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

    03/Mar/2017 // 1022 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, NIGERIA chided as EU, Switzerland blow hot, send powerful message on Human Rights

    03/May/2017 // 4641 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 3, 2017: (DGW) Grave concern have been expressed by a delegation of the European Union, and the Ambassador of Switzerland to  Nigeria over the death penalty which holds sway particularly in Nigeria and The Gambia.

    This was in reaction to the planned execution of some convicted criminals on death row by the Lagos State government.

    Recall, some prisoners' execution was authorised in Edo State in deep south Nigeria by the state government.

    In an official statement issued by the European Union and Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, the duo condemned the death penalty in its entirety adding that it is no more of relevance in today's world since it has not been able to deter criminal behaviour and therefore represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

    They urged the state governors as well as Nigerian authorities and the Gambia authorities to uphold the moratorium on death penalty.

    Amid grave concern, they stressed that Nigeria and The Gambia are the only countries in ECOWAS still executing their citizens.

    “We are committed to contributing to the strengthening of the Nigerian Judicial system and the promotion of rule of law and justice for Nigerian citizens, and we look forward to further supporting Nigerian authorities in adopting appropriate legislation to improve the rights and safety of Nigerian citizens,” they said.


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  • GAMBIA: SOLDIER found with pistol in BANJUL Mosque where ADAMA BARROW prayed to know fate soon

    03/May/2017 // 599 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 3, 2017: (DGW) Banjul magistrate court is set to rule on the statement obtained from Sergeant Babucarr Njie, a Gambian military officer found with a pistol in Banjul Mosque where the President was observing Jumat service prayers was voluntary or obtained under duress, sources have disclosed.

    Reports reaching us say the prosecution witness failed to come to the court which informed Njie defence counsel, Sheriff Kumba Jobe, pray for its dismissal and his client be acquitted.

    Recall Sergeant Njie was arrested with a pistol with live ammunition by the regional intervention force (ECOMOG) at King Fahd Mosque where President Adama Barrow was reportedly observing congressional prayers. 

    Speaking Njie defence counsel invoked section 24 of the Gambian constitution which stipulates a time limit for an accused trial.

    Against this background, he argued that the absence of the prosecution witness is a pointer to the fact that the Inspector General has lost interest in the case and therefore prayed that presiding magistrate dismisses the case and free the accused.

    He said, "Since the IGP has abandoned prosecution of this case, the accused should be released," counsel insisted, and added, "Therefore, we urge this court to grant the application, dismiss the suit and discharge the accused person accordingly."


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

    04/Apr/2017 // 954 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 // 2143 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 // 4138 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 // 3331 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 // 1947 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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  • Breaking: Gambia President-elect , ADAMA BARROW, not dead, he is safe and well

    04/Jan/2017 // 1430 Viewers

     

    Gambia President-elect has debunked rumour making the rounds that he has been assassinated but contrary to earlier media reports, Gambia’s president-elect, Adama Barrow is hale and hearty.

    CBN Television, Banjul had ‎earlier reported that he was murdered by that unknown assailants who overpowered his security guards, leaving two dead and six others injured from gunshots.

    However, a tweet from his official handle, @adama_barrow, ‎said he’s alive and well. “We would like to inform you that the President-elect is alive and well. #Gambia‎”, it read.
    adama_barrow

    adama_barrow

    His rumoured death is coming few days after he referred to the country’s constitution that a court action taken by supposed outgoing President Yahya Jammeh cannot prevent the winner of the poll from assuming office as mandated by the constitution.

    “It should be crystal clear that filing an election petition is the private matter of a loser in an election. It does not prevent mandatory constitutional processes from taking place.

    “ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations could only intervene if the two presidents fail to do, with impeccable thoroughness, what the constitution of the republic demands,” Barrow, who vowed to take office on January 19 despite the refusal of Jammeh to give up power, had stated.


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  • GAMBIA: Dozens freed from Gambia's overcrowded jails - AFP

    04/Mar/2017 // 1604 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 4, 2017: (DGW) Almost 100 prisoners including rapists and robbers have been freed from Gambian jails as the new government struggles to reform an overcrowded system that long relied on strict mandatory sentencing.

    Even first-time offenders were given sentences without parole under the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, and the new government has vowed to overhaul unsanitary penitentiaries they say are unfit for purpose.

    A government source told AFP Friday that new President Adama Barrow had pardoned scores of prisoners from three different jails, some convicted of serious violent offences.

    NEW FACILITIES

    "The Prison high command Thursday released 98 prisoners who were held at Mile Two, Old Jeshwang and Janjanbureh Prisons. They were discharged on the directive of President Adama Barrow," the source said.

    Among them were rapists, robbers, burglars and people convicted for firearms offences, the source added, and 16 were foreign nationals from Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the source added.

    The pardons come two weeks after Barrow pardoned 174 other prisoners, and follows a vow by his Interior Minister Mai Fatty to build facilities in line with international norms after shocking footage emerged of prisoners kept in dark and bare concrete cells.

    OVERCROWDED

    A prison officer at the country's most notorious jail, Mile Two, said Barrow may also have been forced to act after the interior ministry took stock of numbers at the facility.

    "I believe the present government wants to tackle the problem of overcrowding in the prisons," the source at Mile Two told AFP.

    After seeing fellow prisoners released, those left behind protested, the source added. "They felt they should be granted amnesty so that they can have a fresh start in life."

    PRISONS UNDER JAMMEH

    The same source confirmed Friday that the former head of The Gambia's prisons under Jammeh was being investigated in connection with the disappearance of a former head of Gambian intelligence who was accused of plotting a coup.

    "(David Colley) is being investigated in connection with the disappearance of an ex-Director General of NIA, Daba Marenah, and senior military men who went missing in 2016 after President Yahya Jammeh accused them of trying to overthrow his government," the source said.

    Colley had run the penitentiary system nearly non-stop since 1997 under Jammeh, the longtime leader of the tiny west African state who was forced out of power in January after losing an election. - (AFP)


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