By Siray Touray (women’s activist in U.K.)
As a young woman, I am outraged and saddened about the news that three Gambian women are part of the opposition UDP supporters detained and tortured by security forces. These defenceless women are bearing violent wounds.
Gambian security forces who get their direct command from President Yahya Jammeh have failed us countless of times. Our taxes sustain them on the job so they provide us security or protect us from external and internal attacks. But they twist their noble mission and have since 1994 become stooges of one individual, Yahya Jammeh, as if he is more important than anyone else. Our security forces have been taught to hate anyone who opposes Jammeh. They have crossed the red-line several times but the brutal crushing of a peaceful protests on April 14th and 16 are a continuation of Jammeh’s entrenched ruthlessness.
As a woman, I have put myself in the shoes of the three opposition women activists: Ms Fatoumatta Jawara, Ms Nokoi Njie and Ms Fatou Camara. It is shocking to hear that these vulnerable women have been brutally tortured by a government whose leader swore to protect them. That is unbelievable to fathom, so to speak. The torture meted out on them is only conducted to scare future protest, but also President Jammeh is a venting his anger against them since they are part of the very few women who dare to criticise President Jammeh’s tyranny in open political rallies.
President Jammeh’s NIA and other undercover officers have always monitored the speeches of all political activist especially strong women. As women, we want to see violence against us end.
The UDP should press the state to reveal with the help of Gambians and the international community on what types of torture was meted on the women to put them in a bad physical state for them not to be able to appear in court.
The physical and mental abuse of women under Gambian detention requires international outcry. This is the kind of reasons, many women take a back seat in the national affairs.
I condemn the barbarity against our fellow sisters and I am sad by the scars this torture will have on them. Sadly, the Gambia women’s bureau, Gamcotrap and other concerned agencies for women are all remaining silent on this horrible incident.
This is why, on the 20th of April 2016, I attended a mass demonstration organised by concern Gambians and the UDP members expressing my outrage at this tyrannical crackdown of protesters.
The three women alongside others all were unarmed, they were arrested without any resistance, yet why the violence?
It is cowards among men who abuse women and attempt to break down their will. We call on President Jammeh to step down. His government has lost legitimacy and the mandate to rule us. He fails the constitution and the rule of law. He appoints Judges who are frankly foreign mercenaries to execute his orders without regards to truth and legal principles.
If the stories are true that, one woman died under custody, this should send a clear message to the Gambian people that, enough is enough. Jammeh has to step down.
As we wait on the faith of Fatoumatta Jawara, Nokoi Njie and Fatou Camara, we hold our breath for a glimmer of good news in this sad solemn moment. Tyranny has no place in civilise society. Shame on your President Jammeh and your government.
OPPOSITION POLITICIANS BETRAYED GAMBIAN PEOPLE.
Prior to April 14th, 2016 peaceful protest led by Solo Sandeng and his group of patriotic Gambians , we have seen and heard from politicians who have indicated that they are ready to lead peaceful protest if Gambians are behind them. First among these politicians was Ms fatoumatta Tambajang who has claimed in an interview with freedomnewspaper that she will lead peaceful civil disobedience in the Gambia if she has the support of the people behind her,
In that Interview with freedomnewspaper , Ms Tambajang has stated her willingness to lead peaceful protest when she indicated That “It is my firm belief and conviction that the elections has been rigged ahead of time. Notwithstanding, the opposition should come together and form a united front to tackle Jammeh heads on. I don’t know of the other existing opposition parties, if I, have people behind my back (followers) I, will lead a Civil disobedience in this country. I am ready for anything. We cannot afford to entertain a rigged elections,” Ms. Tambajang said..
The question now is ; Did Ms Tambajang lie to Gambian people when she stated her intention of peaceful protest at the time? I believe Ms Tambajang has lied to Gambian people because if she truly meant her intention to lead peaceful civil disobedience she would have joined forces with United Democratic Party . But Ms Tambajang’s strategy and portrayal of herself as a brave political leader who is “ready for anything ” is not only a dishonesty , misinformation , a lie but it was also meant for her personal promotion and political interest. April 14 th, 2016 peaceful protest is a rare opportunity for Gambian opposition political leaders to show true leadership and patriotism. The peaceful protest was about electoral reform which will ensure that there is level playing field in electoral process. Since Mr Tambajang believe that “it is my firm belief and conviction that the elections has been rigged ahead of time ” what prevented her from joining the peaceful protest on Saturday April 16th , 2016? During difficult time in any civilized society , political leaders rise up to the occasion and made bold and strategic decision which the citizens truly need in their dark hours. In the case of our country , our loud mouth political hypocrites took silenced vacation from politics and cowardly failed to join peaceful protest which they have promised to lead in their various interviews. Here is the link of Ms Tambajang interview with freedomnewspaper and make your own decision ;
Another loud mouth Politician who has for years showcased his political bravery is Omar Amadou Jallow fondly call OJ. Mr Jallow has consistently shown his political bravery by some actions and words but it come to the most important moment to lead the nation in peaceful protest in the aftermath of April 14th , 2016 peaceful protest, he too has betrayed Gambian people. Mr Jallow has also been on record to indicate that he will lead peaceful demonstration to end rule of terror in the Gambia, Here is what Mr jallow Said on Freedomradio show call “JAMAANO “in Birhingham , UK on 23rd, february 2014 , I quote freedomradio as “The Leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP’S) Omar Amadou Jallow is calling for a peaceful demonstration in The Gambia to end the rule of terror. Mr. Jallow, who is on a visit in the United Kingdom, was speaking with Freedom Radio’s Seedy Ceesay. Mr. Jallow said he will organize a protest march upon his return to Banjul in coming weeks. Mr. Jallow’s party, the PPP is being revived. Top guns such as Bakary Bunja Darboe, the former Vice President in Jawara’s regime was in attendance at the Birmingham meeting. Mr. Jallow is hopeful that the planned march will attract nationwide support”.
From above statements , It can also be concluded that Mr Omar Jallow is another politician who will say and do anything to make headline news but it comes to real action he is nowhere to be seen. It is dishonesty and a lie to showcase untruthful intention to deceive the population. For how long do we have to have politicians lie to us for their selfish political interest.? None of the two politicians will tell us that Gambians will not give them the support should they join the UDP. But at the end , we only received press release which indicate that They working on the release of detained peaceful protesters. what power did they have which they can use to influence the release of entire UDP executives? keeping these politicians honest , I would like to remind them that in this technological world, any dishonest statement utter by any dishonest politician will come back to haunt you.
UDP leadership and Lawyer Ousainou Darboe has been consistently pushed to call for peaceful protest but he has consistently answered that It is left to Gambian people to decide, Mr Darboe has never given any false promise to lead any demonstration in the Gambia. He knew when the time is up , he and his entire executive will lead peaceful protest and this was exactly what he did. He did not call other opposition leaders to join him because he believe it is individual rights to join any peaceful protest. When he was arrested , Mr Darboe has shown leadership and patriotism when he refused offer to go home and leave his comrades behind bars. This is the kind of leader I admire and respect . Mr Darboe’s soft-spoken and calm manner has deceived his critics and political opponents . Today we can proud call him Nelson Mandela of the Gambia.
It is about time Gambians weed out dishonest politicians in opposition camps so that we can finally rescue our country from MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. It is dishonesty and lack of truthfulness in our political life that we continue to have yaya Jammeh as the evil president. Dictator Jammeh is a reflection of vast majority of Gambian’s characters. He is created by Gambians and it is Gambians who carried out atrocities, lies and human rights violations on his behalf. Each and every Gambian should embark on self assessment . There is something fundamentally wrong with our national psyche or characters. I believe that dishonesty , lies and self exoneration are worst Gambian characters which is why we are still in this mess.