Archive for the ‘News’ Category

“I HAVE TURNED A NEW PAGE” – DECLARED GAMBIAN DICTATOR, AS HE STUNNED CRITICS WITH SINISTER AMNESTY

July 22, 2015
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Jammeh said even Pa Nderry is pardoned to insult Asombie Bojang!! Do you believe it?

Jammeh said even Pa Nderry is pardoned to insult Asombie Bojang!! Do you believe him?

The Gambian Dictator Yahya Jammeh has declared his pardoning of murderers, coupists, rapists and ardent critics in a sinister amnesty, which did not include political prisoners and family members of 30 December 2014 coupists, who are still arbitrarily detained for seven months without charge.

The President declared the amnesty during an unscripted marathon address to a gathering in Banjul on Wednesday, July 22, marking the 21st anniversary celebrations of his coming to power, through a military coup, on 22 July 1994. The President, who bragged to have turned a new page in his life, claimed to have learnt forgiveness from the holy scriptures of the Koran and the Bible, and for that reason wished to forgive some but not all.

Political prisoners, such as UDP’s Amadou Sanneh were not included. This was the case, despite claiming to have forgiven murderers, military coupists, rapists, drug dealers, etc.

The Dictator, who reasoned that if he does not forgive; how will god forgive him; declared that his forgiveness has limits and he explained those limits as follows:

“All those convicted of treason from 2013 to 1994 and are in Death Row are hereby pardoned”……As from today all those convicted of murder and have served 10 years and above are hereby pardoned……. Except in 3 cases that I know of, the carnival, who chopped the woman and ate her body………….. will not be forgiven…………. the man who killed his wife ……….nicknamed Ayatollah, will not also be pardoned ……….. and the group of foreigners, who killed a British citizen, will not also be pardoned.” President Jammeh declared.

All those convicted of Cannabis related offences and served 3 years or more in prison are also pardoned. As well as those sentenced for hard drug offences, such as: Cocaine and Heroin; and have served 5 years or more are also pardoned, with the exception of repeated offenders.

Rapists who have also been in prison from 1994 to 2013 are also pardoned provided their victims were adults of over 20 years. No forgiveness for child rapists and those convicted of infanticide; as the president claimed to have no mercy for those who committed crimes against women and children.

All those pardoned, who are foreigners are to be deported.

As for his ardent critics, who he once labelled as the ill gotten sons and daughters of the Gambia, the Gambian Dictator claimed to have unconditionally forgiven them. “All those people mostly in the USA, UK who have fought against this country and said all lies against this country; whether you attempted a coup plot or lied and ran away, you are all pardoned”; the Gambian dictator declared.

But one thing that is not clear, is whether his forgiveness covers only the past deeds of his critics in the diaspora or whether it will continue to cover further criticism of his regime?

Although, he added that they must be warned to stay away from the wrong side of the law. Declaring that “murder, rape, drug will never be accepted in this country. But this is a country, where mere criticism of the President is deemed to be on the wrong side of the law. It therefore remained to be seen as to whether the Gambian Dictator has indeed “turned a new page”, as he claimed; and whether first person who stain that page will not be his critics.

He has however warned that the first person to stain the page will pay the “ultimate price”. This is from a man who claims to have a forgiving heart. Some people will never change and Yahya Jammeh is one of them.

OBITUARY: INNA LILLAH WA INNA ELAIHI RAZION

July 21, 2015
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Late Inspector Kutobo Samateh

Late Inspector Kutobo Samateh

‘Inna lillahi Wa Inna Elayhi Rajioon! From God we came from and to him we shall return’. It is with great sadness that we announce the demise of our dear friend, brother, uncle and father, Inspector Kutubo Samateh, commonly known in his native village of Kiang Jali as Kutubo Manifa, who was an Inspector of the Gambia Police Force. He passed away on Sunday 19th of July 2015 at the Coventry University Teaching Hospital, Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom.

This sad news is extended to all past and present staffs of the Gambia Police Force, Gambians abroad, Gambians at home and anyone related or close to the late Kutubo one way or the other. Brother Kutubo was a very compassionate, contented and down to earth human being, who was a devout Muslim. He preached, even in his death bed, to anyone who visits him asking them to remember Allah at all times and performed their regular prayers, especially at mosque. Many people have attested to his friendliness and compassionate character towards anyone he came across. He was easily approachable and loved by all.

Gambians in the United Kingdom are trying to repatriate his body to The Gambia for burial at his home village of Kiang Jali. They solicits the kind benevolent of anyone, who can assist to assist them with funds to repatriate his body to the Gambia. Any kind assistance can be made to the following account details:

Mr Koneth Suso Account No: 73811867 Sort Code: 20-23-60 Barclays Bank plc.

Thanks you.

There will also be a prayer gathering for late the Kutubo at: St Paul’s Hall, located at Foleshill Road, Coventry, CV6 5AJ. Bus 20 from the city center takes the route to the hall for anyone who wishes to attend.

The body of late Kutubo is expected to be flown to the Gambia as soon as possible.

On behalf of the entire management of Kibaaro and my own behalf; we wish to extend our condolences to his family back home in the Gambia and to all his close family, friends and love ones. His demise is a great loss, not only to his family, but to the entire Gambian nation, as he served the Gambia all his life. May he rest in Jannah! Ameen.

BREAKING NEWS: HEAVY WINDSTORM DESTROYED HOMES AND FARMS IN U. R. REGION

July 17, 2015
Reads :4190
GOVERNOR OMAR SOMPO CEESAY WHAT IS HE DOING?

WHAT IS GOVERNOR OMAR SOMPO CEESAY DOING?

THE DISTROYED HOUSES IN WULI

DESTROYED HOUSES IN WULI

Several homes were destroyed by a Powerful windstorm and heavy down pours of rain which has damaged buildings and farmlands in the Gambia especially the provincial region of the Upper River Region. This tragedy happened on Wednesday 15th July 2015. The speed of the wind was almost 20 meters per minute and swept away roofs of many buildings in the region.

It was also reported that the windstorm has damaged several rice fields, thus derailing the President’s vision 2016 food self suffiency drive in places like Wuli Bani. The flash flood was said to have washed away almost entire rice fields in the area that could cause huge lost to the farming harvest of the farmers from that area for this year. One Jaranka Jabbie who was said to be the head of the farming group called “the Fandema Kafo Association”, meaning Self help Association, lamented to reporters saying that at Baka village for instance, several people have been left homeless due to this unexpected windstorm and currently people are facing difficulties as a result of this heavy down pour of rain on this last Wednesday.

“This heavy rain accompanied by high winds have ravaged our entire house and destroyed our home and the rain came with flash flood and windstorm, we are really in dilemma as we just enter in to the rain season. What do we do now that our entire valuable have perished? The villagers lamented that they need support from the government and philanthropists to help us sustain our families.

Wuli is so prone to this kind of heavy rain and windstorm because in 2008, the same kind of heavy rain accompanied by high winds had destroyed several houses at the village of Wuli Barrow Kunda in the same Wuli Upper River Region. According to sources, some of the affected families were at the time hosted by their neighbours or housed at the village school.

The incident, happened between the hours of 12mid day up to 2am and not only destroyed houses but also cereals particularly groundnut seeds that farmers intended to grow for that farming season. There was also a fire outbreak in the village on that faithful night destroying the house of one Fansumana Touray.

Yahya Sumareh board chairman of the Beakanyang Organisation based in the village told reporters that, “That kind of tragic incident has not happened in this village for the past ten years or so and like now he also appealed to the government, foreign embassies, relief organisations, philanthropists and NGO’s to come to the aid of the victims but there was little or no help at all. The government was muted over the issue not bothering to provide any kind of assistance to the villagers of Barrow Kunda.

Though no causality was reported but it was said that the extent of the disaster was so serious that it took the affected poor farmers more time to concentrate on rebuilding their house before thinking of going to their farms even though people were at a crucial stage of the farming season at that time.

There were phone numbers left for those who wish to offer any kind of assistance to those victims and the phone numbers were 9926285 or 9868882.

In another development, Pa Modou B.O Bojang a reporter with the point Newspaper also revealed that similar incidents had happened in villages of Japineh, Karantaba, and Jarra Soma in the Lower River Region. Then governor of the region Momodou Suma Jobe appealed for assistance for the victims but the government ignored the appeals and nothing was offered in terms of help to the affected people of the region. People are now wondering if any help would be offered by the state this time to the affected villagers in Wuli.

ECOWAS COURT SEEKS SPEEDY ROAD FROM MEMBER STATES

July 16, 2015
Reads :3105
THE UNREMORSEFUL TYRANT

THE GAMBIA’S UNREMORSEFUL TYRANT

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, a  Regional bloc high court has sort a speedy road for justice from its member state governments to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The call was made by the President of the Ecowas Community Court of Justice, Justice Maria Do Ceu Silva Montero who has listed the challenges facing the court among the 15 member states in the sub-region.

She made these comments at Owerri on Monday at  the opening session of a five-day seventh judicial retreat which is currently underway  in Nigeria with the theme: ‘The procedure and practice before the court-which improvements after a decade of the existence of the court?’ She listed the challenges to include the new socio-cultural context of West Africa; training and recruitment of human resources; challenges resulting from the means to secure access to justice among others.

 She also pledged the commitment of the court’s college of judges with the support of the employees of the community and other members of her team in handling the challenges. She urged governments of the affected 15 countries in the West African bloc to support the institution in handling the adjudication of cases of human rights violation. She lamented limited resources militating against the court, adding that the court has moved its sitting to some member countries as required.

Although the president did not mentioned countries, but human rights groups and International communities have singled out Gambia as the worst in  human rights abuses, lack of democracy and good governance.

In recent years ECCOWAS Court had summoned Gambia government to the regional court  on the case of Chief Ebrima Manneh and Musa Saidyjhan, but the government failed to answer to the court.

JAMMEH’S CUT-THROAT AXE, FALLS ON GAMBIA POLICE FORCE HQ

July 15, 2015
Reads :8130
Sonko and Ben 2

Yahya Jammeh’s musical chair: Yankuba Sonko and Ben Wilson swap IGP post again!

Reports reaching Kibaaro News Desk have confirmed that the Gambian Dictator, Yahya Jammeh’s electrical broom has visited the Gambia Police Force Headquarters, leaving a trail of devastating mass sackings and detentions of senior police officers, some of whom face questioning.

The electrical broom had swept away the Police Chief, IGP Ben Wilson, leaving vacancy for his predecessor, Yankuba Sonko to bounce back and cling on to his one time coveted post of Inspector General of Police, after losing the same in November 2014 to his now predecessor Ben Wilson.

Ben Wilson, who served at the post of IGP for less than a year, has been axed and detained for questioning, police source confirmed to Kibaaro News, on Wednesday.

It is not yet known the circumstances surrounding the termination of Ben’s service and detention” explained our police source.

Ben Wilson was the former Commissioner of Western Division, before being  appointed as the Inspector General of The Gambia Police Force, replacing his now successor, Yankuba Sonko, who is the longest serving IGP under the reign of Dictator Jammeh, after previously manning the post from March 2010 to November 2014.

IGP Sonko was then redeployed to the Ministry of Justice, where he served until his reinstatement as the country’s Police chief.

One officer who spoke to Kibaaro under the disguise of anonymity chided that the Gambian Dictator is very stupid! “He keeps firing and hiring like a headless chicken. Don’t be surprised if he reinstate Ben in few months time and dump Sonko into the ditch. This President of ours is seriously insane!

The Police Administrative Officer, Abdoulie Sanyang, is also reported to have been axed with no official reasons for his removal.

Many other top senior officers of the force may receive their marching orders very soon, but it is not yet clear and we don’t really know why?” added our police source.

Sudden hire and fire is common tradition in The Gambia for most civil servants and other public sector workers, since the emergence of Yahya Jammeh to the helm of the Gambian apex on 22 July 1994. Security of tenure for civil servants in the Gambia has since become historic and security of tenure only hangs on the mercy of Dictator Jammeh.

Civil servants are in constant fear of being fired, and in most cases  risk arbitrary arrest and detention by state security agents, after their dismissals, for reasons best known to the state, which are never disclosed to the affected persons.

THE GAMBIA’S RECORD ON WOMEN’ RIGHTS FACES SCRUTINY BY UN

July 14, 2015
Reads :1830
UN Special Rapporteurs in The Gambia

UN Special Rapporteurs in The Gambia

GAMBIAN GIRLS

GAMBIAN GIRLS

The Gambia’s record on women’s rights was on Thursday examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at a meeting which was  webcast live. The Gambia is one of 189 States signatories to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. As a consequent it is required to submit regular reports to a Committee of 23 independent experts on how it is implementing the Convention. 

The Committee will engage the Gambian Government delegation in a dialogue on questions relating to the promotion and protection of women’s rights in the country. The 23 member Committee is also scheduled to hear from NGO representatives stationed in Banjul as well as some civil society representatives. The session will take place in Conference Room XVI at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 10:00 – 17:00 (08:00 – 15:00 in The Gambia).

Among the possible issues to be discussed include Women’s access to justice; measures to tackle female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women; measures to promote women’s participation in political and public life; decriminalization of abortion; support for women living with HIV/AIDS; situation of rural women; incompatibility of customary and personal laws with the Convention particularly in regards to marriage, divorce and inheritance; measures to combat child and forced marriage.

“The report is expected to be out soon and will disclose to the media both at home and in the diaspora”, a senior UN official told Kibaaro News. Gambia has a disgraceful track record of UN reports due to the West African nation government tyranny under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh.

APRC ON THE DEFENSIVE THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE ON THE OFFENSIVE

July 14, 2015
Reads :1920
HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

Which member of the APRC could defend Elections (Amendment) Bill 2015? – HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

PDOIS’ STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF ELECTIONS (AMENDMENT ) BILL 2015 WITH SLIGHT CHANGES BY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

The battle against Elections (Amendment) Bill 2015 is unifying the sovereign people above party lines

Which member of the APRC could defend Elections (Amendment ) Bill 2015? Which sovereign Gambian who is interested in defending the rights of the people to form and join political parties and stand for elections support the bill? The Bill is alienating the APRC from the people. This is why it is a tool for democratic change. This is why PDOIS has concluded that APRC is in the defensive and the sovereign people are in the offensive.

Representatives are supposed to serve the people.

They rely on the sovereign will of the people to exercise legitimate power. Since power belongs to the people, if the actions of the representatives run counter to the letter and spirit of the constitution, reason and the will of the people , the people reserve the right to utilise their constitutional power to remove such representatives and replace them with others who would abide by their will. This is how matters stand in the Gambia.

For nineteen years the executive did not see the need to step in the shoes of the IEC to review fees for the registration of political parties and fix deposits for candidates. Why then has it decided to use its parliamentary majority to review deposits for candidates and fees for registration of parties, just before the beginning of a new electoral cycle, which are functions assigned to the Independent Electoral Commission by section 134 of the Elections Act,? The Electoral system has four stakeholders, the IEC, the Government, The parties and the people. This Bill was introduced without any validation exercise by a meeting of stakeholders like the IEC and the opposition parties. PDOIS has made it abundantly clear that it is the expressed will of Section 101 Subsection (2) of the Constitution that Bills are only reasonable and justifiable if their intended purpose is to prevent or remedy defects. No National Assembly member, or member of the executive, has given any reasonable and justifiable explanation of the defects they aim to remedy by increasing deposits for candidates and fees for the registration of political parties.

What defect is there in fixing a refundable deposit of 10,000 dalasis for Presidential Candidates? What remedy did the executive expect to provide by proposing the payment of 1 Million dalasi non refundable deposit, before being qualified to stand as a Presidential Candidate , which its parliamentary majority decided to reduce to a sum of 500,000 dalasis which is now refundable, if a candidate has forty percent of the votes cast? Will this facilitate greater participation of qualified Gambians as candidates in presidential elections, or serve as an unreasonable restriction to the exercise of their right to stand for elections as enshrined in Section 26 of the Constitution? The answer is simple. PDOIS is of the opinion that the amendment creates a defect instead of providing a remedy. PDOIS is therefore opposed to this amendment. All those who are opposed to it should continue to say so. If the majority of Gambians are opposed to it and do make their voices heard, without break or seam, it would compel the executive to withhold its assent or serve as a unifying platform for democratic change in 2016.

In the same vein, Section 25 of the constitution empowers every Gambian to have the right to form or belong to a political party, which is a form of association just like trade unions. It is ridiculous to make it impossible for a group of people to establish a political party unless they pay a fee of 1 Million dalasis and go about the country to register ten thousand members.

Gambia now has one ruling party and six visible opposition parties despite the existing conditions for the registration of political parties. What defect is the amendment trying to address? Will an increase in registration fee to the tune of 1 Million Dalasis enhance the exercise of right by any Gambian to form and belong to a party as enshrined in Section 25 of the Constitution or restrict it? PDOIS is of the opinion that the aim of the amendment is to restrict the exercise of the right to form or belong to a political party. PDOIS is therefore opposed to such an amendment. If the vast majority of Gambians are opposed to it and say so without equivocation, they would become the vocal majority that an executive ignores at it’s own peril.

The alarm bells have been rung. The people listened and raised their voices but the representatives paid deaf ears to the vociferations of the stakeholders. They are elected to make sure that the will of the people prevails. They did not demand a stakeholders meeting to validate the Bill. They did not go on air to get feedback. They did not bother to use any mechanism to test public opinion. What now prevails is the will of the executive .The existence of the executive is determined by the will of the people. Hence the people will have the last say. What is the way forward?

THE BATTLE OF WILL POWER AND CONSCIENCE The battle of will power and conscience has begun. Each Gambian must take his or her place. The duty is to shape the sovereign will of the citizenry so that they take ownership of the country and take interest in the burning issues of the day. This is why PDOIS did not hesitate to explain the content of Elections (Amendment) Bill 2015 and Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015 .

First and foremost, we have shown that the minor amendments to the Elections Act which were proposed served as a smokescreen to peddle into law the major amendments which aimed to usurp the powers of the IEC and restrict political participation by qualified Gambians to promote self perpetuating rule. This is why we focused on the major amendments which aimed to restrict the exercise of political rights. A well informed people are a strong people.

Whoever has been keen in reading PDOIS’ statements would know that Section 134 of the Elections Act empowers the IEC to fix fees for the registration of political parties which should be done in consultation with all stakeholders to ensure accountability, transparency and fairness? What are the executive’s motives for unilaterally proposing to increase the deposits and fees without the input of stake holders? The events which are about to unfold will reveal those motives. In short, the passing of a Bill does not mean that it is enacted. Once a Bill is passed it must be presented to the President for his assent. This must be done within 30 days. The president may withhold assent and send the Bill back to the National Assembly. If it is assented to, the Bill must be

published in the Gazette within 30 days to become law. PDOIS will write to the executive to urge it to withhold assent to the Bill and focus on the proposals and demands of the Opposition for electoral reform as adequate raw material for building a national and international consensus for viable electoral reform. All Gambians and friends of the Gambia should compare the content of Elections (Amendment ) Bill 2015 and the proposals and demands of the opposition for electoral reform and judge which is best suited for the promotion of free, fair and genuine elections. Each Gambian should rally behind each of the programmes for electoral reform to propel it to fruition. If the vast majority of Gambians support the proposals and demands of the opposition, and if they make their voices loud enough to be heard the whole world would know what the Gambian people want and this mighty voice of the absolute majority would either evoke political reform which would be relied on to effect political change or serve as a clarion call for a unified platform to evoke democratic change followed by far reaching constitutional, political and electoral transformation.

The executive and its parliamentary majority have overplayed their hands at the right time and have awakened even those who have been in political slumber. All those Gambians who are imbued with a little bit of honesty are now weary of the dangers of self perpetuating rule. We need to galvanise this non partisan platform against self perpetuating rule to prepare the ground for democratic change in 2016. Finally, the provisions which would govern the registration of political parties would be of immediate interest to PDOIS if the executive assents to the Bill. The question arises: Would the executive try to implement this provision retroactively? Section 100 Subsection 2(c) of the Constitution states

“The National Assembly shall have no power to pass a Bill – to alter the decision or judgment of a court in any proceedings to the prejudice of any party to those proceedings, or deprive any person retroactively of vested or acquired rights, but subject thereto, the National Assembly may pass Bills designed to have retroactive effect.” Of course, nothing is said in the Bill that it would be applied retroactively.

Notwithstanding, the IEC should begin its consultation with government right away to know its intentions and convene a stakeholders meeting to inform us of the implications of the Amendments. The retroactive application of the Bill is likely to bring about a major constitutional and political crisis in the Gambia. Early warning signals should be sent to have certainty on the plan of the executive to ensure that the constitutional provisions are not flouted to the extreme to provoke political crisis. We do not want to over react or under react. We want to react appropriately, as an alternative government would react, which has the interest of our people at heart .

Secondly, the concerns of the IEC regarding electoral reform are still not addressed. The issue of demarcation of constituency boundaries, voting by paper ballot, aligning presidential and National Assembly Elections to be held on the same day, abolition of attestations as documents to be considered for registration and the restoration of the powers of registering officers to inquire into all claims for registration, administering oath or affirmation and calling for evidence before approval of claims, etc have not been addressed by the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Hence there is need for the IEC to invite the stakeholders including the political parties and the government to discuss its electoral reform package so that consensus building on an electoral reform package would start right away. PDOIS will now begin consultation with all stakeholders for consensus building on the way forward. The executive has its will and aspirations and the people have theirs. If the will and aspirations of representatives run counter to the will and aspirations of the people, the will of the people would ultimately prevail. This is the verdict of history and commonsense and it is incontrovertible. THE END

9 July 2015

Halifa Sallah For the Central Committee