Alagi Yorro Jallow
Like hundreds of thousands of Gambians, I received with profound shock the news of the death early this morning of Mr. Landing Badjie, know as 13 Badjie, a former senior police officer and senior officer UNAMID mission in Darfur Sudan, committed fighter for democracy, dedicated public servant, a courageous and outspoken defender of whatever ideals and principles he believed in and a patriotic citizen in every sense of the word. He was a gentle soul and a brilliant police officer. He will stay with us for eternity through his iconic public service over his short yet illustrious career.
He was a great man. We mourn the passing of Gambian greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly. Nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.
13 Badjie was a great fire that burned bright. I admired him for all of these things, but I love him because he was a great brother a good friend. Landing Badjie knew what it was like to grow up in the shadow of greatness. He did just as his elders had done before him. He was a book lover, a ferocious reader. He buys good books because of his love for books—an excellent writer, a skilled communicator, and a good storyteller.
Ever since his days in the Gambia Police Force, Landing Badjie had been fearless and unrelenting in speaking up in promoting the cause of justice and what he perceived as the best interest of the citizens of the Gambia. He was a defender of truth and justice and actively defended the defenseless and the voiceless on several occasions. In the process, he never allowed himself to succumb to injustice or be pressured into submissive and pliant silence.13 Badjie today his fame, still resonates. Why? He was international when many were ethnical; critical when many were mimical. His fame and number “13” lives on. Why? He was a giver; when many were receivers. Why? Because he was ever happy and wished to make us all happy. Why 13 lives on? Because he genuinely believed in People – a happy, united, prosperous nation. Yes. He was landing 13 Badjie flames fire on. Why? Because he detested a land populated by hypocrisy and inequality. Do we still mourn Landing 13 Badjie? Why? Because there has never been another: -May Allah continue to grant the highest Jannah Firdausi.
In the struggle against the perpetuation of dictatorship, Landing Badjie was never found wanting. He was at the vanguard of the battle, even at the risk of his life and liberty. It is impossible to credibly tell the story of the emergence of the democracy we enjoy in this dispensation today without emblazoning Landing 13 Badjie’s name in gold. He was a doughty fighter for justice and the rule of law. He was rock solid in his commitment to security and police duties. He was a friend to independent journalists and several other private members of the media fraternity. He played active roles in solidifying the free press. During his tenure as Inspector General of Police, he was committed to prosecuting criminals who attacked and fire-bombed the Independent newspapers offices and printing machines. He was committed to seeing that justice is done by convicting those who have committed criminal behavior at his peril. He was a remarkable man in exercise for an honest living to serve duty to posterity.
Landing Badjie never held political office. However, he has been a constant feature and part of our public consciousness over this unbroken public service dispensation over the last three decades. He epitomized the true definition of the citizen; a patriot who was ever conscious of the fact that his life could not be complete or his humanity meaningful if he did not take an active interest in and join likeminded fellow citizens in seeking always to promote the common good of his community and country.
In the last two and a half decades, Landing Badjie and I had cause to collaborate in pursuit of different patriotic reasons at other times. I can testify to his capacity for hard work, his brilliance, his tenacity in his loyalty to his cherished principles. Even if we differed politically, I had no cause to doubt his sincerity in charting his chosen path. He will forever remain a model of what a citizen who places his country’s good above his interest could be. For, given his talents and abilities, Landing 13 Badjie could easily have opted to focus on his welfare and that of his family rather than embroil himself in the several struggles he dedicated his life to.
I join hundreds of thousands of Gambians in condoling with Landing 13 Badjie’s family in this sad hour. May God comfort and strengthen them even as they take solace in the massive outpouring of grief nationwide at Landing 13 Badjies’ painful passage.
I also express my heartfelt condolences to the Gambian people, the Gambia Police Force, his friends in the private media, in civil society groups and all other members of( Foni Agency for Rural Development (FARD) members, and all Landing 13 Badjie’s associates, the United Nations Mission in Sudan. His life vividly demonstrates once again, in the immortal words of Professor Nye, that “it is not a life that matters but the courage you bring into it” and that it is not how long we live but how well and productively that matters. Landing 13 Badjie is gone. However, he lives on in the memory of thousands of his compatriots. May Allah grant him the highest Aljannah Firdausi.
Alagi Yorro Jallow