Lang Tombong Tamba and Co after their released from Mile II Central Prison
The Gambian Dictator Yahya Jammeh has done it again by granting what he called amnesty or pardon to his political opponents. However, there is a clear motives behind his recent moved but what is certain is that Gambians cannot be fooled any longer by Dictator Jammeh. This is a news that is welcome because the the families of the released prisoners can now spend the quality time they missed with them all these whiles. But what need to be ask is, why has it taken this long for Jammeh do realise that he needs to do what he has done? And besides this is his constitutional right to exercise every calendar year. Most of the people who were released should never have been in prison in the first place, some lost their lives while in prison, others lost loved ones while been illegally incarcerated and some have been in prison for nearly a decade for doing nothing. So perhaps Jammeh has realised that he was wrong to imprison them in the first place.
Meanwhile it is clear that Yahya Jammeh is a man not to be trusted as he has continuously lied to Gambians since 1994 and he has declared that he has forgiven and grant amnesty to his perceived opponents in the diaspora. What we need to ask ourselves is, what have Gambians in the diaspora did to Dictator Yahya Jammeh for him to forgave or grant them amnesty? Absolutely nothing, because it is our God and constitutional rights for us to speak our minds and challenge him and his thugs on issues that we disagree. If he thinks no body has the right to speak, then he is mistaken because we have the right to say what we think is wrong in our country.
According to Dictator Jammeh, he wants to open a new page with Gambians but perhaps Jammeh has forgotten that we have been there before but he never kept his words because he is not a sincere man but a pretender. Fortnight ago, Dictator Jammeh announced the released of some prisoners but only to reneged on his words and took them back to prison and many other of his unfulfilled promises.
Now what would it take for us to trust and take Dictator Jammeh for his words? A lot of things indeed and among them are for Dictator Jammeh to release all political prisoners, release the long overdue 10/11 April 2000 student massacre reports and also repeal the indemnity from prosecution he gave to the killers of the students. Furthermore, to repeal all those draconian laws he and his rubber stamp National assembly enacted against press freedom, freedom of speech, association and assembly. Meanwhile, also annul the recent changes to the electoral laws and take necessary steps to make proper electoral reforms that will empower every political party in the country to hold rallies when and where necessary and have equal access to national radio and television services just like APRC does. In addition, with immediate effect stop the culture of fear and intimidation against his opponents. Above all, have a free and independent judiciary which the nation can have confidence in and of course STEP DOWN FROM PRESIDENCY AT THE END OF YOUR SO-CALLED TERM IN 2016.
Without these changes, the status quo remains and we would know that it’s the same trick Dictator Jammeh has recycled in different format to resuscitate and galvanised support for his much isolated, abandoned and dying regime. We are watching Dictator Jammeh!
On the Top Dictator Yahya Jammeh of Gambia and Hissene Habre of Chad
Former Chadian President Hissene Habre is on trial in Senegal for alleged human rights crimes, including 40,000 murders. The 25-year campaign to bring him to justice and what the trial means for Africa as a whole and The Gambia in particular is a theme for discussion. Even though Habre’s leadership lasted for just 8 years before being overthrown, but due to the relentless efforts of the survivors and human rights activists the man is finally facing justice. To draw parallels, Gambian Dictator Yahya Jammeh has served 21 years and counting, however, this trial of Hissene Habre has renewed our believed that Yahya Jammeh will also pay for his crimes, especially the murder of 16 young school boys and girls on the fateful days of 10/11 April 2000.
You can draw examples from Charles Taylor, who is currently serving a jail term for the atrocities he committed against his fellow Liberians during his reign of terror as a warlord and a president. Another recent example is Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to relinquish power after the Ivorian people voted him out but he opted otherwise to stay. We are drawing examples from these people because they had the same characteristics like Jammeh and if Jammeh is to learn these are the people he needs to learn from.
Meanwhile, even though Jammeh’s recent amnesty of pardoning his political opponents is welcomed and a step in the right direction, that would not serve as a deterrent for people and victims from seeking justice. Because if Jammeh wants to open a new page with Gambians he has to start repealing those anti democracy laws such as the indemnity he gave to killers of April 10/11 victims. Also put an end to the culture of fear and intimidation against people and the media most specifically. Of course free the judiciary for people to have confidence and start bring the perpetrators of injustices during his 21 years of dictatorship.
However, the best of all theses is for Dictator Jammeh to step down and allow Gambians to settle their differences and put the country in the directions, after over two decades of his rampant corruption, nepotism, ethnic divisions, murder, torture, rape, false imprisonments and exiled of his opponents. The end is on sight. When there is life, there is always hope! Long live The Gambia!
Today 22 July 2015, President Yahya Jammeh has given amnesty to political prisoners, death row prisoners and all his so-called critics who live in the diaspora. Jammeh made the announcement during his speech to celebrate his illegitimate overthrow of the former PPP government led by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Jammeh said in his speech “from 1994 to date, people in my administration have committed various offences, some of them are capital offences. If I don’t forgive, then I am not a good leader.” says Jammeh and he went further to say, “If we don’t forgive each other, then how will Allah forgive me as the leader of this country.” Among the prisoners that are scheduled to be pardon includes General Lang Tombong Tamba, Ensa (Jesus) Badjie, Modou Gaye and Lai Joof.
Meanwhile, this is a good news, especially for the families of those who were falsely imprisoned. They deserved to be reunited with their loved ones. According to some human rights activists “Jammeh’s amnesty is a welcoming news, but people need to be cautious as the country still has those draconian laws that could lead a person to prison for 15 years just by speaking your mind, those laws need changing for people to take Jammeh’s amnesty seriously.”
However, as we know Jammeh is seeking Gambians to forgive him, but for that to happen, Jammeh needs to repeal the indemnity he gave to the killers of 10/11 April 2000 victims so that they can face justice. For us at Gambia Voices we whole heartedly welcome Jammeh’s amnesty, but as long as justice has not been served for our colleagues, there is no relenting in our efforts to see justice for 10/11 April victims. Long live Gambia!
Dictator Yahya Jammeh at Banjul Prayer Ground with The Imam Ratib of Banjul Cherno Kah
Dictator Jammeh With Muslims Leaders at Statehouse in Banjul
Modou Lamin Touray the President of Gambia Supreme Islamic Council
Since the first republic led by the former president Sir Dawda K. Jawara, at the end of every Ramadan, Muslims leaders used to go to the Statehouse and meet with the president and share some words of wisdom and prayers. Meanwhile, that tradition is still continuing in the second republic led by Yahya Jammeh, however, something has changed in the tradition, as Jammeh is now using the occasion to threaten Gambians instead of using the occasion to seek for forgiveness from people.
During a similar event in August 2012, Jammeh threatens to kill all those who were on death row by September of that year and a week later, he killed 9 inmates by firing squad. Meanwhile, due worldwide condemnation of his actions he abandoned his plans of killing the rest of death row inmates since then. However, he has threatened again to implement the law to the latter without fear or favour as he lament on the rising murder crimes in the country. Yahya Jammeh has warned that death row inmates should expect to have their sentences implemented, apparent possibility of ending the three year unofficial moratorium on executions. What is disturbing about Jammeh’s treats is because nobody around him is capable of facing him with the truth, so he is more likely to do as he found it necessary and that is catastrophic for the country.
Meanwhile, in a televised address to the nation, Jammeh reiterate his threat once again as he said “statistic has shown the increase in serious crime such as murder, infanticide, rape of young children is on the increase in the country and enough is enough.” Jammeh went on to say that “from now on the law would apply to the latter for these despicable crimes”, because these laws were meant to stop such crimes and they can only be a deterrent went they are apply to the latter, he said. Jammeh gave assurance that if anyone found guilty, the laws would apply to the latter without mercy or exception. Jammeh also used the occasion to give out D500,000 to the attendees.