Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Between what matters and what seems to matter, how can the world we know, judge wisely, when the perceptive and indomitable brain of Deyda Hydara was scattered by a shot and from an unknown hand!?

The government of The Gambia is being urged once more most kindly and most ardently, in the name of Allah and in the name of humanity to expedite action for the earliest possible resolution of this gruesome and mysterious murder. Let there be justice, let there be reconciliation, let there be reparation, but let there most importantly be post-haste action. Time is going, loved ones are grieving.

It was on the night of 16th December 2004 that Deyda, ex-publisher and Managing Director of The POINT daily paper, driving home peacefully after hectic work at the office, met his untimely death. The mark this incident has left behind could very much be an indelible one as even now the name ‘Deyda’ has risen again in the public sphere. That fateful night as he travelled in the company of some of his staff, Deyda was shot in the head, multiple shots as reported, at what could have been close range. The killers who might have pulled alongside Hydara’s side of the vehicle he was riding in, carried out their monstrous mission and vanished into the dark night. What dark and monstrous deed! And the blood of this martyr of press freedom cries out for justice… more loudly as idle time passes.

A state security report prepared by the previous government had intimated that investigations had neither been conclusive nor actionable on ground of dearth of witness evidence.  This information is difficult to understand, because if that Regime could always swiftly detect the most secretive and sensitive of ‘plans to stage a Coup d’etat’ and also with the same extraordinary swiftness produce and deal with ‘suspected culprits’, then why take so long a time to detect and produce the actual perpetrators of this most horrendous deed that was perpetrated in very open public streets of Kanifing? Why was it found easier to protect a throne of transient earthly power and glory than precious life of an innocent citizen in protection of justice which is constant and everlasting?

But meanwhile, the bullets of the assassin(s) and Hydara’s own vehicle have been long awaiting thorough forensic tests and the results clearly revealed to the anxious public. It would be appreciated by all, I believe, if the present Administration could resume and duly intensify investigations, and from there bring the killer(s) to book without much further delay. Once again, time is speeding, family and friends continue to grieve inconsolably in wonder and trauma, the public continue to feel confounded and unsafe in their own streets and dwellings. It would be appreciated even further if Government (on basis of any State involvement in the murder) could ultimately show solidarity with a Free Press by giving a posthumous-award or honour to the late Mr. Hydara for his patriotism, courage, and life-long defence of press freedom as promulgated in all human rights instruments to which we as a Government and as a Nation have faithfully subscribed. 

Long live The Gambia! Long live democracy and rule of law! Long live Press Freedom!

(Mr. Charles Sarr Thomas is a close boyhood and sport friend of Deyda Hydara and an uncle to Mrs. Hydara.)