While 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.
By pardoning certain categories of prisoners without consultations with the relevant branches of government, Jammeh is throwing a lifeline at Yaya Jammeh and his out-of-touch regime as an act of desperation. Jammeh is doing himself a favor by this, and similar acts of magnanimity to save his own neck.
As one Gambian just in-boxed me, "you guys have cornered him" and "he's trying to let off steam." The same Gambian further questioned Jammeh's motives and asked the whereabouts of numerous other Gambians missing and unaccounted for or are known to be held in incommunicado.
Two Gambian-Americans Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe have gone missing in the Gambia for over two years without trace and under the most bizarre of circumstance. You can find their story here.
Other victims of the regime known to be held in incommunicado parents and other relatives of the 30th December 2014 alleged attackers of State House are still in custody. Ya Metta Njie, the mother of Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh, one of the alleged coup leaders, the parents of Dawda Bojang and the son of Bai Lowe are among those still in custody whose only crime is they are related to the accused coup plotters.
The pardoning of members of the exile communities abroad is just another sinister attempt to fragment the external opposition to a vile, incompetent and corrupt regime - an attempt that will fail. If anything, it will only strengthen the resolve of the genuine opponents by separating the wheat from the chaff. The faint hearted will take the bait and return to Banjul. We say to them - good riddance.
The online and social media opposition to the dictatorship will only intensify. Our opposition to the Jammeh regime will be intensified and coordinated - with, of course, the usual distractions from the usual suspects.
We shall never relent until we remove Jammeh from power and have him tried in a court of law for crimes against the State and against the citizenry.
For those who are ecstatic about the announcement, please consider this: it was only last Friday that Jammeh issued a warning that he might resume the execution of prisoners on death row. What changed in less than a week? Nothing. What Jammeh has done is to ramp up the threat of execution to gain the attention of the international community only to announce the pardons for maximum impact. In my interview with Reuters a few days ago, I said that the threats of resumption of executions were just that - threats with no intention of Jammeh carrying them out. If anything, our opposition to the dictatorship continues with renewed vigor and determination.