• Gambian president declares state of emergency - The Guardian reports

    17/Jan/2017 // 2435 Viewers

     

    The president of The Gambia has declared a state of emergency in the west African country two days before he is due to leave office.

    The declaration is the latest in a series of attempts by Yahya Jammeh to hang onto power beyond his current tally of 22 years. Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who beat Jammeh in the December election, is due to be inaugurated on Thursday, but the incumbent is refusing to leave.

    Meanwhile, four government ministers, including the foreign and finance ministers defected on Tuesday, leaving Jammeh increasingly isolated.

    Thousands of Gambians are fleeing the country or sending their children abroad, afraid that the regional organisation ECOWAS will make good on its promise to resort to force to remove Jammeh if necessary. Hundreds of women and children balancing suitcases on their heads took the ferry out of Banjul, the country’s capital, on Tuesday, many bound for the border.

    “Everybody’s leaving,” said one Gambian immigration official. “They’re worried there might be war.”

    Jammeh said he was making the order “to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum”, although Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, is poised to return to Gambian soil at midnight on Wednesday under heavy security to be sworn in as The Gambia’s first new president in more than two decades.
    “I hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout The Gambia, as a situation exists, which if it is allowed to continue, will lead to a state of public emergency,” Jammeh told the nation over national radio and television. As the president’s voice boomed out from an old radio in Churchill’s Town in Serrekunda, welders stopped their work momentarily to listen.

    “This declaration is necessitated by the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the December presidential election and in the internal affairs of The Gambia, and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.”

    Under the state of emergency, the constitution and citizens’ rights can be suspended, and the president can rule by presidential decree. Jammeh made the order despite the fact that parliament had not yet agreed to it.

    However, as he spoke, the matter was being discussed by the national assembly, and with most of the country’s opposition lying low, every member spoke in favour of it. By the constitution, a state of emergency last seven days, but in the same order, the national assembly extended it until July.

    Jammeh initially accepted the results of the election but later declared it null, saying the electoral commission had made errors. He took his case to the supreme court, but there were no judges to hear it, so it has been delayed until May. Then Jammeh tried to bring an injunction to stop Barrow attending his own inauguration, but the country’s chief justice said he could not rule on it.

    Several mediating missions by the Nigerian and Liberian presidents have failed to result in a deal.

    “He’s trying every trick he can think of to appear strong to local supporters and to appear peaceful to the international community, but he can’t change what’s coming. There are so many deals he should have taken,” a legal expert in Banjul said. “Perhaps he will wait until the last possible minute and then take a deal.”

    One of these deals offered to Jammeh is a “golden retirement” in Morocco, according to local reports, as long as he steps down. Nigeria has also apparently offered him asylum. 

    This post appeared first on The Guardian


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  • Liberia gets $18 million EU grant to support its budget

    17/Jun/2016 // 290 Viewers

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian leader


    The Liberian government has received EUR 16 million (USD 18 million) from the European Union (EU) to support the budget of the West African country targeting justice and security sectors.

    In a statement released by the EU on Wednesday, the regional body said the grant is the second payment under their EU budget support programme and the disbursement will be done directly into the treasury account of the Liberian government.

    The conditions of the disbursement, according to the statement, was agreed on with the government to channel the money into the areas of improved public financial management and some sector specific targets relating to justice and security.

    The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide.

    “The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide: health, education, justice and security,” the head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, said.
     
    She urged the Liberian government to continue the improvement of public finance management, fight against corruption, security and access to justice.

    The first payment of the grant disbursed in July 2015 was EUR 29.2 million (USD 33 million) and together with the second payment, they amount to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s 2015/2016 budget.

    Liberia has received a number of grants from the EU and other donor organisations to support its fragile economy due to the Ebola epidemic.
    For the 2015/2016 Financial Year, the country approved a budget of $622,743,420 and is expecting a revenue of $555,993,000 which will be a decline of almost 11 per cent.

    It attributes the losses in the fall of demand for iron ore and rubber, which are their two top exports and also reduced budget support, the government announced. - today.ng

     


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  • Border Closure Impasse: Senegal backs down, wants commitment to bridge construction from Jammeh

    17/May/2016 // 614 Viewers

     


    PARIS, MAY 17, 2016: (DGW) Gambia and Senegal have earlier on  agreed to reopen national borders to traffic, a source disclosed to our reporter in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

    In a communique issued by the two countries foreign ministers namely Neneh Macdouall Gaye and Mankeur Ndiaye on Sunday in Dakar, the two countries decided to resolve the impasse by reopening the borders to traffic as soon as possible.

    In a sudden reversal of the peace accord brokered by the Foreign Ministers, the Secretary-General of Senegal Transport Union, Mr Houma on Tuesday backed down and rescinded the resolution  adding that the Senegal-Gambian border will not be reopened unless President Jammeh shows some levels of commitment towards constructing  the proposed bridge which is the bone of contention between the two neighbouring countries.


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  • GAMBIA: National outrage as ADAMA BARROW releases another damning report on YAHYA JAMMEH

    18/Apr/2017 // 15403 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 18, 2017: (DGW) President Adama Barrow-led Government has released another damning report about Yahya Jammeh who was forced out of power after a 22-year reign.

    Reports from the nation's seat of power in the Gambian capital of Banjul say the exiled leader stole tons of money running into tens of millions of dollars while he presided over the tiny West Africa nation.

    However, the Adama Barrow government has reportedly launched investigations in a bid to recover the loot from the exiled leader.


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  • GAMBIA: African leaders urged to learn from the GAMBIAN experience

    18/Apr/2017 // 2488 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 18, 2017: (DGW) African leaders have been urged to learn from the Gambian experience having lost popular support and to avoid the agonies of a violent transition.

    This was contained in a message by Solomon Ayele Dersso a senior legal scholar and an analyst on Africa and African Union affairs to the leaders of the African continent.

    The legal luminary said Jammeh's exit from power after what look like a ding-dong battle ought not to be having obviously lost popular support as expressed in the election that saw the emergence of President Adama Barrow.

    According to him, ''What ultimately guaranteed the peaceful end of the crisis was the eventual successful negotiation of the terms for Jammeh's exit. In exchange for peaceful transfer of power to the new president, he received guarantees of a secure retirement with full benefits of a citizen, a party leader and a former head of state.''

    While patting Gambia on the back for setting an important precedent in the political imbroglio that trailed the December 2016 presidential election, he urged other African countries to toe the line of the tiny West African nation.

    His words: ''In this way, Gambia set an important precedent for other authoritarian rulers, who continue to be in power long after losing popular support due to their uncertain future. Gambia's experience shows that they can get a dignified exit, if they allow free and fair election.''

    He called attention to the violent transition that occurred in Ivory Coast that resulted in a violent transition when laurent Gbagbo refused to handover in the face of defeat.

    He said,''In so doing, not only would they spare their countries the agonies of a violent transition, but also avoid the fate of Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is on trial at the ICC after he was forced out of power by a French military intervention in 2011.''

    Opposition parties and the citizenry of all countries with authoritarian leaders on the continent, he opined, must take a cue from The Gambia by joining forces with regional and international bodies to ensure peaceful transfer of power.

    ''The clear lesson for opposition parties and the citizenry in countries with authoritarian leaders is that not only should they forge unity during elections, but also prepare to work with regional and international bodies for a negotiated exit guaranteeing peaceful transfer of power.''

    The legal luminary lauded President Barrow's effort for convening a truth and reconciliation commission to deal with past abuses.

    ''As Barrow's plan to convene a truth and reconciliation  commission  for dealing with past abuses shows, Jammeh's exit does not completely preclude the pursuit of measures of accountability as part of an inclusive transitional process.'', he added.


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  • GAMBIA: Crowds gather for President Barrow’s inauguration

    18/Feb/2017 // 762 Viewers

     

    Thousands of people are gathering in Gambia for the inauguration of the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, after a lengthy power struggle forced him into exile.

    Various African heads of state are expected at the ceremony.

    Mr Barrow is only the third president in the history of Gambia.

    He was sworn in last month in a low-key event in neighboring Senegal before his predecessor agreed to step down.

    Saturday’s much larger scale ceremony is taking place in a stadium near the Gambian capital, Banjul.

    The celebrations also mark 52 years of the west African country’s independence, from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box.

    The Gambia’s first leader, Dawda Jawara, who governed from independence in 1965 until the 1994 coup mounted by Jammeh, has also been invited, organisers told AFP.

    President Sall is a guest of honour at the ceremony, while Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who pushed for mediation efforts with Jammeh during his last days in office, is also expected.

    Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was to attend, another key mediator during the nation’s crisis, along with US Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in a sign of efforts to reset ties with the West.

    Mr Barrow has promised a new dawn for the country, which Mr Jammeh ruled with an iron fist.

    Many political prisoners have already been freed and Gambia is set to rejoin international institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth.


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  • More trouble for war criminal CHARLES TAYLOR as UK confirms investigations over phone calls to political allies

    18/Feb/2017 // 2807 Viewers

     

    PARIS, FEBRUARY 18, 2017: (DGW) More trouble looms for war criminal Mr. Charles Taylor as the UK government has confirmed that it is looking into reports that the jailed warlord phoned his political allies from prison in the north of England, BBC has reported.

    According to UK Foreign Office spokeswoman, "The UK has discussed this at the highest levels with the Liberian government and we are investigating.”

    Earlier this week Liberian information minister Eugene Nagbe, speaking to the BBC World Service, said he was "very concerned" at the alleged phone call. 

    A British MP who chairs an all-party group on Africa, Labour's Chi Onwurah, has also spoken out, warning that Taylor's influence "has the potential to threaten peace in Liberia," especially in light of the forthcoming election. 

    On a visit to Monrovia on Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson emphasised the importance of UK's relationship with Liberia. 


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  • Hundreds of Senegalese deportees from LIBYA recount ordeals

    18/Feb/2017 // 2270 Viewers

     

    PARIS, FEBRUARY 17, 2017: (DGW) As migrant problem ravages across Europe and north Africa no fewer than 174 Senegalese migrants have deported from Libya where they were detained whilst attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, BBC reports.

    Abdoulaye Niass, one of the people deportees recounted his ordeals to the BBC in the north African country and what the situation is generally like over there.  

    ''We were in prison. I spent almost 4 months there. We went there because we wanted to reach Europe. But they caught us at sea. Over there [in Libya], we didn't have food. We couldn’t sleep well. They were beating us.''

    However, the Senegalese authorities under the supervision of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) delved in action to facilitate the return of its citizens who had been trapped in Libya


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  • Gambian children now kitted out in Castletown FC strips

    18/Jan/2016 // 451 Viewers

     

    A Castletown woman swapped her usual holiday attire for Castletown Football Club kits to donate them to schoolchildren in Gambia while she was on holiday.

    Wendy Mahon, who is dental practice manager at the Tracey Bell dental clinic in Castletown, visited the African country on holiday and decided to take the football shirts for children at a local football academy in the town of Kololi.

    Wendy visited the coastal town for three weeks and said: ‘It was purely for a holiday. I have three grown up children so I go away and get some winter sun. A friend owns a beach resort there and he said ”why don’t you come out to The Gambia?” and invited me to visit the football academy.’

    Before she left for the trip on Boxing Day Wendy got in touch with Castletown Football Club to see whether they would like to donate football shirts for young players in the town.

    The club donated 25 kilos of old shirts for Wendy to take to Gamfresh Football Academy in Kololi.

    The football academy was founded by local man and coach Bassirou Bassane and aims to help local talented players.

    Gamfresh Football Academy has around 50 players from the age of five to 16 in junior and senior teams.

    Wendy said: ‘Normally I just take hand luggage but I booked a 25 kilo bag of football shirts.

    ‘I rocked up to the boys’ training session and said there’s a bag for you and their faces, it nearly broke my heart, it was just amazing!

    ‘You’ve never seen anything like it, some of them live in shacks and half don’t even have shoes - they were so grateful.

    ‘It was well worth taking the time to go, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.’

    The dental practice manager, who was a keen rally driver in the island with Manx Auto Sport and Druidale Motor Club for three years, was also invited to watch football games at the academy and saw the senior team reach the final of a football tournament in the town.

    Talking about the children and coach Bassirou receiving the shirts, Wendy said: ‘[Bassirou] was extremely appreciative and very humbled when I gave him the kits.

    ‘The children’s excitement and smiles made my holiday even better, it made us all realize how a simple gift of kindness can mean so much to a group of schoolchildren who showed everyone their kits and wore them with great pride.’

    Wendy had help from Michael Sansbury, who trains the children at Castletown Football Club, with sorting the donated shirts and chairman Ben Clark said the club was ‘delighted’ to be asked to play a small part in bringing smiles to the children in Gambia through their shared love of football.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Before The Gamble In The Gambia: Memo to Buhari, by Cornelius Segun Ojo

    18/Jan/2017 // 1957 Viewers

    Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit. If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots. — Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-182)


    The current political impasse in The Gambia has placed a burden of history on Nigeria’s President MohammaduBuhari (PMB). And unless the situation is handled with utmost care, another haven for Boko Haram, ISIL and Al Shabab elements is in the offing. 

    Following the December 1, 2016 general elections which President Jammeh initially conceded to Mr Adama Barrow, the opposition candidate, the U-turn by the President to reject the election result based on alleged malpractices (and later cancelled), has raised the stakes not only in Gambia but also across the world. In the midst of ensuing tensions, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) set up a committee headed by President Buhari to mediate in the crisis and restore orderliness.

    However, sentiments so far by ECOWAS point in the direction of military intervention. Hence, this public memo to President Buhari, urging him to ensure peace and not war reigns.

    First and foremost, from what can be advanced from the electoral processes, President Jammeh appeared genuine to organise a credible election, and also was confident of his victory (for whatever reason). Watching the video of his concession speech, President Jammeh appeared shocked, but nonetheless, he wore a brave face to accept his defeat and concede to his opponent. While it is noble and heroic to accept defeat even before the process is concluded and reports from field managers collated and analysed, the implication here is that, evidence of malpractices might emerge thereafter, and a rejection of the result already accepted is likely to cause confusion, as it turns out. Ghana’s recent example, where the ruling party refused to accept defeat even in the face of pressures mounted by the opposition and a section of the press, until they were satisfied of the sanctity of the process, appears more credible. Notwithstanding however, the fact must be reiterated that, accepting and conceding defeat does not rob off on allegation of electoral malfeasance – morally or legally.

    The pertinent question to ask is: why did President Jammeh reject the election results? The fact that the Electoral Commission admitted errors and fiddled with figures should be of grave concerns to all advocates of democracy and accountability. Since elections are a game of numbers, recording correct figures for all candidates thus becomes a matter of duty. The moment an allegation of padding of figures surfaces, the credibility of the election results becomes compromised. Only courts are then vested with the powers to ascertain the errors, and validate/invalidate the results. Rejigging the figures as carried out by the Gambian Electoral Commission remains a nullity.
    Nigeria Raises Army Battalion For Gambia, Ready To ‘Forcefully’ Remove Yahya Jammeh

    Still, President Jammeh may have been confronted with credible proofs of electoral fraud both from his field managers and the security apparatuses. Another plausible reason may be that foreign interests compromised the process. Given the fact President Jammeh recently stirred controversies — pulling out of the Commonwealth and the controversial International Criminal Court (ICC); as well as declaring Gambia an Islamic Republic, not a few feathers of the ‘owners of the world’ would have been ruffled. The election may therefore have presented a perfect opportunity and means to kick out another independent-minded African leader. Mr. President Sir, whichever of the above may be the case, writing from the perspective of the concept of power; I will argue that it will be an extraordinary decision for anyone holding the levers of powers to overlook and concede to pullers of the rug under his/her feet. While this is natural, institutions of State may also push against allowing such democratic infractions to stand.
    Flowing from the above, the decisions by ECOWAS, not to bother to investigate the veracity or otherwise of the allegations of electoral malpractices, but to simply condemn and threaten President Jammeh appear to have scuppered the peace initiatives. This costly error also negates the principle of peace and conflict resolution which does not favour apportioning of blames. It also puts President Jammeh on a moral ground with his insistence that ECOWAS was ab initio, not interested in peaceful resolution but to simply intimidate and humiliate him. The situation now is grim and the fate of millions of Gambians hangs in the balance.

    No doubt, PMB will be under intense pressure to act and restore the opposition Adama Barrow to power. Whether Nigeria should embrace the military option being pushed now appears to be a matter of serious concern.

    To enable PMB decide on the best route to go, I list four reasons, why Nigeria should eschew violence. In the run up to the invasion of Libya by NATO, there was a sharp disagreement among African leaders, with majority going against the planned invasion. President Obama was said to have spoken to then President Goodluck Jonathan on phone, persuading him to endorse the invasion (without Nigeria’s approval, the plan would have been defeated). Libya today is a failed State while humanity has been put on the precipice. Most Africans (that I have met) bitterly complained that Nigeria was responsible for the collapse of Libya. The level of mistrust between Nigerians and other Africans thus appear to be on the increase.

    Spearheading another war in Gambia will surely make the matter worse. Besides, Nigeria has had to pay heavily for the collapse of Libya, as looted weapons and NATO munitions found their ways into the hands of Boko haram in what can be regarded as a coordinated conspiracy against Nigeria by the invading nations. Over twenty thousands of innocent Nigerians and thousands more of our security personnel have also been killed, maimed and dehumanised. Most observers will be wondering whether Nigeria will commit itself to another potential catastrophe in Gambia.
    PMB will also recall that he contested elections three times before succeeding the fourth time in 2015. In those three periods, PMB was dissatisfied, and notwithstanding his shaky believe in the Nigerian judiciary, embraced the courts and never resorted to violence. Most observers may then be wondering why Nigeria will opt for violent intervention in Gambia. Very importantly too, Nigeria should not encourage the opposition candidate, Mr Adama Barrow to declare himself President. The situation will take another dimension from electoral disputes to treasonable offence. Historically, Nigeria has passed through this dangerous phase.

    The self-declaration by the late Chief MKO Abiola (RIP) in the disputed June 12 1993 elections, led to his arrest by the late head of State, General Sani Abacha(RIP). The ensuing violence exacerbated the crisis that nearly tore Nigeria apart. Eventually, both Chief Abiola and General Abaca were sacrificed in order to end the violence. Finally here, there is no evidence in the public domain suggesting that the people of Gambia prefer a violent change. Unlike in Nigeria and other places were by now, violent protests would have broken out; the people of Gambia appear to remain peaceful. This is not to suggest that they are weak. They may have weighed the consequences of a violent uprising. I strongly believe their preference for peace should be respected.
    However, in the event that the military option is finally embraced, ECOWAS should brace itself for a long-drawn battle with attendant humanitarian crisis. By the time the grim images of war begin to pour in, particularly of children and women, with allegations of rape and other avoidable war crimes, the public opinion as usual will change, and leaders will face the accusation of being quick to resort to a violent solution when peaceful resolution should have been embraced. Potentially also, Gambia could descend into ethnic war — a familiar turf in Africa.
    But the scariest of the likely scenarios, is the possibility of the dispersed elements of Boko Haram, ISIL and Al Shabab congregating in The Gambia to as they always claim, fight the infidels who invade another Islamic Republic. This will throw the surrounding countries into crises. In the case that President Jammeh is removed violently and Mr Barrow is installed, the possibility is that he will be presiding over a dislocated and destroyed nation. He will be at the mercy of foreign troops as Gambia’s wounded Armed Forces will not be able to guarantee him protection. Crises like assassinations, coups and counter coups could well become the order of the day.
    Mr President, from Iraq to Afghanistan, Yemen to Libya and Syria, none of the military interventions have succeeded in bringing the desired change, rather millions of innocent lives have been wasted wile nation states have failed. There is every possibility of Gambia becoming another failed state.

    Regrettably albeit hypocritically, the masterminds of these invasions have voiced their frustrations in bringing about peace to the destroyed nations.

    President Obama in particular recently admitted his regrets over Libya. Sadly, the crocodile tears cannot bring back the perished souls. Former South African President Tabo Mbeki confessed that former British PM Tony Blair suggested to South Africa that a military option should be considered to remove President Mugabe, but they refused. Today, Zimbabwe cannot be compared with the bloody situations in Syria and Libya where the military option was embraced. It is time West African leaders extricate themselves from the UN/EU/US pressures on them to always embrace military option in solving the sub-region’s problems. In conclusion, and in view of the foregoing, President Buhari should in the interest of humanity, strengthen the peace process and resist pressures to bring another African nation down.

    This piece was written by Cornelius Segun Ojo. 


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