By Burama Jammeh
For 22 years Yahya administration killed our citizens from Sadibou Hydara to Solo Sandeng and ALL those in between. Many others were abused and their lives/livelihoods destroyed. Others were forced into exile. Justice for all these victims was a central pillar of our struggle only to be downplayed by Barrow administration as a matter of TRUTH and RECONCILIATION. There will be no reconciliation without justice first.
Barrow administration’s security agents killed a young man in Kanilai for only demonstrating against soldiers stationed in Kanilai. Yesterday, they unleashed armed security agents at peaceful demonstration of villagers (or environmental activists) in Faraba Banta where they killed 2 and injured several others – per reports. What is/are the crime(s) of these demonstrators/activists that’s punishable by death? At this rate Barrow government will kill 44 people using security agents and guns by the time they’re 22 years in office. That is unacceptable!
Barrow government has already demonstrated enough they are afraid/paranoiac of FREE EXPRESSION AND ASSOCIATION. Mamma Kandeh was denied permit to hold a rally. Last December organizers of demonstration against acute electricity shortages were denied permit. They were also lobbied by Senior public Servants to call-off planned demonstrations. The same was true for demonstrations demanding justice for victims of human right abuses during Yahya’s administration.
These are not democrats. They‘re not committed to making Gambia a functioning institutional democracy. These are kleptocrats who used our struggle to return to political power to loot what they were denied by Yahya.
For now, we want to know:
- Who deployed ARMED SECURITY FORCES at a peaceful demonstration in a village?
- What authority (law) is that deployment based on?
- Who asked for the shooting of demonstrators?
- What was the justification for that request?
- Who granted orders to shoot at demonstrators?
- What law(s) support the order to shoot at peace demonstrators?
- What were the crime(s) committed by those shot?
- Or did the security agents go rogue/shooting people on their own?
- What’re the general public safety policy in arming security agents?
These questions can only be truthfully answered by a thorough and independent investigation. The same is true for the killing at Kanilai which has long been brushed aside. It came to knowledge that Dr. Barrow appointed one Lawyer Emmanuel Joof as Chairperson to investigate The Faraba Banta Incident. We’re all for investigate but wonder if these incidents are by definition not homicides that would require a different set of skill set than a human rights lawyer. Or at minimum Lawyer Joof’s efforts should include the work of Police Homicide Unit findings for a complete wrap on this matter. The other troubling observation of the presidential appointing either undercut the authority of local authorities in charge of this matter or there was no local authority. Both undermine the functioning of institutional democracy. In a functioning democracy this matter should be adequately handle between Western Region, the District Faraba Banta belong (is it Kombo Narang?) and Faraba Banta governments.
Democratic government do not kill citizens. Democratic government protect citizens and their properties. Anytime government kill a citizen it should be thoroughly investigated and lawfully concluded.
Barrow government is still enjoying political honeymoon. Gambians are generally relieved that Yahya is history. They haven’t fully size up Barrow’s policy prescriptions and their aspirations. There are effectively no opposition; instead with the exception of PDOIS and Mamma Kandeh the other parties are competing for better position in the government.
This neither changed the fundamentals nor will it last. FUNDAMENTALLY WE DID NOT VOTE FOR DR. BARROW; WE VOTED AGAINST DR. YAHYA. The honeymoon will come to an end. Killing our citizens and continuous harder living conditions will only expedite calling off the honeymoon and face reality.
Until these cases are solved and all those during Yahya’s reign your hands as bloody as the perpetrators.
Finally, lasting solution to our political problems is neither some feel good presidential proclamation nor pre-determined investigation or even sending several wick links to Mile 2.
We need a PARADIGM SHIFT IN GOVERNANCE.
Stay tuned for what that means
God Bless Gambia…