resulted in his loss of psyche and fainting. He added that he was electrocuted and his arm was broken by the torturers while tormenting him. He said after torturing him, he was dragged on a concrete ground that worsens the wounds he sustained from the beating by the torture squadron. He said after torturing him, he was taken back to the cell and the following day, he was tortured in a similar line.
Saidykhan said the ex-president was never pleased with seeing his photo with another person on the front pages of the newspapers because for him, he sees it as a comparison between him and the opposition.
He said in October 2005, he attended a forum in South Africa where he petitioned the Government of the Gambia and when he returned, he was first arrested and interrogated by Captain Lamin Saine who was the Internal Director of the NIA.
Saidykhan told the TRRC that the government of the Gambia is not willing to implement the ECOWAS court of justice’s judgment to compensate him with $200,000. He said whenever he contacts the government; they will always tell him that he will be compensated through the TRRC.
“My case has nothing to do with the TRRC,” Saidykhan told the TRRC.
For his part, Ceesay said the APRC government has failed in its responsibility to prosecute any person for allegedly committing crimes against the press such as the arson attacks on media, the murder of journalists, unlawful arrest, detention and torture among others.
He told the TRRC that he escaped a bullet that was shot by a member of the Gambia Armed Forces at Tabokoto while the wife of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, Touti Faal was being escorted. He said the bullet hit the car’s front door and after this, he reported the matter to the Bundung Police Station but nothing came out of it.
Ceesay adduced that he was severely tortured twice by a group of men under the leadership of Tumbul Tamba and Musa Jammeh, both from the State Guard. He said he sustained injuries and was rushed to the military clinic near the State House where he received medical attention. He gave similar torture narration like Musa Saidykhan.
He said he founded the Daily News three years after the Independent was shut down. He added that the Daily News was forcefully shut down by the former regime without putting forward any reasons.
He said his son was arrested on 14th April 2016 during the UDP demonstration at Westfield resulting in the arrests and detention of UDP militants. He added that his son died as a result of torture that was meted on him by agents of the former government.
He said The Gambia was a hell for the media and he urged the Government to repeal all draconian media laws.
“There is no democracy without a vibrant media,” he concluded.
7 January 2019
A United Democratic Party (UDP) Member of Parliament for Serre-Kunda West, Madi Ceesay, who once received D10,000 dalasis from President Adama Barrow’s political surrogates, in an attempt to buy his support, has called on the UDP membership to stand up and be counted and treat the newly created Barrow Youth Movement as a political rival—that is similar to dictator Yahya Jammeh’s Green, Green Boys Youth Movement. Ceesay spoke today during an address, he made to his constituents in Serre-Kunda . He notes that Barrow’s Youth Movement, is a political party in the making and should be condemned by all genuine UDP supporters nationwide.
“Adama Barrow has no business in setting up a Barrow Youth Movement. He was not voted into office to promote a Barrow Youth Movement agenda. If he should promote any agenda, he should focus on the National Development Plan agenda (NDP). Promoting UDP agenda, should also be part of his agenda because he ascended to the Presidency through the UDP. Nothing much, nothing less,” he contends.
“Barrow has now become a replica of Yahya Jammeh. He is following the footsteps of Yahya Jammeh. Yahya Jammeh operated a Youth Movement; Barrow has one; Jammeh’s wife owns a Foundation; Barrow’s wife Fatoumatta Bah Barrow also owns a Foundation. The whole objective is to transform his Youth Movement into a political party,” Ceesay claimed, adding that come February 18, which falls on Gambia’s independence day, he will address a huge rally in Serre-Kunda to expose the regime.
Madi Ceesay is a “Gambian journalist” and a politician. He is also the owner of the Daily News Newspaper.
He said his own paper recently reported a story, in which a UDP members reminded Barrow’s team that they are still armed with the same ammunition that they used during Gambia’s decade long struggle to dislodge Jammeh from power. He said the UDP will not succumb to the Barrow Youth Movement and will use every platform to condemn it.
Ceesay went on tirade accusing President Barrow of deviating from the Coalition agenda. He maintains that Barrow was never voted into office to create a Youth Movement. He added that Barrow’s Youth Movement is a photocopy of Yahya Jammeh’s infamous Green, Green Boys Youth Movement.
Ceesay notes that there is no much difference in the way Yahya Jammeh operates politically compared to Adama Barrow. He said Barrow is now intoxicated with what he calls the “I syndrome.” He observed that Barrow is in the business of crediting himself for every project or funding extended to the MPS since he got elected two years ago.
“He was never rich before ascending into the Presidency. He couldn’t do what he is doing today before becoming a President. He couldn’t have attained what he got today, if he was not in the government. That is why I accepted D10,000 dalasis from him. I chopped his money. If he sends his people and give me money again, I will receive it and chop it. I will continue to remain UDP. We do not recognize the Barrow Youth Movement,” Ceesay said in the local Mandinka dialect.
He lamented about Barrow’s recent firing of UDP officials from his government. He said Barrow is emulating Yahya Jammeh’s style of governance.
Ceesay also said the UDP will company with Barrow, once he (Barrow) comes on record to renounce his membership with the UDP. He said for now, the UDP will continue to consolidate its party, and they will cross the bridge when the time comes. He urges UDP supporters to isolate and condemn the Barrow Youth Movement.
Ceesay said the meeting Ousainou Darboe had over the weekend in Badibu India, was a success story. He also said the UDP is more popular today than ever before, as more and more people are joining the party.
“Even if Ousainou Darboe leaves the party, that will not stop the UDP from flourishing. We will remain to be UDP. Darboe was right when he recently said, anyone, who betrays the party, for the sake of political expediency, will end up becoming a laughingstock of the country. Even a hen’s spit, will be more relevant than that person,” he remarked.