Before my residence in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and SENEGAL I served as one of the energetic, charisma, articulated young female youth mobilizers in BANJUL CENTRAL, who was part of the organizing committee for the ruling PPP in BANJUL,which was the dominant party from 1965 to 1994.
Before I came and settled for higher education in America my political activism made me a member of the PPP Banjul Central Youth Group since 1976. The coup d’état led by Yahya Jammeh in 1994 promised to ameliorate the political and economic conditions of the Gambians; however, between 1994 to the present moment what was a strange combination of personal agony and national lamentation by the Gambian people have made many Gambians fellow travelers on this Yahya Jammeh highway of death, political abduction and economic desperation. Let me now identify the forces and factors which propelled me to join the struggle for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia. Ten things stand out as bases for opposition to the Jammeh regime:
a. First of all, the coup that promised the Gambia a better nation in the year 1994 has metamorphosed into a Den of Thieves and a Dungeon of Political Oppression. The second basis of our opposition deals with his transformation of our political system from a once-upon- a time Little Democracy to a political fiefdom, that is now controlled by a former junior military officer who sees himself as a Demigod and aspires to be added to the ranks of world leaders even though there is little or no evidence to show his commitment to respect for law and order, on the one hand and serious command of the political language of compromise and bargaining on the other.
b. The third basis of our opposition stems from the multidimensional violations of human rights by the Jamme regime. Not only has it reduced the life of the Gambian people to pure meat without consciousness, but it has also taken many people to their graves prematurely. Let me challenge all Gambians and their supporters for democratic rule here and elsewhere in the world to compute the number of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews wailing the destructive cudgels of Yahya Jammeh and his henchmen. It is a large number. Let us not forget; let us seriously remember.
c. The fourth basis for opposition to the Yahya Jammeh regime revolves around the significant societal values as well as personal experiences Gambian leaders and their supporters learned from the anti-colonial struggle and the campaign against Apartheid. How can we challenge the atrocities of Yahya Jammeh without learning from Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta when they revolted against British imperialism? What lessons did we get from Nelson Mandela and his companions who paid the price of resistance and eventually came out triumphantly? It is circumstances like these ones that come to mind when I call upon all of you who now lament and argue forcefully for immediate change in our country.
d. As we gather our forces against this tyranny, it is becoming imperative for us to bear the burden and willingly pay the price of freedom. These demands individual and collective sacrifice as well individual and collective patience. There are many heroes and heroines in this struggle. The list is growing and almost all of you here can put together names and relatives of victims. Yahya Jammeh has made a monster out of himself and the Gambian people are paying the price. His supporters here and elsewhere in the Gambia must pay close attention to the call for immediate change. It is not only a matter of time before it is too late for apologists.
e. The fifth basis for our opposition to Yahya Jammeh centers on his abuse of the Constitution of the country. Not only did he change the relationship between the President and the people of the country but he now superimposes himself as a dictator who controls both society and state. Yahya Jammeh has involved himself in all matters of administration. Once upon a time Gambians spoke of GO (Government Order) and FI (Financial Instructions); under Yahya Jammeh, the civil service has become the faithful tool of a tyrant who sees no evil and speaks no evil. Ironically, after the American Revolution, the French Revolution and all the other revolutionary changes in the world where people stood up and asserted their right and liberties around the world, Yahya Jammeh and his henchmen have persisted in their arrogance, ignorance and political cruelty. It is time for us to unfurl the flag of true democracy in the Gambia.
f. The sixth basis of our struggle against Yahya Jammeh deals with his tampering with the Constitution. This manipulation of the provisions of the constitution has led to the abduction and elimination of many Gambians. More recently, nine death row prisoners including two Senegalese citizens lost their lives because of these ruthless activities of Yahya Jammeh It is now known around the world that the death penalty was repealed by Parliament during the former government of President Alhagi Sir Dawda Kairaba Almammi Jawara in 1993. The military took power in 1994 and one year later proclaimed Decree 52. Much has been said about this matter. This opposition movement is pressing ceaselessly for immediate change and all of you here and elsewhere are summoned to answer the call. Let us resurrect our democratic constitution and put an end to Yahya Jammeh tyranny.
g. The seventh basis of our opposition to Yahya Jammeh deals specifically on the freedom of speech and the right to assemble. These long standing rights of the Gambian people have been taken away arbitrarily. Not only has Yahya Jammeh made it dangerous and unwise to call people to action through demonstration and political activism, but he has driven many promising journalists abroad. The freedom of the pen is taken away forcefully and violently. Deyda Hydara is now gone. Lo and behold, his spirit is still alive and this movement is a living testimony for his struggle for freedom and justice. As long as we all live and the spirit is willing, justice is on the way home. Yahya Jammeh is a poisonous plant in the country and there is an immediate need for its removal from our soil.
h. The eight basis of this opposition to Yahya Jammeh centers around the right and freedom of political partners of any ruling President in the country. The fate of the late Mr. Koro Ceesay speaks well about the pride and prejudice in politics under Yahya Jammeh. Rather than cohabitate with political colleagues under law and order as in any flourishing democracy, in Yahya Jammeh’s Gambia, it is dangerous and unwise to speak your piece without penalties. Being the dictator Yahya Jammeh is anyone who dares to speak differently from the master pays a heavy price.
i. The ninth basis of this opposition to Yahya Jammeh revolves around the immediate need to bring home to the Gambia the lessons of other contemporary societies where men who abused political power now face trials before decisive judges. Yahya Jammeh has done many wrongs and many Gambians operating within his system or have previously operated within his system can now testify before the world. Not only has Yahya Jammeh violated the principle of separation of church and state, but he has also done something unprecedented. As a result of his political manipulation of society and state, religious leaders are seriously compromised and almost all have been used for his political ends. Many who dared to resist have ended in jail. Those Imams who are collaborating can best be described as errand boys. They lack any moral authority over him. Rather, they are shadows at state house and unheard voices within their communities.
j. Last but not least, the tenth basis for the opposition to Yahya Jammeh relates to the growing list of grievances for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia, compiles before and since its creation. This is to say, we the people from the Gambia who identify these points of debate and explanation seriously ask your support and cooperation to put things right in that country. Indeed, if Yahya Jammeh was once a source of hope for certain people because of his promises in 1994, the evidence today is overwhelmingly negative. Not only has he failed us through deception, manipulation and political corruption, but he has indeed ended promising lives for many through instant death, exile and impoverishment through arbitrary actions and land gap.
k. It is indeed against this background that I, Tuku Jallow stand before you and ask for your support of our struggle and the purposes it stands for here and now. We call upon all our national leaders to join the call for unity against tyranny in the Gambia. Let us reach out to one another and debate fruitfully for a New Gambia. Let us start with what we know and build on what we have. Gambia is a small piece of land on the African continent. We are too integrated to stay away from the confrontation with injustice under Yahya Jammeh. Our lives and those of our grandchildren are at stake. It takes courage and sacrifice to change the situation.
I SALUTE EVERY GAMBIAN IN THE STRUGGLE ANDTO MAKE SURE THAT WE STEP ALL STEPUP AND RECOVER OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THIS TYRAN.
UNITED WE STAND!!! DIVIDED WE FALL!!!
Ms. TUKU JALLOW
Chief Executive Director
Senegambia Democracy and Government Organization (SENDGO)
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite # 1000
Washington DC, 20009
I think yaya jammeh’s first criminal act and treasonable crime is the most important factor not to support , trust or believe him . Jammeh broke the law by forcefully removal of elected government of the people of The Gambia from power . That was constitutional violation and from that fateful day , he has been committing the same or worst crime . Yaya jammeh is not accountable to any Gambian from that day onwards because his criminality was awarded with positive re-enforcement by acceptance , voting and support . It is the consequences of July 22nd coup that we have today’s predicament or oppression . Jammeh was a criminal from day one and nothing has changed . The only way or thing a criminal knows to treat him as a criminal . I knew he was a criminal and he will always be a criminal , that is why I never supported him when he did his criminal act . All means must be used to get rid of this criminal liar who came to destroy our country , loot and enrich himself .