A nominated National Assembly Member has justified the celebration of the July 1994 military coup d’etat that ousted former Gambian President Sir Dawda Jawara from power.
Hon. Babou Gaye Sonko, a nominated Member of Parliament, vigorously argued that July 22 is worth celebrating.
The Gambia’s rag-tag disgruntled soldiers overthrew the Jawara government before forming the then Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC). The current President Yahya Jammeh (formerly an army lieutenant) led the ruling military junta.
Hon. Sonko, also a National Youth Mobiliser of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation (APRC), showered praises on the coup leader for “sacrificing his time, energy and life to salvage this country. At the start, people were skeptical but some of them who knew a bit about Jammeh, were convinced he would change this country,” he said.
“Lots of things were said when the soldiers took over; even donors withheld their monies but we have witnessed significant developments 20 years later.”
Sonko said the junta’s prioritsation of transparency, accountability, health and education all have helped change the lives of many Gambians.
He said the combine 400 years of British rule and 30 years of the PPP regime had only brought 22 schools for the whole country. “But now we have 325 upper basic schools, 20 standard roads like Kombo Coastal road, Sukuta Westfield road, Soma Mandinba road, Farafenni-Laminkoto road, Soma-Basse road, Barra-Amdali road, Trans-Gambia highway road, new Senegambia road etc.”
Sonko said 10 standard bridges have been constructed in Kerewan in NBR, Khamoi in URR, Karansami in CRR, Suduwol in URR, Tanji in Kombo North, Sankulay Kunda in CRR, Bakoteh Bridge, Manjai Bridge, Bundung Bridge and Erinjag Bridge.
He said University of the Gambia has graduated doctors, lawyers and other professionals, and that the country has its own television. “The standard of living for rural people have been uplifted by the establishment of schools, hospitals, electricity and clean drinking water,” he said, insisting that “You cannot compare the 20 years of the APRC revolution with 400 years of British rule and 30 years of the PPP regime. As Gambians, we have a cause to celebrate because of the significant strides registered for the past 20 years.”