By Mai Kanyi
The cliquish regime of Yahya Jammeh and the APRC became the object of contempt in the Gambia for its illegitimacy and record of misrule coupled with harsh survival tactics. The regime became dependent on ferocious repression, executive lawlessness and impunity to enforce the iron-fisted control it imposed over the country. Despite the pretense of a return to civil rule in 1996, the Gambia still remains a “sham democracy” because credible elections are allowed and the people have no meaningful say over who rules over them and how their affairs are governed.
In effect today, our country and people are held hostage by a clique of illegitimate minority using deceit and fraudulent elections to cling on to power and recklessly resorting to the use of violence and intimidation to enforce their unpopular rule. The distinctive hallmark of the regime continues to be an appalling record of misrule, ranging from human right abuses and routinely trampling on the fundamental liberties of the citizens to rapaciously looting national resources for self enrichment. Political opposition crushed and independent media muzzled, the regime has effectively shut down avenues for the expression of dissent or the exercise of constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of Speech by the citizenry.
It is this appalling situation of abuse combined with political intolerance and by recklessly resorting to violence and intimidation which over time generated complex governance and human rights crises which today are the subject of widespread expression of concern among Gambians both at home and in the diaspora as well as within the international community.
We are demonstrating for these various reasons, that is the things happening in the Gambia and we call for an independent inquiry into the death of Solo Sandeng in detention, a prominent leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) and other members of the party who organized a peaceful protest demanding electoral reforms. We call on the Gambia government to release Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and drop all charges against peaceful protesters.
We want to see democracy and the rule of law to be restored in the Gambia so that every Gambian will have an equal say in the affairs of the state. We are also calling on the opposition parties to work together in order to have a reform in our electoral system to enhance equal access to the media radio and television by all parties.