In his weekly social media posting dubbed This Week In The Struggle, Omar Joof touched on a wide range of issues, including the dangers attached to monopolisation of Power. The former President of Gambia Student Union also harped on President Yahya Jammeh’s impromptu clemency pronouncement, which according to him, is laudable but it doesn’t mean the Struggle to restore Sanity at home has faded or halted.
NO one person can monopolize what belongs to everybody forever. At some point, change will simply overtake you and when that happens, you will come to realize how misleading the term absolute power remains. Every stage in life for the powerful can be planned. In any case, there cannot be better guiding principles than Truth and Justice. Then you can shake hands and rub shoulders with the people without fear of being treated with some negative retaliatory actions or attitudes. As the saying goes, ” as you make your bed, so shall you lie on it”!
Wednesday July 22nd was the 21st anniversary of the military takeover of government in The Gambia, which initially brought to power as military ruler, current dictator president Yaya Jammeh. At the anniversary parade in the country’s Island capital Banjul, the dictator announced a mass pardon for prisoners of various designations in the country. They include political prisoners; murderers of various categories; rapists and others convicted of illegal possession or trafficking of Cannabis. The whole country, and observers from abroad are keenly observing the aftermath of what looks like an impromptu pronouncement, said to be scheduled for complete implementation by Friday July 24th.
However, critics and seasoned observers of the dictator, are unruffled by his pronouncement. It has to be noted that during a recent visitation by the leadership of The Supreme Islamic Council, in relation with the Muslim feast of Eid Ul Fitr, president dictator Yaya Jammeh did insinuate bordering on emptying the country’s prisons of those on death row. This seriously captivated the attention of the rights fraternity and critics generating frantic actions in some quarters geared towards beaming the attention of the international community on the country.
Furthermore, there has been an act of freeing some prisoners in the country towards the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which was purported to have been based on presidential clemency. The process was controversial and discredited as the freed prisoners were soon rearrested and sent back to jail. A good number of them who are reported to have left the country immediately after their release, are still on the run and attempts to rearrest them have sofar proven futile.
Without doubts presidential clemency, pertaining to persons imprisoned by law courts follow Due Process. According to the dictator’s pronouncement, the release of prisoners is to be completed by Friday July 24th. One wonders whether the practicalities involved would make things feasible within the given timeframe. The experience from the previous clemency exercise is also reason for caution.
However, the idea of clemency as the dictator’s pronouncement reflects is laudable. If it is effected properly and successfully we would appropriately render him due commendation. But that would not mean the end of the road for The Struggle. We shall continue to work relentlessly until he changes completely, or he is changed to give The Gambia our homeland a better political dispensation, that renders the country’s sovereign citizens, their due dignity, rights and prerogatives.
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!