Building The New Gambia

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By Madi Jobarteh

The Insulting and Meaningless Statement of Yaya Jammeh

First of all, Yaya Jammeh must stop mentioning the pure name of Allah in his mouth because he has never ever believed in the Supremacy and Oneness of Allah. If he did, he would not have violated the Word of Allah by rejecting this election. This is because it was him who told Adama Barrow that the election was the Will of Allah yet he backtracked and rejected it. Did Allah tell him to backtrack? Therefore let Yaya stop toying with the Name of God. Allah is not for vanity.

Secondly, it is important to let Yaya Jammeh know that in elections all over the world, counting errors do occur and this does not necessarily affect the overall results of a national election. Having counting errors in only Basse Administrative Area is not enough to fundamentally change the nature of the entire results. Hence when he continues to harp on this so-called ‘arithmetic error’ he is instead confirming the correctness of the vote, as there is no error in any other place except in Basse. That cannot affect the overall results. Therefore there is nothing suspecting of the results or the IEC as an institution.

Thirdly, it is misleading, which is anyway a deliberate attempt by Yaya Jammeh to claim that the Supreme Court is the institution to declare the president. That is wrong. It is the IEC, which can declare the winner of an election. It is when there is a petition could the Supreme Court declare an annulment, or a re-count or holding another election or transfer votes to another candidate. In our current situation, there is no such petition because there is no basis for a petition, not to mention that there is no Supreme Court as well. Hence the reference to the Supreme Court and the petition is a malicious attempt to mislead in order to subvert the will of the people.

Fourthly. When Yaya Jammeh speaks of foreign interference into the affairs of the Gambia and in this election, to which foreign governments and organizations is he referring? Until today he makes reference to foreign powers yet still he has not provided any information about who those foreign powers are. He also spoke of foreign powers running a campaign of misinformation and propaganda, but he did not say what is the misinformation or the propaganda. Is this not therefore a clear case in which Yaya Jammeh is the very one spewing misinformation and propaganda for the purpose of threatening national security? This is a treasonable offence and an attitude unbecoming of the president contrary to Section 67 of our constitution.

Fifthly. The disgraced president spoke of the UN and other bodies rushing to hasty resolutions. How they rushed to a hasty resolution, he did not explain that. But the facts of the matter are that the UN, AU and ECOWAS have never rushed to any hasty conclusions and resolutions. Rather they were merely responding to the unconstitutional actions of Yaya Jammeh. Thus these organizations are holding Yaya Jammeh to account, which is not the same as ‘hasty resolution’. Again this is a clear evidence of Yaya Jammeh engaging in misinformation and propaganda that threatens national security thus in violation of Section 67.

In that same regard, Yaya Jammeh praised what he called those countries and good people who supported the Gambia, but he did not specify which are those countries and good people. Is this another instance of misinformation and propaganda intended to cause confusion in the country hence damage national security and stability? Certainly this is a violation of his oath of office, as it constitutes willful violation of the constitution and a misconduct that puts the Office of the President into disrepute. This is a crime classified as Misconduct of the President under Section 67 of our constitution.

Sixthly. What I find both hilarious and insulting in this entire address of misinformation and propaganda is when Yaya Jammeh had the audacity to speak about the constitution and his readiness to defend that constitution. Which constitution is Yaya Jammeh referring to? When has Yaya Jammeh become a law-abiding citizen and a public officer who respects his oath of office? Indeed if defending the constitution is what is his intention, then the only action available to him is to go back to concede defeat again and hand over power. Yaya Jammeh must be reminded that his grip on power is melting like a house built with candles under the hot blazing sun of Badibu. Within 48 hours two ministers abandoned post with more coming soon. Within 48 hours he unconstitutionally appointed a parliamentarian as a Cabinet minister. Hence what Cabinet is there to run the affairs of this country, other than to show that he has failed?

The height of insult and ridicule in the address was when Yaya Jammeh spoke about foreigners disparagingly and that he will defend this country against foreigners. When he says these things one wonders whether he has forgotten that he is the one and only Gambian who has consistently filled our judiciary with foreigners purposely to use them to damage the rights and lives of Gambians. Has Yaya Jammeh not brought in foreign businesses to take over public enterprises like Gamtel or NAWEC for his own selfish interest? Who brought Emmanuel Fagbele into the Gambia? Who brought Muhammed Bassy into the Gambia? How many Gambian businesses have Yaya Jammeh illegally and blatantly closed down and forced young and budding Gambian investors and entrepreneurs to collapse or flee the country? Yet he has the audacity to talk about foreigners trying to destroy the Gambia. Let us remind Yaya Jammeh that he is the one and only Gambian who has been damaging and pulling down Gambian citizens in favour of foreigners in our country. The evidence is all over his face.

Here is the joke of the century! He claimed to have appointed the Secretary General as Mediator-General. This is painfully laughable. In the first place there is no basis in law for such an appointment. The Secretary general is an office under the public service hence the terms of reference he listed for this so-called Mediator-General is unconstitutional. The SG has no such role. Again this is part of the longstanding culture of constitutional abuse that Yaya Jammeh has been engaged in since 1994. We all recall how he had unilaterally and illegally made the Secretary General a minister for presidential affairs as well when this is utterly contrary to Section 168, Sub-Section 2 of our constitution.

But coming to this clownish Mediator-General, the terms of reference are incomprehensible, ridiculous and illegal. Between who and who is he going to mediate and for what? Thirdly, what amnesty is Yaya Jammeh talking about, and for what category of persons and why the amnesty? Thus fundamentally this Mediator-General position creates more questions than answers. Thus apart from the illegality of the position, its terms of reference are also unclear and the issues to be addressed are unspecified.

In that regard, I wish to state that this so-called executive order is utterly and totally illegal. We need to remind Yaya Jammeh once more that there is no authority or person arresting Gambians other than Yaya Jammeh and the NIA. Hence what we need is not a Mediator-General and rhetoric about forgiveness. What we need is for Yaya Jammeh to first stop harassing Gambians. Then he needs to urgently release the three imams who are held incommunicado for many months now, as well as Malleh Bojang who has been under detention since last month? What we need is for Yaya Jammeh to release those persons detained since 2006 such as Chief Ebrima Manneh and Kanyiba Kanyi. What we need is for Yaya Jammeh to produce the dead body of Solo Sandeng of Blessed Memory. What we need is for Yaya Jammeh to arrest the perpetrators of these violations and atrocities and bring them to justice. Above all, what we need Yaya Jammeh to do is to save our country and step down on January 18.

Let me conclude by once again reminding Yaya Jammeh that forgiveness is not an empty word. Forgiveness is not built on misinformation and propaganda. Forgiveness is not about making a television address. Forgiveness is a virtue that is built on a solid foundation of truth and justice. In the past 22 years, the AFPRC and APRC under the personal direction and control of Yaya Jammeh have committed heinous crimes against Gambians, as well as numerous African, American and European citizens and until and unless the truth of those crimes are exposed and the perpetrators are brought to book and the victims duly compensated, there cannot be any forgiveness. It will not work as it has never worked anywhere. Truth and justice is what we expect Yaya Jammeh to talk about. Not hollow forgiveness.

Until then, I call on all Gambians to totally, completely and wholly throw this television address and the executive directive and Mediator-General into the toilet and flush it. This television address and the executive director and the Mediator- General are illegitimate, empty and meaningless. Let Yaya Jammeh stop beating about the bush and take courage to honestly face Gambians with the truth. Only the truth can set him free or he sets the truth free. For 22 years he has made us the laughing stock of the world. For 22 years, he has ridiculed our name and reputation. For 22 years, he has inflicted so much pain and disgrace on us. Enough is enough. Let those who are close to him advise him to emulate John Mahama and Barrack Obama and hand over peacefully and willingly. Mag du jahaan!

Finally. Yaya Jammeh, it is you who should seek the forgiveness of Gambians and not the other way round. Seek forgiveness. Period.

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