I have observed that the statement though attempted to give the government’s side of the events, fell short of key details and background information.
In my view, the statement should include details such as:
It could be recalled that the President together with his group of armed terrorists, criminals, bandits and disgruntled officers used similar methods and tactics in July 1994 to dislodge the Gambia’s first and only Democratic and constitutional government. They divided themselves into various groups; 1 taking over the main military barracks at Yundum, another at Fajara while him together with Edward Singateh, Momodou Sonko among others forced their way into Banjul. They were challenged by loyal forces of the then TSG led by Chongan at the Denton Bridge who were later overpowered before they proceeded to Banjul. The presidential guards who were then ill-equipped, had to surrender in order to save the sacred Gambian blood from spilling.
While carrying out that barbaric act on that broad Friday morning, they were helped by the United States of America who sent in their war ship to the country without the knowledge and approval of the then President Alhagie Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara or the Minister of Defense Saikou Sabally. The warship came with the pretext of conducting a friendly military exercise, was in fact an opportunity for Yahya and his cohorts to gain access to the armoury and heavy weaponry at Yundum. These weapons were purchased by the Gambia government to protect the country and its people. But was instead used by people who were educated, employed by, feed clothed and equipped for the protection of the government and the people of the Gambia. While carrying out that act of terror, they were even dressed on uniforms bought by the Gambia government. At the height of their support and active involvement in that criminal act against the Gambian people, the then US Ambassador to the country came in with his own official diplomatic vehicle and convinced and confused the President and his family and government to move into the waiting war ship at the port in Banjul. They gave the excuse of safety when they were in fact helping Yahya to gain access to State House thereby illegally, forcefully and unconstitutionally taking over power from the people’s trustees.
Since establishing himself in power that day, the Gambia has since seen the worst human rights violations known to mankind in terms of killing our young primary school children by his convoy by throwing biscuits to them like animals while his vehicles run over them in cold blood. Our fathers, grandmothers uncles had on uncountable occasions been abducted, kidnapped, tortured and killed in the name of cleansing the country of witches. Prisoners were summarily executed in cold blood and for years still their remains had not been returned to their families. His terror had not been confined to these groups but even the religious pillars in our country such as Imams, who were abducted, kidnapped, tortured and even exiled for just manifesting their religion. Currently the 80 year old Khalifa of the Sheriffs is going to court for just merely praying on a day contrary to his declared day of Eid prayer at the end of the Ramadan.
Economically, Yahya has in this 20 years transformed himself into a major donor and is richer than the entire Gambia government. The government has over this time been turned into a personal property of him while government and security officials are nothing but his slaves who are forced to toil and moil on his personal farms just as the 1700 slaves in their masters’ plantations. In the midst of all these, he rudely tells Gambians and the international community that he would rule the country for 1 billion years as neither election nor barrel would remove him from power.
The problem is that as long as Yahya remains in power and doing the things he is doing, The Gambia would continue to see same things until he is uprooted.