Pro-democracy groups and politicians seem to have more firepower in their battle against the current regime, and are stepping up calls for the Gambian leader to step down.
“As a Gambian, I am respectfully recommending that President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia be among those Heads of State who must not be encouraged to remain in power beyond their current mandate. In the case of the Gambian president that should be in October/November 2016,” the former Gambian Foreign Minister Sidi Sanneh wrote in an open letter addressed to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
In the euphoria that followed the release of prisoners on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the 22nd July 1994 military takeover, Gambia government’s efforts to regain the initiative seems to be melting down. The parading of high profile prisoners on State-owned TV has left many suspicious about the latest move taken by the authorities.
While rejecting the amnesty extended to Gambian dissidents, activists from prodemocracy group Gambia Consultative Council (GCC) maintained that they have ‘no apology’ to make ‘in fighting to free the Gambian people.’
“GCC calls for Yahya Jammeh to step down to allow Gambians to form a unity government between the political establishment and civil society,” reads a news report from the civil society organization.
An opinion shared by longtime activist Mathew K. Jallow underscored the that the only real alternative for The Gambia is for President Jammeh to step aside. “For as long as Yahya Jammeh remains, no one is yet free,” he said.
On July 28, the United States government called on Gambia to ‘respect its human rights obligations and to release all other prisoners currently being held without charge for longer than the 72-hour period established by The Gambia’s constitution.’
The US also expressed deep concerns about the case of ‘disappeared’ radio journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, abducted on July 17 days after being released from NIA custody.
“We urge the Government of The Gambia to promptly locate Mr. Ceesay, return him to his family and loved ones, investigate the circumstances of his previous abduction and detention, and hold accountable any individuals found to be responsible for violating Mr. Ceesay’s rights.”
Written by Abdoulie John