Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

PRESIDENT JAMMEH’S ELECTRIC BROOM HAS SWEPT HIS CABINET AGAIN

April 14, 2014

Reads :2421
Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

Dictator Jammeh threatening Gambians

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has once again used his electronic broom to sweep his cabinet for the sixth time within 12 months. His cabinet reshuffle follows the order he received from the EU for him to step up or lose funding. An insider within State House ambit revealed to Kibaaro News that this cabinet reshuffle is aimed to augment his failed regime’s gloomy image. The insider went further to state “He is trying to blow life into a dead horse. His time is up and the soon he admits that the better for him”.

According to the Despot press release, President Jammeh acting under the provision of sections 71 (1) and 71 (3) of the constitution has reassigned Dr. Abubacarr Senghore as Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and appointed Mamour Alieu Jagne as Minister of Foreign Affairs with effect from 9th April 2014.

In the same vein, the release indicated the President acting under the provisions of sections 71 (a) (b) of the constitution, has relieved Teneng Mba Jaiteh of her Cabinet appointment as Minister of Energy and redeployed her to the Foreign Mission.

Acting under provision of section 80 of the constitution, the Dictator has appointed Dr. Edward Saja Manneh as Deputy Minister of Energy with effect from 9th April 2014.

“This is sixth time the Gambian Dictator is reshuffling his cabinet in 12 months. We are sick and tired of Jammeh’s cabinet reshuffle every other day. What type of constitution are we having in the Gambia?” a Senior Civil servant demanded angrily.

“I think it is high time for changes in government since Jammeh is playing with Gambians. Today many Gambians have lost faith in President Jammeh. He has betrayed many of us“, said another civil servant.

PRESIDENT JAMMEH EMBARKS ON HIS NEFARIOUS MEET THE PEOPLE TOUR

April 14, 2014

Reads :1132
Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, is expected to embark on a nationwide people tour starting today, Monday 14th April 2014, according to top senior civil servant. The annual tour was introduced by former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara as a platform in which he meets Gambian farmers to discuss and resolve their most pressing needs. However, under President Jammeh, the tour has been transformed into political court room in which perceived opposition communities are harassed, humiliated, isolated from development projects and condemned despite paying their taxes.

According to the tour itinerary, President Jammeh will hold meetings in all the major towns and selected villages in the provinces including Barra, Farafenni, Kaur, Jangjangbureh, Gambissara and Basse among others. The tour will end in Banjul at the end of April. Meanwhile, the Gambian President and his high power delegation will today cross over to Barra as day one of his Dialogue with the People tour gears into motion.

The Gambian leader is expected to be engaged in a series of activities including the inauguration of projects in various parts of the country while also discussing with farmers of this year farming season and the coming rain season. Farmers in the poor West African nation are frustrated by their government’s inaptness to resolve the acute need for seeds, fertilizer and fix price for their produce. Furthermore, Agribusiness Services and Producers’ Association (ASPA), the inter-professional body vested with the management of The Gambia groundnut sub-sector, treats the vulnerable farmers with uncalled for red tapes and bureaucracy.

The officials has announced this year groundnut producer price pegged at GMD14, 500 (fourteen thousand, five hundred Dalasis) per metric ton. Consequently, all Cooperative Marketing Societies (CPMS), private traders and any agent wishing to participate in groundnut buying at primary (secco) have been ordered by the Jammeh government abide with the officially recognised producer price. ”This year’s price compares quite favourably with what pertains in the sub-region. Farmers are therefore urged to sell their produce through the existing marketing outlets. Once again, ASPA solicits the cooperation of all and sundry to make the marketing season a success,” a senior officer at ASPA to Kibaaro News.

The Gambia: Remembering the April 10 2000 Students’ Massacre

April 11, 2014

Reads :394

 

Author: Mathew K. Jallow

Author: Mathew K. Jallow

By Mathew K. Jallow

Exactly fourteen years ago this week, sixteen young Gambian students’ lives were cut short by the crackle of machine-gun-fire. The morning began uneventfully as citizens went about their normal business. In down-town Serekunda, the hustle and bustle that gave notoriety to the Gambia’s largest metropolis lived up to its image of confusion and disorder. Two miles to the east of Serekunda, where the Kairaba Avenue, the Birkama Highway and the Serekunda/Banjul speedway converge, and the spectacular display of human activity spoke loudly of hope but also of subdued desperation, no one could predict the tragedy that was about to happen. That morning of April 10th 2000, when Claesco Pierra woke up in her London Corner home, she was bubbly and full of life. She had just finished eating breakfast of porridge and sugar laced-skimmed-milk, and could not wait to get to school. She longed to meet her four best friends and do what they do best; small-talk about their teachers and whatever else adolescent girls talk about. The time was 7.30 am and everywhere one looked, in all directions, school children walked singly or in groups towards St. Theresa’s School. Close to Westfield clinic, as a little boy with a running nose ran to catch-up with his older siblings, his left hand tightly clutching his loose, grimy shorts, a ragged white Toyota van suddenly veered off the street to avoid hitting him.

Around 7.45am, the Kanifing/Serekunda/Talinding Kunda junction was teeming with young lives as boys and girls walking gingerly towards school, with a future so full of promise ahead of them. Standing on the edge of the street near the former Paul Maroun’s store where the Kairaba Avenue and the Banjul/Serekunda highways intersect in an eternal embrace, Jonfolo Ceesay, Ngone Jobe, Elizabeth Jatta and Ndungu Jallow giggled and made sounds that mockingly mimicked one of their female teachers as they anxiously waited for their friend to appear. As the four girl-friends turned to look at a group of boys their age on the other side of Kairaba Avenue close to St. Theresa’s Church, their friend Claesco Pierra sneaked up on them. Surprise, she shouted as she wrapped her arms around her four friends. The five exchanged greetings and walked towards school and stood for a moment on the side-walk with arms locked together as they always did whenever they crossed a street. On that morning there was not enough time for the five to spend together under the usual mango tree at the far end of the school yard. As soon as the five friends entered the school yard they parted company and went each to their separate classrooms. But prior to entering the school yard, they once again renewed their friendship vows, and they promised to remain friends for the rest of their lives. They vowed to never allow other girls or boys to get in between them and ruin their friendship.

At 8 am sharp, the school bell rang as school principal; William Kujabi emerged from his office, his menacing hulk crowned with a stern, but harmless face. As if on cue, the remaining students who stood outside in the school yard bolted and ran helter-skelter in all directions towards their classrooms. Mr. Kujabi surveyed the school grounds one more time to make sure no student remained loitering on the school grounds and around the school perimeter fence. Meanwhile, in a secluded block of classrooms facing away from the rest of the school, the senior students were meeting to discuss the events of the day. A few minutes earlier, Claesco Pierra, one of the school seniors had been motioned to join other seniors at the meeting. There was a unanimous agreement among the gathered students to actively participate in the students’ demonstration against the death of Ebrima Barry in police custody and the rape of a fifteen year old girl slated for later that morning. It was agreed that only the senior students will be permitted to participate in the morning’s demonstration along the Brikama/Banjul highway. The school head boy, Bola Roberts, went to seek permission for Principal Kujabi. The mildly warm day looked like every other school day. When the school bell rang at exactly the 9 am hour, students from the three senior classes gathered in the school yard in front of the principal’s office.

At 9.15 am, led by the school head-boy, Bola Roberts, the students, all young boys and girls, exited the school yard and poured into the Kairaba Avenue side-walk and turned south towards the Westfield junction. Already, the perennially busy junction was filling up beyond capacity with students from other area schools. There was excitement in the air. Senior students from all the area schools gathered at the tri-street convergent point to create a carnival fest atmosphere, egged on by admiring adults proud of their country’s young sons and daughters. Five miles to the north, at the Bakau Army Camp, unbeknown to the gathering mass of students, military personnel in riot gears were speeding towards the Kanifing junction too, even as more reinforcements deployed from Yundum and Denton Bridge military barracks also sped towards the direction of the peaceful students march. Before long, the area was saturated with armed military men in riot gears. It looked as though they had come ready to do battle with the defenseless students rather than to control the gathering of unarmed students, whose peaceful march had assumed a fun, almost carnival like atmosphere. But even with the festive mood of the protest, to the hundreds of gathered students, the protest was no joke. The murder of Ebrima Barry and the rape of a young student by the regime’s thugs was no laughing matter.

As students continued their peaceful march, the security forces were bracing for a fight, threateningly showing off their AK 47 machine guns. Soon tensions were high on both sides of the divide. Exchanges of insults between the protesting students and some security forces intensified, yet despite that, the least the students expected was what happened next. Unprovoked and in a deliberate show of brute force, some security personnel opened fire on the crowd of peaceful, unarmed students. When the crackle of machine guns’ fire finally fell silent after five minutes of frightening machine gun fire, small groups of students hovered over the bodies of the dead and dying. It was utter mayhem and pandemonium. One of the students, who lay dying, was a beautiful female student in St. Theresa’s school uniform. She lay sprawled on the ground close to the old Cooperative Union complex where she stumbled and fell trying to escape. A bullet entered the back of her head and exited from her fore-head above her right eye. She twittered violently one more time and fell silent. Claesco Pierra was dead. The beautiful young girl with so much to live for was no more. Back at St. Theresa’s School, Jonfolo Ceesay, Ngone Jobe, Elizabeth Jatta and Ndungu Jallow, her four best friends, had no idea what had just happened. When it was over, sixteen lifeless bodies lay dead or bleeding profusely on the streets of Kanifing.

On that day so long ago, April 10th, 2000, became the most tragic day in Gambia’s history. It was the day Gambia lost its innocence. This year, like previous years, the innocent students massacred fourteen years ago are remembered and honored as martyrs of freedom by Gambians at home and abroad. The mourning of their deaths and the celebration of their short lives will become an annual ritual that will grow bigger as more and more Gambians become aware of the significance of this day of notoriety. This year, Gambians and Gambians civil society organizations around the world are calling everyone to join in commemorating the freedom they stood for, and celebrate the short lives they lived. For their legacy of bravery will forever be etched in stone and inscribed on the mural of Gambian history. Like all the murders perpetrated on the orders of Yahya Jammeh and Isatou Njie-Saidy; from the assassination of Ousman Koro Ceesay, the cruel murder of Deida Hydara, the broad daylight shooting death, at the Royal Albert Market, of Sergeant Dumbuya, the strangulation of Sergeant Illo Jallow, the executions of the nine Mile 2 Prisoners, and every murder and execution in between, the perpetrators of the student massacre have never been brought to face justice. As the murdered innocent students are remembered, Gambians once again send a message to Yahya Jammeh and his regime; the spirits of Gambia’s dead will never die from the consciousness of the people. For, in our heart they reside until their troubled souls see the justice.

1. Reginald Carroll

2. Karamo Barrow

3. Lamin Bojang

4. Ousman Sabally

5. Sainey Nyabally

6. Ousman Sembene

7. Bakary Njie

8. Claesco Pierra

9. Momodou Lamin Njie

10. Ebrima Barry

11. Wuyea Foday Mansareh

12. Bamba Jobarteh

13. Momodou Lamin Chune

14. Abdoulie Sanyang

15. Babucarr Badjie

16. Omar Barrow (journalist & Red Cross volunteer)

CORDEG REMEMBERS APRIL 10 AND 11

April 11, 2014

Reads :286
Dr Saine Chairman of CORDEG

Dr Saine Chairman of CORDEG

Dictator Jammeh

Dictator Jammeh

In Memoriam

Fourteen years ago on the 10th & 11th April 2000, security forces in The Gambia gunned down and killed 14 school children, including a 10 year old boy, a 3 year old toddler and a Red Cross volunteer and journalist Omar Barrow, who was helping to evacuate dead and wounded children. Scores more school children were also maimed, as they staged a peaceful demonstration against attacks on young people, including the unlawful killing of a school boy Ebrima Barry and the rape of a young school girl Binta Manneh by Gambian state security officers, weeks earlier.

In sombre remembrance, CORDEG salutes these brave children of the soil who on this day of infamy, fell under the murderous hail of the executioners’ bullets:-

Abdoulie Sanyang, of Old Jeshwang died from a stampede and his death was an accident • Bubacarr Badjie, a student, aged 10, died of gunshot wounds from a high-velocity weapon • Wuyeh Fode Mansally, a student of Talinding Islamic Institute, died of gunshot wounds

Momodou Lamin Njie, a GTTI student, died of gunshot wounds • Calisco Prera, a resident of New Jeshwang, died of gunshot wounds • Karamo Barrow, a former student of the Institute for Continuing Education, died of gunshot wounds • Reginald Carrol, a student of La Fourmi Institute, Kanifing, died of gunshot wounds • Omar Barrow, journalist and Gambia Red Cross volunteer, died of gunshot wounds • Momodou Lamin Chune, student of Latrikunda Middle School, died of gunshot wounds • Lamin A. Bojang, student of Nusrat Senior Secondary School, died of gunshot wounds • Ousman Sabally, student of Brikamaba Upper Basic School, died of gunshot wounds • Ousman Sembene, died of gunshot wounds

  • Bakary Njie, died of gunshot wounds
  • Sainey Nyabally, died of gunshot wounds

We pray that their tender souls continue to rest in eternal peace.

Impunity will never be condoned

We also remember that the coroner’s verdict is that all the deaths were caused by gunshot wounds from high velocity weapons. Some of these students are still suffering the physical trauma sustained on that murderous day.

The investigations and report of the government’s own Commission of Enquiry and the Secretary of State for Justice, also recommended that a number of named security and government officers be prosecuted for the unlawful killing of the defenceless school children and Red Cross volunteer.

However, instead of prosecutions, the president Yahya Jammeh chose to condone the unlawful killing of these children. With outrageous contempt for the human rights of innocent Gambian children, the government proceeded to institutionalise impunity by granting indemnity against prosecution to the following individuals named as responsible for the unlawful killing of the 14 school children and the Red Cross volunteer.

People named as responsible by the Commission of Enquiry:-

For the killing of the school children, the Commission of Enquiry recommended prosecution of the following;

Secretary of State for the Interior: (then)              Ousman Badjie

Deputy Inspector-General of Police: (then)           Sankung Badjie

Commissioner of Operations [Police]: (then)        Baboucarr Sowe

Assistant Superintendent of Police:                     Momodou Ceesay

Police Licensing Office Personnel:                      Gorgi Mboob

Police Personnel:                                               Corporal Lamin Camara

Lance-Corporal Njie

Private Lamin Camara

Private Paul Mendy

Private Alieu Kambi

For their own inhumane and inappropriate conduct [and being in command of junior officers who behaved similarly], the Commission of Enquiry recommended disciplinary action against the following;

Military Personnel: [Inhumane conduct]               Lieutenant Samba Baldeh

Lieutenant Wassa Camara

Police Personnel: [Inappropriate conduct]                        Inspector Omar Darboe

Inspector Mandinding Fatty

As we mark 14 years without justice for the families of the innocent victims of this darkest period in the post-independence history of our country, CORDEG makes a solemn commitment to campaign vigorously for the perpetrators of this crime against humanity and their commander Yahya Jammeh, to be brought to justice, so as to finally bring closure and recompense to the parents and families of the murdered victims of this most barbaric crime. 

CORDEG is calling on every Gambian at home and abroad to redouble every effort to hasten the fall of tyranny and dictatorship in the Gambia. We pledge to pursue unrelentingly the justice of this and the many other crimes committed by Yahya Jammeh and his government, against innocent Gambians.

Justice may be delayed but justice will not be denied.

Professor Abdoulaye Saine

Chair CORDEG

10/04/2014

 

PRESIDENT JAMMEH’S HOUSE ON FIRE

April 11, 2014

Reads :1034
Dictator Jammeh pointing a finger at the West.

Dictator Jammeh pointing a finger at the West.

Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

By Babucarr Darboe

Voice of reason opined “when one wants all, he loses all” such is manifested in President Jammeh. As human beings, we at certain stage of our lives reach moments when we are tempted to caress the notion that we can say and/or do anything and no one can do a thing about it. This is the point that we reached the stage where we either make or destroy our very existence and everything else we love and live for. Those who are blessed with rationale perceived their endowment as a gift from God. As an appreciation of their gift from God, they become more humble, kind, forgiving, caring and loving. Whereas, those who believed that their endowment is innate and their own creation often play God. These people are ruthless, arrogant, selfish and destructive. It is sad to note that President Jammeh falls under the latter group.

President Jammeh, after ascending to power in 22 July 1994, has systematically destroyed anything good and what he perceived as a huddle for his personal gain. He started killing innocent Gambians in secrecy, and then moved on to organized ambush and now state executions. He believes no one can do a thing about it. Oh no Mr Jammeh, God has many ways in which He tests and brings His disbelievers crashing down. Did you remember the story of Pharaoh and Musa? How about Idi Amin of Uganda? Perhaps you are too busy playing God that you don’t thing of these awakening historical facts. Well, Mr President things will never be the same again for you.

For a start, all your close associates and confidantes are slipping off your grip aided and abetted by your most trusted security officers. Is that ringing any bell for you Mr President? Last week you offered a huge ransom for the head of your very own nephew and accomplice. A couple of days after your own mother survive a heart attack and is refusing to see or talk to you. Two days ago your childhood friend and ex Director of your notorious intelligence agency died mysteriously. And today a little bird has it that you have impregnated your adopted daughter. Even those who live far away from your house can feel the heat oozing from its fire. Today, if you recall, marks the 14th year you ordered for the mass killings of innocent and unarmed Gambian students. Some remain maimed by bullets of your security officers. In the light of all these Mr President how do you think that you will forever live in peace?

Even if Gambians choose to let you be, the poor souls you unlawfully plucked off will come after you and push you downhill like a rolling stone crashing disgracefully. Your end is here. You still have time to make peace with God and Gambians but like pharaoh if you opt to ignore common sense continue to wallow in evil, your end will another unpleasant one. All the ex service men and women in the diasporas who at first were silent are now speaking out. Some have even gone further to come together as an organisation to come after you. The signs are obvious and all over the place for anyone to see Mr President. The Wolof said:”it is only of sibling from the same mother who will tell you your mouth smells”.

Babucarr Darboe

Chelmsford, Essex

EU TELLS PRESIDENT JAMMEH TO STEP UP OR LOSE FUNDING

April 10, 2014

Reads :1448
DICTATOR JAMMEH

DICTATOR JAMMEH

Hon. Jean Lambert MEP for London

Hon. Jean Lambert MEP for London

European Union delegations in the Gambia have ordered the Jammeh government to respect human rights,democracy and good governance. The EU delegation has also urged  the West African nation to step up its fight against illegal migration to the EU 

On Tuesday, the officials completed discussion with the government of the Gambia  at State House on keys areas with particular emphasis on human rights and good governance. The EU envoy which  represented more than five European countries dialogue with the government of the Gambia demanding it to comply with  International declarations such as the Cotonou Declaration amongst others.

European Union officials also briefed the Gambia government on the out come of just the just concluded EU-Africa Summit held in Brussels last week. “It was a fruitful discussion we had  with the offcials of the Gambia government. The discussion centred on keys areas including  cooperation between the Gambia and EU, Human rights, good governance  and Illegal migration. The Gambia government on her part promised to uphold its duties and responsibilities with accordance with its constitution,” Kibaaro News was informed by an EU Official.

The Gambia government and the European Union also discussed on the issue of consular affairs issues that will represent the EU in the West African nation on the area of visa section. “The European Union has also discussed with  the Gambia government  on the political dialogue under the Cotonou Agreement, which dictates regular meetings for member countries to discuss relationship in all its aspects including, economic, political and the security situations in the region,” another EU official noted.

The West African nation is often on the spotlight for its gross human rights violation and disregard for rule of law. Jammeh who is now under international isolation due to his poor governance and corruption, is forced to put his acts together and face reality no nation can run as an island state.

EU has proposed to cancell all its funding to the Gambia if the government fails to comply with the 17 point which was presented to the Gambia last year. “Gambia will concord with the EU because the government is currently desperate for funds to run its programmes. Our government is really bankrupt and it is short of funds for development projects. It needs more money to fund the upcoming  July 22 anniversary”, confided a  Senior Civil Servant.

DISAPPEARED FOR 8 YEARS AFTER NIA ABDUCTION

April 8, 2014

Reads :1124
Bubai Sanyang

Disappeared Bubai Sanyang of Bwiam Town

Disappeared Ndongo Mboob of Bwiam Town

Disappeared Ndongo Mboob of Bwiam Town

By Fabakary B. Ceesay

They were comrades in politics and very good friends at all levels. April 4th, 2014, marks exactly 8 years after their abduction and disappearance without trace. On this evening, little did the families and loved ones of Momodou Lamin Nyassi, Buba Sanyang and Ndongo Mboob, know that that would be the last time they would set their eyes on their family heads. The trio were arrested by The Gambia’s notorious National Intelligence Agency {NIA}, led by one Momodou Lamin Tamba, who was then O/C NIA in Kanilai.

Since that fateful evening, 8 years ago, the three families lived in agony and uncertainty about the fate and whereabouts of their fathers, uncles and brothers. Alagie Momodou Lamin Nyassi, former Chief of Foni Kansala, Alagie Buba Sanyang {alias Bubai}, the APRC District Mobiliser and Mr. Ndongo Mboob, District Youth Mobiliser, all natives of Bwiam Village, were arrested one after the other shortly after they dispersed from chatting at Sanyang Kunda.

The trio were arrested by NIA agents led by Momodou Lamin Tamba, on board a numberless Four Wheel drive vehicle. Bubai Sanyang was picked up at his home while performing ablution for Maghreb Prayer. He was told he was needed at Kanilai urgently and was only allowed to hand over his cell phone to one of his wives. Former Chief Nyassi was taken at his compound gate from visiting Sanyang Kunda.  Only few of his family members knew what was going on. Ndongo Mboob was also picked up at his house, shortly after he arrived from Sanyang’s home and was prepare for Maghreb prayer.

The three friends were all driven in the same vehicle by NIA agents and speed towards Kanilai. That was the last time they were seen by their family members and loved ones. Though, they search with tooth and nail and left no stone on turn within their limits, but to no avails.

GAMBIA: MILLION DALASI BOUNTY FOR PRESIDENT’S NEPHEW

April 5, 2014

Reads :2741
Mr Pa Bojang - President Jammeh's Nephew. He reported to be on the run, but is he killed?

Mr Pa Bojang – President Jammeh’s Nephew, reportedly on the run, but is he killed?

The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and his government have announced a reward of 1 Million Gambian Dalasis for the head of his Nephew, Pa Bojang, who is reported to have absconded.

In a press release read on the country’s only television station, the GRTS; the government admonished all its citizens against aiding and abetting the fugitive nephew of the President, Pa Bojang. The government press release further appealed to anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr Bojang to report it to the country’s security forces.

Mr Bojang was the former head of the President’s ever increasing family business conglomerate of Kanilai Group International (KGI), Kanilai Bakery and Kanilai Family Farm. He is accused of embezzling more than 25 Million Dalasis from the conglomerate.

However, a friend of Mr Bojang had informed Kibaaro that Mr Bojang had not been seen since the middle of March 2014 and his whereabouts had not been known to both his family and friends. As a result, he suspected foul play on the part of the authorities. “You never know, they might have killed him and now wants us to believe that he has escaped. As far as his family are concerned, he was last arrested by the state Intelligence Agency.” 

Another source had however hinted that he may have escaped arrest from the President and may be hiding in and around Manjai Kunda and Kololi areas of the country. “Today there are high security check points mounted within the greater Banjul region especially between Manjai Kunda and Kololi, where many believe he might be hiding”, according to the source.

Pa Bojang is alleged to have recklessly embezzled more than D25 million from both the Kanilai Farm and Kanilai Bakery. As a result of which, many staffs of both businesses have not been paid for more than 6 month salaries.

Although, it is confirmed by our reporter on the ground that the Kanilai Bakery, which is claimed to have suffered such a huge financial mismanagement from Pa Bojang, is currently renovating its premises, which are expected to restart operations very soon, despite the huge financial loses claimed.

“It is hard to understand what is happening in this country. Everything will seem fine and progressing, until of sudden, there will be a problem. Then you hear someone had gone with so many millions. It makes you wonder, how could that happen. Not just thousands but millions, when it is harder for one to have even a hundred dalasi,” a source pondered to Kibaaro.

ANOTHER EU MEP APPEALS FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST JAMMEH

March 29, 2014

Reads :1763
Hon. Jean Lambert MEP for London

Hon. Jean Lambert MEP for London

As EU and African leaders prepare to meet next week in Brussels to discuss EU-Africa Partnership,  Jean Lambert Green Party, Member of European Parliament has backed calls for the EU to shine spotlight on the appalling human rights situation in The Gambia at the summit.

Her comments came as the former Vice President of the European Parliament David Martin, recently rebuked the Gambian authorities for appalling and flagrant human rights abuses taking place in the country. He further appealed to EU leaders to impose targeted sanctions against President Yahya Jammeh and his immediate inner circle.

In a statement issued ahead of the high level meeting between EU and African leaders, the Green Party MEP for London urged  EU leaders to ensure human rights is a key feature of their negotiations with the Gambia government at the upcoming summit in April 2014, where the next development tranche is expected to be discussed.

Last month Dr Amadou Janneh and Alieu Badara Ceesay of CCG and CHRG-UK respectively met with Honorable Jean Lambert and discussed the human rights situation in The Gambia with her. She pledged her support for their cause and promised to shed light on the issue at the European Parliament.

“The upcoming EU-Africa Summit begins on 2nd to 3rd April 2014 will mark an important opportunity to discuss areas  for cooperation between the two continents. It is also an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the human rights situation in The Gambia” she pointed out.

She added that the poor human rights situation in The Gambia is no longer a secret affair, as it has been constantly highlighted by the Amnesty International, the House of Commons of the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.

“Its concerning to hear reports on increasing restriction on media freedom, continuous reports of torture and disappearances, and the silencing of political opposition. I was shocked to hear the case of Dr Amadou Janneh, who was sentenced to life in jail for simply printing T-Shirts”

She applauded the EU for promoting human rights and fundamental freedom across the world. “EU is a leader in upholding the values of universal human rights,and now is a crucial time for the Gambia to improve its records in advance of its Universal Periodic Review later this year” she concluded.

Background information. Hon Lambert joined the Ecology Party, which later became the Green Party of England and Wales in 1977.  She proceeded to hold a number of positions including Co-Chairperson of the Party, Chair of the Party Executive, Representatives to the Federation of European Green Parties and Political Liaison to the Green Group in the European Parliament, before being elected as the Green Party’s MEP for London in 1999.  She was re-elected several times up to date.

PRESIDENT JAMMEH’S UNSAFE GAMBIA

March 27, 2014

Reads :1099
Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

Gmbian Dictator Jammeh

As human beings who strongly subscribed to the principles of democracy; good governance; equality before the law; human and peoples’ rights and freedom of speech, it is incumbent upon us to not only stand up against injustice and sufferings around us but also work together to stop them wherever they occur irrespective of religion, race, gender or political affiliation. Failure to do so will only render us by posterity as collaborators and perpetrators. More so, a couple of years down the line when we look back, we are often tormented by regrets and guilt for not having done enough to combat and stop such atrocities while we had the opportunity to do so. As Gambians who cherish democracy and good governance, I have no doubt that you are alert to the fact of what history and posterity will record of you in regards to promoting and fostering peace, justice and prosperity that you will avail yourself to standing up against injustice and the inhuman treatment of human beings wherever it takes place. It is in line of the aforesaid that I wish to draw the attention of all Gambians on the decaying democratic and good governance institutions in the Gambia under President Yahya AJJ Jammeh.  

President Jammeh has orchestrated a nerve-racking catalogue of atrocities to Gambians from the very minute he unconstitutional deposed a democratically elected government in 22 July 1994 to date. His chilling excesses range from political thuggery to extra judicial killings. He began prostituting Gambians hopes, freedom and liberty by systematically muzzling the freedom of speech. It goes without saying that President Jammeh stands out as the world worst coldblooded dictator who has paralysed the central nerve of Gambian media both print, electronic and radio. He has callously closed Citizen FM and Teranga FM radio stations as well as the Daily News and Standard newspapers through his notorious National Intelligence Agency. To further suffocate Gambian in news blackout, he restricted all websites that are critical of his rule. To add insult to injury, recent he banned viber and Skype. He has succeeded in transforming the remaining radio stations as mere providers of music and sports news. The state media which is symbolically his private property only broadcasts his programmes.

It is disheartening to say today Gambians under Jammeh’s oppressive rule have long forgotten what is freedom, liberty, human and peoples’ rights.  Jammeh blatantly continues through his security forces to unlawfully arrest and detain anybody he perceives as an opponent. To add insult to injury, all these detainees are seldom informed of their rights and/or reason for their arrest or detention and are often held for more than 72 hours without charge contrary to the dictates of the Gambian constitution. Furthermore, hair-splitting tortures are routinely employed to extract confessions and deterrent. A clear manifestation of such gross violation with impunity was the arrest and detention of Imam Baba Leigh for more than six months without charge. The outspoken cleric’s life was only spared by Jammeh as a result of intense international pressure on him to either charge or release the cleric. The cleric’s instance is just a drop in the ocean of Jammeh’s unabated unlawful arrests and detentions. Prior to the arrest of the Imam Baba Leigh was the unceremonious arrest and torture of another cleric Bakawsu Fofana who did not hide his critical view of the dictatorial regime. Imam Bakawsu had to flee the Gambia for his life. To further demonstrate his nonchalant attitude to freedom and liberty, he has recently incarcerated the former Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh and Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh incommunicado.  Like many other Gambians currently languishing in his torture chambers human rights activists are deeply concern with their welfare and personal safety.

The justice system has long been adulterated and now reduced to a mere intuition which prides itself in punishing his opponents and critics. Appeals and individual cases are deliberately put on hold just to keep his perceived enemies in deplorable prison conditions. To make matters worse, the judiciary is saturated with Nigerian mercenary judges and lawyers whose allegiance is nothing but President Jammeh and their pockets. Consequently, getting justice in the Gambia under Jammeh is likened to hunting for a dinosaur in this day and age. Jammeh’s unflinching calculated harassment of Gambians has procreated fear, suffering, mortification, and dehumanisation beyond comprehension. Gambians are now enduring all forms of callous inhuman sufferings from him and his security forces so much that they have eventually accepted it as an inevitable way of life and consigning their lives to his mercy.  In August 2012 Jammeh executed nine death row inmates without complying with the due process of law as stipulated in the constitution. Enforced disappearances have also become one of mechanism to keep Gambians in conformity with wishes. Classical cases of such enforced disappearances are that of Chief Ebrima Manneh, a journalist; Daba Marenah, former director of the notorious National Intelligence Unit, Kanyiba  Kanyi a social  worker and a host of other Gambians whose where about are still unknown. The murder of Dayda Hydara and Ousman Koro Ceesay all remained unsolved despite numerous calls to do so. Suffice it to say that the prison conditions in the Gambia remain appalling. It is not only over-crowded with poor sanitation, but characterised with harsh detention condition. This is what Dr Amadou S Janneh has to say to his audience at the Amnesty International Office in London recently:” A far greater fear for prisoners is the possibility of a fire. The electrical wiring is poorly done: cables are exposed everywhere and electrical sparks are very common. There is no fire extinguisher in the entire prison system.”  No wonder why Jammeh kept the international observers and human rights activists at bay from the prisons. Dr Janneh was a former minister of Information under President Jammeh. His only crime and incarceration into the deplorable Mile 2 prison was wearing a T-Shirt which called for freedom in the Gambia. If it were not for his American citizenship, Dr Janneh would have been a meal for Jammeh’s crocodiles.

The Gambia desperately needs the international community and all its allies to open their eyes to her sufferings and work together with Gambians to stop it. I will conclude by quoting Mrs Sara Sillah a Canadian citizen whose husband’s deportation to the Gambia was halted at the last minute and now freed: “When good people speak, amazing things happen.” I have no iota of doubt that when Gambians speak in unison about Gambia’s deplorable state in the world will know that the Gambia is no longer a safe bliss for Gambians.

Babucarr Darboe

Chelmsford, UK