Oct 21, 2011, 2:59 PM
12th August 2009
Shiekh Prof. Alh. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh
President of the Republic of
AN APPEAL IN THE NAME OF PEACE
The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) - The Gambia comprising 28 civil society organizations wishes to take this opportunity to write to Your Excellency in the matter of the recently 6 jailed journalists (Sam Sarr, Pap Saine, Sarata Jabbi-Dibba, Pa Modou Faal, Emil Touray and Ebrima Sawaneh) sentenced for various crimes against the Government of The Gambia and the Presidency.
WANEP - Gambia is a member of a wider network of peace promoting organizations operating in 12 out of 15 West African countries. The network was set up in September 1998 as a non-governmental organization to primarily promote the culture of peace and develop conflict prevention mechanisms in West Africa and work towards sustainable peace in the Gambia.
Your Excellency, since its establishment, WANEP - Gambia has been providing training on peace education, conflict analysis, monitoring and evaluation, election observation and the dangers of illicit small arms and light weapons. It continues to provide tailor-made training programmes to members of the National Assembly, Government Officials, Security Forces, Civil Society, Local Government Authorities and members of the larger community.
We see these activities as complementing efforts of Government to cement the peace we enjoy in the Gambia and by so doing facilitate sustainable development of the country. The Gambia is a very peaceful country and we all pride ourselves of our peacefulness.
Your Excellency, during the 44 anniversary of Gambian Independence under the theme 'Peace and Security', you underscored this point in your address to the Gambian people, and I quote 'The Gambia, as we all know, has earned the respect and admiration of the world as a peaceful country and an example of a country where maintenance of peace and stability have been the corner stone of our development process" and that "peace is a virtue that we should all be proud of and champion not only for ourselves but also in countries that are in stressful social and political situations."
Africa and the whole world appreciate the role the Gambia Armed Forces continue to play in peacekeeping missions around the world. GAMCOY 9 was only recently bade farewell for a mission to the troubled region of Darfur in South Sudan. Again, all of this is a clear manifestation of our personality as a peaceful and peace loving people.
In Her Excellency's address to the contingent of GAMCOY 9 during the farewell ceremony, the Vice President, Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy 'reiterated the government's resolve to commit greater efforts towards the maintenance of regional peace and security' (ref: Daily Observer, 12th August 2009, Vol. 17, No. 0064, p.3).
In The Gambia and indeed around the world, we began the fasting period of Ramadan few days ago. As usual, Gambians during this period are accorded the opportunity to demonstrate their care, love, sympathy and request for forgiveness from each other.
It is natural to err against ourselves and others especially when we live together but equally acceptable and fundamental to show leniency and compassion to one and other.
Coincidentally, this year the world will celebrate International Day of Peace on 21st September which falls in the month of Ramadan. This will accord us yet another opportunity in the Gambia to renew our commitment to peace, peacebuilding and peace reinforcement activities. During the period, WANEP - Gambia intends to further work with communities on sensitizing them on the importance of working for and maintaining peace in our country and sub-region.
Your Excellency, the circumstances leading to the imprisonment of the 6 journalists mentioned above has touched the lives of many of us in the country and beyond and thought it prudent on our part, as a peace advocacy organization, to seek a mutually amicable resolution of the incident.
It is in this vein that we kindly seek your indulgence to intervene in the case of the jailed journalists to temper justice with mercy and use your prerogative to set them free as demonstration of Your Excellency's kindness and love of peace.
Whilst we yet again anticipate Your Excellency's demonstration of generosity of spirit by setting the jailed journalists free, we take this opportunity to assure you of our highest considerations, support and best wishes in your drive to make the Gambia the icon of peace in all dimensions in the world.
God bless The Gambia.
In the name of Peace
West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) - The Gambia
"Peace, political stability, and reconciliation are the minimum that a society provides." George Mitchell (U.S. politician and peace negotiator).