By Baboucarr Camara
Losing a love one, especially when you’re young, could be a nightmarish experience for anyone. And to grow up knowing that your father was brutally murdered in cold blood by agents of the state and to see the perpetrators walking freely in the streets for more than a decade, even after compelling evidence pointed to them is even worse. That is the torturous experience of Mr. Baba Hydara, the first son of martyr Deyda Hydara, whose father was gunned down on December 16, 2004, while on his way from celebrating another anniversary of the birth of his paper, The Point Newspaper, a daily paper he co-founded with Mr. Pap Saine. In this enthralling interview with Elegance Magazine, Mr. Hydara Junior takes us through the memories of that fateful day and vowed never to forgive ex-President Jammeh, who many people, including the international community, holds responsible for the murder of his one-time fiery critic.
Elegance: Can you tell the Elegance readers who is Baba Hydara?
Baba Hydara: Somebody who goes all the way in everything he undertakes and who doesn’t do half measures, like right now, the quest for justice, not only for my dad, but for all other victims of the previous regime.
Elegance: Looking back at the past from childhood to adulthood, what are your special moments and those that you don’t want to remember?
Baba Hydara: Growing up in a happy home and having a happy childhood with wonderful memories of my dad and times spent together as a family, eating out in hotels and summer holidays in Dakar, especially going out on New Year’s Eve, birthdays and special occasions.
Elegance: How would you describe to us the challenges and positives of New Gambia?
Baba Hydara: Like everyone else I had my share of bad moments but worst of all is when I lost my dad. After 22 years of dictatorship we face a lot of challenges not only the government but citizens as well.
Since President Barrow’s inauguration we as citizens were excited by this new era restoring rule of law, human rights and democracy back in The Gambia. Nevertheless there are a few concerns here and there but government as a democratic one which upholds rule of law and human rights should ensure that our civil liberties are protected and also citizens on the other hand should exercise their civil liberties within the law.
Elegance: Can you tell us about your private life, your marriage and family?
Baba Hydara: I have a son and am in a serious relationship.
Elegance: You’re the son of martyred Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, who do you hold responsible for your father’s death?
Baba Hydara: After a lot of investigations and statements made by ex army officials, it is safe to say that Yahya Jammeh ordered his killing, but we still don’t know how many were involved.
Elegance: Almost 14 years there are still many unanswered questions that the world has indefatigably been asking, why do you think it take this long?”
Baba Hydara: Because the perpetrators were protected therefore, no proper investigation was carried out. Now with this new regime we are hoping that justice will be served for all victims. The whole world is waiting and watching.
Elegance: How did your family manage to cope with the absence of your father for almost 14 years, especially with questions as to who are his real killers?
Baba Hydara: Like any other family who lost a father plus 10 times harder due to the cowardly manner he was snatched away from us and not knowing his killers.
Elegance: What are your memories of your father?
Baba Hydara: He was a loving dad and a great husband, who was always there for his family, at the same time he loved and was dedication to his work was rarely found and he also participated in a lot of social cultural activities in the Greater Banjul Area.
Elegance: At a personal level, how do you remember him?
Baba Hydara: He was very selfless and caring human being. As his first son he always motivated me to be the best in everything and also made me study French, which I will be forever be grateful for.
Elegance: What was the reaction of you and the entire family on that fateful day of 16th December, 2004?
Baba Hydara: We were more than devastated, we felt like our lives were all shattered…
Elegance: We have seen that finally you’ve decided to follow in his career path and keep his legacy alive, especially the Point newspaper. Why did you decide to work with them and why now?
Baba Hydara: First of all let me correct you there….I am not a journalist , I am just helping out at the paper to ensure that the newspaper remains one of the best and to uphold my dad’s legacy. I couldn’t then because I was in exile.
Elegance: You’ve been pushing for justice to your father for so long now; do you feel that you’ve been denied of justice?
Baba Hydara: We believe we have been denied justice, because my dad’s killers have never been brought before a court of law. Therefore we, like every other victim of the previous regime, are looking forward to the TRRC
Elegance: How committed is to the New Government in ensuring justice for your father and many other Jammeh victims?
Baba Hydara: That remains to be seen, like I said before it depends on the TRRC. However, we do appreciate the present Government’s efforts in enforcing the 2014 ECOWAS judgement.
Elegance: Many fingers have been pointed at Jammeh for been responsible of your father’s death. What’s your reaction to this and if yes, have you forgiven him or will you ever forgive him?
Baba Hydara: Like I said earlier investigation from reporters without border and statements made by ‘junglers’ confirmed that they were carrying out his orders. I don’t and will never forgive him.
Elegance: Your father went through sleepless nights to keep The Point newspaper on the newsstand with his colleagues for thirteen years. In your opinion, do you feel supported by the Gambian people in the course for seeking justice for him or do you feel neglected?
Baba Hydara: Through the years the Gambian people have rallied behind us and their support meant a lot.
Elegance: Thank you very much for speaking to Elegance Magazine.
Baba Hydara: You’re welcome all the time.