Madi Jobarteh is a tireless Civil Society leader!

Yahya Jammeh’s recent move to call for peace and reconciliation has left many people flabbergasted as he continues to act against the will of the people.

In this interview, an emblematic figure of Gambian civil society movement, took the opportunity to unveil the duplicity of the Gambian leader and his disregard for the country’s Fundamental Law (Constitution). Madi Jobarteh made it clear that there can be no peace and reconciliation without justice. Please read on…

In a recent Facebook post, you disqualified Yahya Jammeh from talking about peace. Why do you think Jammeh is not the right person to preach peace and reconciliation?

In his 22 years of misrule, Yaya Jammeh has never had any regard for the rule of law. He has flouted each and every right and rule in our constitution. He disregards the principle of separation of powers thus directly infringing on the independence and professionalism of the legislature and the judiciary. He has caused the incidence of arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, enforced disappearance and summary executions all throughout his misrule. Hence his talk of peace and forgiveness is hollow if he did not start by first telling the truth about the violations and acts of corruption he has presided over. After telling the truth then he can seek forgiveness. But he has neither spoken the truth nor has he asked Gambians to forgive him and for what they need to forgive him. So for me this talk about forgiveness and peace is only a ruse to divert the attention of the people away from the fundamental issue, which is that he has lost the election and he must step down. Instead of stepping down in fulfillment of the will of the people, he has rejected the result without any basis and now threatens to go to the Supreme Court, which he has always damaged that even today there is no such court in the Gambia.

You warned about Yahya Jammeh’s attempt to divert Gambians attention from real issues. Is his latest move part of a calculated approach to slow or derail the country’s political dispensation from taking a new shape?

He is seeking to delay and derail the will of the people to become reality. He is afraid to step down because his atrocities and corruption are haunting him. He knows he will face accountability and justice. Thus fear of that is what is forcing him to refuse to step down. This is typical of dictators. Dictatorship is nothing other than a political project in which the dictator uses state power to unleash violence and deception on citizens so as to cower them into fear and submission. The aim of dictatorship is economic. By inflicting pain and fear on the people, the dictator now accumulates the wealth of that society for himself. Thus no dictator ever leaves power willingly and peacefully because that would mean facing justice. So all these gimmicks are intended to keep himself on power.

You made it clear that Jammeh should first ask for forgiveness to Deyda Hydara family and others before talking about peace. Are these sine qua non conditions for him to be on the path of truth?

Definitely. The family of Deyda Hydara and all Gambians have a right to know who killed Deyda, and why he was killed and who gave the orders for the murder of Deyda. Similarly Gambians need to know about all the cases of violations such as torture, enforced disappearance and killings. The people need to know where the bodies are and which individuals were responsible for the arrest, detention, torture and killing of Gambians and who gave the orders and what was the reason for these crimes. This is the only way we can heal and reconcile. There are families who have not seen their fathers or mothers or children for many years. They need the bodies of their dead ones to bury them
properly and conduct their cultural and religions rights for them. So the truth is a sine qua non condition for peace and justice and reconciliation.

Written by Abdoulie John


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