Monday, August 29, 2016

Dr. Isatou Touray, Independent candidate for President of the Republic of The Gambia

                                           Manifesto 2016 For A  Better Gambia 

This is the official portrait of Dr. Isatou Touray who is expected to formally announce her candidature on Friday, 2nd September, 2016 at the Kairaba Hotel.  Below are details of the lives and times of  the prospective presidential candidate as they appear on her short version of her biography.

As we have promised in the case of the candidature of Mama Kandeh, we will be studying the Manifesto of Dr. Isatou Touray as and when we receive the details, officially, of her Manifesto which we look forward to receiving soon.


Dr. Isatou Touray

Dr. Isatou Touray is an independent candidate for President of the Republic of The Gambia. She was the Cofounder and Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), a national and international leader in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Dr. Touray is also a founder of the Gender Unit of the Management Development Institute and introduced a Diploma in Gender and Development programme which she coordinated for over 15 years.

From 2009-2014 she  served as Secretary General and Board member of the Inter African Committee (IAC)- a Pan African Network on the elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices with a membership of over 28 African countries. Dr. Touray engaged in grassroots activism to end FGM in The Gambia and Africa as a whole.

From 2006-2011, she served as the Chairperson of WANEP-Gambia, and was honoured by WANEP-GAMBIA for her commitment and Invaluable service to the network.

She has supported a lot of grassroots groups to organise and contribute to national development of the Gambia which earned her great respect and recognition across the country.

She has contributed a lot in the advocacy in advancing policy and development issues in The Gambia, and internationally.  Dr Touray is a leader in the field of women and development and was instrumental in leading the grassroots movement to end female genital mutilation in the country, and on the African sub-continent at large.  

Born in Banjul, The Gambia, Dr. Touray attended Crab Island High School, after which she obtained a teacher’s training certificate at The Gambia College in 1974. She then graduated with a B.A Honours Degree in Education and English from the Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria and a Masters Degree in Gender and Development with specialisation on Women and Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Dr. Isatou Touray holds a Doctorate Degree in Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom – England.  

She is a Laureate of the Bellagio Institute in Italy, Rutgers University Women’s Leadership Institute in the USA. She is a Feminist Activist and a member of various feminist Networks including WLUML, MUSAWAH, and the One Billion Rising Network. She has co-authored and published books on Women and Gender issues in The Gambia and her engagement in women’s human rights spans beyond Africa.

Dr. Isatou Touray has initiated and nurtured the concept of the Cluster Approach in building grassroots capacity to realize and own their development, thus leading to five public declarations by 1015 communities giving support to 158 ex-circumcisers in The Gambia.  This theory of change has resulted in winning the campaign to end FGM.

She is role model for girls and women in The Gambia on how far girls can be empowered to realize the full potential.  She is a unique identity with a mosaic of academic achievements and grassroots feminist activism, rare amongst high achievers in academia.  Her modesty has given confidence to many to realize that knowledge is to create positive change beyond the self but for the common good.  Her leadership qualities have kept the debate on FGM focused despite the resistance and difficult context in which she lives.

Dr. Touray is happily married to Dr. Alhagie Malang Touray, a physician and together they have four children and three grandchildren.   

Friday, August 26, 2016

Jammeh must also release the body of Solo Sandeng

Reacting to public pressure, the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh has decided, finally, to release the body of Ebrima Solo Krummah, after a week of holding on to the body in contravention of the tenets of the Muslim faith.

Ebrima Solo Krummah who was serving a three-year sentence, together with Ousainou Darboe, leader of the UDP, for leading and/or participating in a peaceful demonstration.

Mr. Krummah was imprisoned because he was out peacefully demonstrating and demanding that the regime produce Solo Sandeng, dead or alive, when it was learned that after his arrest, he was tortured and died at the hands of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Persistent denial by Yaya Jammeh that Solo Sandeng died in custody last until it was no longer sustainable to do so because of the loud cries from all corners.  He finally relented by admitting that indeed Solo Sandeng died in the hands of the NIA.  However, he has still refused to release the body.  We wonder why.

If the regime could release the body of Ebrima Solo Krummah, Yaya Jammeh should be able to release the body of Solo Sandeng as well so that he is accorded the same rites as prescribed by his Muslim faith,   We are asking the Supreme Islamic Council to join those demanding the release of he body of Ebrima Solo Sandeng so that he can be laid to rest in accordance with the tenets of the Muslim faith.

Unfortunately, Solo Sandeng's body is not the only one being held hostage by a regime that has this bizarre habit of holding bodies of his political opponents hostage who have either been extra-judicially executed as was the case of the nine death row prisoners four years ago or died in a gun battle as in the 30th December 2014 attack on State House by diaspora Gambians in an attempt to dislodge the regime failed.  The bodies of all of these fallen victims of the regime are being held hostage by Jammeh.  They should all be exhumed and their remains returned to loved ones for decent burial.      

Thursday, August 25, 2016

It is time for a travel ban against the Jammeh regime

Ebrima Solo Krummah 
The United Kingdom government is the latest in a line to express concern to the Jammeh regime about the reported death in custody of Ebrima Solo Krummah,  Concern was also raised over reports of "excessive violence and ill-treatment" of dozens of opposition leaders currently in prison.

Similar to previous statements from the United States, France and the United Nations, the  UK statement calls for the release of all political prisoners and to investigate all claims of reported violence against and mistreatment of political prisoners.  The statement also calls for an inclusive environment that makes it possible for all political parties and their supporters "the ability to participate in the electoral process without hindrance."  

Ebrima Solo Krummah who was arrested in May along with dozens of party official for taking part in the peaceful protest demanding the release, from custody, of Solo Sandeng or his body at the time when authorities were denying tal blog post, which you can find here,confirming that the UDP youth leader, Mr. Sandeng, died from wounds sustained while undergoing several torture sessions at the hands of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).  Even though the regime finally admitted that Solo Sandeng died in custody, Jammeh still refused to release the body to his family for decent burial.

A UDP-issued press release suggested that Solo Krummah was operated on at the Banjul hospital without the knowledge or prior notification of neither his family nor the United Democratic Party and thus no consent forms were signed.  As far as the UDP is concerned, because he died while in custody and under unusual circumstances, the cause of death must be determined prior to the body being handed over to Mr. Krummah's family.

While we welcome the swift statements of concern that calls for the cessation of the violence against the prison population in general and the opposition politicians in particular, we call on the United Kingdom, France, United States, United Nations and the European Union to consider applying sanction, in the form of a travel/visa ban against targeted senior members of the Jammeh regime.  We encourage other human rights groups to apply further pressure on their respective jurisdictions to demand similar sanctions.  It is time we move beyond statements.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Stand-off at the Banjul Christian cemetery

Arial view of the Christian cemetery in Banjul, Gambia
This past weekend, a spectacular scene unfolded at the Banjul Christian cemetery site.

Approximately 250 leaders and members of all the denominations of the Christian faith met with officials of the Ministry for Local Government to inspect the cemetery site with the view to disproving government claims that the cemetery is full to capacity, as a result of which there is encroachment on the adjacent old Muslim burial site.

Earlier in the year, the regime of Yaya Jammeh issued what amounted to a cease and desist circular demanding that no more burial should take place on the Banjul site.  Henceforth, all burial should take place at the Kanifing site.

Contrary to government claims, there is still space in the current site and thus no need to cease utilizing the existing facility.  To prove their point, representatives of the Local Government Ministry were invited for a site inspection by members of the Christian community who came armed with their expert surveyors, engineers and lawyers.

According to sources, at the end of the exercise, the regime's claims were proven wrong.  What Yaya Jammeh will do next is anyone's guess.  But what is certain is that the Christian community is not taking these constant threat to the peace and stability of the communities lying down.

What is certain, however, is that the intimidation and bullying tactics of this repressive corrupt and incompetent regime of Yaya Jammeh will not go unchallenged by the Christian community whose religious freedoms have come under serious threat from the proponents and promoters of transforming the Gambia from a Secular Sovereign Republic, as prescribed by the 1997 Constitution, to an Islamic Republic.

The threat posed Yaya Jammeh to the peace and security of the country and the region had always been underestimated at best or ignored at worst.  Presently, we could ill afford neither, both as a country and as a Member State of ECOWAS.

Jammeh has threatened to "kill Mandinkas one by one" whom he described as "enemies" and foreigners", a threat that caught the attention of the Secretary General of the United Nations which resulted in a scathing rebuke from the world body.  Jammeh was inciting violence against an ethic group which can lead to genocide.  This possibility was not lost when the New Times newspaper of Rwanda, in an editorial, recounted the genesis of the Rwandan genocide and the role that vitriolic rhetoric played in fanning the flames that consumed the nation.

Jammeh has continued, in our view, sowing the seeds of discord and fomenting more trouble that can only pose a grave challenge to the peace and stability of The Gambia.  We must not stay silent as a people.  This man is dangerous because he poses an imminent threat to Gambia and the Region.    

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gambian schools: 96% failure rate is a disastrous, unacceptable outcome

A village school outside Banjul 
When it was announced that only 444 of the 11,659 Gambian pupils who sat for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate exams scored five or more credits, including English and Maths, it was met with shock and disquiet by the public.

The 96% failure rate is both disastrous and unacceptable.  It is further proof that the Jammeh regime has failed an entire generation of Gambians who have been denied decent education so essential to compete in a world economy that is increasingly becoming integrated and interdependent between national, regional and local economies.

The regime, on the other hand, remained silent.  There are no public statements from neither the Ministry of Basic Education nor from the Office of the the President which is consistent with the characteristic silence that normally greets news that puts the regime in bad light.

Like many of the sectors of the economy, the education sector fell victim of a regime that when its leaders seized power illegally in 1994, they prescribed solutions to problems that did not exist.  In short, Jammeh and his crew came with a set of solutions looking for a problem to justify their unconstitutional acts.

The sector was guided by the 1988 - 2003 Education Policy that placed emphasis on the improvement of the quality of the education that was on offer to Gambia's children.  Internal efficiency measures were introduced to held supplement the the regular budget in addition to placing heavy emphasis on the software such as textbooks, teaching/instructional materials, teacher training that included upgrading and retention of qualified and highly trained teachers.

To reduce the foreign exchange component of managing the education sector, the Book Production and Material Resources Unit (BPMRU) was provided with a new facility in Kanifing.

When the 15-year policy expired in 2003, Jammeh's forces took charge and changed the educational structure to the current 6 years of lower basic, 3 years of lower basic and 3 years of senior secondary, eliminating the Sixth Form in the process.  Jammeh saw access to basic education as a portent political weapon against his political enemies and a justification for his military coup against the Jawara administration which marked the beginning of the politicization of the education sector by substituting quality for quantity.

Building schools anywhere and everywhere regardless of the population profiles in the affected catchment areas became the norm which took money away from teacher training and incentive programs designed to retain teaching staff.  The school building program allowed Jammeh to award contracts to his political backers and business cronies while lining his own pockets as well. While impressive educational access numbers were registered in the lower basic grades under Jammeh's education policy, they drop precipitously in the first few years of lower basic. The cost of being in school and remaining there, especially in the rural farming) area is unsustainable and has resulted in children being withdrawn.

The claim by the regime that primary school education is free is not quite true.  Parents are still required to pay for books, fees and other school expenses that has caused friction between parents who cite Jammeh's claim that education is free and headmasters who must collect these fees as required by current policy.

The results of  this year's WASSCE is testimony to a broken educational system that substituted quality (good teachers and quality instructions) for quantity (more school buildings and less contact hours).  A reversal of the trend can only occur when there is a total overhaul of the current system which can only take place when Jammeh is removed because the extensive nature of the damage done to Gambia's education system.  The education data, just like the census figures, are known to be cooked up to depict a narrative that supports the regime's policy position for donor support or other purposes rendering an rational and effective planning impossible as long as Jammeh is in charge.

Because the issues facing the education sector are important and complex, we will be devoting a few blog posts to look as specific topics in the coming weeks.  Ongoing series.      

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Arson attacks deepen cracks in the Gambian military

Jammeh inspecting the troops 
Recent arson attacks that target the economic and political interests of the Gambian dictator have deepened cracks in the military and heightened suspicions among the various ranks and across services.

As a result, major realignment of the military is to be announced that will merge the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) - a paramilitary outfit - with the army, effective immediately.  Formal announcement is expected today as the Interior Minister makes his way to Kanifing PIU camp to inform the paramilitary command.

The Gambian army under Yaya Jammeh has undergone a transformation that is dictated by his personal safety needs and the desire to maintain his grip on power than by the national security needs of the nation and the general welfare of the Gambian people.

It's been two weeks since the rash of arson attacks started without anyone being arrested.  The attacks were carried out with such precision that Jammeh has started to believe that they were conducted by persons within the military.

Sources suggest that General Saul Badgie, as head of the army, has fallen out of favor with the Gambian dictator because of the reported influence he has over a good portion of the army whose allegiance are with General Badgie rather than with Jammeh.  It is for this reason that Jammeh decided to merge the PIU with the army to dilute and eventually sideline General Saul Badgie in favor of men of the PIU.

There is obviously a power struggle going on that has its origin in the 30th December 2014 attack on State House that further culminated in the May United Democratic Party (UDP) demonstrations demanding electoral reforms that led to the death in custody of Solo Sandeng.

General Badgie's refusal to deploy the army against unarmed civilians was viewed as insubordination by the Gambian dictator.  It was the PIU that stepped in to quell the peaceful demonstrations with excessive and brutal force that led to the furious international condemnation.

The men who led the PIU was Paramilitary Commanders Biran Mbye and Nfamara Jallow.  Both of these men were members of the defunct Gendarmerie with Yaya Jammeh.  This move is seen as preparing the ground to remove General Badgie and his allies who are considered disloyal to Jammeh in favor of Biran Mbye, Nfamara Jallow and elements of the PIU.

Meanwhile, investigations into the arson attacks continues as more attacks are expected.  It is because the permanent threat that these attacks posed to the regime's existence that has resulted in Jammeh's postponement of his annual leave according to a source.    The ultimate aim of the arson attacks is to remove Jammeh from power and as long as the military remains fragmented the attacks are likely to continue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lessons from the death of Kebba Dibba and others

The late Kebba Dibba of GRTS
By all accounts, Alhagie. Kebba Dibba was a kind and gentle human being who was generally acclaimed as an excellent print and television reporter by colleagues and consumers of news alike.

The outpouring of Facebook tributes from Gambians of all works of life following the announcement of his untimely death is testimony to his general appeal to those who ardently support Yaya Jammeh as well as the ferocious opponents of the Gambian dictator.

As a television journalist at the government-owned and controlled GRTS, Mr. Dibba served Jammeh well with regular interviews that were noted more for their propaganda value than newsworthiness in line with the standard dictators' manual of using state media to disseminate propaganda to advance a personality cult designed to perpetuate the dictatorship's grip on power.

Despite Mr. Dibba's loyalty to Jammeh that was on visual display on national television, when the veteran journalist fell ill, neither the state-owned television nor the person of Yaya Jammeh lifted a finger to see to it that he gets the medical treatment he desperately needed until last weekend when he was finally transported to Dakar where he died a few days later.

The lack of attention paid to Mr. Kebba Dibba by Jammeh when he was gravely ill and in need of urgent medical attention is consistent with the dictator's lack of empathy for anyone outside his immediate family comprising of his wife and two children.  Jammeh is known to abandon allies who've outlived their usefulness and Kebba Dibba was just one case in a string of cases involving former close allies and collaborators of Jammeh,

Mayor Musa Jammeh and Captain Tumbul Tamba both served as personal body guards to Jammeh and were known to be more loyal to Jammeh than to the state they both swore to serve and protect. Both fell ill and were abandoned by Jammeh to die slow and miserable deaths, leaving their young families in a destitute state without state assistance to this day.  

Momodou Sagnia, an avid supporter who managed Jammeh's television image as Managing Director of GRTS was abandoned when he became ill and infirmed for several months before Jammeh succumbed to pressure from family members to send him to Cuba for treatment.  Mr. Sagnia later died.  Lessons to be drawn from these and similar instances of neglect and abandonment by Jammeh of former allies and supporters are clear : support the dictator at your own risk.    

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Is Jammeh losing grip of the country?

APRC Party Headquarters destroyed by arson fire
The 30th December 2014 attack on State House in Banjul by a group of Gambian dissidents resident abroad was the mark of a new phase in the battle to oust Yaya Jammeh from power.

The attacks, though unsuccessful in dislodging the much-hated Gambian dictator, succeeded in sowing the seeds of discord and suspicion within the various security services resulting in a degree of dysfunction among the ranks.

Dissidents have upped their game since then and the spate of recent arson attacks against Jammeh's business and political interests are testimony to the new strategy.

The gutting of the APRC headquarters by arson fire which occured a few days ago is the latest in a rash of similar torching of facilities belong to Yaya Jammeh.

The attacks have raised the specter of discord and suspicion among the various security services.  The security council meeting convened after the APRC headquarters attack was acrimonious with an element of finger pointing.

How could a group of persons enter the building, neutralize the security, burn the valuable contents of the party headquarters and then escaped is the main preoccupation of Yaya Jammeh who is demanding answers from his security service chiefs?  Who knew what and when?  There is a discernible division among the various security services which can only weaken Jammeh's grip on power.

 The National Security Council was convened in the absence of the Security Council Chairperson, Isatou Njie-Saidy, who has been absent from office for a little over a month due to ill health.

Visibly shaken as a result of the rash of arson attacks, Jammeh's behavior has grown increasingly erratic.  He is reportedly demanding answers from members of his security apparatus some of whom have become prime suspects.

Twenty two years of Jammeh's dictatorial rule appears to have taken its toll on the patience of a growing number of Gambians who have been denied their basic human rights under a repressive regime that does not tolerate dissent of any kind.

Many Gambians feel that the regime has failed in delivering on many of its promises, especially on providing the basic needs of ordinary Gambians.  Unemployment is high, especially among the youth resulting in mass exodus to Europe via the treacherous Mediterranean.

The economy has been contracting since Jammeh seized power in 1994 as a result of mismanagement and high level corruption.  Basic food commodities are in short supply and when they are available they are unaffordable rendering a third of the Gambian population to be food insecure.

It is the accumulation of the failures of the regime of Yaya Jammeh's that has generated the growing number of Gambians opposed to the status quo who are determined to rid him of The Gambia as Jammeh's popularity takes a precipitous decline.

This is a developing story ....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

APRC ruling party headquarters gutted by arson fire

APRC HQ gutted by arson fire - photo courtesy Sainey MK Marenah  

The APRC ruling party headquarters of dictator Yaya Jammeh was burned to the ground, Sunday morning around 3:30 AM.  The act has been ruled an arson attack by those opposed to the dictatorship.

The building situated on the street housing the Senegalese School and MDI Road belonged to the late A. B. Denton who was Accountant General when Jammeh illegally took over power in 1994. The building was seized by the Provisional Military Council chaired by the then Lt. Yaya Jammeh and later transferred ownership to the APRC after Jammeh and his military buddies traded their army uniforms to civilian clothes.      

According to sources, the security who was guarding the building was overpowered and tied up before the intruders torched the building.  All of the contents, including computers and documents have been destroyed by the fore.

Reaction has been swift from Yaya Jammeh who has returned a couple of days ago from Kanilai. Our sources said Jammeh was not only furious but "gave ultimatum" to his security chiefs not only to capture the culprits but to stop the arson attacks on his business properties and party symbols, failing which hey will be sent to Mile II prisons.

According to one of our sources Yankuba Badji, the Director General of the notorious National Intelligence Agency is expected to be a prime casualty as a result of these arson attacks all of which have gone unsolved.

Area residents, we are told, have expressed fear and trepidation at the prospect of something worse that could happen to them.  Most Gambians in the Greater Banjul Area have grown increasingly insecure following these attacks that have become ever too frequent.

The arson attack is the fourth in two weeks, raising the fear that they are being carried out by a well-organized group or groups to express their opposition to the brutal corrupt and incompetent regime of Yaya Jammeh.    

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In The Gambia, every life matters

"Ebrima" a mentally ill Gambian man 
Meet "Ebrima".  He is a mentally ill man who appears to be in his mid 30s or early 40s.  He hangs around Pipe Line and sleeps at the Atlas petrol station along the same street.

Last week, the Gambian dictator's convoy was passing through Westfield Junction when "Ebrima"decided to haul insults at Yaya Jammeh.

The police officers nearby heard the mentally challenged man and didn't appreciate Jammeh being insulted.  They proceeded to take the matters into their own hands as they routinely do as a matter of routine procedure.  

According to eyewitnesses, "Ebrima" was arrested and "beaten up mercilessly in front of the crowd." He was subsequently taken away by the police and never seen since.  It's been a week since "Ebrima" was last seen.

The regime of Yaya Jammeh is viciously protective of Yaya Jammeh.  Gambians have no right to express the way they feel towards him.  Any criticism of him can and does land you in jail or worse, as in the case of "Ebrima", never mind he is mentally ill.

The use of torture and other inhuman treatment of Gambians must stop.  While treating "Ebrima" as a 'regular guy' and not as a mentally ill person who should be in a mental hospital is morally repugnant, the regime's insistence on getting every Gambian to fall in line behind one of Africa's most brutal and repressive dictator is both unreasonable and unsustainable.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reinstatement of school feeding program welcomed

World Food Program  School Feeding Program 
Japan-approved grant of US$ 1.2 million to the Gambian people will make it possible for the United Nation's World Food Program to reinstate the much needed feeding program to schools in the North Bank and Central River Regions - two of the hardest hit food-deficient areas in the Gambia.

While welcoming both the grant by Japan and the efforts of the WFP that will make it possible to serve 50,000 hot meals to school children in two of the five regions of the country, we urge the UN agency to seek more counterpart funds from the government of Yaya Jammeh to finance the program across all the entire country.

The Jammeh family, particularly Mrs. Jammeh spends huge sums every month on traveling the globe which could be used on Gambian children.  Savings from one of her international trips alone could finance the reinstatement of the school feeding programs in the three other regions plus the Greater Banjul

The school feeding program was an integral part of Gambia's school system until Jammeh seized power illegally in 1994 when everything started going downhill, including others aspects of Gambian life.  The agricultural sector's lackluster performance, despite the numerous failed "Visions 2015/2016" that promised food self-sufficiency, resulted in a decline in cash and food crops with devastating impact. As a result, 600,000 or roughly a third of all Gambians have become food insecure which means that 33% of the population cannot afford three square meals a day - a serious indictment of a regime that touts its commitment to agricultural development and food self-sufficiency.

The Central River region of the country is more severely impacted by Jammeh's failed agriculture policy despite the rice cultivation that's is purportedly going on there.  Numerous cases of kwashiorkor, a sever form of malnutrition - an acute protein deficient condition - are reported in the Central River region which has received little publicity from a regime that is in the habit of concealing unpleasant and/unfavorable news.

Malnutrition is currently taking a devastating toll on the psycho social, emotional and educational development of the children, particularly those living in the rural areas - a problem that is one of the most under reported problems facing The Gambia.  A reinstatement of the school feeding program nationwide must be one of the top priorities of the regime of Yaya Jammeh.      

Leader of Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) is Jammeh's next target

The impressive roll out of the newly formed Gambia Democratic Party (GDC) with thousands of supporters and onlookers that attend its political rallies did not only caught the eye of supporters of the other opposition parties but it has drawn the attention of the Gambian dictator.

After dusting off the old files of Mrs. Tina Faal, a former nominated member of Jammeh's ruling APRC Party and now a prominent supporter of GDC, that resulted in her being charged with obtaining money under false pretenses and remanded in jail, Jammeh has turned his attention on Mama Kandeh, the GDC leader.

The GDC leader was a member of the National Assembly and during his tenure attended numerous meetings including the Pan-African Parliament.  Jammeh has been told that during one of his meetings abroad, Mama Kandeh returned to Banjul before the end of the meeting.  Jammeh intends to instruct his Nigerian mercenaries (S. K. Barkum) to charge him with theft among other charges they intend to concoct.

The rest of the executive of the new party is being served notice that Yaya Jammeh intends to go after the new party.  Our advise to Mama Kandeh, members of the executive, members and supporters of the GDC is not to stay quiet but to go public.  GDC must utilize the online radios and newspapers to publicize the plight of the party.  Jammeh hates publicity.    

Saturday, August 6, 2016

U.K. endorses U.N Adviser's condemnation of Jammeh's use of inflammatory rhetoric against Mandinka ethnic group

UK Ambassador to UN- Mr. Mathew  Rycroft 
United Kingdom's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mathew Rycroft, is the latest to join the growing voices of concern over Yaya Jammeh's increasing use of inflammatory language that has been described by the U.N Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide as "dangerous and irresponsible" when he threatened members of the Mandinka ethic group with expulsion and extermination because they are considered his "enemies and foreigners."

The UK government, through its United Nation's Mission has expressed its support of Mr. Adama Dieng's condemnation of Jammeh's incitement of violence against an ethnic group by none other than the president of the country. The stigmatization and threats against the Mandinkas by Jammeh was equally condemned by Ambassador Rycroft.  The deplorable record of the Jammeh regime was also came under scrutiny and condemnation from the United Kingdom.

The U.K position was welcomed by the human rights community as well as many dissident groups abroad.  Predictably, the same cannot be said of a small band of renegades represented by the Deputy Head of Gambia's United Nation's Mission who has taken it upon himself - and over the head of the Ambassador - to spew incomprehensible and disjointed rebuttals every time the Jammeh regime is criticized.

If such rebuttals are meant to advance the interests of Yaya Jammeh and his regime, they are far from achieving them.  We do not see how applying the pejorative and derogatory epithet (Uncle Tom) to describe an African - more precisely, a Senegalese - for performing his international duties as Adviser to the U.N. Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide can be helpful to Yaya Jammeh's cause.

Or referring to the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the United Nations as one of the "dangerous people" whom the U.N. Secretary General should be "wary" of because they are "dangerous people constantly posing a threat to world peace and security"on the sole premise that he served as Private Secretary to former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, an ally to President George W. Bush the architect of the Iraq War.  The use of such coarse language is unacceptable and has no place in modern diplomacy.

Unfortunately, insults and an assortment of petulant behavior have become the trademark of a regime that has little respect for good and decent behavior.  And when Jammeh told the Secretary General of the United Nations to "go to hell", it unleashed the Deputy Mission head at Gambia's U.N. Mission - an unhinged character in his own right - to incessantly attack with hollow verbosity anyone who dares criticize or oppose the corrupt and incompetent regime of Yaya Jammeh.            

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Jammeh's business interests are legitimate targets" says an operative

GNPC petrol station 
First, it was the Mandinari fuel storage tanks that were the targets of arsonists before the GNPC petrol station near the Independence Stadium in Bakau was touched last Friday.

What these two facilities have in common is that Yaya Jammeh has financial interests in both.  He owns the former and had substantial private financial interest  in the latter prior to it being taken over entire by government.

For detailed accounts of the transactions that led to the nationalization of the petroleum sector, please find them here, here, here and here.

The dictator-businessman has his hands in practically every sector of the economy but his petroleum facilities appear to be the favorite targets for sabotage by a and because of group of determined opponents to the regime.

The Mandinari facility was the first target when a storage tank was set alight before a tanker truck was also doused with petrol and set on fire.  Reacting to these events, Jammeh put his army on full alert and deploy personnel to guard his businesses, putting further strain on an already over-stretched army.  

These recent developments suggest that opponents to Jammeh's  iron fist rule have finally come to view his business interests are game.  This was confirmed by an operative who confirmed to us that indeed "Jammeh's business interests are legitimate targets.  It appears the opposition to Jammeh's 22-year rule has entered a new phase in the struggle to free The Gambia of Yaya Jammeh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

RED ALERT: Opposition members targeted for enforced disappearances

As the scheduled presidential elections draw closer to the December date, the remaining opposition leaders who have managed so far to escape imprisonment have become prime targets of Yaya Jammeh.

Enforced disappearance appear to be the preferred option because Jammeh has jailed nearly the entire upper echelon of the country's largest opposition party using his overburdened courts manned by Nigerian mercenary judges.

Arresting, charging and imprisoning political opponents for simply exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest has proven controversial at best and has attracted swift international attention and condemnation and threats of sanctions. The regime has decided to apply other methods of silencing dissent including enforced disappearances.

United Democratic Party members appear to be Jammeh's prime but not exclusive target for enforced disappearances as demonstrated last week when a decade old case was revived to arrest and charge a prominent member of the newly formed Gambia Democratic Party with theft.

Jammeh appears to have assembled a team, purposely, to abduct his political enemies and those posing the most threat to his grip on power, including prominent members of the opposition that the regime fears the most who are still beyond his grasp.

Maundering vigilantes, otherwise referred to as "patrol teams" take their orders from Jammeh and victims who fall into the net are whisk away to detention centers in Kanilai or surrounding villages in Casamance control by or sympathetic to the MFDC, never to be seen again.

Last week for instance, a prominent member of the opposition missed being arrested by one of these "patrol teams"when they went to his compound and found that he'd gone out. When the Inspector General was asked about the attempt to arrest a member of the opposition, he denied any knowledge it suggests that Jammeh has activated the patrol team under the command of General Borra Colley.

Has the petroleum saga started to haunt Jammeh?

Yaya Jammeh is a master at fabricating 'facts' and framing civil servants before discarding them after they've been used to do his dirty job. He's routinely used this tactic throughout 22-year of his dictatorship.

Immediately following his framing of charges against the leaders of the political party that poses the biggest threat to his regime that landed dozens of them in jail, he turned his attention to the Petroleum Ministry and senior officials of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation whom he accused of embezzling US$ 12 million from the procurement of petroleum and petroleum products from March Petroleum, a Dubai-based company.

In a nationally televised meeting with elders in the capital city of Banjul, the Gambian dictator falsely claimed that March Petroleum did not exist, that it was a bogus company the officials created for the purpose of defrauding the state.  A simple google search proved otherwise, that indeed that March Petroleum is a legitimate company.

Obviously, any respectable company that has done business with a client that turns and falsely and a self-serving way labeled it as an illegitimate outfit will not only take offense but may use legal means to seek redress.

Recognizing that his lies are blatantly clear  to those whose lives have been impacted by charges that may not necessarily reflect reality, Jammeh has started to rethink his approach.  Firstly, Sira Wally Ndow-Njie, the former Minister of Petroleum and until she was charged with "economic crime" served as Deputy Minister of Tourism, one of two principal individuals central to the petroleum scandal was denied bail by judge Ottaba at the instruction of Jammeh,  She has been a central figure and in the inner cabal of Jammeh's circle of public officials who traveled the globe on behalf of Jammeh.

The former Petroleum minister's travelling companion was Mr. Sana Jarju who was Deputy Protocol Officer before assuming the Chief of Protocol post when Alagie Ceesay was fired for the umpteenth time.  It was not long before Sana Jarju suffered the same fate.  He left and resettled in the United States where he's seeking asylum.

As the scandal starts to unravel that threatens to expose unpleasant truths about Jammeh's spurious claims including the non-existence of March Petroleum, Jammeh has quietly re-appointed Sana Jarju in absentia as Chief of Protocol.  My sources view this decision as a ploy designed to lure him back to Banjul so that he can be silenced by banishing him to Mile II prison. Sanna Jarju and Sira Wally Ndow-Njie are two of with the most intimate knowledge of the petroleum saga tricks who may not be ready to play ball with the Gambian dictator.