By Siray Touray in UK
As young Gambian youths, it is too disturbing for us to know Yahya Jammeh as the only president throughout our lifetime. It is about time that we call on President Jammeh to quit in peace. It is a disgrace and a lack of genuine patriotism for us to allow the status quo to continue. The recent developments in Burkina Faso have demonstrated something fundamental because it proves that change can happen rapidly when people speak with one voice.
For far too long, many of us youths have remained silent and uninvolved in our national efforts. This is all because we are afraid or fearful of the repercussion in speaking out against the continuous, never-ending rule of fear and dictatorship gripping our country.
But we have no reason to be scared because the people of Burkina Faso are telling us that long standing dictatorships are no recipe for strength; they are not immune to being overthrown by people’s power either. It is my belief that President Jammeh will go if we all speak with one voice, and our youths take ownership of their rightful place.
Our situation has been complicated by a regime that controls everything, including our educational institutions whose student union leaders have been on the government’s payroll. Since the April 10 and 11 massacres in 2000, in which over 14 students were shot dead in cold blood, youths of the Gambia have been terrorised to be quiet. This is why it is necessary for us to get our voices back and tell the President he must not contest in any future elections.
The Gambia was also damned in the United Nations (UPR) universal peer review last week in Geneva. We watched with embarrassment 63 countries telling the Gambia to improve its human rights records and respect the rule of law.
However, it is widely accepted that, President Jammeh will not heed to the concerns of the peer review committee, since the recommendation does not actually lead to tougher actions. The responsibility to pressure the Jammeh government is without a doubt will come from Gambians, supported by the new international community dimensions. We as Gambian youths must lead the way in making sure, the change is due to our wishes not that of the Jammeh camp.
It is impressive to see a victim of President Jammeh’s dictatorship, Musa Saidykhan, invited to this year’s UPR. His presence demonstrates to the international community, the real dangers of speaking out and standing firm against tyranny in the Gambia. Together with Dr Amadou Janneh, another victim of the Jammeh dictatorship, the world knows all that is necessary about the Gambian situation.
The solution to avoid any future instability in the Gambia means that, President Jammeh should consider his position and resign from power thereby enabling a smooth transition. This will create better and stronger democratic gains in our country. However, due to the low standards set by Jammeh, this is very unlikely to happen.