Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category


September 8, 2017

PRIVATE Office of The President
State House
THE GAMBIA _____________________________________________________________________________


Media Advisory

Commonwealth assessment team meets President Barrow

Fajara, 8 September 2017 – President Adama Barrow today received a team of officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. The officials had been in The Gambia for a week-long assessment mission, which could soon lead to the country’s full return to the Commonwealth.

President Barrow expressed his pleasure at receiving the Commonwealth assessment team, and thanked them for their mission. He said it was easy for The Gambia to re-apply for membership of The Commonwealth because of the deep-seated feeling by Gambians that they had never really left the Commonwealth family. He described the unilateral decision to withdraw the country from the organisation in 2013 as unfortunate and uncalled for, stressing that The Gambia never wanted to leave. He said: “Nobody wants to be isolated. We want to be part of all international bodies. This was one man’s decision, and not something that was put to all Gambians. If it had been a referendum, the decision would never have been taken.”

The President stressed that The Gambia wished to be fast-tracked to full membership of the Commonwealth once again. He said it was inconceivable for Gambians to remain outside the Commonwealth when other nations wanted to join. The people of The Gambia, he emphasized, had taken a decision in December 2016 about the direction of their future as a new democracy and a new Gambia.

“We are careful and are calculating our steps so that we do not make mistakes,” President Barrow explained. “We believe in the principle of democracy and are positive about our future. Gambians are looking forward to our return to the Commonwealth. So the message is full membership as soon as possible. We are confident that your fact-finding mission will have provided you with all the information that you need, and we hope that the report will be positive, because The Gambia is back.”

Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Karen McKenzie thanked President Barrow for the team’s warm welcome in The Gambia, and for the government’s logistical support for a week of very productive meetings with stakeholders.

Ms McKenzie said The Gambia’s membership in the Commonwealth over the years had been beneficial, and provided technical assistance to the country. She explained that the Commonwealth Secretariat would now make an assessment of how well The Gambia met membership prerequisites, and this would form part of the Commonwealth Secretary General’s consultation with member states.

The formal process, thereafter, will entail the Government of The Gambia being invited to submit a formal request to rejoin the Commonwealth. That formal expression of interest would then be considered by the members.

Other members of the Commonwealth Secretariat team with Ms McKenzie were: Dr Roger Koranteng, Head of Public Sector Governance; Ms Marie-Pierre Olivier, Legal Policy Advisor, Rule of Law; and Ms Lindiwe Maleleka, Political Officer, Africa in the Secretariat’s Political Division. The team was accompanied by Ms Saffie Sankareh, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad.



Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul


July 10, 2017



Firstly, Mr President, allow me to commend IGP Kinteh for his brilliant interview on GTRS on Friday. Undoubtedly, he did rise and shine in all his answers. Watching him drizzles flashes of a hopeful future for the Police under his supervision if he remains bold, steadfast and true to his ideals.

Hypothetically, it is a prerequisite on law-enforcers to be seen abiding by the law. As a consequent, Police officers must at all times exercise great care in ensuring the legality of their actions. Albeit this may sometimes register slips and falls owing to undue pressure from politicians, the public and corruption to conveniently quick fix selective situations, society is best served and protected when the police dutifully patrol within corridors of the law. That will, definitely, renovate its dilapidated image, pep up public confidence and resuscitate trust in our police service.

Despite all the worrisome clouds hovering over our Police Force, appropriate and bold conditions can disperse them to pave way for a brighter future marinated with stunning professionalism. Mr President, for the sake of clarity, let me affirm that I am not here claiming to possess all the medicaments for the police malaise but have a reasonable grasp of its seeming intractable multi-faceted virus. Some of my readers will recollect when Momodou Sabally was appointed Secretary General, I wrote him an open letter admonishing as a colleague I regard very highly and suggested possible means he could utilise to preserve his integrity. My concerns did outlive the termites of time. IGP Kinteh is my squad and we shared many experiences. Consequences, I want his legacy to be a success story.

At this juncture, Mr President, one is charmed to query why is the Police Force so enmeshed in shameful maladministration peppered with blatant corruption? In an effort to avail factual response, I will confine my argument mainly on Organisational Structure, Command and Control this morning. Until 1994, the GPF Organisational Structure was tailored to hone and harness command and control. There were only the IGP, DIG, AIG Operations, AIG Admin and CMC assisted by 5 CSPs, 10 SPs and 21 ASPs as senior officers which included Immigration as it was administered by the Police. Major Police Stations such as Banjul were manned by either a Chief Inspector or an Inspector assisted by Sergeants as Relief Commanders. Corporals formed the core of Supervising NCOs. Then arrived the “Electronic Broom” of the monster which swept many senior officers into oblivion. 1994 also witnessed the scrapping of the AIGs positions. And in 2001, came the Commissioner ranks.
The second coming of some of the swept officers brought with it the unwitting littering of the commissioner ranks. Today, The Gambia Police Force has more commissioners than the UK, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. IGP Kinteh needs to carefully look into the organisational structure and water down the littered ranks. As a starter, the likes of Ousman Gibba, Edu Sambou, Famara Jallow, Modou Sowe and Modou Gaye all had once served as DIGs before receiving their marching orders and only to be later reinstated with demotion. The truth be told, all these men have seen their best-before dates and have nothing more to offer the police. As a result, they should be retired with benefit to scale down the excessive and unnecessary Commissioner ranks.

Command and Control is less effective due to the liquidation of the ranks, unthoughtful deployments, sexual favours, corruption and political interference. A succinct illustration is the scenario of Commissioners Demba Sowe and Buba Sarr. By service, Sowe seniors Sarr. Sowe got deployed to head Interpol while Sarr was appointed CMC. Operationally, CMC oversees Interpol, Prosecution, Serious Crime and Fraud Squad. Thus, making Sowe answerable to his junior which gravely compromised command and control. Similarly, if an IGP sleeps with Sergeant and/or Private Enchanting in Banjul station, how does the State Officer expect her to fall in when he orders? If the Station Officer isn’t careful with her, he will find himself in Fatoto within the blink of an eye. This too erodes command and control.

The creation of irrational positions is another toothache of the police. For instance, when Tijan Badjie got reinstated after been fired and locked up, the position of Deputy CMC was created for him perhaps to compensate his prosecuting of Ex-IGP Ben Jammeh. It has been brought to my notice that the position of Pateh Bah which I highlighted on my Friday series was actually Regional Crime Co-ordinator for Kanifing and not CMC-Kanifing. Very smart in deed. Who are we fooling here? What happened to OC CID in each of the Police Divisions? To me the RCC is an identical twin of the OC CID unless their operational roles are not overlapping. Albeit the RCC is answerable to the CMC, his role replicates that of the Divisional OC CID.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK


June 15, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

About ten days ago, I read in the newspapers that a man had been arrested, accused of raping an-eight-year-old girl. I was gobsmacked. What type of animal would do that? Are we becoming so predatory? These were the thoughts assailing my mind. That was until today, when I read that another man had raped a six year old girl. Can you imagine the depravity of some people?

Come to think of it, rape is one of the most heinous crimes one can commit, especially when it involves underage girls. This is made worse when the girls are as young as six or eight. What can these people say as defense when they are brought to a court of law? Should they even be allowed to narrate some mysterious stories that forces them to do it?

These pedophiles cannot be allowed to continue to destroy the lives of our young girls with impunity. The crime of rape has far-reaching consequences. One can even argue that it is worse than murder. For, if one murders a person, in most cases one has taken one life. But if a rapist rapes an underage girl, the consequences may include the girl being unable to bear children in the future. Thus, if that girl was destined to have a girl child in the future, who in turn was destined to have children, one can imagine the number of lives that that rapist snuffed off even before they had the chance of being born.

Rape should be considered worse than murder and its punishment should match the severity of the crime. But the huge problemof rape is the culture of silence. Hardly would the family of a rape victim report the case, for fear of stigmatisation, especially if the rapist happens to be a family member, which is most often the case. Therefore, this is not only about law enforcement but also about sensitisation. In this, government should increase support to women groups, the Women’s Bureau and other civil society organizations to sensitize the population.

Mr President, I want to suggest naming and shaming of pedophiles when they are convicted. This will perhaps have an effect on the rampant problem of rape cases we hear about almost every other week. As this is a conservative country, perhaps the fear of stigma will sway them more than any other thing. Also, anyone who covers up a rape case because the rapist is a relative, if such a person is arrested, he or she should face equal punishment with the rapist.

Last week, I wrote on the bane of blaming everything on God. We must learn to take responsibility of our actions and stop blaming God for our shortcomings.

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen


May 18, 2017

Lamin Samateh photo credit: NRK

One native Norwegian woman in her 30s was sentenced to a suspended jail term of 14 days and fined NOK 10, 000  by a Norwegian court for racist rants against Lamin Samateh who is of Gambian origin. The woman is reported to have directed racist verbal abuse by using the F and N words in Norwegian three times to Mr.Samateh. The incident happened at a Kebab shop in 2015 in Porsgrunn, the town where Lamin is residing.  The woman repeatedly rained racist insults on Lamin as he and a friend  were  coming out of the Kebab shop. The incident was reported to the police and after a short investigation the case was dropped but Mr.Samateh filed a fresh complaint and the matter was taken to the courts, were the victim and his attorney fought and won the case. According him he pursued the case to the end in order to set an example because he has a daughter in Norway and does not want her  to face the same kind of racist verbal abuse or discrimination. Reacting to verdict Mr. Samateg said he thinks it is good because it would help people like this woman to learn to be better persons.

The case has sparked debate in Norway about the use of the N word , some say it is within the confines of free speech others say it depends on the manner in which it is used. Anti racism organizations hailed the verdict against the woman arguing that the act is a clear violation of the Norwegian General Penal Code Paragraph 185 on hate speech and the fact that  she used the words spontaneously for three times shows the severity of the matter. The woman and her attorney have appealed against the ruling but the chances of overturning the verdict are very slim because of the repeated racist rantings orchestrated by the Norwegian Woman.
Written by L. Nyassi , Oslo


May 17, 2017

 Hazardous waste disposal into the Atlantic ocean by Chinese Company

By Madi Jobarteh

A severe national security threat is unfolding in Gunjur, the hometown of the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow. There is a Chinese company engaged in fishmeal production, which dumps its waste and dead fish along the coastline and neighboring communities. The factory releases intense bad odour making people sick as well as destroying our fish reserves and polluting the waters. This is a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Gunjur, Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Yet this company called Golden Leaf Factory continues to operate unchecked by the Government since last year until today, four months into the administration of Adama Barrow. Why?

Two Chinese, Robin and Jojo run the factory without any Gambian partners and under no check by any authority. They produce fishmeal or fish oil, which is made out of fish and used to feed poultry, pigs and other farmed fish. According to FAO fishmeal production is a major contributor to over-fishing and prevents fish from replenishing themselves thereby causing the collapse of local fisheries. This is because the fish used for fishmeal are small fishes like the ones our fishermen catch in Gunjur, Kartong, Tanji, Bakau or Banjul. After almost depleting their fish resources in China, now Chinese fishmeal companies have turned to West Africa and South America causing havoc in countries like Senegal, Chile and Peru. Experts have noted that fishmeal is a source of terrible environmental damage and human suffering.

So far Golden Leaf Factory is engaged in over-fishing in Gunjur and Kartong and destroying the coastline as well as the Bolongfehyoto wildlife reserve. The bad and dangerous odour the factory releases into the community is unbearable. Experts have noted that the factory right now threatens the productivity of sea grass, which marine turtles feed on. They also threaten the mangrove ecosystem because of the chemical waste they dump. This factory is therefore a threat to tourism and the economy of the Gambia. What is even more disheartening is that the fish they catch is not used for human consumption. Rather they use it to make fishmeal for animals all the way in China! But they are ready to destroy our lives all the way in the Gambia.

Who gave this company license to operate in the Gambia in the first place? Was there any social and environmental impact assessments done before they were awarded the license? Why would the responsible and relevant agencies of the government sit down to allow such abuse of the lives and future of the Gambia to take place with impunity?

Where is the National Assembly, the Ministries of Fisheries and Water Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the NEA, NDMA, GIEPA and GTB and indeed the Police? All these agencies have a direct responsibility and stake in any activity that negatively impacts on the lives, livelihoods and future of the Gambia. Yet they all sit there watching a foreign company plunder our lives and livelihoods for free! What about GCCI? Are they not aware of this practice by this company and what actions have they taken to ensure decent and responsible practices by businesses in the country?

I therefore call on the Speaker of the National Assembly Mariam Denton and her deputy Momodou Sanneh and the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow and the Monitory Leader Samba Jallow and indeed all National Assembly Members to institute a parliamentary enquiry into this matter. Failure to do so, the National Assembly would be failing in their sacred duty to the Gambia. This matter is 100% within the powers and authority of the National Assembly to address and they must address it now. Golden Leaf Factory is destroying our lives and livelihoods with impunity!

I call on Chief Servant Adama Barrow to demand his relevant ministries and state agencies to act on this matter with urgency. The ocean is a major source of life and livelihood for the communities of Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Tourism alone account for 21.9% of our GDP and providing 18.8% of jobs in the country hence the ocean is a precious product of this industry that must be protected. Thus any threat to the ocean affects thousands of Gambians for employment and for food. Why therefore would this company be given license to damage our future and lives with impunity?

The Gambia Government and indeed all African governments must be wary of Chinese companies. This is because the Chinese have proven to the world and Africa in particular that they do not care about human rights, human life and human health in their quest to greedily consume resources around the world. Chinese companies have engaged in unscrupulous and dangerous business practices even in China, how about in faraway tiny Gambia? China has a population of 1.3 billion people and a land size of 9.5 million square kilometers. The Gambia has a population of only 2 million and a land size of 11 thousand square kilometers. Hence what China can afford and waste the Gambia cannot afford that. Therefore we must not allow any foreign company especially from China to come to the Gambia to damage the lives and future of our people. If this is what GIEPA considers to be foreign investment then they are dangerously mistaken!

Whichever government agency gave license to this company must be exposed and held to account. It is clear that they have failed to do an impact assessment or merely ignored the results of such assessment if they did. Secondly this agency has failed to monitor this Chinese company in order to protect the vital interests of the Gambia. This company must not have been allowed to operate in the country at all. They must be closed down! Now.

I therefore call on all Gambians to rise up against this Chinese company and put pressure on the government to expose the truth about the license, the kind of business, the operations and management of this company. What has the Gambia benefited from them? How much money are they making in the Gambia? What damages have done so far? We need to know these issues and make sure they repair all the damages they caused and then close them down. Golden Leaf Factory poses a clear and direct threat to national security.

Gambian journalists should rush down to Gunjur and Kartong and report to us on matters that directly affect our lives. News is not only in Banjul and Serre Kunda. How come such a dangerous environmental, social and economic disaster is taking place in Gunjur since last year yet our journalists could not give it the publicity it deserves! Wake up Gambian Journalists!

Rise up Gambians and do not let our country to continue as usual since Independence. We deserve a better Gambia. We deserve better leadership and good government that is open, efficient and responsive to our needs, in the present and in the future.


God Bless The Gambia.


April 4, 2017

Forensic experts exhuming remains of Jammeh’s victims in the bushes of Foni

By Madi Jobarteh

Yes Yaya Jammeh is from Kanilai, which is in Foni, yet in his 22 years of misrule the region that suffered the most happened to be Foni. Despite the fact that Yaya Jammeh and APRC had enjoyed 100% support from Foni where their parliamentary candidates consistently go unopposed, yet Yaya Jammeh paid them back with so much misery and pain that it will take forever to heal that wound. There is not a crime on earth that Yaya Jammeh had not committed against the land and people of Foni. He spared no one: the old, the young, men, women, community leaders not to mention the professionals of this proud and hard working region of the Gambia. Rather he tortured and killed his own people while stealing their lands as if he was not a son of Foni!

Probably the most outrageous crime that Yaya Jammeh inflicted on our people in Foni was to label them as witches and then deploy scores of soldiers and Green Boys with witchdoctors imported from Guinea to go to village after village to arrest old men and women. Reports have indicated that up to one thousand people were arrested in 2009 just because Yaya Jammeh stupidly thought witches killed her aunt. Thus, just for the sake of her aunt alone, he ravaged a whole region of the country, humiliating them in such a manner that surpassed even the colonialists. Yet until today you have some people in Foni who want to give their lives for Yaya Jammeh.

When Yaya Jammeh arrested these old men and women, the Green Boys and soldiers forced them to drink concoctions, which caused severe sickness and death among the victims. One witness narrated that in Sintet alone 300 old men and women were arrested and taken to Kanilai to be humiliated and beaten. Because of this onslaught, hundreds of community elders used to flee their houses as early as 5am to go into the bush to hide for the whole day until at night to return home. Can you imagine an old man or woman of 60, 70 or 80 years going to hide in the bush just because their own son, who is the president accused them of being witches and hunting them like slaves? This is what Yaya Jammeh did to our elders in Foni. Yet there are still Foni youths who shout until today “Yaya Jammeh for Life.”

Even when Halifa Sallah stood up as the lone voice to find out about this matter in order to ensure that justice is delivered, Yaya Jammeh responded to him with an arrest and detention. Yet Yankuba Colley and Seedy Njie have the audacity to tell us that Yaya Jammeh deserves respect. Do Yankuba Colley and Seedy Njie have any respect for Foni elders who were humiliated, beaten and killed by small boys under the orders of Yaya Jammeh? Is Yankuba Colley or Seedy Njie and their APRC supporters telling us that they have not seen that injustice yet they still stand for Yaya Jammeh? What values or God do these people believe?

Even before this despicable atrocity, Yaya Jammeh had been tormenting Foni by blatantly stealing their lands. In his 22 years, Foni is the region, which suffered the most in Yaya Jammeh’s land grabbing spree. No region has lost more lands to Yaya Jammeh than Foni. The number of community lands he stole in Foni is uncountable.

Foni did not only lose lands but they also lost numerous lives in the process of defending their lands from Yaya Jammeh. For example when Yaya Jammeh wanted to take lands in the village of Karunorr in Foni Kansala in 2012 the villagers resisted. The two most defiant villagers were the brothers, Wuyeh and Enor Colley. In response Yaya Jammeh deployed armed soldiers to forcefully pick up these brothers to be beaten up and butchered to death in the bushes. Until today there families have not seen them,

One gets even more shocked when you see the list of victims of Yaya Jammeh in Foni some of who are in fact his own family members such as Marcie Jammeh and Haruna Jammeh who disappeared since 2005. We can all recall the names of Buba Sanyang, Ndongo Mboob, Modou Lamin Nyassi and Jasarja Kujabi all of who disappeared mysteriously on the orders to Yaya Jammeh. It is clear that these people were killed.

Other sons and daughters of Foni who were also humiliated, incarcerated and tortured included the former CDS Lang Tombong Tamba, former IGP Essa Badgie, former DG NIA Lamin Bo Badgie, former IGP Benjamin Jammeh and for Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh among many other former ministers and civil servants as well as former associates such as Aziz Tamba as well as his own cousin Pa Bojang. The list goes on…

Hence if one simply goes through the track record of Yaya Jammeh in Foni, it becomes quite clear that the region that has suffered the most under the APRC is Foni. Yaya Jammeh has inflicted so much fear and disunity in Foni to the point that this region was locked down for 22 years. Yes, he has provided electricity in many villages with streetlights and built a hospital in Bwiam and illegally named it after his father. But the fact is that the people of Foni were the most oppressed and exploited region of the Gambia under Yaya Jammeh. One can notice that by the fact that no one in Foni was allowed or bold enough to stand against Yaya Jammeh. Everyone as subdued and this was why APRC remained unopposed all the time.

Yaya Jammeh was able to unleash so much harm on the people of Foni simply because he had the full support of APRC NAMs and Cabinet ministers. APRC NAMs were witnesses to the atrocities and land grabbings of Yaya Jammeh in Foni yet they did not just keep quiet about it but in fact they went ahead to mobilize the people of Foni to work on those stolen lands like slaves.

If you are from Foni, the APRC is the only party you should avoid. If you are a good son and daughter of Foni, Yaya Jammeh is the only person you must avoid. He is a disgrace to the noble and dignified people of Foni. Any decent son or daughter of Foni who claims to be a self-respecting and patriotic citizen cannot entertain anything about APRC and Yaya Jammeh. He represents humiliation and misery for Foni and the Gambia as a whole.

I hereby call on the voters of Foni therefore to give APRC Zero Votes in the April 6 election. I therefore wish to launch the campaign ‘APRC Zero Votes In Foni’ to start today. Let us raise the awareness of the masses of Foni to liberate them from the despicable Yaya Jammeh Mentality to realize that supporting APRC is their humiliation and destruction. Yaya Jammeh never represented the best of Foni. He is the worst to have happened to Foni.

If the Mandinka felt offended by Yaya Jammeh it is clear that he has offended the Jola equally or even more. Wait until you see what he also did to the Wolof, Sarahuleh or Fula, etc. What about the Muslims or the Christians? Coming soon…

Forward with ‘APRC Zero Votes In Foni’ Campaign!

God Bless The Gambia.


March 20, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

22 years of dictatorship has made our Motherland, the Gambia, a hell to live in. In terms of security of the people, the freedom of the people, the healthcare provision of the people, and the financial condition of the citizens became despicable. Life became very expensive due to so many anomalies in our governance. Investment was at a minimum due to the predictable unpredictably of the dictator. As such, providing for one’s family became an uphill task.

Notwithstanding all these, a few people – at the risk of their lives – stood up to the dictator. They defied the fear that paralyzed most of us and went out there to demand for change, to demand for reforms which will allow a better and fairer electoral system in order for us to have a change of government which will respect the Rule of Law and respect Human Rights. This, they envisaged, would open the space for investment and funding so that the lot of the common man will improve.

True to his nature, the dictator did not look kindly on such people. As a result, he ordered a clampdown on them. This resulted in some of them paying the ultimate price for our freedom. Mr Solo Sandeng, Lang Marong, Mr Kurumah all lost their lives to this struggle.
Remember, just like you and I, these people were also struggling to feed their families. Having gone out there, under the sun, as it were, while we were in the shade, they forfeited their ability to provide for their families. Some of them have left large families without a breadwinner. I know that one left nine children, with some very young indeed, and another left fifteen children alongwith wives.

Mr President… Are we going to leave these people to suffer want and deprivation after their breadwinners have used their sweat and blood to water our nascent democracy and freesom? What will that tell about us? What kind of future do we envisage for our country if we do that?

Mr President… I know some may say it is too soon, but some basic necessities do not take a break. For instance, the fact that they eat, dress, rent a house, go to school and so many other things on a daily basis. It will not arguer well to just go on as nothing has happened.

So, I’m suggesting the setting up of a special fund for the families of our fallen heroes. In this way, their wives and children can be taken care of, particularly, but not limited to, the education of their children. This way, our future generation would not fear to venture into national service knowing that even were they to die, their posterity will be taken care of…

And also, Mr President, can they be given a posthumous award for gallantry and national service…?
Have a Good Day Mr President…

Tha Scribbler Bah
A Sovereign Citizen!