Halifa Sallah did respond to Gambian Talents Promotion, which prompted them to react. We publish below, Halifa Sallah’s response, Gambian Talents Promotion’s reaction to Halifa’s response and Halifa’s response to Gambian Talents Promotion’s reaction.
Pitting A Traumatised Woman Against A National Political Leader
I find it amazing that Gambia Talent would include my name in a story that is now a police matter even though no one told them that I witnessed an alleged crime scene. Now they want me to try to prove that the story of a traumatized woman is wrong and thus increase her pain and turn her into my rival when I have never recalled meeting her in my life. Journalism calls for reports done in good faith and in the public’s interest. There is neither truth nor good faith in the publication by Gambia Talent. Public interest is served when a public figure is held accountable for doing or failing to do what would amount to dereliction of duty.
What then is the truth? I was scheduled to travel by Brussels Airlines to Hamburg at the invitation of the PDOIS European Branch, on 16th October 2019. Gambia Talent mentioned 15th October. We ran into a traffic jam and diverted to take the route to Sukuta only to suffer the same fate. I was almost late for boarding. I had luggage and the counter could not act to check it in until management gives authority. I was told to see Mr. Secka. I went up and found a woman screaming at the top of her voice that she was assaulted by the manager. Instead of ignoring her and concentrate on my dilemma of having my luggage checked in before I missed my flight, I stopped to speak to her.
She kept on screaming and emphasizing that no man has a right to beat another man’s wife. It was indeed a pathetic scene. I inquired whether she was due to travel with the flight and she was kind enough to respond in the positive. Since the people were already boarding and I did not want both of us to miss the flight I told the manager that even though I could not rush to judgment on what happened he should apologise and assist the woman to get what she was looking for to be on the flight. The manager got up but the woman was on her phone trying to reach someone. The manager sat down again. I again asked the woman whether she intended to take the flight but she said her brother was a personnel of the NIA and was on his way coming. It was at this point that I told other personnel who stood by to assist and console her until the person she called arrives. This is how matters stand.
I quite understand the lady’s frustration that I could not meet her expectation. I do not think she knew the pressures I was under and the implication of missing my flight which would have been the case, if I stayed with her for even another five minutes.
As a national leader I am taught a lesson that she would want me to treat her as I would treat my own daughter. I am quite touched by that bond of trust deserving utmost empathy. I am however a fair minded person. I did not witness the incident. Even if she is my daughter and I had time to deal with the matter I could only handle it in two ways. One is to facilitate settlement outside of Court or mount a Court case by reporting the matter to the police.
She opted for a police case and has taken the matter to the police. If she had been my daughter the most that could have happened is what she has done for justice to take its course. There is no need to try to undermine my integrity in a matter whose genesis I did not witness and whose outcome I tried to influence positively because of my mistaken notion that the lady would not want to miss her flight.
I hope she would try to reach out to me to find out why I behaved the way I did. Gambia Talent should have been more mature in conceptualizing the trauma she has undergone and not try to drag me to increase her trauma by inviting me to take up issue with her and add insult to injury. If they do not have the maturity to avert such an outcome I would display the magnanimity to apologize to a traumatized woman for not meeting her expectation when she most needed a hand to lean on. I would like to meet her to learn from her what I could have done better given the situation I was in. I beg for her understanding.
Gambian Talents Promotion’s Reaction
Kexx Sanneh you know very well that you and Honourable Halifa Sallah are just shooting the messenger. Nowhere in the story did we put our personal opinion about Halifa Sallah. Like Pata PJ stated, we just reported what the lady said and to be fair to Mr. Sallah, we reached out to him through his phone and through the people that are supposedly close to him including the Spokesperson of PDOIS and to no avail. You were the only one we could reach and you know very well that you are misleading the people with your claims of getting back to us. Since you claim that you have reached out to us and provided us with Honourable Sallah’s response, kindly provide your viewers with the names of people you spoke to, when you spoke to them and what information you shared with them. Only 2 people worked on this story and they were the ones who contacted you. Both of them confirmed speaking to you only once and you promised to call them back and they never heard back from you. We contacted you on Friday and this story wasn’t published till yesterday, Tuesday. They did not contact you from a private number but our office number. Every single one of those days except Sunday, I have asked the team if they heard back from you, Lamin Njie and Francis Mendy and their response was that they never heard back from any of you. We held on to the story for days and will not continue to keep it just because someone has closed the chapter and moved on with other more important things in their lives.
Secondly, can you and Honourable Sallah kindly tell the world what is misleading in our story? According to the above post, he is responding to the lady and not us. There is no single misleading information in the story. Honourable Sallah confirmed interacting with the lady at the airport. She said she is disappointed with the way he handled the situation. We reported just that by quoting what she said. She sent it to us via text message and equally said it in the video.
We did not add or remove anything from what she said. So what is misleading about the story? Except those blind followers of PDOIS who are emotionally attached to the party and Honorable Sallah.
Honourable Sallah, your followers should be able to read between the lines and judge for themselves if our story is misleading or not. Gone are the days when media will be bullied or turned to nothing by our politicians just because they are not happy with what we report about them, whether it’s the Presidency or any other political party.
Finally, we correct you guys again, our name is Gambian Talents Promotion and not Gambia Talents as both you and Honorable Sallah keep referring to us. We have previously corrected Edrisa Jallow when he reacted to a story we wrote a year or two ago and here you guys are still calling us Gambia Talents. Our name is Gambian Talents Promotion.
Except an official and more detail reaction from Gambian Talents Promotion.
Response To Gambian Talents Promotion’s Reaction
It is a fundamental principle of journalism that a media house bears the greatest responsibility for choosing to publish an article. This ethical principle appears to be elusive to those who gave a reply to my response to their report.
I have made it abundantly clear that the media has a duty to make an official accountable to the public. Hence journalists are duty bound to publish any allegation of dereliction of duty either by commission or omission. It was the duty of the journalist to enquire whether I witnessed the alleged assault. The failure to conduct proper investigation from the source of the story before reaching out to witnesses is where the unethical conduct starts. The reporter did not do his homework to find out the circumstances of the matter which is totally absent in the report. The reporter did not mention what the role of a national assembly member is in such circumstances and aver his mind to allegation of deviation from ethical conduct by a National Assembly member.
If investigation was done in good faith, there would have been no need to reach out to me to try to find out my opinion. The alleged victim would have confirmed that I did not witness any alleged assault. She would have confirmed that my presence where the victim was found was a matter of coincidence. I am not an airport staff or police officer. I was not duty bound to do anything. I only stepped in because of the dictate of conscience and left the scene when the lady said that she has called her brother whom she referred to as an NIA officer.
A journalist acting in good faith in the public interest would not have any reason to associate my name with the incident. A journalist publishes what is true or what one believes to be true. In this case, a journalist with a heart would focus on the news of the alleged assault knowing that any additional information would divert the issue and subject the woman to more verbal assault by people who may believe that she had ulterior motives by dragging a passerby into a story.
This was a police matter and not a national assembly matter. The Gambian Talents Promotion acted unprofessionally by publishing half-truth which distorted the whole picture when proper discussion with the lady alone would not have given them the whole picture which would not have revealed any evidence of dereliction of duty on my part deserving any attempt to contact me for any clarification.
Taking up issue with The Gambian Talents Promotion is deliberate. I will not take up issue with a traumatised victim. It is the Gambian Talents Promotion that chose to publish half-truth and tried to impeach the integrity of a National Assembly member without any just cause and would have to accept the consequences of the folly of its reporters. To acknowledge a shortcoming is noble, but to defend the indefensible is an act of unpardonable folly.