Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

BREAKING NEWS: LAWYER DARBOE AND OTHER DETAINED PROTESTERS SLAPPED WITH FLIMSY CHARGES

April 20, 2016
Para-Military Personnel confronting Protesters

Para-Military Personnel confronting Protesters

The leader of United Democrattic Party (UDP) Mr.Lawyer Ousainou Darboe who was arrested on the 16th of April 2016 for leading a peaceful protest was arrainged today together with other detainees at the high court in Banjul.  Mr Darboe and other arrested peaceful protesters of around 3 dozens were slapped with flimsy charges , charges without merit whatsover. They where charged on six counts as follows:

1. Unlawful assembly

2. Riot

3. Incitement of violence

4. Riotously interfering with traffic

5.Holding a procession without a license

6. Disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession

However the most talked about detained protesters that  include Solo Sandeng, Fatoumata Jawara, Nokoi Njie, Fatou Camara  and Modou Ngum where not among those arraigned before the high court affirming earlier reports that they are killed or serious wounded due to sever tortue.Lawyer Antouman Gaye represented the peacful protesters and no bail was offered to them but were rather remanded at the mile II central prisons.

The rogue regime in Gambia is under high international pressure to release illegally detained protesters and seriously critcized for poor handling of poor handling of the situation. Meanwhile Gambias in different parts of the world came out in their large numbers to protest against the heavy handedness of the government on unarmed protesters. From London, Paris  to New York Gambians have expressed their dissaffaction with the recent happenings of security personnel brutalazing defenseless innocent citizens of the country.

GAMBIA: PEACEFUL PROTEST TURNED UGLY

April 17, 2016
Para-Military Personnel Manhandling Protesters

Para-Military Personnel manhandling Protesters

Lawyer Darbo & top opposition figures sticking together and marching forward

Lawyer Darbo & top opposition figures sticking together and marching forward

They held a banner with the inscription “We Need Proper Electoral Reform In The Gambia” marching on the main highway in Gambia’s biggest town Serekunda but the procession of defenseless protesters was seriously cracked down by security personnel. The leader of the protest Solo Sandeng was whisked away together with close to a dozen other protesters.  What started as a peaceful protest demanding electoral reform turned ugly in no time on the 14th of April 2016. The peaceful protesters initially resisted arrest for they have not committed any crime; what they did is sanctioned by section 25 sub section 1(d) of the Gambian constitution but they were taken away when a truck load of paramilitary personnel arrived on the scene.  According to reports reaching our desk those arrested on Thursday were taken to mile II central prisons and then later transferred to NIA torture chambers where they were severely tortured. The leader of the Protest Mr. Ebrima Solo Sandeng is reported to have died and one of the female protesters arrested along side with him seriously injured according to a report issued by Amnesty International.

The leader of the opposition party United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer Ousainou Darboe  issued  a press statement condemning the arrest of peaceful protester and allege killing of one of the party’s youth leaders Mr. Sandeng. In his press statement Mr. Darboe abhorred the behavior of the NIA Director Yankuba Badjie whom he said got his men drunk and unleashed them to severely torture defenseless protesters couple with filming torture sessions to satisfy the sadist Yaya Jammeh.  After issuing the press statement Lawyer Darboe took to the street together with top opposition figures demanding the release of those still held in custody and an explanation of the death of Solo Sandeng.  Mr. Darboe’s peaceful procession also turned ugly as security forces confronted them spraying tear gas and taking in Lawyer Darboe and other top opposition figures.

The U.S State Department has issued  a statement urging the Gambia government to exercise restraint and not deny the protesters their right to peaceful assembly.   Meanwhile the Government of the Gambia through it’s mouth piece Information Minister Sheriff Bojang issued a press release urging the international community not to interfere with the domestic affairs of the Gambia.  Up to the the time of going to press Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and close to a dozen top opposition figures were still held incommunicado. The information minister when confronted on BBC on the illegal detention of opposition figures he claimed that those arrested have breached the public order act.  Some people in some quarters especially western holiday makers have expressed concern on the effect of the recent turmoil on tourism but others responded to such concerns that fundamental freedoms and respect for human dignity are more important than some chicken change from tourism.

JAMMEH’S LACK OF VISION EXPOSED IN HIS ASSEMBLY SPEECH

April 1, 2016
Am I bothered! Yahya Jammeh seems to be implying from his posture!

Am I bothered! Yahya Jammeh implies from his posture!

After failing to attend the previously scheduled opening of this year’s Legislative year, the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh finally appeared at the country’s National Assembly, on Thursday, 31 March 2016, to address the legislative body of the country. Unlike previous years, the President use the occasion to spew his venom at the absentee West, whilst exposing his lack of vision to improve and develop the country to his viewing countrymen.

The delusional Gambian leader had very little for his domestic audience in the speech, except his unsurprising threat to laid off all of the country’s current lawyers, Judges, etc, by changing the country’s legal system into Sharia; in adopting Sharia Law as the Supreme Law of the land. The visionless leader failed to give details of any benefit to the country to be achieved from such a change of the country’s legal system from the English Common Law legal system to an Islamic Sharia based legal system. He further failed to expound on why the need for such change in the country, at present; when the country lack the institutions and expertise to run such a legal system.

He further bragged about the opportunities available in his country, which foreigners are making the best of, whilst the youths of the country are leaving to seek for the same jobs in the racist Europe. He commended the women folk of his country for what he described as their hard-work and making the best use of the opportunities in the country.

The Gambian President previously used the occasion to brag about his many visions for the development of his country; most notably his Vision 2016 and Vision 2020. His Vision 2016 promised to attain the country to a self-food sufficient status by 2016, and bragging to bar all food importation into the country by January 2016.

However, almost four months into 2016, there is not a scintilla sign of halting in the food importation into the country. Neither is the country anywhere near attaining that Self-Food-Sufficiency status, at present, than any other year in its history. Leaving the Gambian President visionless for 2016. As a result, the President deliberately omitted any mention of Vision 2016 in his speech or provide any reason for the failures of his Vision 2016 in his speech.

Instead, as if he was addressing Western politicians, or better still Western audience, the mentally disturbed President spent greater part of his marathon speech to denigrate the West for their wrong labeling of terrorists. He complained that the West was wrong to label ISIS as an Islamic Terrorist group, whilst refusing to label KKK as a Christian Terrorist group. He further criticised the West for labelling their extremists and racists as far right, quizzing “what is right in racism?”

The erratic President further went on to castigate the west for its interference into African politics. Questioning, “Who are you” – referring to the west – to state a leader should not lead or be in power, when his people voted for him to be there. He preached that the West talk of regime change, but they cannot change a regime sustained by Allah!

To sum up, the Gambian President’s speech was another ploy to divert attention from domestics to international issues, which concerns his suffering people very little. His speech was simply design to attract headlines and attention, but lack any substance for the average Gambian families, struggling to make end meets. It’s another clear sign that there is nothing left in the cupboard of Yahya Jammeh to improve the living standards of Gambians or develop the Gambia.

All that is left in Jammeh’s cupboard is lies and more lies.

“THIS MAN IS GOING TO KILL ALL OF US BEFORE THE ELECTIONS”, COL. NDURE CHAM UNBURDENED HIS FEAR ON UNSUSPECTING LT. GANO

March 6, 2016
LANG TOMBONG AND NDURE CHAM

LANG TOMBONG AND NDURE CHAM

Jammeh has a Malicious Intention - Ebou Gaye

THE KANILAI MONSTER

Colonel Ndure Cham, former Chief of Defence Staff and allegedly the mastermind of 21 March 2006 foiled coup, is a man of few words. Contrary to what most of us in the diaspora thought of our Gambian Army, there are a handful who conclude the Kanilai Monster is “not only a liability to the Gambia and her people but also a big problem for the West African sub region as well as an obstacle for the general progress of the African Continent”. As a consequent, the likes of Col. Cham held that “Jammeh had completely outlived his usefulness as a president and therefore had to leave power by all means necessary”, disclosed Lt. Gano. The Colonel lost his cool with young officer Gano who could not spot the bark from the tree after presenting him with a glossy verbal portray of Monster Jammeh’s inadequacies as a president. “Col Cham lost his temper on me and threw a few profanities at me before adding:

‘Gano, you are talking like a dirty civilian. You see somebody aiming a weapon at you and you are telling me that you will dive when he pulls the trigger. This man is going to kill all of us before the elections. You continue to sit there and wait, I am not waiting for any bloody elections’.

I did not understood what he meant by that remark until three weeks later on the 22 March when I came to work and found the Defence Headquarters under siege by personnel of the State Guards Battalion. When I got to my office, I was informed by a female Corporal that there was a coup attempt the previous night”, Lt Gano further buttressed.

Forlornly, the Kanilai monster continues to be a thorn in the flesh of every patriotic Gambian. As anticipated by the Colonel, many gallant soldiers and officers of the GNA had been killed and others forced into hibernation by Jammeh since 21 march 2006. Some continue to languish in appalling prison conditions. No one is safe today in Banjul, even his most loyal Gambian house negroes are more at risk of disappearing into thin air than the Gambian farm negroes under Gambia’s slave-master. What is worse than being a refugee in your own country?

It is only in the Gambia that a president can openly threatens to kill people and he is applauded. “The opposition”, he said “many of them will die before the election.” Are we taking his threat with a pinch of salt or we just waiting for him to carry it out? In the past, the Kanilai monster has lived true to his words by carrying out any threat he issued publicly; most notably Mile II 9 execution. Colonel Cham was spot on in his assertion that the Gambia’s most dangerous criminal in a presidential attire has not only outlived his tenure but an obnoxious liability that must be removed by any means available and affordable.

My hope was spiced up by the lady of substance, Fatoumatta Tambajang on freedom radio. Her peppered speech and enviable efforts to get the opposition leaders come together and present a single candidate to remove Jammeh’s sorry ass from office in the December 2016 election are humbling. I hope her efforts will shame any of the opposition leaders intending to go solo. Like she noted, removing Jammeh from office is a national duty for every Gambian. If another Ndure Cham did not get him before the election, we must vote him out come polling day December 2016.

U.S EMBASSY BANJUL SUSPENDS SOME CONSULAR SERVICES FOR NOW

March 2, 2016
Ambassador C. Patricia Alsup Photo: Courtesy of U.S Embassy Banjul

Ambassador C. Patricia Alsup addressing students of UTG  Photo: Courtesy of U.S Embassy Banjul

The Embassy of the United States of America in Banjul has issued a notice that it has closed routine Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV) and American Citizens Services (ACS) appointments, until further notice. The brief statement posted on the embassy’s webpage did not state explicitly the reason behind the closure. The notice only  hinted that  it is due to unforeseen circumstances. The general Gambian public is therefore left to speculate reasons of closure with some citing the uneven political situation in the Gambia  and others pointing at technical issues. We hereby reproduce the U.S Embassy notice :

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is currently closed to routine Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV) and American Citizens Services (ACS) appointments, until further notice.  We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, and we hope to re-open appointments sometime around March 20, 2016 (though we cannot guarantee that date).  If your need for services is immediate, please schedule an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Dakar.  Please note that the wait times for some appointments in Dakar exceed the amount of time that we expect to be closed.  We appreciate your patience, and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

THE TIME FOR UNITY IS NOW: OPEN LETTER TO GAMBIAN POLITICAL OPPOSITION

February 17, 2016

 

Gambia Presidential Aspirants we knew so far.

Gambia Presidential Aspirants we knew so far.

17 February, 2016

Dear Messrs Bah (NRP), Darboe (UDP), Fatty (GMC) Gomez (GPDP) Jallow (PPP), and Sallah (PDOIS):

The time for unity is now: open letter to Gambian political opposition

We, representatives of civil society organisations in the Diaspora, write to implore you to put aside any differences and stand as a united front, speaking with one voice that echoes our sentiments and collective desire for urgent and far-reaching reforms in The Gambia.  We appeal to you to bring pressure to bear on the Gambia government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), to annul the Electoral Amendment Act 2015. The Act, has no legal basis due to its flagrant contradiction of the nation’s constitution.  It violates the regional Principles and Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance binding ECOWAS member states, to which The Gambia is a party. 

We, as civil society, reject the Act and are in full support of your 12 demands for electoral and constitutional reforms (focusing on PROTECTION OF FRANCHISE, PROTECTION FROM GERRYMANDERING AND-   ENSURING EQUAL, PROTECTION OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PROTECTION OF THE ABSOLUTE MAJORITY PRINCIPLE AND UNDILUTED CHOICE, REPRESENTATION PROTECTION FROM FRAUDULENT REGISTRATION PRACTICE, PROTECTION FROM THE ABUSE OF INCUMBENCY, and  TWO TERM LIMITATION ON TENURE FOR THE PRESIDENCY) presented on June 30, 2015 prior to passage of the Elections Amendment on July 7 of the same year.

Further to this, the Diaspora also organized a meeting for political parties and civil society to deliberate on the upcoming 2016 elections with a particular focus on the Electoral Amendment Act 2015.  In that meeting of October 2, 2015, we agreed that: opposition political parties should set minimum acceptable reforms to the electoral law that must be implemented ahead of the 2016 elections; and both the legitimacy of the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission’s mandate and all bills passed under his expired mandate must be challenged.

It is baffling, however, that opposition parties are themselves campaigning within the framework that they denounced as flawed and illegal. For the record: the electoral laws were flawed as far back as 2001 after the second round balloting was conveniently expunged from the statute books, and a first past the post system introduced; when the abuse of state resources by the APRC party was and remains the order of the day; when security forces practiced and continue to practice intimidation of opposition supporters; and when GRTS, which is a national broadcaster paid for by the public purse, is wholly monopolized by the APRC. The electoral processes were so bad and out of sync with accepted practices, norms and standards that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) refused to observe the elections in November, 2011. The organization stated that it was conducted in an atmosphere of “intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power, the lack of neutrality of state and parastatal institutions, and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.” The sub-regional bloc further stated then that conditions on the ground will not ensure a level playing field.

Today, the situation is much worse.  The illegitimate practices of electioneering in The Gambia as overseen by the IEC has now been legalized by a National Assembly that exists only to serve at the whims of President Jammeh.  The Amendment Act, as it stands, contradicts the principles of popular participation and undermines democracy and good governance in the process.  Participating in them validates these unsavoury political traits.

We maintain our stance that the Elections Amendment Act 2015 should not be allowed to stand.  Political participation of opposition parties has gotten tougher.  Aside from the prohibitive costs to vie for public office, this Amendment Act also places restrictions on citizens living outside of the country for more than 18 months, who have not paid taxes/worked in the country for the duration, to run for office. The Diaspora is responsible for injecting more than 90 million US dollars into the Gambian economy, through remittances. This is more than twice the size of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, and equivalent to net official development assistance (ODA) and official aid to The Gambia.  Yet we are not allowed to vote, and are now further restricted from running for office.

The recent announcement by the IEC for parties to comply with the Electoral Amendment Act 2015 and register before March 31st is absurd.  We are now waiting for a properly constituted IEC to announce a process they will deploy to ensure that the criteria set for party registration is consistent, transparent, and applicable to all parties, including the APRC. We hope an IEC with a legitimate chairperson will adopt an open vetting policy and process. We will scrutinize the entire exercise closely and launch a challenge if the processes and procedures continue to fall short of acceptable regional standards.

We will also support any person, and / or party, that wishes to challenge the illegal Act in court.  Given that the rule of law and the justice sector in The Gambia is heavily compromised and highly politicised, we stand ready and are united in challenging the matter in the ECOWAS community court. And we will not rest until the criminal move by the IEC, President Jammeh and the APRC to extinguish our basic rights is addressed. But we need the political opposition to stand up and speak with one voice to effectively advance the conditions agreed to in the 12-point plan and the Diaspora meeting.  Finally, the opposition parties must give a firm ultimatum to those responsible for the political quagmire the country finds itself in.

As we reflect on our 51 years of independence, this month, we must also realize that the nation is at a crossroads, and that it must not return to the same path treaded for the last four election cycles. It must pursue a different path.  The Diaspora and other citizens of the country will work with leaders of the political opposition all the way, provided that the right path is chosen to lead us on this journey of putting the country first.

Signed:

Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG)

Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CCG)

Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA)

Gambia Human Rights Network (GHRN)

Senegambia Human Rights Defense League (SHRDL)

UK Campaign for Human Rights – Gambia (CHRG)

Xc:       ECOWAS Committee on Political Affairs, Peace & Security

ECOWAS Early Warning System

ECOWAS Communications Department

            African Union: Democracy & Electoral Assistance Unit

            U.S. State Department: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

European Union: European External Action Service

            U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia

            British High Commissioner, The Gambia

            The International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance

The Media

 

 

 

For further information, please contact Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh +1(912) 332-9875 or at CoalitionGambia@gmail.com

PA MODOU ANN OF NMRG RESIGNS

February 13, 2016
Pa Modou Ann

Pa Modou Ann

The Secretary General of the National Resistance Movement of the Gambia (NMRG)  Pa Modou Ann has decided to vacate his post . In a letter dispatched to the NMRG Executive committee and media houses Mr. Ann thanked NMRG for giving him the opportunity to serve as secretary general but didn’t mention any specific reason for resigning.

The organization which comprise mainly of former Gambian military personnel based in the diaspora was set up to take on the dictatorship in Gambia. At the dawn of its formation the organization took a very strong stance but vague strategy on how to tackle the regime in Gambia. As time goes on their tough stance became watered down to a civil society kind of organization. This had led to criticisms from certain angles in the Gambian diaspora community. One of the critiques that stood out was that of Yero Jallow who wrote and article in April last year 2015 questioning whether NMRG is finish.  In that article Yero  questioned the switch in position by the NRMG. To Yero NMRG committed suicide when it declared itself as the main diaspora civil society organization which is far cry from its initial militant stance.  10 months after critique from Yero we are witnessing the resignation of one of its most prominent members in the person of Pa Modou Ann. So is the NRMG finish as illumined in the citizen’s Query? We would leave that for our readers to decide. Here is a replica of the letter from Mr. Ann dispatched to media houses:

NRMG
The Executive Committee
February 10, 2016

Dear Colleagues:
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the honor to work together in the name of our dearest motherland, The Gambia; to free her from Jammeh’s dictatorship, terror, and economic deprivation.
I also want to thank you for the confidence and trust you had by selecting me as your leader. I want to take this unique opportunity to thank all Gambians for giving me the privilege to work with them in this very difficult epoch in our country’s history, especially all of you who one way or the other expressed support in what we stood for.
To my NRMG’s mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, I say, thank you for travelling with me on this difficult but necessary journey, it was indeed humbling to have served as your leader. For me this journey with the NRMG unfortunately comes to an end, mutually parting in different directions.
The threat to our country’s existence still remains, therefore, my continuous personal commitment to my fellow Gambians to free our country is unwavering and steadfast, and I would continue to pursue that commitment with all means necessary with relevant Gambians/organizations.
It was a true honor to have served you as a member of the Executive Committee and your Secretary General.
I am with regret tendering my resignation from the Executive Committee and as a member of the NRMG with immediate effect.
Please contact me for any questions you may have.

Kind Regards,

Pa Modou Ann