GDF Defends Lawyer Darboe; Says The Fight Must Continue

OusainouThe Gambia Democracy Fund (GDF) is saddened and disappointed by the conviction of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, his party leaders and supporters but the money machine of anti-Jammeh dictatorship is not surprised by the Gambia government’s blatant disregard for the rights of the people. In a press release published below, GDF says the fight to liberate the Gambia must continue.

Gambia Democracy Fund is joining the many voices of Gambians at home and abroad to condemn, in the strongest terms, the latest miscarriage of justice perpetrated by President Yahya Jammeh against the leader of United Democratic Party (UDP), Mr Ousainou Darboe. The President and his hired judicial henchmen have not only violated the rights of Mr. Darboe, but his heinous acts are a threat to the entire Gambian population.

Though saddened and disappointed by this verdict, we are not surprised by the blatant disregard for the rights of the people continuously shown by this regime.

The 14th of April 2016 started as an ordinary day in The Gambia. A large number of well-meaning citizens of our country gathered in the streets in peaceful protest. Their main objective for this gathering, was to demand common changes to the electoral laws in order to achieve a fairer political process.

Their peaceful action did not stop the government from confronting them with overwhelming force, and arresting a good number of the peaceful protesters. Among those arrested was the National Mobilizing Secretary of UDP Mr Solo Sandeng. It was not long before word reached Mr Ousainou Darboe and the leadership of the UDP that Mr Solo Sandeng was killed in the custody of the state security forces.

On the 16th of April 2016, the leadership of the UDP led by Mr Darboe staged a protest march demanding to see Mr Solo Sandeng “dead or alive”. The state once again responded with the least amount of sensitivity by arresting Mr Darboe and the his team, including a young mother and her infant. Their ordeal while in state custody is well documented by the different online media sites.

The Gambian people cannot be more proud of the dignified manner in which Mr Darboe and the other accused conducted themselves throughout the shameful court proceedings that followed their arrests. The presiding judge, Justice E.O Ottaba was replaced after his on air characterization of the case against the UDP leadership as an embarrassment. He confirmed what we already knew, albeit unknowingly.

Darboe and co were refused their right to attorney-client confidentiality when the replacement judge, Justice Eunice O. Dada refused to grant their request to remove state security agents from their private meetings. These and many other instances of partiality in the justice system, was what prompted the defense’s decision to cease cooperating and let the Judge fulfill her obligations to her master, Mr Yahya Jammeh. She sentenced Mr Darboe to three years in prison.

Three years may seem like a long time, but our country has been a prison for the past twenty two years, so the march towards freedom continues. Though the physical barriers of the prison walls may keep us apart, our collective thirst for freedom gives us a bond that cannot be broken by any amount of brutality inflicted by any dictator.

This fight began long ago, and we have lost many of our fine brothers and sisters along the way. This fuels our determination to fight on.

As a collective Gambian people, we cannot rest until the rule of law is restored. We promise to fight on until the last secret prison is dismantled, and every missing brother and sister is accounted for. We shall fight on until the last remnant of this dictatorship is made history.

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  1. Every decent citizen must contribute financially in the fight to restore democracy and rule of law in our country . money is the key to our success . Those selfish Gambians who refused to contribute financially in this fight must realize that it is immoral act to depend on the resource of fellow citizens to make The Gambia a better place for every one . Such behavior is anti-religious and anti-humanity. We must all contribute our little money in this fight whether it is $1 or more . Many people spend their money on foolish things while they refused to contribute financially in this fight . Contribution to GDF or any political party is a sacred responsibility of every citizen especially those who are not sick or in extreme poverty but are working to make living . It doesn’t matter whether you make millions or little . Even $1 contribution is no small contribution . Therefore any contribution to GDF is gear towards the betterment of our country . We must remember that in the West where we live , everyday ordinary citizens contribute financially to political campaigns , human rights organizations , philanthropic organizations , research institutes and many other worthy projects or ideas to make this world a better place for everyone especially those who are poor and disadvantaged members of our society . Gambians needs to get rid of the selfish mindset and think beyond our individual selfish and personal interest . We are enjoying the freedom and economic opportunities in the west because someone has sacrificed his or her lives or contributed financially for us to benefit from that freedom and economic opportunities. Selfishness and lack of contribution financially to solve our problem will only result to our backwardness and collective suffering of our people .

  2. I agree with GDF in totality. Though the 3 years illegal sentencing of Darboe is painful to us, we must remember that tyranny in our country has shattered many lives among them Solo Sandeng. As Mandela insisted, freedom for his oppressed people is the journey he is prepared to embark on and if need be a cause for which he is “prepared to die”.

    Therefore our reaction to this cowardly incarceration of our own men and women, must not be used as a pretext to prop up new political parties or abandoning UDP for a new start. We owe it to the families left behind to stick with these fallen respectively jailed noble citizens. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to see them released unconditionally and that Solo is accounted for.

    Hence physical or financial support is an obligation on all of us. We must continue to respectfully engage those still sitting on the fence. We must all join political parties or pressure groups of our choice in this endeavour. In the communities we are, we can organise get-togethers and use the occasion to sensitize folks to join the fight against impunity.

    Finally, even though we may wished that every Gambian is active against this barbarity holding us hostage, the main sacrifice must be shouldered by the committed and the faithful among us. These are many and since the heroic stance of Darboe & Co , these numbers are increasing by the day. That is a great milestone going forward.

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