The political rally organized by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) today at Brikama, in the West Coast Region of The Gambia was very well attended and an absolute success says Omar Jallow, the Interim Leader of the PPP. In addressing the crowd, Omar Jallow compared the economy and the governance environment under Sir Dawda Jawara and under the 20-year dictatorship to highlight the stark difference.
OJ cite the case of the two ferries “Jokadu” and “Kansala” which were reported to have cost the regime D200,000,000 that are still moored at the Banjul port facilities. These vessels have never seen service. The PPP Interim Leader challenged Jammeh to tell Gambians what happened to the money. “It is a shame” OJ rebuked, “that the Jammeh regime cannot provide a simple and regular ferry service which the PPP government was able to do without missing a single day of service over a 30 year period”.
The former Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment minister turned his attention on the high level of unemployment under the dictatorship, coupled with the abuse of human rights of Gambians that has led the young to vote with their feet by taking the dangerous “Back Way” to Europe via Libya and across the Mediterranean. Omar Jallow posited he is more sympathetic to the plight of the young than being upset with them for risking their young and value lives in tempestuous Mediterranean Sea. Thus, he understood the reason they had to look for greener pastures so that they can take care of their families at home. “The Jammeh regime has failed the young”, says Omar Jallow, “by its inability to create jobs. Instead, Gambia is losing jobs to Senegal and neighbouring countries”.
Most importantly, he challenged Yaya Jammeh to account for his personal wealth he accumulated within a span of twenty years since he accused members of the PPP government of corruption which he used to justify the coup d’état of 1994. He demanded that Jammeh explains the rationale behind his two Rolls Royce sedans, one of each costing $ 500,000. Readers will recall that Jammeh reprimanded the PPP of living a flamboyant life in 1994. At this point he turned to the crowd to say to the security agents, who were suspected to be around, as if addressing them directly when he said, “Yes, I said it. Go and tell Yaya Jammeh that I said it”.
Omar Jallow criticized Jammeh for degrading the army by turning soldiers into his personal herdsmen. It is common sight to see soldiers herding Jammeh’s cattle in the Kombos. At some point in his speech, he quipped, “When your president sells bread and meat, then it is time to get a new president.”
On the human rights front, Omar Jallow urges Jammeh to stop the abuse of the human rights of Gambians. He cited the example of Mambury Njie who, after being freed by a court of law, was rearrested and held in remand without charge. He ended up being sick and is hospitalized with police guarding him at the hospital.
What looked like intimidation tactic employed by NIA agents present at the rally, they appeared to be taking down names of those in the crowd they suspected of being government employees. What they will do with the names is anyone’s guess. The impressive size of the crowd may have contributed to the nervousness displayed by the security agents who were probably not expecting that many people to brave the threats that Jammeh usually employ against his opponents. Well, it did not work today.
Courtesy of Sidi Sanneh Blogger