Dudu Kasa Jatta, a vocal opposition politician in The Gambia on Monday 18th March 2013 renewed calls for the release ‘detained’ Muslim cleric, Imam Baba Leigh. “Baba Leigh should be release or brought to justice but should not be kept as a hostage for no reason. The government of the day should review the way it is acting and give the people their rights,” he said.
Imam Leigh’s whereabouts remain unknown since his reported arrest by personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on 3rd December 2012.
The out spoken politician label the Gambia’s human right records as among the worst due to what he called bad governance that the current regime is manipulating and handling the affairs of the state. “The people are tired of witnessing bad news day-in-day-out,” he stressed.
According Jatta, the Gambia government continues to make mistakes on regular basis, which should change as the people of the country are sick and tired of living in such a situation. “The president is using the corridors of power to punish people without justifications,” he alleged.
Mr Jatta who lost the last parliamentary election to the incumbent APRC for Bakau constituency also lamented on the government’s recent refusal to accept the EU’s 17 points dossier, saying it was a wrong decision made by the president.
“The rejection of EU’s proposal by the president and his supporters clearly manifested their lost in touch with political reality. Jammeh came to power by incident (sic) but does not have the leadership quality to lead the country into a democratic state,” he opined.
“It is time for him to sign out and leave the country for better leader to lead (sic),” he concluded.
Imam Baba Leigh is a religious leader and a human rights defender. He is a religious advisor to The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), an organisation working on eradicating harmful traditional practices in The Gambia. Since his ‘disappearance’, rights groups have expressed concern for what they called “the physical and psychological integrity of Imam Baba Leigh.” They have also urged Gambian authorities disclose the whereabouts of Baba Leigh, access to a lawyer and family members and ensure his immediate and unconditional release.