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.