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

    03/Jan/2017 // 11212 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 // 2857 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 // 12664 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 // 538 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 // 718 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 // 1011 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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  • GAMBIAN trader says country has rejoined civilized world as President Adama Barrow blows hot, scraps Jammeh's four-day week

    04/Feb/2017 // 2117 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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  • POST-JAMMEH GAMBIA: President ADAMA BARROW announces plan to carry out major, sweeping reforms

    04/Feb/2017 // 4118 Viewers


    Gambian President Adama Barrow said Saturday that every aspect of his tiny west African state would need an overhaul after ex-leader Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule, but that its dread secret police would remain.

    Barrow faces an uphill task after taking over from Jammeh, who left behind a dysfunctional economy and allegedly emptied state coffers ahead of his departure.

    Rights group blame the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) under his longtime control for forced disappearances and torture. Barrow said the NIA was “an institution that has to continue”, but that its name would be changed and training would be given to its operatives.

    “The rule of the law, that will be the order of the day,” he said. Barrow also addressed one of Jammeh’s most controversial declarations, from 2015, that The Gambia was an “Islamic republic”.
    Barrow, in contrast, insisted the country — whose population is 90 percent Muslim, with the rest Christian and animist — was a republic, “not the Islamic republic”.

    Civil servants would likely return to a five-day work week, breaking with Jammeh’s rule that Friday was a day off in line with his Islamic republic rules.

    “My government is going to look at every avenue and there will be a complete overhaul of the system,” Barrow said, speaking at his first press conference since arriving back from Senegal on Thursday.

    The president promised his cabinet would be named early next week so that he could “get the ball rolling”, adding he would receive the first comprehensive information about the state of the nation’s finances also on Monday or Tuesday.

    Jammeh has been accused by a Barrow aide of taking $11 million from the state coffers before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea, and diplomats have said the country was already in a precarious financial state.

    Barrow’s first cabinet pick, Vice President Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, has caused controversy as she is allegedly too old to serve, according to current constitutional rules.

    Asked about reform of The Gambia’s army, whose poor reputation is partly responsible for the presence of 4,000 west African troops to guarantee Barrow and the population’s safety, the president said he expected foreign nations to provide help.

    “In the army, if we need technical aid, we will contact countries that are willing to help us,” he said. Controversial army chief Ousman Badjie would, however, keep his job, he said. There was “no time set” for the west African force to leave, Barrow added.

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  • JUST IN: Anti-Jammeh T-shirt sellers 'freed' - BBC reports

    04/Jan/2017 // 3311 Viewers


    Mr Jammeh has refused to accept defeat in the 1 December election
    Five opposition sympathisers who were detained in The Gambia for selling or wearing T-shirts seen to be opposed to President Yayha have been released, AFP news agency quotes a security source as saying.

    One of those briefly detained, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said armed men had entered a shop selling merchandise featuring images of property developer Adama Barrow, who defeated Mr Jammeh in elections last month. 

    Caps, badges and T-shirts which had the slogan #GambiaHasDecided were seized, AFP reports. 

    The five were taken to the National Intelligence Agency headquarters where they were cautioned before being released, the agency adds.   

    Mr Jammeh, who first seized power in a coup in 1994, has refused to accept defeat and has launched court action to annul the result, despite pressure from the regional leaders to step down. 

    Mr Barrow has vowed to inaugurate himself as president on 19 January when Mr Jammeh's term ends. 

    Electoral commission chairman Alieu Momar Njai, who declared Mr Barrow the winner, has fled to neighbouring Senegal because of threats to his safety, his family has said. 

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  • Gambia army chief stands by embattled President Jammeh

    04/Jan/2017 // 1918 Viewers


    ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Gambia's army chief reaffirmed his loyalty to embattled President Yahya Jammeh on Wednesday in the face of a possible regional military intervention to enforce the result of an election that dealt the longtime leader a surprise defeat.

    Jammeh initially accepted his defeat in the Dec. 1 election but a week later reversed his position, vowing to hang onto power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.

    West African regional bloc ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on Jan. 19. Jammeh has called the bloc's stance "a declaration of war".

    "May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces," General Ousman Badjie wrote in a letter to Jammeh published in a pro-government newspaper.

    Many Gambians, who have lived through 22 years of Jammeh's increasingly authoritarian rule, were stunned when the elections commission declared opposition figure Adama Barrow the winner of last month's election. Jammeh's initial acceptance of the result sparked nationwide celebrations.

    Badjie declared his allegiance to Barrow soon after the poll results were announced, according to a spokesman for the president-elect. However his position remained unclear following Jammeh's dramatic about-face.

    In an illustration of the growing pressure on Gambian officials as the Jan. 19 deadline looms, Alieu Momarr Njai, the head of the elections commission, fled Gambia on Friday due to fears for his security, family members said.

    Last month Gambian security forces seized control of the commission's headquarters, which holds the original poll records and told staff, including Njai, to leave.

    Over the weekend Gambian security agents closed three private radio stations, making it harder for the incoming government to communicate with its supporters.

    "It is a sign of weakness for any side of the political spectrum to resort to media closures rather than engagement to put one's position across," Barrow's office said on Wednesday in a statement that also called for the release of detainees.

    Leaders of ECOWAS member nations have dismissed Jammeh's move to challenge his election defeat before Gambia's Supreme Court on Jan. 10 and say they will attend Barrow's swearing-in this month. 

    Credit: Reuters

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