By Modou S. Joof
The Gambia, a small West African country which is no stranger to criticisms over rights abuses by human rights groups, opposition parties and journalists, is today (October 28, 2014) appearing before UN Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
A statement from the multinational rights group says it calls for concerted regional and international efforts to “stop the violent repression against free voices and end impunity.” Continue reading
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.
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.
You either speak “the government truth” or keep quiet, write authors.
By Lamin Jahateh & Modou S. Joof
Journalists and religious leaders, in this case Imams, have different but similar critical roles in enlightening the people on various issues and cultivating a culture of understanding – putting every issue into its right context and perspective.
Imams are expected to tell their congregations about religion, ethics and current affairs particularly those that have bearing on Islam. Gone are the days when Imams would be called on only to lead prayers five times a day. People expect more and more from their religious leaders.
Being teachers of morality, Muslim clerics are under both divine and social duty to speak and if possible write against the ills in the society. They have a moral responsibility and also the authority to speak out on any issue that affects their congregations. Continue reading
By Modou S. Joof
There has been global outrage over the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram on April 14.
Public protests are holding in Nigeria and across the world while the hashtag (#BringBackOurGirls) gains widespread notice on social media. The girls were taken from a school in the northern state of Borno and there whereabouts remains unknown amid growing anger in Nigeria.
In The Gambia, the Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices, Gamcotrap, and the Child Protection Alliance, CPA, has expressed a message of solidarity to Nigerian government and families of the girls. Continue reading
By Binta A. Bah
As Gambia mark world press freedom day, the country’s press union has once again called on the government to uphold constitutional provisions that guarantee press freedom and freedom of expression.
On May 3, executive director Jibairu Janneh of the Gambia Press Union, said reminds government of its commitment towards media freedom.
“We call on The Gambia government to recognize and uphold section 207 of the Constitution which demands the press be free at all times…,” he said. Continue reading