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Gambia Alert: Authorities Shutdown Media Critical of New Government

14 Jun

Some local journalists concerned with press freedom argue that the move is an assault on the media and freedom of expression. The country’s first daily since 1992 is shutdown by Gambian authorities over non-payment of tax in the region of D17 million (Photo Credit: Access Gambia).

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Timing of President Barrow’s ‘Thank You Tour’ Not Ideal

23 Mar

It is a waste of public resources, writes FPI Editor Demba Kandeh.

“It is political hypocrisy of the highest order to condemn Jammeh for bad governance only for you to embark on his terrible projects,” writes author (Photo Credit: S.Ceesay/Dec 2016)

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The Arrest and Continued Detention of Alieu Badara Lowe Sickens Me

5 Feb

The Alieu I taught and the Alieu I know is not a danger to anyone; nothing in this world will make me think for a moment that his continued detention can be justified under the circumstance.

In class Lowe appeared shy but will never fail to contribute meaningfully where and when necessary.

In class Alieu Lowe (picture) appeared shy but will never fail to contribute meaningfully where and when necessary.

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THE GAMBIA AT FIFTY: How Far Have We Come?

2 Feb

It was barely a little over a decade after the dust has settled on the war that the winds of change emerged in Africa, writes Demba Kandeh.

Decolonisation in Africa  heightened the aspirations for many. (Photo Credit: Bugbog.com)

Decolonisation in Africa heightened the aspirations of many. (Photo Credit: Bugbog.com)

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The Gambia: Obama’s Christmas and New Year Present to Jammeh

26 Dec
"I am not going to change that philosophy overnight because of foreign influence tagged to the bait of aid that is conditioned on the acceptance of alien cultures like homosexuality and unbridled freedoms that are not in line with our religious and cultural beliefs,” Jammeh said on Dec 31, 2013 (Photo Credit: SEYLLOU/AFP/2011)

“I am not going to change that philosophy overnight because of foreign influence tagged to the bait of aid that is conditioned on the acceptance of alien cultures like homosexuality and unbridled freedoms that are not in line with our religious and cultural beliefs,” Jammeh said on Dec 31, 2013 (Photo Credit: SEYLLOU/AFP/2011)

News in and around The Gambia have being somewhat bleak for human rights and social justice activists in recent

times. In August this year, the parliament passed a bill amending the criminal code introducing life sentence for

“aggravated homosexuality”.

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5 Reasons Why Jammeh Should Not Celebrate 22nd July

13 Oct

22nd July is seen by many as the most important date on the calendar of Gambians. It is almost a household name in the country thanks to the “remarkable efforts” of the AFPRC and now APRC and its allies. On that fateful day, two decades ago, former President, Dawda Kairaba Jawara was deposed in what has been described as a “bloodless coup”. Jawara’s overthrow was masterminded by a group of soldiers led by then Lieutenant Yahya AJJ Jammeh.

They identified themselves as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and Jammeh, 29 then, was the chairman of the AFPRC. As usual for putsches, the constitution was suspended, the borders sealed and a curfew implemented. While Jammeh’s new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions and prospects for promotion.

The coup did not receive much resistance from home but attracted international condemnation. But twenty years on, Demba Kandeh tells us why the coup should not be celebrated.

Jawara (R) and Jammeh (L) former and current president respectively
Jawara (R) and Jammeh (L) former and current president

President Jammeh has always likened his overthrow to a revolution; in fact, there are no 22nd July coup celebrations. What the soldier turned civilian president celebrates is the “22nd July Revolution” but what is the difference?

First and foremost, Jammeh should know that celebrating a coup sends a wrong signal. This is probably why the country has registered the highest number of reportedly foiled coups (not less five) during the twenty years under Jammeh as compared to only one under Jawara who was president for almost thirty years. It is time the putsches learn their lessons and understand that bloodless or not, a coup is a coup and is not worth celebrating at all.

 

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M.B. Jones: A fearless newspaper is an indispensable tool for progress

11 Apr

Historical records of Mr Jones writing shows he was radical, and an activist journalist who wrote with authority.

 

English: Picture of Gambian women in the Serra...

Jones said the newspaper can be an indispensable tool for [economic] progress. Gambian women in the Serekunda market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 By Modou S. Joof

“A fearless, outspoken, unbiased newspaper is not only a desideratum to a backward and underdeveloped nation, but an indispensable tool for progress,” Gambian journalist Melville Benoni Jones wrote in an editorial in the Outlook on May 3, 1960.
Historical chronicles about Mr Jones writing and journalism has shown him to be radical and an activist journalist who wrote with authority.
In a recent account, a Gambian historian described him as having combined “crusading journalism with militant politics and trade unionism to challenge British colonial rule.”
But what did the man popularly known as “M.B. Jones”, whose work pre and post colonialism included the fight for a free and independent press, meant by (a fearless, outspoken, unbiased newspaper… indispensable tool for progress)?

 

Gambian historian and researcher Mr Hassoum Ceesay explains:

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