22 years of terror ends in Gambia

Monday, January 23, 2017

We would like to first of all thank Allah the  Almighty for seeing us through a peaceful end of the political impasse in our country.

Former President Yahya Jammeh has finally left the soil of The Gambia for asylum in Equatorial Guinea from Guinea Conakry, whose President Alpha Conde escorted him to that country.

He early Saturday announced he was finally relinquishing power, a long-awaited news that everybody in The Gambia and abroad was waiting for patiently. 

For the past two weeks, especially on 18 and 20 January, people in the country had somehow been traumatised, as operations and transactions of all shops, banks, restaurants and businesses in general came to a halt in the country.

Jammeh finally left on the night of 21st January 2017 for Guinea Conakry, and it has been reported that he will be granted asylum in Equatorial Guinea, a Central African country ruled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

This day is very important for all Gambians, as it has marked the end of a 22-year era of dictatorship, terror, human rights abuse, alleged killing of innocent people, detention for long without trial, and overcrowded prisons with many inmates remanded for years without trial.

A majority of Gambians would want Yahya Jammeh to be tried for economic crimes, a lot related to running of all kinds of businesses such as selling meat, livestock, fuel, sand, stones, palm oil, bread, flour and other basic food items.

Several assets, such as houses, farms, cars and trucks were owned by Jammeh.

Hence a special commission of enquiry into the many people allegedly killed under his regime should be set up.

The new government should work to bring him to justice, and some of the security apparatus he used to torture, allegedly kill people and repress the nation over his 22-year rule should be investigated and those involved brought to book.

The new government should not waste time to seize ill-gotten wealth or assets accumulated by him during his tenure, which included houses and other landed properties, as well as his many expensive cars, some of which he has reported already through shipped, through the port of Banjul, to Guinea and other African countries.

These should be returned to The Gambia as state-owned property.

In line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be set up by the new government, people from all walks of life should be encouraged to help the commission with accurate information regarding the deeds of Jammeh, and the revelations should be published and broadcast by the media, for all to know the misdeeds of Jammeh, and in order to discourage other leaders from doing the same.

All of his ill-gotten assets should be frozen and transferred to the state, such as the KGI, his bakeries, his Abuko livestock such as cows, rams, goats, among others.

Since he took power in 1994, Jammeh had sacked more than 240 ministers and 170 permanent secretaries.

During his regime, several civil servants were dismissed illegally, and detained for no just reasons.

People were also living in fear and with no peace of minds. His departure, therefore, is a big relief to everyone, especially journalists, lawyers and opposition leaders.

We would sincerely like to thank President Macky Sall of Senegal, the ECOWAS, UN and other blocs for making sure that democracy was restored in The Gambia.

Ecowas has played a leading role by putting together and sending forces to The Gambia to ensure there is peace and stability in the country.

President Macky Sall has done what a good neighbour should do when a sister nation and colleagues are in problem.

He had hosted thousands of Gambians in Senegal in connection with the recent political logjam and imminent violent conflict.

With the new era of The Gambia, a new chapter should be opened, even as Jammeh should be held responsible for all crimes committed under his regime, especially the alleged killings, the assassination of journalist Deyda Hydara and other deaths and disappearances of people connected with the politics of the country, some cases of which would need the intervention of the ICC - the International Criminal Court.

“There is no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice: Defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.”

Abraham Lincoln