UDP Lacks Faith In Gambian Courts

Mariam SeckaThe deputy president of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is appealing to the international community for help in seeking the release of party leader Ousaniou Darboe.

Darboe and 38 other opposition members were arrested last month and charged with conspiracy to commit a felony. They had previously been charged with unlawful assembly, rioting and incitement to violence after they held a protest rally demanding political reforms and demonstrated against the death of UDP official Solo Sandeng, who died while in custody.

A judge on Thursday denied bail for Darboe and the others.

“I would like for the international community to assist us as soon as possible because there is no justice in this country,” said Mariam Secka, UDP deputy secretary general. –

Secka said her party has no confidence in the Gambian legal system because it answers mostly to President Yahya Jammeh.

Gambia will hold national elections in December this year, and Secka said the party is concerned Darboe’s arrest will have a political impact.

“My party is worried because they can keep Mr. Darboe and some members of his team until the election is over, and that wouldn’t be to our advantage,” she said.

During Thursday’s court appearance, Darboe was denied bail, which Secka said is unusual because defendants are entitled to bail in Gambian courts.

Gambia Information Minister Sheriff Bojang told VOA that Darboe and the others violated Gambia’s Public Order Act, which forbids acts such as street protests and meetings without first receiving permission from the police.

But Secka said Darboe, a seasoned lawyer, did not break any law: “Mr. Darboe is a legal man, he knows what is right and he knows the constitution.”

An Amnesty International official told VOA this month that Darboe and the other jailed opposition members are prisoners of conscience and should be released because they were simply expressing their political opinion as guaranteed under the Gambian constitution.

Darboe and the other opposition members are scheduled to appear in court again Monday.

Coutesy of Voa News



  1. alhagie@yahoo.co.uk

    Mrs Secka you are absolutely right that Gambia’s judiciary is a dysfunctional and compromised institution. Darboe n Co should never have been arrested at the first place more over charged with such a trumped up charges. Shame on the mercenery judges. A national day of rage is the only solution to woodwink the bastard president.

  2. Lafia Touray la Manju

    There is a serious political ramification for the UDP here. All the other opposition party are already rejoicing.

    • I do not know whether the other opposition parties are rejoicing, but I agree with you that there are very serious ramifications here, not just for the UDP, but the entire country. We can only pray and hope that common sense prevails and tragedy is avoided.

  3. Lafia I think UDP has gained more and will continue to gain more from the current political unrest. What this unrest did is separate the hypocrites from the true liberators.

    Those of us who were sitting on the fence and waiting for unite now no that there is no way that the other parties will join a united front and are ready to financially help UDP.


  4. Mr Touray , UDP will be stronger and more respected when all is said and done . Today UDP is the only opposition party which has truly earned the respect and admiration of honest and decent Gambians in the country and diaspora . Other opposition parties have shown us they refer military dictatorship . These are agents of legitimizing dictatorship . They have no interest to rescue the country from military dictatorship . Pdois in particular are the main adviser to the dictator while Ahmat is the worst hypocrite who is pretending to be opposition leader . Remember , UDP will always represent the majority of opposition supporters no matter what these fringe opposition pary leaders think or behaves . UDP has been vindicated . History will judge the UDP has the only party who truly stand up to the tyrant and fight for political freedom and human rights . If you remember Nelson Mandela , Dr King and others , you should be happy that UDP put freedom before selfish personal interest that most of these opposition leaders put forward . The mere fact that they have put forward an agenda which will not bring any unity such as their unwillingness to align or form UDP led party coalitions is an indication that they prefer Yaya Jammeh to continue to terrorize our people . Their current inaction and act as an observers to current political tension is further indication of their gutter-politics and hypocrisy/ pretentious political cowardice .

    • You are the worst culprit when it comes to making outlandish claims. When did you conduct a vox pop on the ground to determine these levels of respect and admiration.?

      Seriously, no one should have time for your hateful, divisive and misleading views here. All political parties in opposition had made it clear that they subscribed to, and were committed to pursuing change through the ballot box, and the vast majority of Gambians in the country (and probably in the diaspora) support this position.

      Whilst we must respect the rights of our fellow citizens to pursue the manner of change they wish to see in the country, even if that means violent confrontation, which many don’t agree with, we should also respect the rights of those who wish to pursue the democratic route, through the ballot box.

      It is wrong to assume that just because you want a “revolution”, everybody must join you or they should be damned. No matter what the level of provocation is, many Gambians will prefer a sensible pursuit of change through democratic means.

      That’s because in a volatile region like ours, with Islamic Fundamentalists and bandits all over the place, no body can honestly predict the end result of a breakdown of law and order in any country. People must be very careful what they wish for their own country.

      History is definitely in the making, but it is the final outcome of this conflict, that will determine the place/ places of all its participants in the history books, rather than your endless vile, slanderous and silly claims .

      Only time tell. All we can do is to pray and hope that this history being made is kind to The Gambian Nation.

      • Bax , having a different view is the beauty of democracy and freedom of speech . However , the basis ingredient to sustain democracy and rule of law is the truth which must be convey when delivery justice and in our daily Lives as people. Without truth , Democracy becomes illusive . This is why Jammeh’s regime is based on lies and deception since 1994. you are the only one who is spreading misinformation and misleading statements here . History has taught us that people like you are always an obstacle to freedom of your fellow citizens . It is people like you who do not appreciate , respect and admire the peaceful protesters who are supported by UDP . Honest and decent people will always have respect and admiration for UDP because they stand for justice and Human rights . Are you implying that UDP is not respected and admired due to current tension ? It is hypocritical to state that UDP is not respected and admired as a result of peaceful protest. As Dr Martin Luther King eloquently stated “we know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor ; it must be demanded by the oppressed ” .
        Here is what Dr King said about people like you when he wrote a letter in Birmingham jail : please read with all your common senses .

        ” I must make two honest confessions to you , my Christian and Jewish brothers . First , I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderates . I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the white citizen’s councilor or the ku klux klanner , but the white moderate , who is more devoted to ” order” than to justice; who prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice ; who constantly say : ” I agree with you in the goal you seek , but I cannot agree with your method of direct action “, who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom ; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the negro to wait for a ” more convenient season ” . Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will . Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection” .

        Bax , the above quote has justifiably suit your description in terms of your negative peace preaching , shallow understanding of issues and your lukewarm attitude toward our current political and liberation struggle .

        Bax , as Dr King further indicated in the same letter , ” oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever . The yearning for freedom eventually manifest itself , and that is what has happened to the American Negro . Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom , and something without has reminded him that it can be gained “.

        This is what is currently happening in The Gambia . Gambian people are yearning for freedom and justice which has long been lost in our country . I wish you commend peaceful protesters for their courage , willingness to withstand torture and other human rights violations as well as their show of patriotism in the face of brutal violent crackdown .
        History has shown us that men like you who claimed to be advocating for “law and order ” never bother to admit the true underlying causes of injustices, political corruption and tribalism which Jammeh’s regime has institutionalized in our country for the past 22 years . The nonviolent campaign started by Solo Sanderg and his fellow patriotic citizens ; their call for electoral reforms was as a result of years of disappointment , frustration and outright disrespect to the constitution which president Jammeh and his gang of criminals are sworn to protect and up hold . When such blatant violations becomes daily life of the regime , people of good will and conscience must rise up and demand full stop to such an abuse . This was why solo Sanderg , Fatoumata Jawara , Njoi Njie and others led the first successful defiant in the history of our country . Today it is well know fact that a regime which has systematically instilled fear , division and intimidation in citizenry , is now fearful of its downfall which is inevitable. The fear of its downfall has resulted to the Dictator to unleash his terror on defenseless citizens who has no weapon . Jammeh and his few privilege security forces would never voluntarily give up their current opportunities without some form of confrontation. The best weapon aganist the bully is to stand up to him and demand your rights .
        While you may continue your endless calls for law and order, there are thousands of your fellow citizens who has not seen , taste and feel the peace you claimed to be in our country . I refused to believe that Gambia is a peaceful country when men , women and children of our beloved country have witnessed so many disappearances , murders , illegal detentions , sexual terrorism and forced migration. As I read every newspaper headlines both In the diaspora and those in the country , I saw despair , hopelessness , destitute and hunger on the faces on oppressed population. In the face of this difficult circumstances , I realized that journey to salvage our country from clutches of dictatorship has already began by men and women , young and old , poorly educated and well educated who are ever determined to change the direction of our country before we lead to total abyss. Now is the time for every patriotic citizen and people of good-will to join hands with peaceful protesters to fundamentally change the direction of our country for betterment of our country in generations to come . I hope you will heed to this call and understand that history favor those who are on the side of oppressed people .

      • It is regrettable that this political situation is evolving to an outcome that will be a no-win situation for all concerned. More so, when those who are in a position to control the narrative, shape public opinion on the legitimate issues, are doing so with a sense of prejudice only motivated with what is in their immediate interest.

        Time and again, we have emphasized that there are different forms of struggle. But the struggle that can gain immense support and imbued with a sense of legitimacy is the struggle that has a national character. This form of struggle cannot be imposed on the people. This form of struggle must be owned by the people.

        Therefore, it is necessary that this political situation must be managed and guided to achieve the most desirable outcome. In this respect to malign and decry other opposition leaders who hold a contrary opinion for a solution, is not the best way to approach this issue.

        What should be of fundamental concern to all at this moment is to free all those who have been detained and are being prosecuted.

        I have no doubts in my mind that this is what also occupies the minds of those other opposition leaders who are in the country. This is a responsibility that they all share as members of the Gambian opposition and I am sure that they are taking it seriously. Nobody should second guess them in this endeavor.

        It is unfair and unreasonable for all the negative characterization that is heaped on the other opposition leaders, namely Halifa, OJ and Hamat, for showing their solidarity in other ways than leading a protest into the streets or joining those who are engaged in a protest.

        They have a right to determine the manner in which they want the government to be changed. And leading a protest or joining one in their estimation is not one of them. We should at least accord them this fundamental right. People have the right to agree to disagree.

        Those who want to protest can continue with their protest. Those who do not want to protest can also pursue other mediation efforts to resolve this political issue.

  5. The kangaroo courts are just tools for enabling Murderous kanilai Autocratic FIEFDOM….

    What’s required for the MERCENARY Judges & elements to know is, there are ramifications for their deliberations; & they WILL be responsible & held to account, for repercussions of their devilish collusion & participation in crimes against humanity in Gambia……

    The security forces too, must understand & realised, (that) none of them are threatened with prosecutions after liberation, just for being soldiers; they have taken oaths; as (according) to the Gambian Constitution, not to partake (part-take / take part) in the crimes against fellow citizens, & human beings; (whom) they are supposed to defend & protect; we all know it’s the security forces’ constitutional duties & responsibilities to defend the people; it’s clear they are infiltrated, both by Gambians & foreign elements enrolled, & implanted as agents of yaya jammeh & its Murderous Enablers; so (they) can’t coordinate any meaningful action within (amongst) themselves yet…..

    Let the security forces start differentiating (between), legal & illegal orders; & refuse participating in WHATEVER tantamount to (a) crimes against humanity; prosecution is (ensured) for those culpable in participation & collusion ONLY….

    I think sooner or later, there will be positive ruling in release of our gallant comrades in captivity; for the defendant lawyers have referred to the supreme court, for constitutional pronouncements of the demonstrators’ rights, (as) enshrined in Constitution; UNLESS the panel of judges involved appended their names for constitutional crises in Gambia, I can’t see this kangaroo court heading anywhere; if the Panel do favour the kanilai KILLER-DEVIL, against the Gambian people, there’ll be repercussions; & history won’t judge them kindly…..

    There are repercussions for all & any of our actions, individually & collectively; WHOSOEVER direct or indirectly commit crimes against humanity in Gambia, will all come to be accounted; here on earth, & in hereafter……

  6. A number of points, (Mr confused) Max…

    (1)…I am NOT saying that the UDP has gained the respect and admiration of “decent” people or not. All I am asking is how you reached that observation.

    Don’t forget that there are two sides to every coin. Whilst you may view recent happenings in one way, there are others (and a good number too) who may see things in a completely different way. Your narrative is not necessarily true for everyone and that is a fact you have to accept and deal with..

    You often accuse Yero Ba of “outlandish” claims and unless you can show how you reached your observation, you will stand accused of making an outlandish claim.

    (2)…Dr King faced a different reality and a different struggle, but most importantly, he was there on the ground, at the fore front of his chosen option for change, rather than in some distant land, urging his countrymen to face the whips and take the bullets.

    Moreover, what Dr King and his contemporaries understood as “FREEDOM” will not be clear to us unless we also try to understand their struggle, within the context of their time and the realities they faced.

    The reality they faced was that they were living under a political system that criminalised their very existence on planet earth as “people of colour”, with virtually no rights to live life, as decent human beings, or any avenues for change, except through confrontation. Even the most natural acts of sitting on a bench in a “public park”, for example, could send one to jail or be beaten to death, under the circumstances they faced.

    How could you even possibly put their struggle and ours at the same level, and in the same bracket, with the same understanding of “Freedom”, without demonstrating your ignorance..?

    (3)…I have stated that I admired the courage and bravery of the demonstrators and protesters, particularly the 1st and 2nd groups. Anybody who defies the regime, under the prevailing environment of fear, is a brave and courageous person, but admiration does not equate agreement or acceptance of chosen methods and that is where you and I differ.

    Under the prevailing political conditions in our country, I DO NOT accept that we have to burn down our country to achieve our desires for change. What we need is a unified candidate, an effective and well supported and funded elections campaign.

    Indeed, like I always say, there are injustices being perpetrated in the country but we need to put the current crisis in its proper perspective, if we are not to mislead ourselves. Demand for electoral reform is what the 14th April demonstration was about…It wasn’t about torture, or disappearances or poverty, etc. The procession of 15th April was about demand for the release of detainees. It was not about regime change.

    Calls for regime change are only emanating from the diaspora who have shown no desire, whatsoever, to join the protesters and effect their desired change. Maybe, you need to be reminded that in both Libya and Tunisia, their diaspora communities were landing in those countries in large numbers, once.the demonstrations erupted.

    It’s been FOUR WEEKS since demonstrations erupted in The Gambia and still you are still behind your keyboards, on your comfortable sofas, in your front rooms or hamburger shops, whilst you insult and call others all sorts of names. Absolutely disgusting, to say the least.

    (4)…I cannot remember ever calling The Gambia a peaceful place under the current regime, but I do call The Gambian Nation, a peace loving nation and people. You do know that the word “peace” is a relative term and there is a degree of peace in The Gambia when compared to other places.

    But for a person who has openly claimed that Libyans today are far better off than under late Gaddafi, I am not in any doubt what peace will be like, if we use your benchmark. I prefer the relative “peace” we have in The Gambia today, than the chaos in Libya that you claim, is better for Libyans than what obtained under Gaddafi.

    • Bax , it is false to claim that it is only diaspora who are calling for regime change . In every demonstration in The Gambia , the protesters with their banners are calling on Jammeh to step down, stop the killing , enough of dictatorship and so on . You are blind to the truth that is why you falsely blamed the diaspora . Gambians throughout the world are calling for regime change . As I said , I didn’t know you personally but I believe you are very connected to Jammeh in one way or the other . All you want is to maintain status quo . You can continue your preaching about peace , law and order but we will never be deterred by men like you.
      Dr king’s struggle is exactly like Gambian struggle . Our is the worst because in the case of Dr King and others , they were able to travel throughout USA with their nonviolent campaign ., solo Sanderg was killed with only a piece of white banner and a national flag . I am sure none of your families are victims of this regime that is why you continue to minimize our current situation .

  7. Max, thank you for clarifying things for Bax. It is very sad that PDOIS still want to convince people that the dictator will allow electoral reform before December. Yaya Jammeh never show any interest of changing anything in electoral demands of the oppositions. He is trying to waste time and suppress others for free and fair elections in the country. Halifa, if Yaya Jammeh was interested in electoral reforms, he should have done since last year when the demands were made by the group of six but no he ignore the letter and never responded. You are still preaching to The Gambian people to be patience and use the elections to remove the brutal from power when you know that nothing have change in the electoral process. How can the opposition win any elections under those conditions? We all know now that you prefer dictator Yaya Jammeh to be in power than any opposition especially the UDP. This is why you are doing everything possible to distract and delay the people power to remove the dictator. Gambians are sick and tired of the election fraud, abuses, discrimination and imprisonments of their fellow citizens. We cannot take it anymore. Yaya Jammeh must go.