‘I am just a piano player’ – Jammeh’s biographer reacts to critics

Nana Grey Johnson, an accomplished Gambian author and journalist, has said that he is just a piano player and that critics of his recent contract to write yet another biography – this time of the current Gambian president – do not probably like the song he is playing.
Amidst the euphoria of the Gambia’s 48th Independence Anniversary last month, the renowned writer appeared on evening news on national television, after an audience with President Jammeh. He told reporters he was commissioned to do a “serious work” on the young leader, as well as present him with a biography of Edward Francis Small. Small has been regarded as “the Father” of Gambian Independence, trade unionism, and journalist, yet he or his works have not been given a fitting national recognition in post-independence Gambia.
However, reactions to this were swift, mainly from diaspora Gambians many of whom described Mr. Grey-Johnson as a “hypocrite” for accepting to work for President Jammeh.
“I am only the piano player. It’s probably the song they don’t like. But I’ll play on anyway,” Mr Grey-Johnson told Gambiabeat.
This will be Grey-Johnson’s third biography — the first was E. F. Small, the second was Kairaba. “I wonder why I was not called a hypocrite for those two when the principle behind the writing were the same as now — scholarship, knowledge, history, posterity,” he added.
He further asked; “How can a man who dedicates his whole life to that be a hypocrite? But it is their right to express it; so I concede.”Nana Grey-Johnson


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