GAMBIA: World in deep shock as members of former special military unit desert JAMMEH, open another can of worms
PARIS, DECEMBER 2, 2016: (DGW) GAMBIANS have taken to the streets celebrating in the belief that the opposition candidate , Adama Barrow , may have defeated longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh in the country's hotly contested presidential election, The BBC has reported.
BBC, further, reports that Mr. Barrow maintains an early lead with more than half of the results released by the country's electoral commission.
Watch Gambians celebrating in the video footage below:
Video: Courtesy of BBC
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The head of The Gambia's electoral commission has declared opposition candidate Adama Barrow as the winner of the 2016 presidential election.
The results were:
Adama Barrow - 263,515 votes
Yahya Jammeh - 212,099 votes
The Gambia’s autocratic president, Yahya Jammeh, who once claimed a “billion-year” mandate to rule, has agreed to concede defeat after a shock election loss to a real-estate developer.
Jammeh has ruled the tiny west African nation for more than two decades. If he goes ahead with a peaceful handover of power, challenger Adama Barrow will become its third head of state since independence in 1962.
The head of the Gambia’s electoral commission, Alieu Momarr Njai, said Jammeh would concede on Friday. A video of his speech has already been recorded and is being edited, sources told the Guardian.
It was “very unique” that Jammeh would accept defeat after controlling the Gambia for so long, Njai said
A dog that killed the son of Gambian President Adama Barrow has been put down, an agriculture ministry source has told AFP news agency.
"We concluded that it was not wise to allow this dog to continue roaming in the streets. We carried out some test and realised that the dog is not infected with rabies," the anonymous source said.
Eight-year-old Habibu Barrow is reported to have died on the way to hospital in Manjai near the Gambian capital, Banjul.
Mr Barrow won the presidential election last year but then incumbent President Yahya Jammeh refused to hand over power.
Mr Jammeh eventually left The Gambia after regional powers said they were prepared to remove him by force, if necessary.
Mr Barrow missed his son's funeral because he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety at the time. - (BBC)
PARIS, FEBRUARY 2, 2017: (DGW) After a lengthy political imbroglio, longstanding Gambian ruler handed over to the opposition candidate and now President of the Republic of The Gambia, Adama Barrow. Below is a narrative of events that eventually led to his historic ouster.
Watch the video below:
Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, has accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country for refusal to step down at the end of his mandate this month.
Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow.
He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.
The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on Jan. 19.
Marcel de Souza, commission president for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said last week that the body had put standby forces on alert.
In his speech, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of Dec 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible”.
He apparently acknowledged again that the poll did not go in his favour.
“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.
“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression.
“My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians,” he said.
Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was initially seen as a moment of hope on a continent where autocratic leaders are becoming more entrenched.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped in as an ECOWAS mediator to offer Jammeh an “honorable exit”, but Jammeh said the bloc could no longer fulfill that role.
Authorities in Gambia must free dozens of political prisoners and end the brutal crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly ahead of elections later this year or face suspension from the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Amnesty International said in a new report published today.
Dangerous to Dissent: human rights under threat in Gambia, launched two days before ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government meet in Dakar and six months before Gambia’s presidential elections, outlines the brutal repression of opposition demonstrations in April and May 2016. Dozens of peaceful protesters and bystanders were beaten by police and arrested and 51 people, including the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and several members of the executive, are awaiting trial. At least 36 more people remain detained without charge and one man Solo Sandeng, the UDP National Organising Secretary, died in custody after having been tortured.
“Gambia’s elections are just six months away and yet opposition members are arrested and beaten, journalists are muzzled, and civil society muted,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International Regional Director for West and Central Africa
“Gambia has a long and brutal history of repression of critical voices, and demonstrators such as Solo Sandeng have paid a high price for peaceful protest.”
Nogoi Njie, a businesswoman arrested on 14 April and currently detained, described in an affidavit filed at the High Court how she herself was tortured at the NIA. She explained how she was beaten with hose pipes and batons by men clothed in black hoods and black gloves while water was poured over her. No thorough, impartial, independent and transparent investigation into Sandeng’s death has taken place, despite appeals by the United Nations, ECOWAS, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, European Union and United States. On 29 May President Jammeh told magazine Jeune Afrique that “People die in custody or during interrogations, it’s really common. This time, there is only one dead and they want investigations? No one can tell me what to do in my country.”
Other recent cases highlighted in the report include the death in custody in February 2016 of union leader Sheriff Dibba, the arrest in October 2015 and enforced disappearance of Imam Sawaneh after he submitted a petition to the President, and the arrest and trial of independent journalist Alhagie Ceesay in July 2015 for sharing a photo on Whatsapp.
The report outlines patterns of violations since the last Presidential elections in November 2011, which ECOWAS refused to monitor due to “intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power, the lack of neutrality of state and para-statal institutions, and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.” Since that time new laws have been introduced to further restrict the right to freedom of expression, such as laws repressing online dissent, and three media outlets have been closed on five different occasions. Dozens of journalists have fled the country because of persecution.
Gambian authorities have long used the Public Order Act to prohibit gatherings of opposition parties, although a period of relaxation between April 2015 and April 2016 was observed before the most recent crackdown. Political opponents have also been arrested and tortured, including three members of the UDP imprisoned since 2013.
Civil society organizations, human rights defenders and even government officials who are perceived to dissent have been arbitrarily arrested and harassed, while the widespread practice and perception of surveillance adds to a climate of fear in which the majority of people dare not openly speak out against the government.
A civil society activist told Amnesty International:
“You don’t feel safe anywhere, even in your home. You don’t trust even your maids or drivers. You can pay someone $10 and they will give information. In public spaces you don’t speak about sensitive things or in public transport. You are trying to protect yourself and your family and want to keep safe.”
The report documents how Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) regularly prints out telephone records of people without any judicial authorisation or oversight, and maintains a system of informants, to report on the activities of those under surveillance.
A journalist in exile told Amnesty International: “You don’t know who is going to report you. You don’t know who is behind you. You don’t know who is paid by the NIA to be an informant.” - Vanguard
A kitchen porter has been made a co-owner of the four-time winner of the world's best restaurant. Ali Sonko, 62, is now a partner at Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant where he has been working since it opened.
Mr Sonko, from the Gambia, was unveiled as one of three new partners, alongside two of its managers.
The two-Michelin starred restaurant closed its doors after 14 years at the current location, and will reopen in December as an "urban farm".
"Ali is the heart and soul of Noma," chef Rene Redzepi explained to friends gathered to celebrate the restaurant at the weekend, according to Danish newspaper Berlingske.
"I don't think people appreciate what it means to have a person like Ali in the house. He is all smiles, no matter how his 12 children fare.
"And, by the way, my own father was also named Ali, and he too worked as a dishwasher when he came to Denmark."
At the time, Mr Sonko, a farmer in the Gambia before his arrival in Copenhagen, described it as the "best job" he had ever had to Danish website BT.
"I cannot describe how happy I am to work here," he said. "These are the best people to work with, and I'm good friends with everyone. They exhibit enormous respect for me, and no matter what I say or ask about, they are there for me. And that's enough for me to say that it's the best job I've ever had."
Posting a picture of Mr Sonko and fellow new co-owners restaurant managers Lau Richter and James Spreadbury to Instagram, Mr Redzepi added: "This is only the beginning, as we plan to surprise several more of our staff with a piece of the walls that they have chosen to work so hard within."
Noma, which made its name with its locally sourced, Nordic food, has been named Best Restaurant in the World in the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best a further three times.
This post was syndicated from the BBC
The US government has begun deporting scores of Liberians deemed "undesirable" because they have committed various crimes or offences.
The first batch of around 20 were flown into Monrovia, Liberia's capital, today.
Liberia's ambassador to the US, Jeremiah Solunteh, told state radio that 53 of those to be deported have already "been processed" and are awaiting deportation. In the end between 100 and 200 will be deported.
The Liberians are coming home just as tens of thousands of others rush to meet the 7 November deadline for playing the annual US government's diversity visa lotto.
It gives non-Americans an opportunity to live and work in the US.
Liberia was founded in the 19th Century by freed black slaves repatriated from the US following the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
There are thousands of Liberians currently living in the US under the government's so-called Temporary Protection Status as a consequence of the civil war that ended 13 years ago.
(PUNCH) - The President of Benin Republic, Mr. Patrice Talon, has said all countries in the West African sub-region are suffering the negative effects of Nigeria’s economic downturn.
Talon, who was on a one-day visit to Nigeria, spoke through an interpreter with State House correspondents shortly after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
The visiting President observed that although Nigeria was blessed with enormous potential, the country had relied on oil for too long.
He described Nigeria as the engine room of the sub region, warning that the engine should not be allowed to run down.
Talon said it was time for Nigeria to go back to the basics and re-energise its economy.
He said, “Nigeria has great resources and potential but unfortunately, it has relied on oil for long. Nigeria has not been able to explore all the potential. Other countries in the sub-region are suffering from this. This is the time to go back to our internal resources and draw from our potential.
“The crisis hitting Nigeria is also hitting us. It is time to go back to the basics and develop our resources, energise our economy and move forward.
“Nigeria is the engine room of our sub-region and this crisis should not be allowed to run down the engine.”
He said during the meeting he had with Buhari, he enumerated some issues of common interest that included security and energy.
On energy, he said while it was true that both countries were facing energy problem, Benin Republic needed Nigeria to address its own challenges.
He said his country would also serve as a pleasure place for Nigeria because his government would invest in tourism and target Nigeria, which he noted, had a lot of middle class citizens.
The visiting President also said Benin Republic would be made a centre of learning and his government would like to see students coming from Nigeria.
“When you have a big metropolis like Nigeria, people will need a serene place for learning and Benin will provide that,” he said.
Buhari said as part of moves to help Benin Republic address its energy problem, the two countries would make sure that the West African Gas Pipeline was made more efficient.
He said, “This government is making all the efforts to stabilise the situation because the resources are there. The world knows that Nigeria has plenty of gas reserves, what we need to do is to stabilise the environment, so that the gas can be regularly pumped to the sub-region, through the infrastructure already in place.”