Collective Punishment Is Inhumane

JammehBy Abdul Badjie

Living in the aftermath of what is termed a heroic attempt to overthrow the dictatorial regime of Jammeh is not a pleasure, to call spade a spade. As a concerned Gambian, I therefore write this piece with heart ache and displeasure. My gut wouldn’t allow me to sit by while the constitutional rights of my fellow citizens have been on the firing line. It is clearly stipulated in the 1997 Republican Constitution that no suspect must remain in state custody for more than 72 hours without being charged or brought before a competent court of law.  

The arbitrary arrest and detention of family members of 30th December coup suspects is inhuman, unlawful and callous. It is an un-godly act, especially in a country whose leader parades himself as a devout Muslim tasked with executing the law to the latter. A true Muslim leader will follow the Islamic tradition that treats old people, women and children with care and respect even if they are wrong.  It is incomprehensible to believe that President would take his anger and manly ego on the weak members of our society, treating them as if they come from another planet.

These people who did not know anything about the coup have been unceremoniously picked up and dumped into dark and mosquito-infected cells for crimes they have not committed. Their only crime – if there is any –  is to be family members of the coup suspects. When does that become a crime? None of these people should be invited for questioning in the first place, moreso kept in indefinite detention without trial.

The psychological impact of this ordeal can be enormous and cause permanent damage if proper support is not given to all these innocent victims, particularly the 13-year-old boy who has missed school for more than 50 days, and still counting. I doubt why a President who claims to represent the interest of children and women would turn round to wreak havoc on these vulnerable people. Is there any future for a country that treats its future leaders this inhumane, heartless and barbaric way. The people of The Gambia should now turn to Allah to protect them against their cruel leader.

The never-ending arbitrary arrest, unnecessary detention without trial and disappearance of Gambians by the Jammeh regime is sickening; it has to stop at all costs.

I cannot conclude this piece without reminding President Jammeh of swearing to protect every Gambian, including his critics. That sublime duty bestowed on you is a promise that has to be kept. Simply hand over power if you fulfill the trust and confidence Gambian voters have reposed on you. Remember Great Leaders are not those who wrestle their subjects to the ground but those who win their hearts and mind without a harsh word. The world is watching your every move or act. Yawm be yawmi [revenge is the sweetest thing on earth].



  1. Well written piece….It says it all.

  2. Many thanks Abdul Badjie. The situation in the gambia is truly tragic.To think that a man who was born and brought up in the gambia, and who in 1994, claimed to have come to power to promote democracy and the rule of law has turned out to be the single biggest violator of the human rights and dignity of his very own people is beyond believe.

    The Gambia under jammeh’s regime suffered the biggest ever human rights violations, abuse of public funds, blantant mismangement of public institutions etc etc.

    Some day, there will be justice. The law of Karma will come around some day.


  3. Jammeh is barbaric and cruel leader who is concern about his current position only . Jammeh should understand that he has a family who he want to protect when he is not in power . It is golden rule , treat others the way you would like to be treated . What goes around comes around .