Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

ONE WORD FOR OJ AND DARBOE

September 26, 2014
Reads :2268
O.J and Ousainou Darboe

O.J and Ousainou Darboe

SARJO BAYANG

SARJO BAYANG

FROM SARJO BAYANG

Current exchange of heated words between key political personalities Omar Jallow O J of People’s Progressive Party PPP and Ousainou Darboe of United Democratic Party UDP falls on the wrong ground at very wrong time.    These two are highly respectable and big hope of many Gambians even outside of their political engagements. They have both proven track record of what it takes to stand for a nation in need. 

In all the 20 years gross misrule by worst dictator beyond imagination, one thing has gone seriously wrong with Gambian politics. That is the life blood of Gambian politics so badly contaminated. Without correcting such a situation all competing parties will continue to waste  much valuable time.

From Day 1, the junta leader by design or by default emerged with an instrumental move that continues working till today. Biggest weapon of the military junta in Gambian politics since 22 July 1994 is not guns. There is one deadly weapon that skipped the eyes of Gambians and still causing massive destruction.

That deadly weapon is TIME buying or shall we call it stealing time. At the time of July  1994 coup, junta leader and those backing him clearly recognised that most popular and very active players in the political arena already began their aging process. For the junta to make promises spanning to 20 years (so called Vision 2020) was a calculated scheme of deception with sole purpose of stealing time away from the nation’s very best political muscles.

The idea being to keep Gambians hoping for dreams that will never come to be on this planet. In the process, all those seen to be posing critical challenge to survival of military dictatorship were clearly identified to have them ripped off vital time and political energy. Now 20 years, the plot to run down Gambia’s political resources stands the most visible reality.

In broad daylight the military dictatorship began by open statements like “We don’t want old man, we want young president.” As if that was not clear message, everything was done to steal time off all potential threats to the dictatorship by various schemes.

When the junta made such absurd remarks, the age that our very capable good politicians were is nearly the age current military dictator is. Like the fight against corruption, now talking about old pa in Gambian politics is double barrel gunshot.

Of course Gambian youths born five years before July 1994 and by that same year have all rights to demand they don’t want old pa military dictator but young man democratic civilian president.

Fact of matters at hand remains that the junta plotted a time trap to catch plenty of people. That could only be possible by creating an unsuitable and dangerous political environment chewing up vital time and very useful political energies consumed in the process.

What both O J and Ousainou Darbo need doing urgently is to lend their good hands in rectifying the damaged political environment without which nobody else stand to win elections. After rectifying the political errors that proved so fatal, the environment then permits much healthy exchange between genuine contenders. For now, the environment remains dangerous and unsuitable. An exchange of bad opinion between two good people is most unhelpful. The word to take home is RECTIFICATION of current political errors. That has been the electric time trap many politicians continue falling into.

Both Ousainou Darbo and Omar Jallow OJ are good reserves of political resourceful value that Gambia will continue tapping on. Kindest regards.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE IN NEW YORK TO PROTEST

September 24, 2014
Reads :2017
Gambian Protesters

Gambian Protesters

President Yahya Jammeh is in New York and Gambians from across the United States are converging there to protest. If you have not made up your mind yet or you decided that you won’t attend, I am pleading to you to make up your mind or change your mind and attend the protests.

It is the moral responsibility of all those who cares about the lives of the thousands of innocent Gambians and non-Gambians alike murdered by Jammeh, jailed by Jammeh; to speak out loudly that enough is enough. It is your civil duty as Gambians to paint the picture of the horrific states of our nation to the outside world. It is your obligation to make sure not another person falls as victim to the brutal dictator, that no other child grows without their parents because one of the parents is killed by  Jammeh , and that no one is disappearing without traces.

Persistence is what will bring about the desired outcome for changes. Your persistence will highlight the plights of Gambians in The Gambia by bringing the needed attention to the fight to remove President Yahya Jammeh from power and make sure there is no one like him ever in the future. You can make it happen by continuing to protest against tyranny, against brutality by a ruthless, egomaniac, heartless dictator. It can also motivate those in the Gambian Armed Forces to seize the opportunities to remove him by force. Yes it can and it should. No effort is small and collectively we can bring about the changes needed for the continuing survival of democracy in our country.

Your presences signifies that you care about the lives of your fellow human beings and your fellow citizens, that you care about justices and rules of law , that you care about equality, you care about corruption, you care about freedom including individual , communal and more importantly press freedom, you care about the happiness of your fellow citizens. Every human being deserves to live a dignified life and die in a dignified way. Every individual deserves happiness and the chance to pursue their dreams without fear or intimidation. Freedom is essential for our survival, it is essential for development, it is essential in every aspect of our lives.

Those of us who live in free societies must be ready to fight for those who are denied freedom because nothing in life equals freedom and happiness. We must defeat tyranny by any means necessary. It is your moral obligation to speak up loud and clear. If you want to see changes in Gambia, be part of the efforts to bring about those changes. It is your land, my land , Jammeh’s land and and everybody’s and must never be handled otherwise.If it is not you today or your loved one now , they can be next, fight for them fight for humanity, fight for democracy, fight against tyranny,fight for freedom, fight for rules of law. Freed people are happy people and happy people are productive people. It is your destiny and that of your loved ones. Get there by all means. May God give us all the moral courage to speak against tyranny, to stand up for those who are powerless and speak for those without voice. God bless you all and may God bless our country.

By Bamba Jabbi

THE RESISTANCE IS BUT A FESTIVAL OF FORMAL AFFAIRS UNLESS…

September 20, 2014
Reads :5600

GAMBIAN DEMONSTRATORS

GAMBIAN DEMONSTRATORS

The “struggle” has been recently rechristened the “resistance”. Either befits, it all just depends on who is talking; the old school or the young-who would rather bring their message to the street for everyday Gambians to digest. Did I just say “everyday Gambians”? Oh yeah very crystal but please don’t ask me who are they. You see sometimes in the heat of a moment one is confronted by thoughts I often prefer to push and bury in the back of my mind. But the problem is they keep on resurfacing every now and again such that I am now left with no option but to dare the devil once and for all.  Two fundamental issues:

  1. What is the resistance all about?
  2. What kind of Gambia do we want post-Jammeh era?

Most often when you speak to most Gambians, they unilaterally concur that Jammeh must go. Inferring from such consummating desire for Jammeh’s exit, one cannot help but conclude the resistance is nothing but “Jammeh must go”. They certainly believed that once Jammeh is gone, Gambia’s problem is solved. That is but a desirable wishful thinking. Briefly, our fervent desire to usher or push Jammeh through the exit door has impaired our minds from seeing and tackling the more death-defying malaise abetting the resurgence of other lethal Jammehs. This leads to the second question, what kind of Gambia do we want post-Jammeh era?

Without mincing words, I would affirm a Gambia that radiates each word and every verse of the national anthem:

For the Gambia, our homeland

We strive and work and pray

That all may live in unity

Freedom and peace each day.

Let justice guide our actions

Towards the common good

And join our diverse peoples

To prove man’s brotherhood

We pledge our firm allegiance

Our promise we renew

Keep us great God of nations

To the Gambia ever true.

When Jammeh and his self-anointed “Soldiers with a difference” usurped power from the PPP elected regime, they almost had a unanimous consensus from Gambians to prove themselves that they are indeed “Soldiers with a difference”. Unfortunately, their difference was abundantly manifested in the dishonourable ways they flaunted and mutilated the hopes and dreams of the majority of Gambians who saw a beacon of hope and positive change in them.

Firstly, Jammeh began by undermining the supremacy of the constitution. Furthermore, he systematically transformed the organs of government into institutionalized politics of individuality and empowered the presidency as the supreme alpha and omega of the state functionality.  It is common knowledge that governments come and go but technocrats, the civil service and security services stay. Nevertheless, in the Gambian scenario under the guidance ship of Babili Mansa Jammeh, when he goes all these once independent institutions will very likely disperse and exit with him.

Let us take the National Assembly as an example. In many democratic situations, members of parliament take to task their very own party when they are found wanton. What do we have in the Gambia? Elected parliamentarians bending their backsides and tilling the land for the president and as if that is not enough disregard of their expectations but stand in front of national TV cameras and assert, “Farming for President Jammeh is a national duty and obligation”. What is more despicable than that fellow Gambians? Therefore, to expect such members of the national assembly to check and limit the ever encroaching powers of the President tantamount to feeding a pig with gold nuggets. For a post-Jammeh Gambia to free, fair and independent the national assembly must be given a complete overhaul to ban any resurgence of another Jammeh incarnate.

Equally despicable is the president’s use of the security forces to advance his personal agenda. The Police Force is constitutionally instituted as an independent unit to police the society, enforce the law, prevent crime and protect life and property is transmuted into an instrument of instilling fear, harassment and intimidation at best and a brutal force at worst. It can be argued about the NIA and the army.

What is even more laughable and unfathomable is the use of religion and religious clerics to justify the presidential atrocities. Who would have thought in a million years an imam not to mention the supreme Islamic Council will lend a hand at President Jammeh’s farm?  Na wahala, my Nigerian mates will call it. But to see these pathetic imams, Supreme Islamic council bending down, and farming for President Jammeh is a double wahala fellow Gambians. In sum, President Jammeh has successfully prostituted everything worth preserving in to Gambia, ranging from family cohesion to national and social institutions, to satiate his power drunkenness. To therefore believe that his mere exit without remedying this viral malaise is likened to wanting a woman one can never have even in the remotest of dream.

Then it is fitting to start thinking outside the box and building foundation for the restoration and preservation of our once upon a time independent and enviable institutions. For instance, the constitution’s supremacy must not only be restored but also jealously guided by independent legislature and judiciary. Equally important is the taking ownership of accounting and probing elected representatives by Gambian electorates. Yes a two-term limit for the presidency will help curb leaders overstaying their welcome at the same time according others to contribute their quotas, too.

Am I within limit to assert the “resistance” is but a festival of formal affairs unless we start thinking and acting outside the box?

Sulayman Jeng, Birmingham, UK

TIME COST AND HUMAN CAPITAL DAMAGE OF ONE MAN RULE IN GAMBIA

September 20, 2014
Reads :3409
SARJO BAYANG

SARJO BAYANG

JAMMEH, THE  UNRELENTING TYRANT

JAMMEH, THE UNRELENTING TYRANT

An autopsy by Sarjo Bayang

Money and material loss quickly comes to mind whenever people talk about 20 years misrule in Gambia. By good account of time and human capital cost since the advent of military dictatorship, overall loss to Gambia as a nation is scary to imagine.

Freezing Human Capital Stock

In all fairness with regards to capacity building of Gambians, more people have gained employable skills and other specialised functional capabilities in last 20 years compared to what obtained before military rule. There are good reasons for that.  It was in last 20 years that Gambia home grown university education came to doorstep of those who would have never had the chance. That alone opened up doors permitting considerable numbers to enrol for various degree and professional courses.

Another situation is that those who could not cope with adversities of military dictatorship since July 1994 coup had to leave. Many of those who fled the country later discovered better use of time abroad to pursue higher education in various disciplines. It is unlikely that some of those who made advances towards capacity building pursuits abroad will choose to risk returning to Gambia soon. With the hostile political climate reaching boiling temperatures, a good stock of Gambian human capital will remain frozen abroad. At individual level, each person strives to achieve personal goals. By account of national assets, some people may never return to Gambia during their active working age.

Those who brave the political storms and prefer staying in the name of service to the nation still have limitations. The truth is that skills and abilities don’t matter in Gambia under military dictatorship since July 1994 coup. People are given jobs not to serve but pay allegiance. From the president to rest of the public servant, work ethics are at lowest performance standards. People are afraid to be reported more about their loyalty to dictatorial powers than lower output in performance measures.

Looking at the two extreme brackets clearly indicates a situation of freezing human capital stock that is here to stay for time. Hopefully someday, freedom of work prevails and performance reigns over allegiance to the boss.

Spiralling Time Trap

Starting with active politicians then the nation’s youth population everyone is entangled in a time trap by crafty design of dictatorship. To understand the nature and effectiveness of this time trap takes little thinking.

Soon after the July 1994 coup and just before gaining full control first thing that the junta conceived and put on hold was political activity. There was total clamp down on all political activities but that did not stop the ruling junta from going into popularity shows, a scheme of deception to brainwash Gambians.

It was during that period when the junta made loud noise about crude oil money diverted by deposed Jawara regime for personal use. It was all sensational news for people of Gambia to be told that deposed President Sir Dawda Jawara stole public money by virtue of his position. Everyone was keen to know what other skeletons remained in the cupboards of that high office.  Later it turned out that the junta was just about witch hunting for a name.

While striving hard to discredit deposed President Jawara and his government for corruption and abuse of high office, the junta began other popularity campaigns. The junta leader printed his personal photo on packaging material of public health drugs as image selling scheme. Did it work for him though?

Ministers and public servants of deposed Jawara regime have been arrested, detained, and tortured.  Some of them had their properties confiscated including homes and other personal possessions.

As public attention was drawn on alleged bad dealings of deposed Jawara regime, the junta leader and his cohorts spared no time stealing public money through magnetic under hands.

In what they planned to prolong their illegal rule, the junta quickly set up kangaroo courts and bogus commissions of enquiry into alleged economic crime by deposed Jawara regime.

Political parties were banned from activity giving the military junta total monopoly to propagate their grand schemes of deception.

Quickly it emerged that little known junior army ranks decided resigning and to become full time politicians.  Before resigning (by what the public was told) the junta cohorts promoted themselves from lower to higher military ranks. Still no political activity permitted, the junta eventually sneaked to become political leaders in a nation that did not invite them.

By holding everyone hostage, it was smooth transition from parliamentary democracy to military dictatorship and the clock still ticks on 20 years since.

Confident that his methods of inducing fear worked so well for his interest Gambian dictator continues testing waters. Having so woefully failed the nation and people of Gambia in all regards, the next giant move of Gambia’s self-imposed life president is to be crowned king. Everyone is caught in a time trap where some people keep zipped mouths. Such is the magnitude of political earthquake in Gambia spanning already 20 years on gigantic time trap with devastating spiral effect while the clock still ticks on.

Balance Sheet of Social Capital Assets and Liabilities

As nation and people of Gambia continue to experience worst form of dictatorship amidst intolerable corruption levels at leadership the true Balance Sheet remains to be known.

Political demagogues and sycophants take to centre stage by incredible proportion. It is no longer important to be skilful or boast of talent. Those who trade on cajoling and schmoozers enjoy the best of good treats. You only have to belong and all doors are open.

Social capital formation of Gambia continues to experience such a decline that majority of those in public offices only stay for their pockets.  Gossips and hero worship have become norms. Anyone seen to be upholding ethical work principles get criticised and at worse alienated for doing right.

Gambia is sinking largely because public resources are grossly abused by a bunch of social capital liabilities whose only interest is filling their deep pockets for selfish gains. Sooner or later, this state of affairs will render total breakdown almost beyond repairs.

 Counterproductive Public Service

Voluntary unemployment is the term used for people on payroll whose performance does not compensate their cost of remuneration adding all other inducements. These include people occupying high public positions where lot of public resources are committed. Since July 1994 military coup, Gambian public sector is crowded by such people in their majority. They simply feed on resources while failing to deliver what their office duty requires. This starts from office of the president where productivity levels reveal zero reading on the scoreboard. What makes matters even more serious is the additional damage incurred, by same people disallowing capable public servants to perform their rightful duties.

Counterproductive forces in Gambia have gained greater power pull in the tug-of-war between genuine public servants and retrogressive individuals. For some time it appeared as though nothing mattered. In the long run however damage done by counterproductive public service proved fatal enough for all to see.

Nothing seems moving along the direction of improvement about this most serious problem. Yet still it remains a taboo. The truth is best known even to those enjoying the loot. When everything falls to pieces, it takes everyone to bear the pain.

So much damage is already done. Gambia requires full recovery from 20 years wreckage. The nation continues to experience colossal loss of finance and material resources. With equal or more serious damage to human capital and time cost in vast ways recovery does not come by chance.

How a nation of 2 million permits one person rule so long with such damaging results is seriously baffling.

Best possible scenario is that once military dictatorship is unseated, there are prospects more capable hands will join up to recover from 20 years wreckage.

MILE II PRISONS DESPICABLE CONDITIONS EXPOSED AS NJOGOU BAH LANGUISHES IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

September 18, 2014
Reads :6111
MILE II CENTRAL PRISON

MILE II CENTRAL PRISON

CRAMPED INMATES

CRAMPED INMATES

An authoritative source from the Ministry of Interior has reliably informed Fatu Radio that former SG Njogou Bah and former Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh have put into solitary confinement after mobile phones and some amounts of money were allegedly found in their possession respectively by some prison wardens. According to the source, the discovery was a result of routine checks on cells and inmates by the prison authority.

“Both men are reported to be in good shape. No signs of manhandling or illness were noted on them as they were quickly whisked to confinement. The wing is the worst section and all inmates dread it very much. I cannot confirm yet if they were tortured in confinement but Oga was definitely very upset with the news”, the source revealed.

Fatu radio was also privileged with nerve-racking confidential information on the menacing conditions of the prison which inmates dubbed as ‘unfit for animal habitation’. “Between November and February each year is a period when most inmates die as a result of the ever-increasing deplorable conditions. Poor sanitation, mosquitoes and unbalanced diet all adds to the untimely dead in the prison”, the source further added.

When the Investigative Team of Fatu Radio asked the source if families of dead inmates are usually informed of the demise of their love ones, the source replied “Not at all. They quickly bury them just near the confinement wing which has been designated as the prison graveyard. What is even more disheartening about these unlawful burials is the lack of observation of religious rites for the dead. Prison Officers would only say minus 4 for instance when four inmates died”.

The source told Fatu Radio that Bombardeh is no longer the strong and well-trained guy he used to be. He disclosed that he must have stopped his daily exercise. Ousman Sanneh alias ‘Sembeh’ is paralysed, he was Drug Squad Ex-Commander of Operations is paralysed waist down due to concomitant torture by his captors. The source also highlighted that Amadou Sanneh is seriously weak and does not have access to his diabetes medication.

Inmates who suffer from diabetics and other terminal illness are not given medication. “Paracetamol is a luxury”, lamented the source. No mosquito sprays, bed sheets, proper mattresses and to make matters worse, old inmates are compelled to give up their beds to new ones. As a result, some are left with no choices but to sleep in appalling toilets dampened with human wastes, flies and cockroaches. All inmates look up the ex-military inmates for survival. New Senior Government arrivals are subjected to thorough scrutiny to ascertain their loyalty and confess their involvement before they are accepted. Government loyalists are often rejected by inmates as they are viewed as traitors.

The prison runs three square meals:

BREAKFAST: consists of bread and butter with chura Gerteh

LUNCH comprises Bennachin, Chuwi Diwtir, Chuwi Yappa-one piece of meat for each inmate

DINNER is always Chereh with Koba fish.

Inmates who want proper food have to pay cooks huge amounts.

They are locked up at 5 pm every day and let out by 10 am for a couple of hours. When outside for recreation, they are only allowed to play lodo and scrabble. Inmates are not allowed any ‘ataya’. For any inmate to remain happy in the prisons, he or she has to make the prison officers happy. Many inmates also complaint of their stuff been stolen by prison wardens.

Most inmates who perform their prayers are forced to do so on their bed due to overcrowding in the cells. Each inmate is given a silver bowl, a spoon, a fork with only one uniform for his or her entire stay. Most inmates are very bitter and angry, some vow to revenge once they are out. They want the world to know about their condition

After a Long Legal Wrangle, Foroyaa’s Bai Mass Kah is Free at Last

September 10, 2014
Reads :1807
Bai Mass Kah

Bai Mass Kah

Mr.Bai Mass Kah an employee of Foroyaa newspaper who was tried for sedition was on Tuesday 9th of September 2014 acquitted and discharged after a long legal wrangle. It was on Wednesday 27th of November 2013 that Bai Mass Kah was arraigned before a court of law after being held for 13 days at the notorious NIA and various police stations within the Greater Banjul area without charge.

Mr. Kah was later charged for uttering a statement against the photo of the president of the Gambia. According to the particulars of offence, Bai Mass Kah told an AFPRC supporter who was pasting the photo of president Jammeh on a car that “why not you paste the photo of the president on the sky”. The prosecution indicated that he committed an offense by uttering such a statement as it could lead to hatred, disaffection and disrespect on the person of the president.

The Foroyaa employee pleaded not guilty to the charges and went through a trial that lasted for 10 months.In delivering her judgement magistrate Aji Amie Jagne ruled that  the statement said to be uttered by Bai Mass Kah does not amount to sedition as it could not bring hatred, disaffection and disrespect to the person of the president. She also hinted that what the charge sheet stated was a far cry from the evidence of the witnesses of the prosecution. As such she decided to acquit and discharge Bai Mass Kah.

The government of the Gambia is criticized by rights groups for suppressing divergent views and prosecuting political opponents based on very flimsy charges. The independent media houses operate on a very hostile environment and has to employ self censorship to avoid meaningless legal battles. But the acquittal and discharge of Bai Mass Kah shows that some magistrates and judges especially native ones have conscience and would not bend the law to  nourish the ego of the country’s dictator.

GAMBIA’S LION, PRESIDENT JAMMEH, HAS ACQUIRED A NEW JEWEL FOR HIS ABATTOIR

September 10, 2014
Reads :5596
HELEN MAROUN-JAMMEH'S NEW JEWEL

HELEN MAROUN-JAMMEH’S NEW JEWEL

BAROKA JAMMEH-GAMBIA'S LION

BAROKA JAMMEH-GAMBIA’S LION

Anyone remembers “The Lion and The Jewel” by Wole Soyinka? Well, here is its synopsis: The main theme of the play reflects contrasts, old versus young and culture versus change. The story revolts around Sidi-the village belle and her thespian ‘relationship’ with Lakunle, the school teacher. Lakunle is wooing Sidi but snubs to pay the dowry which he deemed as archaic. Soyinka craftily contrasts Lakunle with Baroka, the lion, who is the village chief. Sidi considers Lakunle as a misfit with a verbose mouth and Baroka as a challenge.

In the Gambian imitation of ‘The Lion and The Jewel’, Bala Gaye 2, a Senegalese wrestler is Lakunle, Hele Maroun, a beauty queen and niece to Gambia’s legendary tycoon-Paul Maroun is Sidi and of course Jammeh steps in for Baroka. Oop…Oop…Baroka! Woaw! Hope he is not going to officiate that as one of his many titles. Let see how it goes…His Excellency Dr Professor Alhagie Nasiru Deen Baroka Babili Mansa President of the second Republic of the Gambia Yahya AJJ Jammeh. Burry Batchily, Bala Gaye’s first wife unlike Sadiku refused to acknowledge her husband’s marriage to Helen Maroun which makes it hard for Bala to fulfil his marital obligation with the Banjul Belle.

Sensing a rift between the young couple, Jammeh wasted no time in warming his way into unsuspecting Helen’s heart and mind. First he hired her to manage his Muslim Shop which was under KGI. The Muslim Shop, which also oversees Jammeh’s butchery outlets, was initially ran by Wareh Njie, the ex-wife of former ADC Bajinka. When Helen took over the management of the shop, he bought her a new PAJERO to cruise her from the shop to Jammeh’s slaughter house. A source who is privy to all Jammeh’s underworld deals informed Kibaaro News that Jammeh told Helen “You are not this boy’s class. You are a Presidential wife material and not a wrestler’s wife”. Bad boy Jammeh or 50 Cent as his crew fondly dubs him lavishes Helen with heavy purse to spend as and when she likes.

Since their new found love blooms, President Jammeh snubs Bala Gaye 2, his onetime friend. The source went on to add that he does not invite Bala anymore to any of his programmes in which Bala has always been a special guest accentuating an overzealous protection of his new jewel. Imam Fatty what does Islam teaches about a married man going after another man’s wife?

Wareh Njie now heads KGI. Jammeh is said to have paid off all her debts with First International bank, a new car and $10,000 to start with a clean slate as Managing Director of KGI. She is a buddy to Sabally’s wife and both were employees of FIB.