Is it a sign of a maturing Leader or is he playing a game of Chess! We didn’t hear any request of forgiveness to Gambians or admittance of fault in the turbulent 21 years in power. Where is the humility, some serious mistakes were done.
Remove Roadblocks to Multi-party democracy, eliminate fear and threats to Gambians.
In the ill-fated July 22 celebration, marking 21 years since the military overthrow of Sir Dawda’s government. Dictatorship and brute force punctuated the political landscape of our small impoverish country.
Yet, the architect of that state of affairs, stood straight with a puff up chest and proclaimed: “I forgive all my critics based in America, the U.K and other parts of Europe, because they have been lying against me and that has not stopped the unprecedented development since 22 July 1994. They have lied against me for 21 years and during that time, they couldn’t come back home. Today I forgive them, but their family members will be held responsible if they break the goodwill gesture”. Gambian President Jammeh
One may ask, what is it that, Gambian dissidents are actually fighting against? Does President Jammeh actually realises that, there cannot be any negotiation or bargaining with fundamental human rights, the rule of law, free and fair elections, self-perpetuation in power, operating a security state, rule by fear and intimidation, arbitrary arrest and detention without trials, bias Judgements, stifling of the economic and financial institution and free market.
Does President Jammeh realise that, in the 21st century, Gambians want dignity, and above all, fairness in the public space with a functioning institution that are de-tribalised and operating without Executive interference? Merely declaring his critics are pardon is not an issue.
People are not calling for being pardon; they are calling for a democratic system of governance with values and ethics that are enshrined in international norms of public administration. In such regards, no President go out pardoning people, the Independent Judiciary with competent and capable Judges and Magistrates arbitrate in matters of law and order.
Just last week, the Gambian national assembly passed a bill which will, in essence, make the Gambia a one-party state. Yet today, in the anniversary of the birth of our political stagnation and oppression, President Jammeh is not opening up the public space, but further entrenching his powers by assuming the status of ‘god’ displaying his ‘benevolence and mercy’ to all.
We want change for everyone; we want an end to oppression and suppression in the public space. We want level playing field in the political landscape, we want the free media to flourish, we want the public broadcaster to be fair to all players, we want equal access to state amenities. We don’t want favours or forgiveness for committing no crimes at all.
Free Amadou Sanneh, release Kanyiba Kanyi, release Chief Manneh, release all political prisoners. Refocus the attention of the NIA on criminals and drug dealers, not on opposition politicians and journalist. We urge Yahya Jammeh to change for good and step down voluntarily and peacefully before the 2016 Presidential elections. If he can do that, then he will give peace a chance in the Gambia. No veiled threats and covert blanket forgiveness shrouded in layers of traps and possible abductions will give the impression that he is a changed man.
“A leopard rarely changes his spot.” President Jammeh cannot govern without threats and unnecessary arrest and intimidations, 21 years is far too long to change now. By Friday, all political prisoners should be released.