Gambia: Jammeh pardons, Diaspora reacts

By Sanna Camara

Jammeh@21
Jammeh waves at the crowd at the ceremony grounds marking the 21 years of his coup i Banjul Photo: The Gambia Inquirer

Following the groundbreaking announcement by Gambian president pardoning all political prisoners from 1994, when he came to power through a military coup – to 2013. The diaspora community’s reaction has been swift.

According to reports from Banjul, the amnesty was extended to all dissident Gambians and alleged coup plotters in the Diaspora. President Jammeh, who used the 21 years anniversary of his military coup said “even those who spread lies about me and my country” were also included in the amnesty.

Gambia beat has been sampling the reaction of the diaspora community on the social media to Jammeh’s extended amnesty.

Capacity to forgive is out of Jammeh’s character

Njie Papisco said “the struggle has something to celebrate. “Finally, he (Jammeh) is listening to our revendication[sic]. Our words and actions are finally changing him The struggle continues,” he said.

Mai Fatty, leader of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress, also in exile said:We received the ‘amnesty’ fanfare with circumspection. The dismal record of Yaya Jammeh on willfully breaking solemn constitutional oaths, religious oaths, political pledges, propensity for half-truths and stupendous deceptive disposition, conditioned us to receive this latest chicanery & manipulation with a pinch of salt.”

Mai Fatty 1
Mr Fatty, GMC leader: “If it holds true which we greatly doubt, certainly, GMC will respond in no less measure…”

Mr Fatty said the capacity to forgive is out of Jammeh’s character. “With this man, even the saying ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply. We urge extreme caution. If it holds true which we greatly doubt, certainly, GMC will respond in no less measure. Subsequent events will test this babble on the anvil of sincerity.”

Ndey Sarr, a staunch activist said some random expert from somewhere [must have] advised Jammeh to release these people so as to ease tension and anger in the country: “He(Jammeh) did this to save his own demise. Please I know what I am telling you, don’t fall for it.”

“What we must celebrate is the men and women in the struggle who kept the pressure alive and to international levels….,” she said.

The organisation Democratic Union of Gambian Activists, DC Chapter asked if Jammeh was trying to preempt a fate like Hissene Habre.

DUGA DC
AS celebrations proceed in Banjul, DUGA is mounting an online campaign against what it calls 21 years of tyranny back home

“Just to let you know Jammeh, even if you turn into a Saint, you have done enough to forever rot in hell. You’re the one that needs to be pardoned Jammeh. Ask the families of Deyda Hydara, Chief Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi,Alhaji Mamut,Ebou Jobe,Amadou Sanneh and all those illegally detained, tortured and killed whether they forgive you.”

Badibu Sanyang also said Yaya Jammeh knows what is going on, “Was he not the one complaining some few days ago that villagers are not coming out to see him when he visited them… and to punish them, they will not receive any development help from his government?”

Tukulor Sey said the following people “are innocent and must be released immediately”: Meta Njie – mother of Lamin Sanneh, Yusupha Lowe – (14); son of Bai Lowe, Ya Mariam Njie – mother of Alhagi Jaja Nyass, MamHarr Ceesay (employee of GRA arrested for giving an interview to Freedom Radio), Alhagie Mamour Ceesay and Ebou Jobe (Two Gambian Americans still held incommunicado in The Gambia without any access to family or lawyers), Mamboury Njie (former Minister still illegally detained without any charges against him), Sheikh Mohamed Fadel Al Mahfouz and his brother Atabou Sheikh Mahfouz (detained since July 9, 2015 without any explanation or charges brought against them by the Jammeh regime).

Jammeh@21 -1
The tons of unanswered wuestions for Jammeh Photo: The Gambia Inquirer

Mathew Jallow, a longtime critic of the Jammeh government based in the US sked:Are you kidding me? Forgive us for what? Speaking out against his killings, robbing the country blind, incarcerating everything that breath, and much, much more….?

“Yahya Jammeh is in a tough spot and he knows it. He is scared and is resorting to cheap propaganda to save his dying regime. My advice to Yahya Jammeh is to immediately resign so that together with the political parties, we will create a government of unity for 18 months, while we prepare for the first free elections in twenty years. This is our common position. It is non-negotiable,” he said.

Fatu Camara, a journalist, activist and former press secretary to Jammeh, simply said:Interesting development indeed, we waiting to see what happen on Friday…”

Kebba Foon, also said,The only deal we will accept from Yaya Jammeh is to step down.”

Momodou B. Krubally said: “21 years later a new trick is. “Why would any Gambian accept a pardon if we still don’t know the whereabouts of Chief Manneh? Tell us who killed Deyda Hydra before extending a pardon. Tell us where you buried the Mile II prisoners you killed before extending a pardon.”

Mr Krubally said The Gambian don’t need a pardon from Jammeh. “We want you gone. We cannot forgive you for the crimes you committed [over] the last 21 years.

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Parade grounds at the entrance of Banjul yesterday

Sidi Sanneh, a leading blogger, once a minister in the Jammeh government and executive Director of the AfDB saidWhile we welcome the prisoner pardons by the Gambian dictator as part of the observance of the 21-year anniversary of the coup, we will never be appeased by what amounts to a calculated move to deflect an opposition force being exerted from the exile communities abroad.”

Kejau Touray said [it is a great news for all those detained illegally, some for 5 years without charges, including navy commander Sarr.

“We will still remove him come 2016 elections. Enough is enough. Gambians have suffered too long. Now we have passed the test and nothing will stop them from removing tyranny and illegal abductions and torture.

Bala Musa Ceesay saidWe don’t need forgiveness from a tyrant. All we want is [for him to] step down ASAP and free all illegally detained.”

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