Yahya Jammeh and his Coup Members in 1994
The cry by so-called activists or opinion makers that July 22nd should be allowed to be celebrated in the Gambia are nothing but an affront to our democracy. Just for one of the many reasons, Jammeh’s actions in 1994 to forcefully remove a democratically elected government from power is an illegal and treasonable offence which he should be charged for today. How then would it be legal for the current government to allow illegality to be celebrated in a democracy?
We have got to get the point, in as much as we want freedom for all, we should carefully differentiate between legal issues and freedom. July 22nd event was a Coup D’etat and in the two constitutions 1979 and 1997 respectively, it was ILLEGAL hence, the right to ban its celebration in the country.
We all have an opinion and it’s everyone’s absolute right to voice it, however, it’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the peace and security of our nation. So as a matter of fact, those who claimed to be activists should know that illegality in 1994 is illegal in 2017. And going on the social media spewing out conflicting messages which could potentially lead to violence in the country all in the name of “my opinion” is reckless and thoughtless. An opinion should be kept to oneself, especially when that opinion will endanger the rights and life of others. This is by no means censorship, but if an opinion threatens the peace of a nation, it MUST be silenced.
As for those who follow politics in the UK would remember the firing of a highly controversial radio presenter and columnist Katie Hopkins during the 2017 UK General election campaign from LBC radio as one typical example of preserving peace and security over a hateful and divisive opinion. Also, there are laws in at least 16 European countries, including Germany and Austria that criminalises the denial of the Holocaust and all these are for the purpose of preserving the peace and honouring the victims of such hateful crimes. Would it then be right to even contemplate for a second that the UK or Germany has no freedom of speech? Of course not and yet still most of the so-called activists reside in these countries who ought to know better.
It was only in January this year that some of Jammeh’s crimes were committed and some are still searching for their love ones they couldn’t find them. The April 10/11 victims have not even received an official apology from the government more so justice. The country’s economy was essentially brought to its knees thanks to Jammeh. The country is largely divided on tribal and religious lines all because of that heinous man. Africa in general is the least developed continent in the world, partly thanks to endless coups and dictatorships that engulfed the continent for far too long. Yet the so-called activists who lost sense of relevance want the government to allow the gratification of such a barbaric criminal at the expense of the victims. I think they should think twice before they speak on matters of such importance.
April 10/11 Commemoration in Gambia
Today marks 17 years since 10 & 11 April 2000 student massacre in the Gambia by the then Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. For the first time since the massacre, this event is being commemorated on the Gambian soil. The event is to mourn, commemorate and pray for the departed heroes and those that were maimed and tortured. Today’s event gives a chance to the families and friends of those that were killed to properly mourn for their departed ones and those that were tortured and maimed to find a solace for once.
The only crime we had committed in these fateful days was to demand the government to investigate and bring to book those who killed a student Ebrima Barry of Brikama and raped a girl student from Brikama-Ba at the independent stadium in Bakau. However, owing to his reputation, the then Jammeh’s administration was a repressive regime that finds any form of protest as a threat to his grip on power. As a consequence, Jammeh found it necessary to unleash hell on unarm and defenceless students, which killed 14 innocent students, including a red cross member and a 3 year old toddler.
The Message is Clear ‘Truth and Justice Before Reconciliation”
Meanwhile, while the chief architect of the massacre Yahya Jammeh lives in a relative comfort in exile in Equatorial Guinea and his mercenaries continue to roam our streets while we continue to bear the brunt of his cruelty. It is only fair for there to be “Truth and Justice” before “Reconciliation” just as some of the banners in today’s event read. We, therefore, call on the Barrow’s administration to open an inquiry, investigate and bring to book those who are responsible for the heartless killings and maiming of innocent students so as to find closure for the families and friends of the victims.
It has been said, Time brings perspective. Time eases the pain. Time heals the heart. Time revives hope. It’s time to finally bring to an end our sufferings for us to learn to embrace life again.
APril 10/11 Victims with Halifa Sallah and OJ
After 17 years since April 10th and 11th, 2000 students protests in the Gambia, which resulted in the killings of 14 innocent students, including a journalist and a Red Cross volunteer by the former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, Gambians can for once commemorate the life of those killed and maimed in the protests. Since that fateful day 17 years ago next week, we have been denied the chance to even mourn more so to commemorate our beloved ones. However, after the toppling of Dictator Yahya Jammeh through the 1st December 2016 presidential election in the Gambia, the families, friends and love ones of the victims will be able to celebrate and pray for them publicly this year without fear of reprisals. Continue reading
UKGambia Activist Alkali Fofana, London
The current mini-crisis within the coalition stakeholders regarding the strategy to use in nominating candidates for the upcoming national assembly election is a cause for concern. My intention is not to side with any individual or political parties in the coalition, however, I am more interested to save Gambia from a political catasstrophe.
We the Gambians want political leaders who are united and focus on nation building to effectively coordinate both human and economic resources to develop the country. And avoid unnecessary arguments that may divide the people and slows down economic progress in the country.