Gambia: Activist fears violence without political change

Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, coordinator of CCG

Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, coordinator of CCG

The Coordinator of the Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CCG) Amadou Scattred Janneh has said that the level of frustration and hopelessness in the country is now quite intense that unless nonviolent means are effectively, extensively, and intensively utilized to influence the direction of political change, “we may inadvertently allow the seeds of violent political turmoil to grow in the country.”

Dr Janneh was speaking at a press conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the August 2012 executions of nine prisoners in the Gambia by the brutal regime of dictator Yahya Jammeh.

“We must do all we can to fight for a new political dispensation characterized by the following elements: (a) Free and fair elections (redistricting, establishing a truly independent electoral commission, prohibiting the use of public resources for partisan political activities, ensuring the neutrality of the armed and security services in the political sphere, etc.); (b) Term limit (two-term limit for the President); (c) Equal access to public media by the political parties; (d) Freedom of expression (free speech and freedom of the press);
(e) Freedom of association; (f) Rule of law (end arbitrary arrests, detention, extrajudicial killings, torture, and so on; investigate all cases of mysterious deaths and disappearances); (g) Freedom for all political prisoners; (h) Freedom of Religion; and,
(i) A system of checks and balances (independent judiciary, review judicial appointments and tenure, legislature with real powers, executive with limited powers, etc.),” he said.

Dr Janneh added that it is only through advocating for such principles that “we can guarantee future generations will never be burdened with the type of political environment we now have in the country.”

He called on the Gambian opposition parties and civil society groups to come together with a unified agenda to bring about meaningful democratic change in The Gambia and to selflessly pursue that common objective.

“And the international community can play a significant role by isolating the  dictatorship and imposing targetted sanctions (such as travel bans and freezing assets belonging to Jammeh and his associates and closest family members). The Gambia’s neighbors, particularly, need to take a tougher stance against Yahya Jammeh. The consequences of inaction in the face of an increasingly repressive and belligerent regime within the region will undoubtedly be felt far beyond The Gambia’s borders.”

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