Archive for the ‘News’ Category

IS THE BRUTAL KILLING OF SOLO SANDENG AND SUBSEQUENT ARREST AND DETENTION OF OUSAINOU DARBOE AND CO DEEP CLEANING THE ALREADY INFECTED GAMBIA JUDICIARY?

May 21, 2016
Ex Police Officer Aldul Aziz Sowe

Ex Police Officer Aldul Aziz Sowe

By Ex Police Officer Abdul Aziz Sowe

Dear Editor,

Please allow me space in your newspaper once again to express my observations on events happening in the Gambia. What seems to be unfolding in the Gambia these few weeks is really eye catching as judges fell and legal experts get fired one after the other. These all started since the country’s main Opposition Leader of the United Democratic Party and his executives were illegally arrested and charged for disturbing the peace and other bogus criminal charges.

The whole wrangling started when Ebrima Solo Sandeng one executive member of the UDP was arrested for protesting for electoral reforms with banners, a whistle and a megaphone. He was said to have never refused arrest but yet again he was allegedly tortured and said to have been killed as a result of torture and other members of his group Fatoumata Jawara, Ndogoi Njie, Fatou Camara, Modou Ngum Mr. Fatty ect. As the case unfolds, it seems a lot of legal staff and judges are said to be trying everything and even praying to avoid taking over the case as most are uncomfortable in handling the case as it is a clear political one. The executive interference into the judicial decision is evident everywhere and many judges and legal staff currently face the grin of the dictator’s axe.

The first causality was justice Ottaba who after his famous interview with Journalist Fatu Camara of Faturadio Network was said to have felt uncomfortable to handle the case.  The interview was widely aired and shared on social media, showcasing the real intent of the dictatorship to use them foreign Judges to imprison main opposition Leader Ousainou Darboe and co even when no crime had been committed. Gambians both at home and abroad have observed that since the alleged Killing of Ebrima Solo Sandeng who was said to have been tortured and killed while under state custody, the Gambia seized to remain business as usual. Even those who pretended to ignore what is happening all knew Gambia has changed from state of fear to a state of defiance. No one would imagine in March this year that in few days or weeks, Gambians would publicly stand in the streets and defy Dictator Yahya Jammeh in public. But that has changed. Also for a sitting judge to publicly admit in an open interview or even in a private phone conversation with someone you do not know shows Gambia has began the journey of no return.

After the interview with Fatu Camara, Justice Ottaba was said to have removed himself from the Darboe and Co case and also President Jammeh who always accused Mandinkas of tribalism and mostly against his regime in anger was said to have fired Mr. Cherno Marena the Solicitor General and replaced him with Saffie Sankareh who prior to her appointment was a state council, at the Attorney General’s chambers responsible for representing Government’s interest in domestic courts, drafting of primary and subsidiary legislations, preparing treaty documents for ratification as well as offering legal opinion to Ministries and government Agencies. She holds an LLB Degree from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales and LLM Hons degree in International Law from the University of Bristol in England. She is a Barrister of Law at Gray’s inn in the United Kingdom and also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Gambia. She also lectures International Trade and Investment Law at the University of the Gambia.

Another latest causality is Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle. The firing of the Gambia’s Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle was said to have resulted from Justice Ottaba’s debacle and it has thus the resulted in the sacking of three of the four infamous Emmanuels brought as Machinery Judges to the Gambia by Dictator Jammeh to luck up his perceived opponents. First it was Nigerian Emmanuel Agim who was used and systematically elevated to chief Justice as he continued doing the bidding of the Dictator only to be wasted and dismissed, then Emmanuel Nkea who too received a similar fate after being used and wasted. Now it is believed Emmanuel Fagbenle who too has been taken to the dictatorial gallows for the sacrifice. Both Emmanuel Agim and Fagbenle are Nigerians while Emmanuel Nkea was said to come from Cameroon and both reached their peak in Gambia’s legal field for their service to Yahya Jammeh by becoming Chief Justices of the Gambia. Fagbenle was formerly the President of Appeals Court and Director of Public Prosecution a position mostly occupied by Nigerians since Dictator Yahya Jammeh came to power in 1994 and he is reportedly blamed for allowing Justice Ottaba to blink in the middle of a fight.  Report had it that he too like his predecessors, was earlier arrested and detained by intelligence agents before his firing.

It is now reported that Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court who was the same judge who on the 12 May 2016 granted bail to Mr. Ansumana Jammeh (Brother of Yahya Jammeh), and the former Gambian Ambassador to Qatar, with his co accused Sanna Bah and Assan Badjie in the sum of 60 Million Dalasi a thing never heard of in Gambia’s legal history. When she said the following and I coate: “Bail is hereby granted to the accused persons in the sum of 60 Million Dalasi with two Gambian sureties who must submit the original of their title deeds to the Principal Registrar of the high court,” It was clear She was doing the bidding of someone but not following the law for Ansumana and co have not committed any crime against State but that is Yahya Jammeh. He wanted to make Ansumana Jammeh’s case to be seen as look Yahya did not even favor his own brother therefore he is fair. But where on earth has a misdemeanor case been bailed at 60 Million Dalasi? There is no doubt the case has been given to this lady Dada so that she can do as Yahya wish. Remember she too is Nigerian and Gambians and the international community are closely watching to see what she will do. We all saw what happened at the Kanifing Court when Magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on the 17 May, 2016 said his hands were tied and that the Yahya Jammeh’s government should go back with the case of 6 women Kaddy Samateh, a lactating mother of a one month old baby, Isatou Saidy, who is 60 years old, Lele Bojang, Sukai Dahaba, Fatou Sarr and Amie Touray who were charged with seven counts of Unlawful assembly, Riot, Incitement of violence, Holding procession without a permit’, Idle and disorderly behavior, Common nuisance and Prohibition of conduct conducive to the breach of the peace.

When the case was called, Lamin Jarju and Sheriff Kumba Jobe, state counsels, appeared for the Inspector General of Police (IGP), while the accused persons were represented by lawyers Janet Sallah-Njie, Loubna Farage, Haddy Dadeh Njie, Sagarr Jahateh and Anna Njie, who are all members of the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG). After announcing their representations, the presiding magistrate told Ms. Samateh, the lactating mother who was carrying her baby in the dock, and Isatou Saidy, the elderly woman, to sit down. At this juncture, the lead defence counsel Lawyer Sallah-Njie told the court that the matter is for ruling. She further said that as a team of defence lawyers they are relieved that even though no order was made for the accused persons to be produced before the court, they are in court as required by law. “We are objecting for ruling to be delivered today simply because the ruling is for bail and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has taken over the case. The matter is for bail as I was briefed. We will file fresh charges against the accused persons and all what we are asking for is a short adjournment to enable us to file,” said State counsel Jarjou.

Responding to the prosecution’s objection, Barrister Sallah-Njie told the court that she is a bit flabbergasted with the position of the prosecution. She said she does not understand how and in what position of the law is the objection of the State counsel based on regarding the delivery of a ruling when the court already adjourned the matter for ruling. She added that she did not make any application warranting objection and that she only reminded the court about the ruling. Lawyer Sallah-Njie said the prosecution’s objection is erroneous because the ruling has nothing to do with bail. “This ruling is consistent and the order should be obeyed by the prosecution and the defence,” she said. She added that until the ruling is appealed against it has to be obeyed. She further said that there is no legal basis and that the taking over of the case cannot bar this ruling by the court. She said the prosecution’s objection is misconceived and that she is urging the court to disregard it. The defence counsel further said that the prosecution told the court that they intend to file a fresh charge and that this court should stay off proceedings. “This is an aberration and he does not provide justification to stay off proceeding. What is before the court is that the state has taken over and if they intend to file, they should apply for the charges to be struck out because the accused persons are denied their right to liberty. Orders of the court are meant to be obeyed,” said Lawyer Sallah-Njie.

Prosecutor Jarjou wanted to refer the court to what he said earlier but the defense counsel interjected thus telling the State counsel to reply on points of law and not to reiterate his earlier argument. “Let me make my submission or I will not sit down. Let her allow us to make our submission. She did not raise a single law so there is no need to reply on points of law. I will allow the court to do a ruling,” said the prosecutor. In his ruling, the presiding magistrate said he will urge both parties, especially the counsels in the matter, to go through the case file especially the one taking over. He added that the one handing over the case should properly brief the one taking over it otherwise it will bring misunderstanding. Magistrate Abeke therefore over ruled the prosecution’s objection on the delivery of a ruling on the matter.

The trial magistrate said he has read through the arguments of both parties and that in his prior ruling he had told the prosecution to go and put their house in order and to seek the consent of the Attorney General and that the charges are incompetent. He said he had also ordered for the accused persons to be granted police bail. Magistrate Abeke said the defense counsels argued that they were denied access to their clients. He said they did not tell the court what they did to secure the bail of the accused persons and that they have not exhibited it and as such the court cannot speculate. “In my ruling on the 12 of May 2016, I advised the defense to apply for a police bail and the court cannot make any order when the accused persons are not before the court. The charges were not even read to them and they are not arraigned and they are not before the court and as such the court cannot do anything about it,” said Magistrate Abeke. At this juncture, Lawyer Sallah-Njie said based on the ruling, she is applying for the charges to be struck out. “When charges are found to be incompetent, they ought to be struck out as required by the law,” said the defense counsel.

Responding to the defense counsel’s application, the prosecution argued that the ruling was very clear and that there is nothing before the court. He added that he is very surprised to hear such an application from the defense. He said they are applying for a short adjournment to enable them file fresh charges. For records purposes, my application is for the charges to be struck out, not the process. If there is nothing before this court, why should we adjourn the case? When charges are improper, they should be struck out and the application for adjournment is misconceived,” submitted Barrister Sallah-Njie. She further said that certain issues were raised which were ignored in the ruling of the magistrate such as the right of the vulnerable. These issues are still relevant because you can hear the cry of a baby in court,” said Barrister Sallah-Njie. However, the presiding magistrate said he has repeatedly been telling the prosecution to go back and put their house in order and which they did not do but instead handed over the case to the State. He said even the application for an adjournment is not before him. It was only of another date he was able to grant them bail. Is these all not a clear indication that the judiciary is in total panic?

We shall be able to find out when the dust settles as the cloud is still thick.

God save the Gambia!

HOW COULD A HUMAN BEING LOOK INTO THE EYE OF A WOMAN AND YET STILL TORTURE HER?

May 15, 2016

Miss Satang Sankareh

Miss Satang Sankareh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Editor, Please allow me some space in your widely read newspaper to express my outrage about things happening in the Gambia since I was last there. I read with total dismay and disbelief about things the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Presidential Security of the Gambia are accused of. The amount of atrocities being committed by these people who are born and bread amongst Gambians inside the Gambia a nation known for its dignity yet there are people who behave as if they do not have blood running in their veins. Since 2006 reports upon reports of torture and even rape on female detainees have been surfacing about officers working with the NIA and Presidential Security branch called the jugulars and scariest thing of it all is that there has never been any denial coming from those accused of such atrocities or even the Presidency.

 

How do we call ourselves civilized people when alleged criminals walk enjoying all the luxuries of a free individual despite they are alleged to have committed crimes against civilians much they vowed to protect? It look as if they have no regard for humanity. No investigations, no response to any allegations just silence even when members who have once worked at those institutions like the NIA and Junglars do confirm some of these reports after they fled the Gambia. This cannot continue really because we as Gambians deserve better than what we are getting from people we pay for our protection. How can our own President we voted for to run our affairs order for our torture? I sometimes think these are all dreams but in truth they are realities. Gambia is sinking very fast and people live in perpetual fear. No one seem to ask any question as if we all chose to accept these crimes as our collective punishment hell no we have done nothing wrong to deserve such brutal treatments.

There are tangible signs that Gambia is under a brutal dictatorship but for officers with their human instinct intact to go to a length of looking into the eye of a woman detainee and still torture her is beyond human belief. I am not versed in the law of the Gambia but I am so sure torture is against our constitution therefore anyone who tortures violates the constitution. Why is no one ever arrested for torture? It was only once I have heard the state ever take some officers of the NIA to court for the torture of an officer of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) Mr. Lamin Karbo (Commonly known as Langka). The gentleman was publicly seen running in the streets of Banjul completely naked wearing nothing not even an underwear being chased by men in suits and blood dripping all over his body. That alone should have been a national disgrace but the alleged culprits were pardoned and allowed to continue working as state officials. We are all born of women and women are the backbone of any development. Those NIA and Junglars should be castrated for their actions and made eunuchs for the rest of their miserable lives because even after Yahya Jammeh’s regime, these people if left in prison, they would continue to rape inside prison and if pardoned, they will still rape again and again as it has become their habit that they will find difficult if not impossible to leave.

So the best way to help them if they are not killed by firing squad or lethal injection for their evil crimes is to castrate them all and let them be made eunuchs. Despite I am far away from the Gambia, anytime I think of rape in my country at the hands of security forces, it keeps waking from my sleep as if it had happened to me personally. Am sure the victims must have had the worst of experiences ever imagined in human history. Definitely Yahya Jammeh had destroyed the morals of our people and turned them into savages. These evil crimes starting from the beating of detainees have started since the first week of the coup when Sana Sabally and Edward Singhateh took some PPP elders into Bakau Barrack and torture them and since then many more tortures followed. Now instead of repenting, the torturers have resort to even more evil ways of torture including raping detainees. That is why there is little wonder that anyone that once worked with Yahya Jammeh very closely and they get sacked, many of them could not have the voice to speak against him. Imagine someone who worked with Yahya Jammeh closely and even after you fled out of the Gambia into Europe or America yet you cannot say anything about him when he still says a lot about your evil deeds why he sacked you. There must be something keeping that person from responding. Maybe you were involved in one of his crimes that has tainted you so badly that you are scared when you talk someone somewhere would call you out.

I want to call out on President Jammeh to consider stepping down. The crimes keep pilling up and the criminals keep increasing. Gambia do not know these things before Yahya Jammeh come to power therefore he brought them upon us and once he is out, Gambia will be back to normal. Thank you. Satang Sankareh UK

CHRG-UK REJOICES WITH MEP MARTIN,ALLIES OVER GAMBIA RESOLUTION VICTORY

May 13, 2016
DEVIL WITH THE BEADS

DEVIL WITH THE BEADS

Thursday, May 12, 2016, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a joint resolution condemning the political violence of the regime of President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia. The resolution which was spearheaded by Scottish MEP, David Martin at the request of the Gambian born human rights activists, Alieu Ceesay of the Scottish based Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia (CHRG), passed with a resounding majority of 539-27. All seven EU parliament political groupings supported the resolution.

 Reacting to the passing of the resolution, MEP David Martin stated: “’It is unfortunate that The Gambia has so far received little attention from this European Parliament. I’m glad that this is changing today, and that we have a strong cross-party resolution addressing the systematic human rights abuses being committed by Jammeh’s regime. The European Union must underline to the Gambian Government that it will always prioritize human rights in its dealings with partner countries.”
 
MEP Martin further emphasized that the behaviour of the Jammeh regime is totally not acceptable and that “I strongly condemn the Gambian Government’s harsh action against peaceful protestors and the legal measures it has taken to prevent a strong political opposition.” 
 
He then urged that: “I hope today’s resolution prompts a pro-active response from the EU Commission and Member States to deter Jammeh’s regime from further human rights abuses, and encourage the Gambia to revise its policies on arbitrary detention, and banning public gatherings and free media.”
The Socialist and Democrats, a progressive alliance in the EU Parliament, also reacted to the passing of the resolution thus: “The European Parliament sent a strong signal to the Gambian government today that human rights are not negotiable when you deal with the EU. An overwhelming majority of MEPs called on Gambia to end its policies of arbitrary detention and torture of civilians. We want to see a free media, a fair judicial system, and freedom of speech, assembly and sexuality in the Gambia. Recent government crackdowns on opposition activists adds to a long history of human rights abuses by this brutal regime, and urgent action is required to prevent the situation from deteriorating in the run-up to the December presidential elections. Despite efforts by the European Union over the last two years to engage with Jammeh’s administration on human rights, little progress has been made and I welcome the resolution’s call for consultations under article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. The Gambian Government must be held to account.”
 
Alieu Ceesay who is currently at the EU Parliament in Brussels,also reacted to the passing of the resolution stating: “The resolution has supported a total travel ban and assets freeze including president jammeh and all officials and security agents named in human rights violations. This is a major milestone in the history of the fight to restore democracy and the rule of law in The Gambia.”
Mr Ceesay who has been coordinating with the EU Parliament in a series of meetings and efforts in the run up to the resolution said the latest move was propelled by the exacerbation of rights abuses due to the latest crackdown and killing of opposition protesters. “I am very thankful to my MEP, David Martin, his staff, and all the political groupings who have taken this bold step in sending the strongest signal against the Gambian dictatorship. This means that once implemented by the Commission the Gambian government can no longer access funds except humanitarian assistance, or travel or maintain their assets within the EU zone. To all Gambians home and abroad, activists, and victims of the regime, this is a cause for celebration because it will squeeze the regime to the brink of collapse, if not already, remember, an overwhelming majority of the regime’s donor funds come from the EU.”

Omar Bah, chairperson of Gambia Youth for Unity, a united coalition partner of the Alieu Ceesay-led CHRG, expressed gratitude to Mr. Ceesay and his group for a very successful campaign through his MEP and the EU Parliament. “These are the kind of actions that make a fundamental difference in the campaign against impunity in The Gambia. I encourage Gambians living in the US and other parts of the world to also engage their senators and congressional delegations to extend similar sanctions against the Jammeh regime. The EU action is a game changer and there is no way Jammeh tyranny can ignore its impact. I therefore thank Mr. Ceesay, MEP Martin and everyone who supported the resolution at the EU Parliament.”

AN EX OFFICER APPEALS TO THE PRESIDENT AND SECURITY FORCES OF THE GAMBIA!

May 10, 2016
Ex Police Officer Aldul Aziz Sowe

Ex Police Officer Aldul Aziz Sowe

Mr. Editor,

Could you allow me some space on your online newspaper to say few things to the President of the republic of the Gambia and to address my Comrades in uniform? First let me introduce myself. My name is Mr. Abdul Aziz Sowe I had also served the uniform service for about over 10 years with total dedication my country to the best of my ability and according to the constitutional oath of office which was and I still belief is to do my duty to God and Country without fear, Favour, ill-will or affection.

My comrades in the Service may I share with you some of the things I observed during my days in the service? I have observed that torture or even beating of civilians was never a thing any officer could contemplate doing and even if it does happen, it was not to my knowledge as it used to be very minimal. So Officers of the uniform services, May I now ask what had gone wrong today? Because I was so dismayed and ashamed that the same national uniform I wore which used to be full of praises and respect is the same uniform am now seeing men in the Gambia wearing and publicly brutalising unarmed civilians who were holding peaceful demonstrations guaranteed in our constitution and whose only weapons were brooms and calabash and peacefully singing songs including our National Anthem. Even when reports of death of peaceful protester under custody of state security was reported and other opposition went on the street demanding the release of the other detainees and the body of the reported dead either dead or alive, they also went holding hands with no weapons but only our national flag which show their patriotism and respect to the statehood  and sovereignty of the Gambia and to must utter disbelief, they too were met with such force and harassment never thought could happen in a peaceful Gambia.

What happened to the moral duty to protect those civilians and the discipline of our uniform service? Why beat civilians whose taxes pay our salaries and keep our children in schools when they mean no harm to us or to the state security we were meant to protect? Comrades when I was in the service, I was posted at the Sere Kunda Police Station working at the mobile traffic unit as a mobile traffic officer responsible for traffic offences and driving related crimes but in even those days our relations with drivers were like cousins always joking with each other. Sometimes when someone commits a minor offence, the pleadings you as an officer receive from those drivers would sometimes melt your heart not to bring up charges against them. That is why I sometimes keep denying the fact that what I am seeing is definitely the Gambia I know. How could the Gambia which is called the smiling coast have uniform servicemen/ women allow themselves to descend so low as to brutalise their own fellow citizens thus creating an atmosphere of hate, brutality and wickedness? Every sane person in any democracy expect men/women in uniform to be fully trained with so much discipline training that using force would always be their last resort and always in an event where only force was necessary but that was definitely not the case anymore I suppose because dealing with protesters who sing songs with our national anthem and holding brooms and Calabash which in all sense cannot be compared to the tea gases and guns and besides the protesters never broke even a car wind screen not to talk of even burning a single tyre. Have you officers forgotten Section 21 of our Gambian Constitution? Protection from inhuman treatment which states that: No person shall be subject to torture or inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment. You must also understand that when brutality creeps into any society, hatred and hidden vendetta against perpetrators of such brutality gains ground and you all would be individually responsible for your actions for violating our constitution to use force on armless civilians one day. Remember everyday has a tomorrow and governments come and go therefore this one too would go at some point. So why violate the Law for such or any government for that matter?

Have you not read Section 25 of the Gambian Constitution which dealt with Freedom of speech, conscience, assembly, association and movement?

(1) Every person shall have the right to –  (a) freedom of speech and expression, which include freedom of the press and other media; (b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom; (c) freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice; (d) freedom to assemble and demonstrate peaceably and without arms; (e) freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join associations and unions, including political parties and trade unions; (f) freedom to petition the executive for redress of grievances and to resort to the courts for the protection of his or her rights.

(2) Every person lawfully within The Gambia shall have the right to move freely throughout The Gambia, to choose his or her own place of residence within The Gambia, and to leave The Gambia.  That is what the law of the land says so why would you defenders of that law violate it? Be careful officers in uniform. That is my friendly warning to you all my conrades.

Now your Excellency sir, I am battling with thousands of questions pouring into my head right now hope you can help me with some of it? Sir may I ask what is it that you are always afraid of? Because I do not know why anyone’s calling for electoral reforms would bother you so much so that you would want those arrested, tortured or even killed? Sir can I respectfully ask you if there is anything you hiding something which most Gambians do not know? Your Excellency I asked because we have all seen or heard during every elections  that “Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh Presidential candidate of the APRC Party has won so and so election with landslide” therefore Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh is duly elected as President of the Republic of the Gambia for another five year term. Sir so If true, what would electoral reforms do to your winning style? After all those calling for electoral reform can shout from one end of their mouth to the other or even calling you to step down but if you don’t want to step down or allow electoral reforms, what do you think can they do with all state securities under your loyal command? I honestly think they can only do you harm if they take up arms and become rebels or start destroying properties of both government and civilians. But sir in this case no such thing happened. So why the beating and torturing when they’ve not even refused arrest meaning they were still law abiding? Mr President it looks like something is fishy these that these people are demanding and it puts a lot of stains about all your wisely chosen IEC Chairman’s claims of your winning every elections because even the constant changing of those very electoral officials and amending of the electoral laws shows a lot of your uncomfortability about your securing and maintenance of the high office. Do you think in a free and fair election you would lose or have you lost before? Sir to be honest I have been wondering about the way and manner the electoral laws are set. But please permit me to share so of it closely with the readership here:

It is you President Jammeh who is mandated under Section 42 (3) for appointment of chairman and four senior members of the electoral commission and under the same law Section 42 (6) empowers you the President to remove the chairman and members of the electoral commission but emphasised that such mandates should be executed in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Public Service Commission. Now your Excellency, over the past years, there was little evidence to show or even suggest that you ever consulted any of those two commissions over your appointment or even sacking of members of the Independent Electoral Commission. That is disrespecting the dictates of the constitution or should anyone think you possibly were afraid that once the IEC officials are allowed such independence from your influence and total control, in free and fairer elections, you would be removed from office through the ballot box? Was that why you keep saying no elections can remove you from power? If so then if so why holding any elections? It is clear from all angles that there is no transparency and fairness in the appointments of key members of the IEC and as a result there is an non political neutrality of those you chose to conduct what is expected to be free and fair elections in the Gambia. Also Mr. President we all saw your total disregard to the constitution with the way and manner you fired three chairmen of the electoral commission and many commission members without any consultations with what the constitution requires of you or at least tell the people of the Gambia the reasons for their removal or maybe give them the right to defend themselves. The way and manner the electoral laws were designed only favours you alone. For instance all chairman and members of the electoral body are seen to be under your direct control and as they knowingly lack job security they have no options but operate under a climate of fear and intimidation from you which is an indication that either they are careful not to offend the one who decides their fate in that job or risk getting sacked like their predecessors. This is a serious contravention of our national laws the constitution which stated in Section 43 (3) that: “In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

Also while the constitution gives  every Gambian of electable age the  right to seek political office, your regime has recently restricted that right by increasing  the registration fee of political parties to pay from D10,000 to D250 thousand Dalasis  knowing fully well that the Gambia being among the least developed and poorest countries in the world where a large percentage of the population lives on less than $2 a day, such fee will make it almost impossible for some individuals or even certain oppositions to contest in elections. All these decisions has shown a high level of your insecurity on the presidency despite you have the full backing of most senior uniform officers. Mr President what are you hiding? Are you sure you’ve been winning all the past elections freely and fairly meaning Gambians vote for you landslide? These have been my thinking lately because I do not see the need to worry about electoral reform to a point of arresting, torturing or even killing those protesting and demanding for it. No sensible human being would see the need. The notion of threat to peace which peace? When has calling for free and fairer elections because threat to peace. I belief in all honesty a free and fairer elections would guarantee more peace as those who lost would know they’ve lost openly without dispute. So these hide and refusal to come in the open is raising more doubt in your winning of any elections than clear evidence of your mandate from the people.

We have all seen during Presidential elections you as President freely uses all state machineries to facilitate your re-election which in all fairness contravenes the electoral law. State radio and television have been freely used by you while opposition parties who are also tax payers are denied access to such services only weeks before pooling day. Should I dare say all done in your effort to keep voters in the dark about their policies or what they would say about your flows and why people should vote you out? So the people listen to you and your good work for the country throughout the five year period only and nothing else that would tell the electorates some of the mistakes you and your administration made which needs correcting. Sir despite all you do to keep the people uninformed about some of the faults of your regime, when elections come, despite the opposition given minimal airtime on radio or TV, they score hundreds of thousands of votes. I keep wondering what is it that made all those voters refusing to vote for you despite all what the TVs and radios keep praising you five years nonstop and despite all kinds of intimidations from security and NIA personals, with even denial of permits from police, the opposition still manages to pull such high level of votes from the electorates. Sir in reality do you think the people of the Gambian give you victories over you opponents or the IEC does? Because despite your constant winnings, you always angry with all Gambians irrespective of whether they are APRC, Oppositions, Civil Servants or Security uniform Services Could it be that Gambians actually vote for your opponents and not you as their president but IEC gives you victory as you employed them not the people of the Gambia? Why have you removed the Second round of voting recommended during the 1994 constitutional consultation commissions’ findings? I asked because even term limit was there but removed  because you do not want to leave office after serving a two term.

I know without doubt most officers in the security service have served your personal interests than serve according to the dictates of our national Constitution. It could be maybe because most of us are so ignorant of the law and dictates of the constitution that we simply think that obeying the Head of State is the same as defending the constitution. So even if the Head of state violate the constitution by ordering us to brutalising the people of State we should carry such orders as he is the custodian of the constitution and the commander in chief. But in reality power lies in the people of a State, for without the people there would be no head of state therefore the constitution is supreme law which is above even the head of state. Sir you are bound to obey and respect the constitution and when you violate the constitution, officers wearing state uniform or even in plain cloth should disobey your orders if they are patriotic to the laws of the constitution they swore by their religious books to defend without fear favour ill will or affection.

Sir a good leader is one who leads by example for today you are the leader but tomorrow it would definitely be someone and if that leader is not your child, your actions could hunt you even in your grave. Yes officers are expected to be loyal to their leader when the leader leads by example meaning respect the state laws that enable him/her to govern over the people in that state but not when that leader openly violates the laws every time ruling instead of leading violation of his/her oath of office. Mr President, remember you are under oath as well as each and every officer of State therefore their actions towards that state matters more. How about retiring and leaving office so that while still young and fresh you can continue enjoying your wealth? I have a feeling that the prospects of that too happening is troubling your mind each second because of the alleged murders and tortures that occurred during your tenure as ruler of your people. Have you now seen what violating the rights of those under you can cause a mind?

Think about what I said above and try digesting all of it sir. Maybe you would say to yourself this man is the only Gambian who knows what always runs through my mind.

Thank you sir I remained once a servant of the conbstitution of the Gambia we both love,

Mr. Abdul Aziz Sowe

MOMENTUM OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE BUILDING UP IN BANJUL ; LAWYER DARBOE AND CO DENIED BAIL

May 5, 2016
Defiant crowd outside court house

Defiant crowd outside court house

Women with brooms poised to clean the rogue regime's mess

Women with brooms poised to clean the rogue regime’s mess

The leader of the opposition party United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer  Ousainou Darboe  who was arrested on  April 16th along with other peaceful protesters were denied bail today at the high Court in Banjul.  Many view the decision to deny the formal bail application tendered by defense team of illegally detained protesters as a traverse to justice which highlight President Jammeh’s hair splitting stratagem of weakening the morale of concerned Gambians who ply to Banjul to protest in front  of the Court house during every seating.  Such a strategy is likely to backfire on the rogue regime because the People do not show any sign of relent as their numbers continue to bulge at every Court hearing.

The momentum of civil disobedience is gaining ground as People continue to mobilize and demonstrate  in front of court house chanting anti- regime slogans and demanding the release of Solo Sandeng death or alive.  Yesterday during the hearing of the first batch of peaceful protesters arrested on April 14th, the state produce eight new people held in custody among them  3 female protesters who were feared death. Fatoumatta Jawara, Nokoi  Njie and Fatou Camara were arraigned before the high Court yesterday. Those who saw these 3 ladies yesterday at the Court house lamented traces of torture and inhuman treatment by their captors.  There are revelations underscoring that these decent ladies were subjected to all forms of torture and rape while in incommunicado. This is the reason why the state refused to tender them in Court initially and waited until their torture wounds heal a bit before producing them in Court.

The fear factor is gradually desecrated in the Gambia for people express themselves freely around the Court house and are ready for whatever consequences. The women today came with brooms which signifies that the Gambia is in a big mess and they are ready to clean the country of that mess. With Those brooms they shall clean the country of dictatorship , oppression, torture and killing of innocent Citizens. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, his UDP executive and other peaceful protesters plying the road between mile II Central prison and Banjul high court are in high spirit and resolved to face any consequences for the interest of the Gambian People. Next round of Court hearing is scheduled to take place next week Monday April 9th.

The United Democratric Party (UDP) Puts Forward Its Non Negotiable Demands

May 4, 2016
Aji Mariama Secka UDP Deputy Leader

Aji Mariama Secka UDP Deputy Leader

UDP Youth Secretary General Solo Sandeng

UDP Youth Secretary General Solo Sandeng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woman managing the state-sponsored crisis of the Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party has issued a press statement listing the party’s uncompromising demands. Mariam Secka’s demands include unconditional release of all detainees, and that investigation be launched on the reported death of Solo Sandeng and brutal torture of detainees.

Read below the UDP’s Press Release in detail:

UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY (UDP)

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Committee of United Democratic Party (UDP) wishes to inform the general public and the International Community, of its total condemnation on the high handedness of peaceful marches on Thursday 14th and Saturday16th April 2016 at West field and Kairaba Avenue respectively by the state security officials. The party further condemns the subsequent arrest, detention and torture of some of the party officials, members and other peaceful marchers.

 

On the 14th April 2016, a group of concerned Gambians demanding genuine electoral reform to open up the country to conducting credible, free and fair elections, were arrested and whisked away to an unknown destination by the officials of the Gambia’s Police Intervention Unit. They were reportedly subjected to severe torture. As a result, one of them Ebrima Solo Sandeng, the UDP National Organizing Secretary was reported to have died from the torture inflicted on him.

 

News of Ebrima Solo Sandeng’s death was as shocking as it was unbearable, compelling the leadership of the UDP to a peaceful march demanding that the authorities release him dead or alive, as well as the unconditional release of all the other detainees. On Saturday April 16th 2016 the executive of the United Democratic Party were also arrested and have been in enforced state detention since.

 

On Wednesday 20th April 2016 after more than 72 hours in detention, eighteen people were brought before a judge and charged with varying trumped up offences including conspiracy to riot and conducting a march without a permit etc. However seven of those arrested are yet to be produced in court; In essence, they still remain unaccounted for. They include: Ebrima Solo Sandeng, Ndogoi Njie, Fatoumata Jawara, Fatou Camara, Modou Ngum, Kafu Bayo and Ebrima Jabang.

 

For those arrested on 16th April 2016 which include the UDP Leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and his executive, Nineteen (19) remain in custody while thirteen (13) have been released on bail. On Thursday 28th April 2016, the state produced one more person before the court who was also jointly charged alongside the UDP leader and his executive.

 

The Gambia government continues to flout the high court orders for the detainees to be allowed family visits, food from the families, access to lawyers and other rights and privilege under the prison rule to change of clothes. The UDP condemns in strongest possible terms the inhumane manner in which the detainees are being treated.

 

The UDP still remains deeply concern about the whereabouts of one of its supporters, Dembo S. Darboe (Touray Darboe). He is from Kafuta village Kombo East and was picked up by plain cloth security officers on Saturday evening 16th April 2016 in the same village on his way from the mosque. His whereabouts are still not known.

 

The United Democratic Party noted with great concern, the actions and conduct of security forces for not only preventing and denying its members and other concern citizens from exercising their constitutional rights, but has gone to the extent of inflicting brutal and inhumane treatments on them.

 

The UDP expresses her total condemnation of the apparent bias of the security forces for breaking up its peaceful march while allowing the militants and members of the ruling APRC Party to conduct series of pro-government demonstrations in the past. The UDP recognizes the concerns of the International Community and is grateful to the solidarity from civil society groups, Gambians and friends of The Gambia at home and abroad in this difficult moment.

 

The UDP will continue to remain steadfast in demanding for freedom, justice, rule of law and democracy in The Gambia. We continue to stand firm in the collective efforts to liberate our beloved country from the clutches of this tyrannical regime.

 

We salute the uncompromised support and solidarity of the party’s militants, youths and women in particular.

 

The UDP unreservedly demand:

 

  1. That our party Leader and Secretary General Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and all other political detainees be immediately and unconditionally released;
  2. That the torture and reported death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng be fully investigated and the culprits are brought to book;
  3. That the severe torture of other detainees be also fully investigated and the culprits brought to book;
  4. That the security force put a total stop to the excessive use of force in denying and preventing the citizens from exercising their constitutional rights to peaceful demonstration;
  5. That the security of our party officials and members be guaranteed.

 

Mariam B. Secka

Deputy Secretary General and Deputy Party Leader

THE GAMBIA WAVE OF PROTESTS HITS NORWAY

April 30, 2016
Gambians & Friends of The Gambia at the solidarity gathering in Oslo

Gambians & Friends of The Gambia at the solidarity gathering in Oslo

The wave of protest to show solidarity with victims of the recent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Gambia has reached the shores of Scandinavia where the waves finally hit the city of Oslo yesterday evening Friday 29th April at 4:30pm. After attending the normal Friday prayers and listening to a strong sermon  from an eloquent Imam who touched on holding fast to the truth in this world come what may, concerned Gambians and friends of the Gambia marched out to the Younstorget open Plaza Downtown Oslo  to protest against recent happenings in the Gambia.

Despite the short notice given , attendance was unprecedented.  Previous protests on Gambia in Oslo hardly attracts a dozen participants but this time around the turnout was impressive. This shows the fear factor both in the Gambia and abroad is being gradually hack to pieces. Before the event started the crowd sang  revolutionary slogans depicting the appalling human rights situation in the Gambia. “Na dem” “na dem”  meaning «let him go» «let him go» freedom for Gambia, down to dictatorship the crowd chanted.

After warming up with revolutionary chants the event proper started with the singing of the national anthem of the Gambia.  After the roaring national anthem a host of speakers took to the podium and each and everyone of them lamented on the pressing need to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the Gambia. There was a representative from the Norwegian Council for Africa who spoke at the event. He echoed concerns of the UN repertoire on torture on the human rights situation in the  Gambia. He buttressed that the regime in Gambia should release all the detained peaceful protesters and drop all charges leveled against members of the opposition party UDP.

Prior to the gathering on Friday a delegation of the Oslo-Gambian affairs had a Meeting With the Norwegian Foreign affairs Department in which the Gambian delegation was given an opportunity to address the Foreign Department on the human rights situation and issues of concern in the Gambia. The Meeting took Place on Thursday 28th April . The delegation brought the following Points to the attention of the Foreign Department;

  1. Enhance efforts through the EU and other bodies to impose and strengthen a travel ban on Jammeh and his henchmen
  2. More pressure to facilitate access for the UN Special Rapporteur to investigate human rights violations in The Gambia.
  3. To closely follow Jammeh’s close collaboration with Turkey. Turkey is being gradually embraced by the EU and we tried to highlight the contradiction of a possible EU member state enhancing a dictatorial regime.
  4. Political asylum for Gambian dissidents in Senegal who had fled the country and urgently in need of protection.

The foreign department expressed gratitude for the visit and stressed the Norwegian government’s commitment to human rights, which they ensure is high on the agenda in international fora. They also mentioned that the Norwegian ambassador in Ghana is accredited to Gambia and that the ambassador while presenting his credentials to Jammeh, discussed both democracy and human rights. The embassy sends updates, but that they will appreciate more updates on the developments in The Gambia. The delegation promised to be sending more information.

The Foreign Department has promised to send an official response to address the issued raised by the Oslo-Gambian affairs delegation.

The nose is tightening for the rogue regime in Gambia. The Oslo-Gambian affairs has planned to take part in the 1st May procession in Oslo to further expose the deplorable human rights situation in the Gambia. The procession will begin at 11:30 am on Sunday 1st May at Youngstorget downtown Oslo.