Tribute: Indeed, “Death is a bad reaper…Always picking the unripe fruit”
Inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji'oon.
Sad news for Gambia. I am completely devastated to learn of the tragic demise of Pa Nderry Mbai. He was my colleague at the Daily Observer. A Gambian media giant and a journalist par excellence. Pa Nderry was one of the pioneers of online news in the Gambia at a time when freedom of expression was seriously suppressed in Gambia by the dictatorship and there was a felt need for an independent media outlet. It is common knowledge that Pa Nderry was the first journalist who broke the news of most of the atrocious crimes that were revealed at the recently concluded TRRC.
Although his name had become a household name to Gambians, Pa'Nderry was not clearly doing journalism for the money or popularity because he knew well that both could easily compromise journalists. His passion and love for journalism knows no bounds or time and it was not surprising that he served as a true journalist until death did them part.
He did his job without fear or favor, Ill will or affection. His death is really a colossal loss for Gambia. His untimely death comes at a time when many Gambians are seeking independent new sources. The non conforming approach he used in his journalism job has made Pa Nderry the man who quench our thirst for impartial and balanced news. He had entertained us, opened his media to divergent views and programs. We were addicted to the Freedom newspaper and radio. Now that he is gone to eternal rest, Who will step in Pa Nderry's shoes?
Martin Luther King Jr. has said, "It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it." Pa Nderry was a class act. He really lived his short life helping to amplifying the voices of the helpless, voiceless and the downtrodden of our society by waging war against the powers that may be.
Pa Nderry has etched his name in the Gambian history books as a freedom fighter. He believed in freedom and he fought for the freedom of all Gambians at a time it was not the most popular thing to do. His love for freedom of all people was the reason he named his media outlet Freedom newspaper.
Sleep well soldier. You have fought well for your country and you did so courageously, fearlessly and triumphantly against a brutal dictatorship. I salute your patriotism, resilience and love for country.
May Allah grant him the highest Jannah.
Tribute by Lamin Jatta, New York USA.