• GAMBIA: Air Commodore Yusuf returns home to Nigeria, boasts, 'We would have applied force against Yahya Jammeh'

    03/Feb/2017 // 4193 Viewers

     

    It was a moment of joy and ecstasy as 97 airmen and officers returned to the country from The Republic of Gambia after they successfully ousted the Gambian former leader, Yahya Jammeh from power.

    The Commander of the troops, Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, said the Airforce would have applied force if Jammeh hadn’t stepped down.

    National Daily learnt that they were part of the 200 Nigerian Air Force (NAF) contingent deployed after Jammeh refused to cede power to his successor, Adama Barrow who won the 1st December, 2016 general elections.

    The contingent, who arrived in a NAF 918 C-130 aircraft and two alpha jets, were said to have shown off their military strength by continually flying over the former President, Jammeh’s residence from their base in Senegal.

    National Daily further gathered that as a result of different NAF air lifts and aircrafts flying over, coupled with other countries, the Gambian military had no option than to have downed their weapons for fear of vengeance, given the strength of their military power.

    Receiving the contingent on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, said the remaining personnel were left behind to ensure stability and reintegration of the Gambian military forces.

    According to him, “The discipline and professional conduct you all maintained was highly commendable and worthy of mention. Your cooperation with sister services and other military forces of other ECOWAS countries is also commendable.

    “We are glad that democratic order has been maintained in The Gambia and stability achieved through your efforts. You have proven to be good ambassadors of NAF and made Nigeria proud.

    Air Vice Marshal Gbum reiterated that the Airforce would have applied force if Jammeh had not stepped down. “Yes, we would have applied force to restore peace. We went with our fighting forces,” he said.

    In a chat with National Daily, the leader of the contingent Commander Yusuf said, “We conducted the operation with deterrence and diplomacy. When we gained access to the state house, from what we saw, Jammeh was prepared for war.

    “But for the Airpower that we showed, as we were the first country to show up at The Gambia, he would not have stepped down.

    For now, we have won the battle but it’s left for the political leaders to win the peace and stabilise the country.”

    It was learnt that the remaining troops would remain in the Gambia until stability is achieved and the ECOWAS leaders decide that all security forces of other nations stand down.

    They were deployed about three weeks and they returned to the country about 6pm on Thursday evening.


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  • World leaders in shock as JAMMEH remains adamant, resumes reign of terror

    03/Jan/2017 // 3045 Viewers

     

    Security forces in The Gambia have shut down two private radio stations, the main press union has said, amid a crisis over President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down.

    Head of The Gambia Press Union Emil Touray yesterday described the closure of Teranga FM and Hilltop Radio as a “slap in the face” for democracy.

    This is the first sign of a crackdown on the media since Mr Jammeh refused to accept defeat in the December 1 poll.
    He first took power in a coup in 1994.

    The Gambian strongman initially conceded to property developer Adama Barrow, but then launched court action to annul the result, saying the poll was marred by irregularities.

    The electoral commission said the poll was free and fair.
    Both radio stations were closed on Sunday.

    “People will not have access to information in this critical period of our history,” Mr Touray is quoted by Reuters as saying.
    Four National Intelligence Agency operatives and a police officer visited the offices of Teranga FM to demand its closure, a staff member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    There has been no official comment from the government.

    Teranga FM manager Alagie Ceesay was arrested in July 2015 on charges of sedition and “publication of false news” – allegations he denied.
    The Gambia ranked 145 out of 180 countries in media campaign group Reporters Without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

    It said there was “a climate of terror around anything remotely to do with journalism”.

    The UN and West African regional body Ecowas have urged Mr Jammeh to respect the will of the people and step down when his term ends on 19 January.

    Ecowas officials say that neighbouring Senegal’s troops are ready to intervene if Mr Jammeh refuses to hand power to Mr Barrow.
    Mr Jammeh said that any deployment would be an “act of war”.

    Mr Barrow caused a major upset by defeating Mr Jammeh by 43.3% to 39.6%.
    The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965.

    It is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches.


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  • Tension rises in West African sub-region as President Buhari begins actualization of ECOWAS mandate on GAMBIA

    03/Jan/2017 // 11245 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 3, 2016: (DGW) Nigeria's leader and ECOWAS mediator for the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly begun the process of the execution of his task as he discharges his mandate as the Economic Community of West African States, Press Agency has reported.

    This is coming on the heels of the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held at the tail end of last year, on December 17, 2016, to be precise in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.

    Press Agency further reports that the direction of the President, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, is leading a Mediation Support Team (MST), working with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama.

    The committee has begun immediate consultations with leaders in the sub-region as well as with international partners.

    On the direction of the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, is leading a Mediation Support Team (MST), working with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama. The committee has begun immediate consultations with leaders in the sub-region as well as with international partners.

    The main task of the Mediation Support Team is to undertake the first phase of the preparatory and support work that would lead to a high level meeting of the Mediator (President Buhari) and the stakeholders.

    Buhari remains optimistic that a peaceful resolution in line with the laws and constitution of the Gambia is possible before January 19.

    However, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh recently said the Economic Community of West African States’s decision to send troops into The Gambia to force him to accept defeat in last month’s presidential election, is “a declaration of war”.

    ECOWAS had said it would stage a military intervention, led by neighbouring Senegal, if Jammeh failed to step down and set a deadline of January 19, the day of Barrow’s planned inauguration.

    *Press Agency contributed to this news report

     


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  • Gambia's election chief slips into exile following death threats

    03/Jan/2017 // 2894 Viewers

     

    The man who oversaw the last presidential elections in the Gambia has reportedly fled the country following death threats on his life. Local media portals say his family confirmed that he was no longer in the Gambia but would also not disclose his location.

     
    Alieu Momar Njai, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had earlier vowed to defend the validity of the results he declared on December 2 last year. He was forced out of his office by security officials on December 13.
     
    Momar Njai has previously been defiant after President Yahya Jammeh’s questioned the validity of the election result, which he lost to opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow. Njai said the ruling party was likely to lose any poll petition arising from the elections.
     
    “If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The election results were correct, nothing will change that,” he told Reuters weeks back.
     
    Jammeh’s refusal of the results largely rests on the IEC’s amendment of declared results five days after Barrow had been announced as president-elect. Of the two sets of results, the earlier one announced 24 hours after the polls showed a wide gap between Jammeh and Barrow. An amended one however showed a closer margin between the two.
     
    The original results were as follows:
     
    Adama Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%) 
    President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%)
    A third party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 102,969 (17.8%)
     
    The amended results published after the correction:
     
    Adama Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%)
    President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
    Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)
     
    The electoral offices were seized on the day that Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was meeting with Jammeh and Barrow in Banjul. No reasons were given at the time.
     
    The premises was however vacated by the security recently with the government ordering employees of the IEC to go back to work. They cited an imminent plot to burn down the building as reason for the ‘occupation.’
     
    Meanwhile, the country’s Chief Justice has slated December 10 for the first hearing of an election petition filed by Jammeh’s party. This was after judges were imported in order to constitute a court panel. The hearing is nine days away from the investiture of Barrow – an event ECOWAS leaders have promised to honor. - africanews


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  • Nigerian Govt divided as Nigeria's Deputy Senate President foresees bloodshed, warns against military action in The Gambia

    03/Jan/2017 // 12699 Viewers

     Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

    Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has warned against military action in the Gambia following that country’s presidential election, saying such action could threaten the security of the entire sub-region.
    The warning is in a statement issued by the Senate deputy president’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr Uche Anichukwu on Tuesday in Abuja. Ekweremadu said such action could plunge the country into bloodletting and threaten the peace of the sub-region.

    The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh lost to Mr Adama Barrow in the Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election but insisted that he would not handover power on Jan. 18.

    Nigeria’s deputy president of the Senate then urged the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, as well as the international community to explore dialogue and to allow Gambian laws to prevail as a sovereign nation.

    Ekweremadu, who is a former Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament), also called for sanctions, in line with the traditions and relevant Protocols of ECOWAS.

    According to him, sanctions should be considered in the event that dialogue and judicial options fail.

    He added that “from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, among others, West Africa has seen so much bloodletting and political instability.

    “Heavy destruction of lives and property has been visited on the sub-region by insurgency and terrorism, which remain present danger to the peace and security of West Africa.

    “Instructively, what normally started like child’s play often resulted in protracted, but avoidable political upheavals and fratricidal wars.”

    The deputy president of the senate urged major stakeholders, particularly the ECOWAS of Heads of State and Government, to tread with caution.

    He called for respect of the laws of the country, which allowed for judicial intervention in electoral disputes.

    “We must all acknowledge the fact that Gambia is a sovereign state.

    “If her Constitution and electoral laws allow for judicial role in resolving electoral disputes, then the Gambian constitutional courts must be allowed to count in resolving the political impasse.

    “If the Gambian laws are preempted and her sovereignty breached, it could set a bad and crisis-triggering precedence.

    “The sub-region must uphold the rule of law for the sake of the peace, stability and prosperity of Gambia.

    “We must take all necessary steps as a sub-region to steer the West African nation and indeed the entire community away from any looming bloodshed and monumental destruction,’’ he said.

    However, Ekweremadu commended ECOWAS Heads of State and Government for the concern and commitment toward resolving the political situation in Gambia.

    He further commended the efforts made by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the political situation in the country.

    He urged Gambian authorities to ensure the protection of the fundamental and political rights of all Gambians and the opposition, to avoid escalation of the crisis.


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  • Liberia opposition leader no longer wanted - Police

    03/Jun/2016 // 553 Viewers

     

    Police in Liberia announced Wednesday they are no longer seeking an opposition leader who went into hiding after alleging the existence of a government blacklist of opponents.

    Simeon Freeman, leader of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), spoke out in February after the mysterious death of leading government critic Harry Greaves.

    Police asked for Freeman to surrender himself for questioning after he said critics of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had been listed for “elimination” and alleged Greaves, the former head of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, had enemies within government.

    In a statement, the National Police said it had been instructed “to drop all perceived claims and charges… and declare that Mr. Freeman is no longer wanted for questioning on concerns growing out of his utterances that the government of the Republic of Liberia had a list of politicians to eliminate.”

    MPC Chairman John Ballon told Anadolu Agency: “The only thing the government of Liberia needed to do was to come out with their charges and see if Simeon Freeman could not defend himself but they did not do that.”

    Credit: - Turkish Weekly


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  • Gambia must end brutal crackdown - Rights Group turn to ECOWAS leaders for help

    03/Jun/2016 // 729 Viewers

    Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh arrives for a summit to address a seminar on security during an event marking the centenary of the unification of Nigeria's north and south in Abuja, Nigeria. Gambian activists and politicians have called on West Africa's economic body to take actions against Gambia for its brutal crackdown on rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the run-up to elections later in the year. The calls come as Amnesty International released a report Thursday, June 2, 2016, that says amid opposition protests, peaceful demonstrators and bystanders were beaten and arrested in April and May.

    (AP) Gambian activists and politicians have called on West Africa's economic body to take actions against Gambia for its brutal crackdown on rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the run-up to elections later in the year.

    The calls come as Amnesty International released a report Thursday that says amid opposition protests, peaceful demonstrators and bystanders were beaten and arrested in April and May. The group says 51 people, including the leader and executive members of the opposition United Democratic Party, await trial and at least 36 others have been detained without charge.

    Opposition party secretary Solo Sandeng died in custody after torture, the group said, demanding accountability for President Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power since 1994.

    "Gambia is already in bad state. I would recommend that targeted sanctions to be applied against President Jammeh and his close associates," women rights activist Fatoumata Tambajang said.

    Tambajang called on countries like Senegal and Nigeria to put maximum pressure on Jammeh to step down.

    Gambians are forced to face a choice between speaking out or remaining safe, Amnesty said. New laws that further restricted the right to freedom of expression have been introduced since November 2011 elections, and journalists have fled Gambia because of persecution.

    Civil society activists have said they can't trust anyone.

    Gambia, a part of the Economic Community Of West African States, must observe and comply with its protocol on democracy and good governance, Amnesty said, calling for its suspension from the body if no progress on human rights is made.

    Top leaders from the organization have met with Senegal President Macky Sall, the chairman of ECOWAS, to ensure strong actions before the body meets for a summit beginning June 4.

     


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  • GAMBIA: President ADAMA BARROW urged to adhere to provisions of 1997 constitution, repeal an infamous law without delay

    03/Mar/2017 // 1020 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 3, 2017: (DGW) THE  President of the Republic of the Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow has been urged to adhere to the provisions of the 1997 constitution by repealing without delay the age limit of the office of the president and his vice.

    This age limit according to Mr Hallifah Sallah, the spokesman of the Transitional Government is unconstitutional and should as, a matter of fact, be annulled and discontinued.

    He made the disclosure to the transitional leaders and reiterated the need for the Bill to be debated in the country's parliament in line with the provisions of the constitution.

    While fielding questions from journalists in a news conference yesterday in the Gambian capital of banjul, Mr Sallah  said due process was observed in the amendment of the Election Act, but faulted the repealing of the age limit for the president and vice president.

    His words: “When you dealing with the constitution, you cannot go by section 101. It has a section of its own in the constitution and that’s section 226. So what it says is that when you are to introduce a bill to amend the constitution prior to doing so; you must publish it in the gazette for three months for the first reading.  And then publish it again nothing less than ten days; the second publication before introducing it in the national assembly. So that has been made clear after it was done. And there is absolutely no doubt that government sees eye to eye with that particular position and obviously, they will be doing the rectification.  So that bill have to be returned to the national assembly for remedial actions to be made.”


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  • GAMBIA: Dawn of new era for GAMBIANS as post-Jammeh parliamentary poll holds on Thursday

    04/Apr/2017 // 955 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 4, 2017: (DGW) All is now set for elections on Thursday in the Gambia since the longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh relinquished his hold on power, AFP reports.

    However expectations are high that the new parliament would be overhauled by the new lawmakers who were once dismissed as mere willing tools acting the scripts of the deposed exiled leader, Yahyah Jammeh.

    Gambians complain that under Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, laws were often made by executive decree and buttressed by legislation much later on, if at all.

    The 239 registered candidates representing nine different political parties on Tuesday end campaigning for the 48 seats up for election in the Banjul legislature.

    Five seats are also appointed by the president, totalling 53 spots in the tiny west African nation’s parliament, and with just 886,000 registered voters according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), every ballot matters.

    Awa Lowe, a resident of Kanifing, a Banjul suburb, told AFP expectations were high that the new parliament would ensure true accountability for government decisions.

    “The next parliament will not be a rubber stamp National Assembly that passes any bill that comes before parliamentarians,” Lowe told AFP.

    “Parliament will be diverse and that is what will make it interesting. No party would have the numerical strength to pass bills that are not in line with the interest of the people,” Lowe added.

    The landscape of Gambian politics could not have shifted more dramatically since the last legislative elections in 2012, when Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) took 43 seats, with a large number uncontested due to an opposition boycott.

    Among the parties running this year, the United Democratic Party (UDP) is fielding the greatest number of candidates after long being seen as the strongest opposition force in Gambian politics.

    Alagie Darboe, deputy administrative secretary of the UDP who is standing for a seat in The Gambia’s West Coast Region, said the party was aiming to win in 44 constituencies.

    “The support we are getting from the electorate during the campaign is a clear indication that we are going to win,” he told AFP.

    President Adama Barrow, who won December’s presidential race, was a former UDP treasurer who had resigned to run as the candidate of an unprecedented opposition coalition.

    After a drawn-out crisis caused by Jammeh’s initial refusal to step down, mediation efforts by west African leaders and the threat of military intervention eventually delivered the country’s first ever democratic transition.

    Barrow’s cabinet is made up of the heads of seven different political parties, all of which will field candidates in Thursday’s poll.
    The president had initially said the opposition coalition was a “family” and would run again as a group in the legislative poll, but internal tensions broke apart the agreement.

    As a result, parties whose leaders govern together as ministers will be pitted against each other at the ballot box, stoking tensions that some close to the government say could play into the hands of the APRC.

    Yankuba Colley, the APRC’s campaign chief, said the party knew mistakes were made during the presidential election, but added that his candidates were working hard to show it was still a vital force.

    “We are optimistic that we are going to defeat our opponents in the 29 constituencies (where) we fielded candidates,” he told AFP.

    “Some of our party militants felt they made errors in the presidential elections,” he added. “Some of our militants thought APRC was dead… they are now convinced the party is alive.”

    Although much has changed since the last vote, one peculiarly Gambian institution remains firmly in place.

    Gambians vote with marbles dropped into coloured metal barrels representing the different candidates, and despite rumours of reform, the system will be used again for the legislative elections, IEC chairman Alieu Momar Njie told AFP.


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  • GAMBIAN trader says country has rejoined civilized world as President Adama Barrow blows hot, scraps Jammeh's four-day week

    04/Feb/2017 // 2140 Viewers

     Adama Barrow, President, Republic of The Gambia


    PARIS, FEBRUARY 4, 207: (DGW) A Gambian trader, Allieu Cessay based in the Gambian largest city of Serekunda has said that The Gambia has rejoined the civilized world following the scrapping of a four-day week introduced by his President Adama Barrow's predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, BBC reports.

    Earlier in a statement,  Adama Barrow said that public sector employees would now have to work a half-day on Fridays too. It would, however, be recalled that four years ago Mr. Jammeh had said the country's mainly Muslim population should use Fridays to pray, socialize and tend to fields.

    But in a sudden reversal by the new leader, the working week, has been officially shortened by three-and-half hours.

    Reacting to the new official order, BBC reports that Allieu Cessay while speaking the minds of his countrymen and women happily said The Gambia has now rejoined the civilized world.

    His words, "Now we have rejoined the civilized world," BBC quoted Allieu Ceesay, a trader in Serekunda as saying.

     


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