Gambia: The 1994 Coupe D’état Is A Crime

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The Gambia is an INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC! At the least supposed to be!

Each of those terms has significant practical meaning.

Independence ……. Self-determination/we choose the manners to live & govern

Democracy…….  equitable participation of each [eligible citizen]in governance. We’re the government

Republic ….  Sovereignty. We (the people) own Gambia

The above facts established that we’re self-govern. Because 2 million people at one venue trying to make decisions won’t be that practical; hence we opted for representative government. [Eligible] Gambians select/elect the governors. No bigger a gun and/or sharper a machete can legitimately select/elect governors for Gambia. The selected/elected constitutes government(s) of The Gambia.

Suffice to state government(s) of The Gambia drives governing authority from the people, on their behave and for their collective interests. That established limited governance. This is an important concept in an Independent Democratic Republic. The government(s) of The Gambia has no authority besides those entrusted by the people. Explicitly and/or implicitly those not entrusted are reserved for the people themselves.  Any government of the Gambia going outside of the bounds/ limits could either be an abuse, neglect and/or criminal. Each of those infractions are punishable by administrative sanctions, termination of service, fines, prison sentence and/or any combination of such measures. The only authority of Adama Barrow are those given by people of The Gambia. His authority to govern do not come from God/Allah, prophet, angel, jinns and/or any supernatural being.

On July 22, 1994, a 30-year-old Jawara administration was overthrown by 5 junior lieutenants of The Gambia National Army (GNA).  They formed an Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) to replace Jawara at The State House. They suspended Constitution of The Gambia. They promulgated military decrees and forcibly enforced them. As a practical matter our (I)ndependence (D)emocracy and (R)epublic were annulled. THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE IS BOTH EXTRAORDINARY AND UNBELIEVABLE. SADLY, THE POSSIBILITY OF A REPEAT IS VERY REAL THANKS TO OUSAINOU DARBO, ADAMA BARROW AND ENTIRE COALITION 2016. We were essentially owned by these 5 men backed by GNA with arms and ammunitions. That army, we owned and paid for to protect our persons and interests. Amazed GNA, NSA/NIA/SIS, Gendarmerie, PIU, etc.  are not yet dissolve!

Two years later AFPRC imposed 1997 Constitution through well-choreographed processes culminated at a yes referendum vote of approval. That enabled them to turn illegitimate AFPRC to a supposed legitimate registered political party (APRC).  These criminal schemes continued to enable them self-imposed in sham periodic elections they controlled.

For the 20 years that follows, the coffers of our nation were looted to finance the lavish lifestyle of Yahya and those who are ready/willing to tow his lines. Nothing changes to that effect under so-called Dr. Barrow. In recent times he (Barrow) reportedly dished out D1m to so-called Supreme Islamic Council. He’s lawful means are such that he can’t afford to dish out D1m to such a group. Where is that money from and why? On the other hand, one Mrs. Barrow, is running all over town claiming to be a philanthropist.  Funny, a lady who probably never hold her own D5000 all at once before her husband’s presidency and most certainly never knew a Foundation is now owner of one and pedaling millions/billions of dalasis. Is a joke and more importantly a conduit for public corruption.  Many people mysteriously disappeared as if they vaporized. Others ran into exile leaving behind their livelihoods. Several were brutally tortured while in incommunicado incarceration. So many are reported killed either as political opponents/enemies and/or service men/women accused of attempted coups. Several foreign citizens (Ghanaians come to mind) were allegedly killed at Tujereng/Brufut Ghana Town areas. None of these cases are so far adjudicated before a properly constituted law court of The Gambia.

Yahya and his APRC were defeated at December 01, 2016 election. He was forced to vacate State House on/or around January 19, 2017. Since then (almost 3 years) Adama Barrow and The Coalition 2016 administration were in complete control of governing in The Gambia. Instead of democratization we demanded from Yahya Jammeh for 22 years, they awarded themselves with Ministries of the bad government structure including 2 Education Ministries, Information, Works & Communication, Women’s Affairs, Local government, etc. with lucrative incentive packages just like their predecessors. Three 3 years just gone by neither democracy nor justice came to town. On the other hand, Yahya and his fellow coupists remained free men;

  1. Yahya should be tried for 1994 coup d’état if necessary in Absentia
  2. Why make Yankuba Touray some national hero (or martyr) with a foolish stand-off over refusing to report  TRRC when he should be charge treason for his part in 1994 coup.
  • Sad to see Sanna Sabally (in crocodile tears) at TRRC putting up a narrative that he thought suits today’s political dispensation in Banjul; when he should be answering treasonable charges at a court for his role in July 22, 1994 coup
  1. How about Edward Singhateh (again in crocodile tears) who should have been handcuffed on landing at Yundum for 1994 coup but welcomed at TRRC as a statesman
  1. Adding salt to our injuries, Gambian taxpayer (innocent) are billed to compensate (reparation) the victims of the crimes committed and/or resulted from 1994 coup. Adama Barrow and his aides have already committed crimes against our people to have their own days in court.

The fundamental question we ought to ask of ourselves: Why and how 5 lads ransacked our nation and took ownership for about ¼ of a century? Many may prefer the simple answer – they had guns. For perspective, USA, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) has more guns and men/women under his command but cannot overthrow US government. On the other hand, a USA government can be stop (even if temporarily) by one Circuit Court Judge on law/policy/program, etc. A gunman or group can kill/assassinate a USA, France or UK president/Prime Minister but cannot claim government. Why? This is because democratic institutions are working (maybe not perfectly) but at some appreciable degree. A coup d’état is successful in The Gambia because people are not participants in governance [but used as tools]and as well no working (functioning) democratic institutions. We’ve misplaced definitions for democracy. Jawara, Yahya and now Barrow want us to believe they as president is democracy. No, not necessarily! Radio/TV Gambia reaching Koina is democracy. No, is not! More schools are democracy. No, they’re not! Concrete slaps over River Gambia connecting north and south are democracy……. On and on. None of those (and/or lack of them) defined the degree to which a nation is democratic.

Democracy is simply equitable participation of citizens in governance. What does that mean in practice? Independence from colonial administrators (in our case UK) is only STEP 1. Maintaining that imperial infrastructure but cosmetic name and/or superficial changes annulled step 1. Essentially, the rest of our country is recolonized by our own’s in Banjul. Over the past 50 or so years governance should’ve phased-transferred to the peripheries. In The Gambia this would mean stratification of governance from Banjul to Regions/Divisions to Districts to Wards and finally to the villages/towns/cities. These governments should be directly elected/selected (and fired) by the people of the localities and not appointed from Banjul. Each government (at all levels) would have TRULY Separated Powers (3 co-equal branches) of democratic governance. The national tax code re-codify to suitably accommodate proportional allocation of national net-income and local taxation……. On and on.  This is essence of functioning institutional democracy and not removing Yahya (bad) to be replace by Barrow (clueless). Only difference of those 2 are degree of their ignorance of our real political problems.

Furthermore, any governance reorganization/restructuring has to be backup with a genuine unadulterated civic education (and not those silly supposed meanings of the colors of the flag). Our educators, social scientists, historians, etc.  should quickly develop a comprehensive curriculum called ‘Governance in The Gambia’. This should be made a certification requirement in our formal education systems (English, French and Arabic schools) from Grade 1 to undergraduate school at UTG and any universities In The Gambia. The none school going population can be reach through Radio, TV, NGOs, CBOs, VDCs/VDGs, Focused group meetings, etc. Informed people are the only assured true protectors and custodians of their functioning institutions of democracy and not armed soldiers. People can only fully assume their civic duties and responsibilities if they’re informed, empowered our laws and covered by functioning institutions of democracy.

Apportioned/decentralized/divided governance is not ONLY democracy at work; it will spur healthy ‘horizontal competition’ and contain ‘public corruption’ with in-built ‘vertical accountability’ regimes.

Overthrowing PPP/Jawara administration wasn’t simply kicking Jawara out of office but discarding the sovereignty of our people. This is Treason Offense. It’s punishable up death. Because they are successful doesn’t annul the crime. Success was simply forced upon us with barrels of guns. Longevity doesn’t hit statute of limitation – one doesn’t exist. They should account now!

As soon our liberties/freedom were restored should start prosecution of those responsible of 1994 coup and many other heinous crimes thereafter. The full extent of our laws should come to bear. All guilty parties should be punished in accordance with our laws. That would hopefully serve as a deterrent for those who might be thinking of usurping the will of Gambians because they carry bigger gun and/or sharper machete. On the other hand, not punishing Yahya and his team could encourage others in the near future to disregard society’s orders/ laws/rules.

Instead what I heard is nothing less than Hollywood blockbuster script.  Rather than prosecuting Yahya and his team of coupists, Barrow is contemplating forming a political alliance with APRC in other to stay in power. Wow! What won’t Adama Barrow do to clinch on to power? Within 3 short years this guy seems to forgot how and why he got into State House. Not privileged to the facts but it is said to be one of his options under consideration. That means Barrow will unilaterally ignore crimes committed by Yahya. This will be after sworn to defend and uphold our constitution and Laws of The Gambia. He may even let Yahya back to his ranch at kanilai and keep all the monies stolen from Gambians. So long Yahya has no eye on the presidency again, at least during his (Barrow’s) tenure.

If Yahya and clique can walk a free man in this Gambia, then let go cattle rustlers, shoplifters and minor/misdemeanor criminals at Mile 2. Why should taxpayers feed, house & cloth one whose only crime is running away with 1 bull (value at D10000 or less)?

For The Gambia Ever True

Burama FL Jammeh

Economist/Financial Analys

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