Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gambian dissidents protest against the Jammeh regime, as delegation flees posh hotel

The embattled regime of  the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, continues to feel the heat from dissidents in New York.  The Gambian dissidents had vowed to provide a fitting welcome to Yaya Jammeh to rival their previous protests during the United Nations General Assembly.  Jammeh had to cancel his trip by delegating his Vice President to attend this year's UNGA that is being attended by a record 141 Heads of State.

The Gambian delegation led by Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy comprises of the Ministers of Foerign Affairs, Interior, Finance, Environment, Inspector General of Police among other senior officials of the regime.

To avoid the wrath of the dissidents who succeeded last year in barricading Yaya Jammeh in his hotel for a good part of his three-day stay in New York, this year's delegation vacated their posh mid-Manhattan, The Ritz-Carlton, very early in the morning for the Gambia UN Mission offices located within the frozen area that cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons, including the protesters.

This year, the demonstrators include other African nationals, including Sierra Leoneans, Senegalese and Congolese who expressed solidarity with the Gambians demonstrating against dictatorship.

The Vice President of The Gambia is scheduled to deliver her speech at 20:00 GMT.  Meanwhile, the Gambian dictator is holed up in the Gambian capital city of Banjul.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Protocol girls" or sex slaves in Gambia's State House

Mrs. Zeinab Jammeh 
Dictator Yaya Jammeh

They were ten in number, the so-called "protocol girls" posted at State House at the direction of the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh.  Their standard job description is to provide normal protocol service to official visitors at the official residence of the head of state.  In actuality, they are there to serve one person and one person only - the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh.

Who are these "protocol girls"?  They are Gambians between the ages of 16 and 25 years who are lured into the dictator's harem by female prostitutes, who are, themselves, part of an intricate prostitution ring all in the name of to satisfy the huge sexual appetite of a tyrant who preys on the very young and vulnerable section of Gambian society.

These girls are victims of a criminal syndicate created, maintained and operated for the singular purpose of satisfying the sexual urges of a single individual who will use the state security machinery and the judiciary, as we will see in this particular instance, to ensure the total and unfettered sexual pleasure of Yaya Jammeh.

These "protocol girls" are recruited through an elaborate system of a state-sponsored national beauty pageantry where beautiful young children are "selected" using the school/educational system under the supervision of the Minister of Basic Education and other education authorities.  The national search culminates in a national pageant contest held in the dictator's home village of Kanilai with government officials, including the country's Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, a woman, the Minister of Basic Education, Fatou Lamin Faye, another woman, the Minister of Interior, the country's prolific torturer of the regime.

Jammeh uses the educational system as official cover to justify the use of state funds to finance what is essentially a non-educational activity that has the sole purpose of feeding the sexual industry built to satisfy the dictator.

Many of the "protocol girls" are products of these beauty pageant shows that have become an industry in themselves that end up at State House, as protocol officers with no job experience of any kind.  In fact, the only qualification appears to be their beauty and physical endowments which explains why every applicant must include full length photos of different poses to ensure all bases are covered before the employer makes his final selection of a new batch of protocol officers.

Two protocol girls have since fled The Gambia and a third is reportedly on her way to safety and away from the sexual predator.  When one of the victims was asked what was her job description as a "protocol officer",her response was "to satisfy the sexual pleasure of the president." These girls are housed in the State House, and one has her parents housed close to the president's official residence.

Jammeh's victims are not only limited to the "protocol girls".  The boy friends of these girls are sometimes victims as well.  In the case of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the radio journalists, who is facing six sedition charges and one count of publishing false information, is a case in point.  He was the boyfriend of one of the young women who have since fled and who was recruited as a principal prosecution witness to testify against him.

Boyfriends are victims as well.  When Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay was in court and watching his girlfriend concocting a story that was obviously a lie, she turned to Director of Public Prosecution and said her conscience will not allow her to continue lying against someone she knew was innocent, Mr. S.H. Barkum responded "remember, this is a State matter."

In short, the DPP was encouraging her to continue to lie to Judge Mohammed D. A. Balarabe who was recruited to the very position he now occupies in judgement of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay.  Both S.H.Barkum and Judge Mohammed Balarabe are unfit to occupy their respective position and should resign honorably and leave The Gambia.

The Federal Judicial Commission of Nigeria has been notified of the role of these two Nigerians in the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh.    They are helping the brutal, corrupt and incompetent regime perpetuate itself at the expense of ordinary citizens who are being tortured, murdered, executed extra-judicially, exiled and made to disappear.  They must stop collaborating with the only remaining military dictatorship in ECOWAS.

An apology : We have decided to pulled the two photos down after a strong reaction from a reader in Banjul even though the photos have been in circulation previously.  Since the individuals in question are victims, we should not be seen to be further victimizing them.  Our sincere apologies to them and their families and friends.

Please, Go Away, Yaya Jammeh

Jammeh, the Gambian dictator, the way he looked 21 years ago

His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor Alhagie Yaya A.J.J.Jammeh, Balilimansa Nasurudeen is the only military dictator left in ECOWAS.  Please join us in demanding that he resigns the Office of the President and negotiate his exit with the Gambian people whom he has wronged and lied to for 21 years.

This man has failed in every aspect of governance.  He has maimed, killed, tortured, raped and stole from Gambians.  It has been 21 years of mayhem.  It is time to ask him to leave, but not before he negotiates his way out with his wife and kids.

This man does not, in any way, reflect the national character of a once peaceful and reasonably well off country with an equally well-managed economy that was the envy of our neighbors.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gambia's judiciary continues to be plagued by the dictator's use of mercenary judges and prosecutors

Gambia's Director of Public Prosecutor -  S .H. Barkum 
Judge Mohammed D.A. Balarabe

One would have thought that after Gambia's experience with former Chief Justice Joseph Wowo (Nigerian) and Special Criminal Court Judge Emmanuel Nkea (Cameroonian), both recruited literally off the streets of Banjul with little or no qualification to be magistrates much less judges, the Gambian dictator would have had enough of utilizing the services of mercenaries to further crush a citizenry that is already under siege from a judiciary that has been used as a blunt instrument of repression.

S.H. Barkum who hails from Kano is one such prosecutor employed by Yaya Jammeh to concoct charges against political opponents of the dictatorship.  He is the latest Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP), hire to do the bidding for Jammeh.

S.H. Barkum, (also referred to as Barkun) is listed as former employee of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja who served previously in the Kano State Ministry of Justice.  It is unclear whether DPP Barkum is an employee of the Federal Nigerian government - our inquiries are still ongoing -  or whether he's been hired off the streets, like many of the dictatorship's foreign judges and Justice Ministry's senior officials and prosecutors.

What is evident, is that the current High Court Judge, also a Nigerian national, was hired upon the recommendation of the Director of Public Prosecution.  It is the very same Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe that is sitting in judgement of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the radio journalist, who is facing six counts of sedition and one count of publishing false news.

We have suggested that the case against the 25-year old journalist is a travesty of justice, and as a result demanded the resignation of Judge Balarabe.  We have now unearth further evidence to strengthen our case against the regime of Yaya Jammeh.  We will accuse S.H.Barkum of conspiring with Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe and the notorious National Intelligence Agency to send Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay to prison by fabricating charges against him at the instruction of the Gambian dictator.  Consequently, we are also demanding the resignation of the Director of Public Prosecution for his corrupt and unprofessional behavior in the conduct of his prosecutorial functions.

The conspiracy is intricately and inextricably linked to the two "protocol girls" who fled last week from the Gambia and are currently and safely outside The Gambia.  We will show the real reason why Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is in trouble with the regime of Yaya Jammeh has nothing to do with his job as a radio journalist but as something totally devoid of his professional/journalistic duties.

And Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe is part of the larger conspiracy by being in cahoots with the Director of Public Prosecution who helped recruit him to the position he now occupies.  The two thus are fulfilling the wishes of the Gambian dictator by incarcerating innocent Gambians perceived as opponents of a vile, corrupt and incompetent regime for a price.

In playing ball with Jammeh, the two are willfully engaged in the destruction of young Gambian lives and, in the process, the development prospects of an entire nation for a few bucks and some worldly conveniences.  We must stop them, and Jammeh, from further destroying our country.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the active support of the Gambia's female Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mama Fatima Singhateh. In subsequent installments, we will provide the real reason for Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay's troubles with the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh.

FREE Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay  

This is a developing story ....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Can Jammeh learn from Pope Francis and U.S. Speaker John Boehner?

Pope Francis 
U.S. House Speaker Boehner 

Pope Francis is only in his third day of of his U.S. visit but his physical as well as his spiritual presence is reverberating across the American political divide that no American politician or personality can ever exert or influence.
After addressing a Joint Meeting of the House and Senate yesterday, the Republican Speaker John Boehner decided this morning, to resign his Speaker position and his seat in Congress next month. He revealed today that he made his decision this morning. But in retrospect, he hinted that he will resign yesterday when he responded to a journalist's question about the papal visit by suggesting that after he was able to bring the Pope to America, what else was there left to accomplish in Washington.
It is an open secret that Speaker Boehner is presiding over a deeply divided Republican Party in a deeply divided country over just about every major issue of consequence ranging from immigration, climate change, income inequality to capital punishment. In fact, Boehner is so unpopular within his own party that kinder words were coming from Democrats like President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Pelosi than from his own party members, most of whom were busy dancing on his political grave.
The Pope meanwhile continue to preach humility, compassion for the powerless and economically deprived while counselling against zealotry which he seems to be directing against the right wing of the Republican Party that has grown increasingly hostile towards minorities who are gaining increasing political power in proportion to their numbers. The fact that by 2050, they will become the majority in America appears to make a section of the base of the Republican Party very nervous about the prospect.
Boehner's success in getting Pope Francis to accept his invitation to address the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate - a first by any Pope - appears to have been the icing on the cake, and coming in the face of growing disquiet of a very nervous and increasingly hostile GOP toward his leadership, it made his decision to quit easier than it might have otherwise been.
Is there a lesson here for Jammeh. Can he learn humility and against zealotry as preached by Pope Francis. What of showing compassion for the economically downtrodden that is of Jammeh's own creation. Is Jammeh capable of borrowing a leaf from Speaker Boehner's playbook by resigning in the face of mounting opposition to his brutal, corrupt and incompetent rule? I wish the answers to these questions were in the affirmative. Unfortunately, they cannot be because the questions were more rhetorical than anything else. So, we are back to square one, at least as far as Gambia is concerned.

Why nothing coming from Jammeh matters

Mubarak and Jammeh - in the beginning 
Well, almost nothing, except if he comes out saying plainly and straightforwardly: "I am resigning, and I want to negotiate with the Gambian People the terms and conditions of my vacating State House."

My inbox is full of messages about what is purported to be an impending announcement - an announcement initially scheduled for the eve of Tobaski, then it was for Tobaski day, now it is to be on Sunday -  which suggests to me to be more of another typical Jammeh distraction tactic.

All of the scenarios in my possession involve Jammeh dictating his own terms and conditions, including selecting his successor which, in one case, involves a leader of an opposition party.  None of these scenarios make any sense to me because, among other anomalies, Jammeh is not or will not be leaving on his own volition.  He will leave because he is being forced out, and just like Burkinabe General rudely discovered, when you are forced out, you don't get to dictate your terms and conditions.  The People decide, they dictate the terms and conditions under the aegis of the United Nations and European Union.

Jammeh has ruled The Gambia, unfettered and unchallenged for almost two decades, during which time he had killed, maimed, tortured, made to disappear, extrajudicially executed and exiled thousands of Gambians and other nationalities.   To suggest, for one minute, that he will be accorded the privilege and luxury of framing the narrative of his inevitable exit from the stage is preposterous and wishful thinking, at best.  The Gambian People will decide that and not the leader of a failed regime who has brought nothing but pain, misery and hardship to two million Gambians.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Open Letter to Gambia's notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

One of thousands of victims of the NIA
Tell Yaya Jammeh, The Kanilai Monster, that no amount of intimidation will silence his victims of rape, torture and murder.  

They will tell their stories to the world - a world anxiously waiting to hear and document the horror stories that these young girls who should, otherwise, have been in school but were, instead, held captives against their will, only to be sexually exploited.

The case of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the Managing Director of Radio Teranga FM, is now in jeopardy of being thrown out of court because the principal prosecution witness is none other than one of your victims who has now escaped from your evil machinations and in safe custody. 

We have learned in the past couple of days how these young girls, who would otherwise be pursuing their dreams in universities, are being manipulated for political and sexual gains by Jammeh with the tacit help of the National Intelligence Agency.   We have also learned that the prosecution witnesses have been coached into fabricating testimony against an innocent man.  Because their conscience will not allow them to be used, they elected to flee a country they love, leaving behind family, friends and colleagues.

In the coming days, we will examine the ways and manner our Justice Ministry has been transformed into a den of co-conspirators against innocent, hardworking and conscientious who are being regularly and constantly being railroaded into prison because they are either opponents of the dictatorship or have refused to "play ball" with a corrupt and incompetent regime.  

We will link the Director of Public Prosecution, Barkum, a  Nigerian, who recruited a fellow Nigerian, Mohammed D.A.. Balarabe, as High Court Judge who is unsurprisingly the judge presiding over the fate of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay.   

We are demanding that Judge Balarabe resign.  The DPP is equally corrupt and should lap vacate his position.  Both are unworthy of calling themselves Africans who allowed themselves to be used by one of the most tyrannical regime to subjugate 2 million Gambians.  Both should be ashamed of themselves.  

No mercenary judge employed by Jammeh to do his dirty work for him will be spared from being exposed for unprofessional conduct and corruption just like the other mercenary judges like ex-convict and former Chief Justice Joseph Wowo and former Special Court Judge Emmanuel Nkea who skipped town before he was arrested by the Gambian dictator.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Judge Mohammed D.A.Balarabe must resign and leave The Gambia

Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe,
FREE Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay

The case of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay (25) has taken another twist for the worse.  The two principal state witnesses Fatou A. Drammeh (24) and Zeinab Koneh (23) have both fled the jurisdiction of The Gambia for Bamako. Fatou Drammeh said in a radio interview this afternoon that her conscience will not allow her to be part of a ploy that is designed to send Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay to jail.

We posted a blog about the case a few days ago which you can find here.

Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator and the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are behind the scheme that was designed using fabrications and lies.  Miss. Drammeh has recanted all her testimony before mercenary judge Balarabe. who receives instructions from the Gambian dictator. In view of developments, we are demanding that Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe resign his judgeship, and leave The Gambia.

Meanwhile, both Fatou Drammeh and Zeinab Koneh are reportedly in good hands and will be resettled soon in an undisclosed country to start their new lives and away from the treacherous surroundings that Yaya Jammeh has created to the detriment of young Gambians.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

EDITORIAL : Jammeh must step down for failing the Gambian people

We have just published our latest blog post on rapidly decompressing economy that is the fault of a clueless and mindbogglingly tone deaf regime of Yaya Jammeh. The blog post is based on the International Monetary Fund's recent mission report that was considered by its Board of Directors last week.
The IMF latest report on the economy, though depressing, is deja vu. Report after report of the Fund missions have warning about the impending disaster if Jammeh doesn't mend his ways. But Jammeh being Jammeh, he thinks he's been ordained by Allah and coronated by the citizens of The Gambia to ride roughshod over us.
We said last year - June 2014 to be precise - that allowing Jammeh to interfere in the forex market without severe reprimand from the IMF was a mistake to be repeated. In less than a year - March this year - Jammeh issued another Executive Order arbitrarily fixing the rate which the Fund is now saying was 20% above the true value of the dalasi. Consequently, the Fund has issued directive to the regime to rescind the presidential directive which should see Gambia return to the norm i.e. exchange rate flexibility.
What we omitted in our blog post was the citing by the Fund of the need to "articulate a strategy to overhaul public enterprises in the energy and telecommunication sectors to stem their demand on budget resources." Both NAWEC and GAMTEL have been bankrupted, among them, other public enterprises, by the Jammeh that used them as cash cows.
For example, Jammeh demanded the then MD of GAMTEL to sponsor the entire Gambia Under-17 World Cup team plus supporters, amounting to two plane loads to Chile and back, inclusive of all costs hotel accommodating, the works). GAMTEL received presidential directive at the Banjul International airport before the contingent departed for Chile. We now know why GAMTEL is owing local banks alone over D 700 million or roughly $ 12 million.

IMF Staff-monitored program is off track, more bad economic news despite bailout

Oyster women hard at work 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is reporting more bad economic news for the Gambia despite recent Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) or financial bailout extended to the cash-strapped regime of Yaya Jammeh.

In a news release announcing a recently-concluded mission to The Gambia, The Fund announced that the country continues to experience large balance of payments and fiscal imbalances.

Two reasons were cited for the deteriorating conditions of the economy, what the Fund described as persistent policy slippages in recent years and financial difficulties in public enterprises.  These same reasons have been persistently cited by the Fund in previous Fund mission reports as the main reasons for the continued downward spiral of an economy that has obviously gone out of control with inflation now threatening to be a structural or endemic phenomenon.  Just ask the person in the street.

Although The Gambia was Ebola-free, its consequences were felt well beyond the borders of the countries directly affected by the outbreak.  Gambian tourism was devastated as a result with up to 60% reduction in tourist visits, further exacerbating a dire economic environment.

The Fund also cited last year's delayed rains as contributing to the economic problems facing the country.  But the primary and fundamental reason for the mismanagement of the economy rests squarely on the shoulders of a regime that continues to display an incredible level of fiscal indiscipline, despite numerous warnings from the Fund - a warning that the Jammeh regime continues to ignore thus putting the lives of ordinary Gambians at risk.   The incidence of rural poverty continues to spin out of control, while urban poverty is also beginning to manifests itself more prominently.

The staff-monitored program put in place in March/April of this year is already off track and according to the IMF, "worsening the outlook considerably especially since budget support from donors will not be forthcoming.

The Fund laments at the fact that the Office of the President continues to interfere in the foreign exchange markets by issuing an Executive Order imposing an exchange rate that was 20% over-valued compared to the prevailing market rates at the time and which the Fund considered to be "broadly in equilibrium."  This presidential action came shortly after the conclusion of the negotiations of the RCF which led us to question government's sincerity and commitment to making the SMP work for the ordinary citizen. It is not as if the regime has been upfront about its promises to the Fund and other donors.

In June of 2014, a similar directive was issued by the Office of the President, setting foreign exchange rates in direct contravention of Gambian law, and the beginning of the instability due to lack of confidence in the forex market due to constant interference from State House.

Although late in coming, we are happy that the IMF has issued directive to the authorities in Banjul to rescind immediately the presidential directive that limits foreign exchange flexibility - an action we advocated for since June of 2014.  Perhaps the Fund is finally beginning to listen to the voices that are crying for sanity in the management of an economy that was once the pride of the sub-region.

The Central Bank's efforts must also be acknowledged despite working under the most difficult of circumstance and under a dictatorship whose insatiable appetite for domestic borrowing to finance highly dubious and non-productive projects (white elephants), especially in a near-election year is problematic.  We must also join the Fund in encouraging the CBG to continue its efforts in supervising the commercial banks, most of whose financial health continues to be suspect.    

Monday, September 21, 2015

The case of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is a travesty of justice

Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarab
The State's case against Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the Teranga FM radio station Managing Director, is so weak, the Justice Minister had to concoct fraudulent charges against the 25-year old radio journalist.

It appears that we have not won the fight against mercenary judges employed by the tyrannical regime of Yaya Jammeh because the High Court Judge presiding over the case of Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is as biased and unprofessional as the mercenary judges before him - the likes of former Justices Wowo and Emmanuel Nkea of Nigeria and Cameroon respectively.  As it can be recalled, the two faux judges fell from grace which ended with the former being jailed for three years and the latter fled The Gambia before the dictator could get to him which would have landed him in jail too.

Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh
The radio journalist is facing a seven count charge comprising of six counts of sedition and a count of publishing false news.  The state is accusing him of sending images of the Gambian dictator with a gun pointed at him to someone who identifies herself as a Protocol Officer, but who is actually a state security agent who has been spoon-fed by the notorious National Intelligence Agency to fabricate stories that are found to be incoherent and outlandish even to the layman.

Weak evidence notwithstanding, the State has, through the Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh, and the Director of Public Prosecution, instructed the newly minted mercenary High Court, Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe, to ensure railroad an innocent journalist whose only crime is to read the news in the local languages for the majority of his illiterate listeners get the news in the local vernacular.  It is obvious that the tyrannical and corrupt regime of Yaya Jammeh would like to continue keeping the citizenry in the dark.

During cross examination, the second prosecution (PW2) Fatou A. Drammeh said that when the images of the dictator were transmitted, she was scared because it reminded her of the December 30 attack on State House.

When the defense counsel Comber Gaye-Coker objected, the judge overruled her objection.  When the defense witness was caught lying about her submission and requested that the evidence be admitted, the judge refused and the defense ask for an adjournment, the Judge again refused.

The defense counsel, at this point, reminded the judge that he had no problem granting the prosecution an adjournment previously, the response from the judge was that he was being paid by the Gambian taxpayers to work and so the court must proceed.

Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is a young radio journalist who is a target of a regime that has no tolerance for journalists.  His trial is a travesty of justice who is being railroaded by the state using the Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh and a judge-for-hire named Judge Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe who earlier overruled the admission of the torture evidence of the accused.

                                   FREE ALHAGIE ABDOULIE CEESAY  


The names and personal details of pardoned prisoners must be published

Dr. Njogu Bah, one of the "pardoned" prisoners
Foroyaa, a local newspaper affiliated with an opposition party, is reporting that the Jammeh regime "has finally published the list of pardoned prisoners in compliance with the Constitution."

We appreciate the fact that the Jammeh regime has responded to demands that more details of the "pardoned" prisoners be released.

However what is published in Foroyaa is a breakdown of prisoners per crime committed which shows a total number of 237 prisoners released.  We need more details of every prisoner released s that proper accounting of "pardoned" prisoners is conducted.

The dis-aggregation shows that of those pardoned, 26 were in prison for treason, 15 for murder,  7 for robbery, 178 for drug-related offenses, 1 for juvenile rape, 3 for conspiracy and 7 for economic crime and 1 for abuse of office for a total of 237 "pardoned" prisoners.

This number is significantly different from the "three hundred and something" that the Vice President, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were quoted, as a result of which we demanded from the regime to release a list of names of each and every prisoner with their personal details like their date and place of birth, nationality etc.

Gambians and the world must be told of every prisoner released.  The regime of Yaya Jammeh owes it to Gambians and the world because the list of prisoners include Gambians and as well as non-Gambians.


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Gambia is crying for help

The Gambia is the smallest country on the African continent with about 2 million inhabitants, but has one of the biggest and most persistent human rights problems anywhere in the world, and Gambians, the most abused humans on the planet.  It may have taken the international community twenty years to recognize and acknowledge the problem that the population endured under a tyrannical military-turn-civilian regime for over twenty-one years, but the persistent and intense human rights abuses in the Gambia are finally being investigated, first by Amnesty International and other reputable human rights organizations, culminating in the Human Rights Watch Report.

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and Human Rights Campaign have either written reports on the deteriorating conditions of the human rights environment in The Gambia or have lobbied the United States State Department and/or The White House for stringent sanctions against the Jammeh regime.
The Gambian dictator 

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) Report is, by far, the most damning of the reports on the Jammeh regime's abuse of human rights of Gambians.  HRW interviewed 17 persons who alleged torture and other degrading treatment at the hands of the state's security agents which, according to them, include the use of "severe beatings with wooden clubs, metal pipes, guns, cables, electric wires, hammers, fan belts, and a traditional whip made of dried animal skin (leymarr in Wolof, a native language); near-suffocation by tying a plastic bag over the head; pouring water over the victim; trampling with boots; electroshock of genitals; rape and other sexual violence; tying up with ropes; fake burial; and melting and melting of plastic bags to drip on the skin.  Medical treatment is routinely denied by the victims tormentors and "often denied contact with relatives until visible wounds had healed". according to the HRW report.

The cases documented by HRW dates as early as 1994 when Jammeh seized power unconstitutionally to as recently as January 2015 thus confirming what Gambian opponents of the regime and diaspora news outlets have been reporting for a very long time.

The use of torture and other forms of abuse by the Jammeh regime has been routine and pervasive throughout what has become a myriad of detention centers and torture chambers throughout the country.  Victims can easily go unaccounted for or "made to disappear" by moving them from one holding place to another.  Ebrima "Chief" Manneh, the Gambian journalist has gone missing after he was arrested in his newspaper offices and was moved from one police station to another.

Journalists are not the regime's only target, as the HRW report was able to demonstrate.  The victims of the regime are from all works of life - "opposition members, members of the security or intelligence services, civil servants, and others who spoke out on government human rights violations." Imams and other religious leaders who criticize the regime have increasingly become targets of torture and inhumane treatment.  Minors have not been spared either and neither have members of the LGBT community who have been physically and verbally threatened to "slit their throats" by none other than the Gambian dictator himself.  
Jammeh $ 3.5 million Mansion in Potomac, Maryland, USA

The European Union has been in the fore as it concerns development assistance with the suspension of disbursement of development assistance in certain areas, such as infrastructure projects that will not directly and immediately affect the poor and most vulnerable groups.  However, further sanctions are necessary to bring the regime to the realization that its current torture policy and other human rights abuses are unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated in the future.

A regime of sanctions must be applied immediately in light of the Human Rights Watch's Report that must include a travel ban of senior officials of the regime to include the Interior Minister, Director General of the National Intelligence Agency and his Deputy, Inspector General of Police and anyone positively identified to be among those carrying out the torture of Gambians and non-Gambians alike.
As proposed by the Robert F. Kennedy Center, an investigation into Jammeh, his immediate family and senior officials for the misuse of public funds, and this should include the investigation of Jammeh's $ 3.5 million mansion in Potomac, Maryland.  


Preliminary thoughts on HRW Report on The Gambia

Thinking about the Human Rights Watch's

damning catalog of human right abuses in the Gambia this morning, my thoughts went to Imam Baba Leigh, Musa Saidy-Khan, Amadou Scattred Janneh, Fatu Camara, members of the LGBT community who were victims of torture and other forms of abuses at the hands of Africa's most brutal and sinister regime, and how lucky they have been to survive it all, to live another day to tell their story to the world.  
But then it dawned on me that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Gambians, Senegalese, Ghanaians, Nigerians and other non-Gambians who were not so lucky, who were murdered, tortured by driving nails through their skulls, beating others with metal pipes and stomping on their backs and hands in order to break their bones.
One such victim who didn't make it through was Lamin Sanneh, no relation except he was a friend and former colleague who was Director of Works for several years before he became Permanent Secretary. A trained civil engineer, he worked on the Soma-Basse road project as a supervising engineer and numerous other important engineering projects during is relative short but illustrious career until he ran afoul of the vile regime of Yaya Jammeh and his prolific torturers who bludgeon him to near death - probably with a hammer, since it appears to be a weapon of choice of these barbarians. When he finally 'recovered' from his ordeal, Lamin was never the same and died at the Royal Victoria Hospital of brain hemorrhage.
In observing HRW's seminal report on The Gambia, let us also take a moment to remember the many victims of Yaya Jammeh who did not live to tell their stories. The regime in Banjul is doing everything in its power to "bury the bad news by declaring a 4-day holiday" as astutely observed by a member of our Research team. 
As I declared yesterday, I am not sure that I have it in my heart to ever forgive members of Jammeh's Torture Team for their crimes against their fellow Gambians. I pray that one day, they will all face justice, not at The Hague but in Banjul, and that included one who is currently hiding somewhere in Sweden.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Yaya Jammeh plans to seize Ahmadiyya properties

Supreme Islamic Council's Touray and Ahmadiyya Emir Trawalley
Radical Wahabi cleric, Dr. Baba Ceesay

The Gambian dictator is targeting the in-country assets of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at's for seizure which explains the recent feud between the Supreme Islamic Council and the Ahmadiyya, according to our sources in Banjul.

The Muslim sect that has been in the country for over half a century and has lived harmoniously with mainstream Muslim communities throughout the period until very recently when problems started to emerge which culminated in the declaration by the government-financed Supreme Islamic council that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at is non-Muslim.

The regime of Yaya Jammeh has been exploiting the radical Wahhabi Muslim teachings of the radical cleric Dr. Baba Ceesay and the dismissed Imam Fatty, both Saudi-trained Wahhabi scholars to impress Saudi Arabia with the hope of getting financial support for his regime that has fallen on hard times.  In order to appease the Saudis, Jammeh has been arresting gays, lesbians and anyone identified as such, who are then jailed and tortured.

The radical form of Islam being preached by a handful of Wahhabi scholars, including Dr. Baba Ceesay, is beginning to take root in a once peaceful country where religious co-existence was the norm.  The Ahmadiyya appears to be a victim of such Islamic extremism being encouraged and supported by Yaya Jammeh.

With schools and health facilities spread across the country, including a huge hospital in Tallinding, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, its physical assets are highly valued.  Our sources are now telling us that the Gambian dictator, who is in the habit of seizing private property from investors and private citizens alike, has his eyes on the properties belonging to the Ahmadiyya, in particular its hospital at Tallinding, on the outskirts of the capital.

The source pointed out that a similar health facility belonging to the late Gambian doctor, Jack Faal, which was seized by Jammeh several years ago, is in a dilapidated state due to neglect and abandoned.  Perhaps Jammeh is ready for a replacement facility which he sees in the Ahmadiyya Hosptial at Tallinding.    

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The mental state of Gambia's health

Scary, staggering, distressing and deplorable were among the words employed in social media  to describe the number of Gambians suffering from some form of mental illness as reported by a local newspaper and quoting from The 2015 – 2025 Mental Health Policy.

According to the Mental Health Policy document, 91,000 or 10% of Gambians 15 years and above suffers from some form of mental illness.  Based on a 2004 World Health Organization estimates, 27,000 or 3% of Gambians 15 years and over I s suffering from a severe mental disorder.  118,000 or 13% of the adult population and according to the mental health expert who worked on the study, this figure is an underestimation.   When adjusted, the prevalence of the scourge is 25% or 1 in 5 Gambians, a figure comparable to figures in developing countries like Nigeria and Uganda.

Drug and alcohol abuse are a major cause of, what has become, a major public health problem that is further complicating the economic and social advancement of a country whose economy is already on a melt done mode.   The figures are dismal.  In the Banjul – Kombo St’ Mary’s area ( or Greater Banjul ) 6 – 8 persons of every 100 persons are classified as alcoholics.  5 – 10% of all Kombo Central residents are habitual users of illicit drugs – a figure that is likely to be under-reported. 

The prevalence of illicit drug use, especially cocaine has accelerated under the regime of Yaya Jammeh. To illustrate the point, a recent visitor to The Gambia who has lived in the United States for a decade and a half, returned to admit that he has never seen cocaine in his life until his last visit to his home country.  

A two-ton, $ 1 billion street value cocaine haul in The Gambia in 2005 was the proof that the regime of Yaya Jammeh is very much involved in the South American drug trade that uses The Gambia as a transit point.  Jammeh has admitted of a $ 3 million per month in exchange for his regime to turn a blind eye for the South American drug barons to use the Bonto facility. 

Drug and alcohol abuse contribution to the mental illness problems of the country is further aggravated by a deteriorating economic environment resulting from bad economic policies of a regime that has displayed breathtaking level of incompetence and high-level corruption which has pushed the level of poverty to unacceptable levels.  

The stress levels are high, especially during the periods of the Muslim Feast of Eid ul-Adha (known as "Tabaski" locally) when the prices of ram for sacrificial purposes are beyond the reach of many Gambians.   

Unfortunately, the regime has also fallen short on the treatment of the mentally ill, and thus the gap is widening with a shortage of treatment facilities.  The old treatment center at Campama in Banjul was transformed into a prison - when the Tanka Tanka facility was built - instead of it being renovated to increase capacity, given what has become a national endemic affecting not only families but the economy as well.  The failure of the policies of the regime is at the center of the mental health crisis which has taken on a degree of urgency that must be addressed if Gambia is not to lose an entire generation of Gambians. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Senegalese journalist detained in The Gambia

Gambian dictator Yaya Jammeh and Senegalese journalist Jamil THIAM arrested in Banjul

Senegalese journalist, Jamil THIAM has been arrested "while taking pictures around the Gambian city of Banjul", according to the seneweb.com, a Senegalese website.

Mr. THIAM was previous Director of publication of the newspaper "Revelations" and a former journalist of the publication, "The People" who was on assignment on behalf of a European news outlet.

The Senegalese outlet is the third incident involving journalists.  Last week, an Al Jazeera television news crew were stopped at the airport and subsequently refused entry after they were granted permission by the Gambian authorities.

This small slither of a country, embedded inside the belly of Senegal, is the smallest country of the African continent that has carved out under the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh, a well-earned reputation as one of Africa's most repressive regimes, and extremely hostile towards journalists.

The Jammeh regime regime is dark and sinister that earned The Gambia the reputation of being the North Korea of the African continent.

The Gambian dictator has arrested, tortured, assassinated and exiled numerous Gambian and foreign journalists, including journalists who have gone missing and unaccounted for, such as Ebrima "Chief" Manneh.

As we go to press, the fate of the Senegalese journalist is unknown but he's believed to be still in the hands of the Gambian security authorities in the Gambian capital city of Banjul.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sabally to Jammeh: "We must hand over power."

Yaya Jammeh and his band of renegade soldiers who seized power on the 22nd July 1994 did so under the pretext that, as it is almost always with military take-overs, the outgoing government was corrupt to the core, and the rational remedy was its replacement.

Immediately following their installment at State House, they immediately commenced identifying potential collaborators who'd help them navigate the maze of what was, in their eyes, an administrative monstrosity they neither comprehended nor discerned as operable without the old hands they succeeded in plucking from the Jawara pool of highly trained administrators.

Foremost in the mind of the newly installed Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) was to justify the coup despite an apparent public support, gauging from the number of people who came out to welcome the AFPRC members who regularly paraded themselves around the Greater Banjul Area.  It was only through such self-promotion that public validation could be secured to allow Jammeh to move quickly to consolidate power and to perpetuate his rule that is now in its 21st year.

Anxious to confirm the justification for seizing power unconstitutionally, Jammeh, in receiving the National Consultative Council's Report in February 1995, suggested that among the Committee's findings during its national tour was "the happiness" of the Gambian people that "three decades of self-perpetuating rule by one political party was overturned."  Jammeh went even a step further in his broadcast statement that the Committee found that you (referring to the Gambian people) "accorded legitimacy and even blessings to the coup."  

To provide the necessary proof that indeed the Jawara regime was corrupt and the coup a justifiable remedy to what was seen as a decadent regime "living a flamboyant lifestyle along Pipeline Road" while the rest of the Gambian population, including Jammeh and Singhatey, wallowed in  poverty.

To achieve this end, he sought the legal advise of his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Fafa Edrrissa Mbai, that set up the first of several anti-corruption Commissions that followed which have become more of diversionary tactic than a genuine vehicle of addressing corruption which has become endemic during the A(F)PRC regimes.

According to source(s) familiar with the contents of the Bamfoe Commission Report, its findings concluded that the Jawara Ministers were not living beyond their means and thus deemed not to be corrupt.  However, some Directors of Technical Departments, according to the same source(s), were found to be living beyond their salaries could afford and thus deemed corrupt. Obviously, the findings posed a dilemma for Jammeh and Singhatey who had no intention of ceding power back to the civilians.

At this point, the combo led the charge with their campaign was in full throttle to discredit the corrupt Jawara Ministers in their Mercedes Benz 200s and "mansions on Pipeline Road" - compared to the pair of custom ordered Rolls Royce Phantoms, at half a million dollars per copy, in Jammeh's current collection of luxury sedan cars in his garage, fueled and operated at state expense - and thus will not let the hard facts presented by the Commission to get in the way of their false narrative.

However, according to our source(s), the Commission's findings convinced the then Vice Chairman of the AFPRC, Lt. Sabally, that, in the absence of evidence of rampant corruption - the main justification for the coup - the military junta is left with no option but to hand over power to civilians and return to barracks.  

The Vice Chairman of the AFPRC made his position known to Jammeh; a view immediately shared by Sadibou Hydara.  As the only University-educated member of the military Council, his perspective was quite different.  He felt the military was justified in intervening because the previous regime overstayed, even if the Commission's findings did not support the rationale for the coup. However, he felt that at the end of the "rectification" process - meaning the transition period - the soldiers should return to barracks where they belong, and not at State House.
Yaya Jammeh
Edward Singhatey, on the other hand, was in the Jammeh camp, both of whom appeared to have seized power to reverse the economic and social position of what they saw as the privileged class, made up of Ministers, senior public officials and successful businessmen and women.  Both came from very poor families.

It is that same social engineering that is still being practiced to this day by Jammeh, driven more by "entrenched anger" - to borrow Ebrima Sillah's term (former BBC reporter) he used in a recent radio interview to describe the behavior of some of Jammeh's security personnel who torture their fellow Gambians - than by rational economic and social policy.

It is not clear what was Yankuba Touray's view, the fifth member of the Council.  But chances are he would have been on the side of Yaya Jammeh and Edward Singhatey because of his apparent close relations, if not friendship, with the Chairman of the AFPRC.

The Commission Report has never been public because it absolved Jawara and his Ministers of corruption. Thus the only persons who have seen the Report are the Members of the Commission, Members of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council and the AFPRC's Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Fafa Edrissa Mbai.

At some point in Gambia's history, the the Bamfoe Commission Report will be inserted into the Public Record as one more evidence against the Jammeh regime that was and still is consumed by entrenched anger.
 What we do know is that soon after Sabally and Hydara voiced their respective apprehensions about clinging on to power, they became the target of intense scorn among Council Members, leading to a power struggle that ultimately led to their arrests on the trumped-up charges of assassinate attempt on Chairman Jammeh.  Fabricating charges against opponents eventually became a hallmark of the A(F)PRC regimes to this day.

What is also evident is if Yaya Jammeh, Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray had supported Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara and handed over power to civilians,  Gambia would not be in the current predicament it finds itself; a deteriorating economic condition that threatens to plunge the country into absolute chaos for lack of direction due to bad leadership, endemic corruption, pervasive incompetence and a level of economic mismanagement never seen in pre- or post-Independent Gambia.  

Yaya Jammeh has proven, yet again, to be an incompetent and chronically corrupt tyrant who deserves to be denied a fifth term by denying him the privilege of presenting himself as a president candidate in 2016.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

They have fear. We have courage

Con-artist "Prince" Ebrahim Sanyang with Jammeh
After 3.1 miles of brisk walking today, I feel rejuvenated, not because of the work-out, but because of the reaction I received from business partners, family, friends and supporters of my political activism.
Something else, so far removed from Gambian politics inspired me to further strengthen my resolve to continue the fight against tyranny, injustice, corruption and incompetence; that is short paragraph in aMoveOn.org Political Action circular celebrating Obama's victory in the Senate yesterday over opponents of the Iran nuclear deal that got me rejuvenated.
In celebrating victory Political Action's Ben Wikler wrote in his circular the following: Today, we did it. The other side had tens of millions of dollars. Our side had millions of people. The other side had TV ads. We had facts. The other side had fear. We had courage.
Jammeh with a battalion of armed men.
I cannot help but immediately see in the statement, The Gambia, with Yaya Jammeh and his millions of dollars to pay lobbyists and certified con-artists (or 419s) to spruce up his battered image on the one side, and on the other side, us, and the Gambian people who are with us but are afraid to speak up. Their side with radio, television and propaganda outfits like the phony Kora Broadcasting Corporation on one side, and on our side the facts with sidisanneh.blogspot.com and numerous other online media outlet running on shoestring budget. The Jammeh side has fear. We have courage.
"Fear rules" in the Gambia, and correctly concluded by Amnesty International and the moment we conquer fear, we have won the war. Jammeh knows that better than anyone. Thus he continues to employ tactics - he's lost the Strategy War - in a futile and desperate effort to regain the upper hand but we will not let him, no matter how may libelous publications he authorizes or slanderous utterances his supporters make in social media and elsewhere. The truth is with us, and we shall prevail, InshaAllah.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

'Prince' Ebrima of KORA Broadcast Corporation and Yaya Jammeh may face libel charge in a District of Columbia Court

'Prince' Ebrahim of KORA Broadcasting Corporation

Following our two blog posts entitled "KORA Broadcasting Corporation: What's in a name" and "KORA Broadcasting Corporation  is a scam by a professional scammer" both of September 8th, 2018 which were subsequently sent as twits, the reaction was the Prince (he's no Prince but an impostor) threatened to sue me and all those who re-twitted the two blog post which we were gladly anticipating.

Instead what we received was a libelous piece of garbage libeling me for being a child molester,  a rapist and that I was fired form every job I ever held for incompetence.  Of course, and needless to say, there is not an iota of truth to their "investigations."   As an observer of the Gambian political scene said "APRC havyweights are involved in this article" referring to the piece published under the KORA Broadcasting Corporation twitter handle as seen here.

We, at sidisanneh.blogspot.com, are in consultations and seeking legal advise that, we expect, will lead to legal action against Prince Ebrahim of  KORA Broadcasting and Future Africa Foundation and any business associates, including Gambia's ruling APRC Party.  And if it can be established that His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jamus Junkung Jammeh is in anyway associated in the bogus "investigations" that resulted in this libelous piece of junk, he, also, will be dragged into court in the District f Columbia.

As we have announced on Twitter, the propaganda outlet for Gambia's dictator KORA Broadcasting is desperately trying to slander critics.  It won't work and I am undeterred. 

FREE ALHAGIE ABDOULIE CEESAY: The radio journalist is currently being tortured while in custody

Teranga FM Radio MD, Abdoulie Ceesay
Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the proprietor and General Manager of Teranga FM community radio, who is currently on trial is being tortured while he is on remand, sources close to the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) have confirmed.

His lawyer has also informed the court of the fact that her client  has been the subject of torture.

The ordeal of Mr. Ceesay started on New Year's Day this year when agents of the NIA arrested him and held him in their custody.  He was held for eleven days, tortured and then dumped near the Banjul International Airport.  This was just the beginning of an ordeal of this young man whose only crime, despite the charges later framed by the regime, was that he was broadcasting the local news in the local languages to an audience made up of largely people who do neither speak nor understand English.

The regime's poor human rights and macro-economic management fronts have forced it to resort to concealing its record from ordinary Gambians.  It is for this reason that the radio station was forced to close but the police did not provide any reason for the closure.  Mr. Ceesay resumed broadcasting three days later and started playing music as directed by the authorities.  However, he resumed his normal new programming which may have been the reason for his rearrest on the 17th of July and subsequently arraigned in court.

The radio station has been closed three times in the five years of existence which is consistent with the pattern of harassment and intimidation of Gambian journalists in exercising their constitutional rights, as Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative was quoted as saying "Gambian security agents have long stoked a climate of fear for journalists working in the country."

The radio manager's ordeal has been aptly described in The Standard newspaper that is associated with the Gambian Minister of Communication as "an avalanche of woes" that has befallen the radio journalist, "accused of distributing pictures of President Yahya Jammeh showing a gun pointed at him (the president) appeared unceasing"- a charge vigorously contested by Mr. Ceesay's defense attorney, Mrs. Combe Gaye Coker, who argued before High Court Judge Mohammed Balarabe in connection with her third attempt to secure bail approval for her client.  Her point being that Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay "had not broadcast anything either on television or on radio" and as far as she is aware there is no "law that stops the accused repeating the application for bail."

The accused is alleged to have transmitted these photos over cell phones to two women "protocol officers" who are essentially agents of the NIA.  It is rather preposterous for the accused to transmit such photos to NIA agents after he has been severely tortured during his first arrest.  Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay's case, like so many other cases involving journalists before it, makes no sense whatsoever.  He should be released immediately and unconditionally so as to resume with the business of informing the general public about the state of State.

Is the Supreme Islamic Council fermenting civil strife in The Gambia?

Radical cleric, Dr. Baba Ceesay 
Chairman of SIC with stash of cash 
Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) declared, last week, that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, that has co-existed with the mainstream Muslims and Christians alike for over half a century is a non-Muslim sect and thus cannot bury its dead in a Muslim cemetery. 
The decision has invited a strong condemnation from the Leader of the Ahmadiyya, declaring the SIC statement as false, with the warning that such brash and wanton edict has the potential of creating civil strife in a country known otherwise for its secular form of government.
We have, on numerous occasions, raised concern about the role played by SIC within the Jammeh regime, where it is performing the role of a government department, enjoying government subvention and other forms of budgetary support, contrary to the traditional and secular role of similar organizations elsewhere. As a result of the budgetary support enjoyed by SIC, the Gambian dictator has direct control of, and thus, an influential role in, the way and manner the SIC performs its state functions.
Nothing gets through the SIC without the approval of Yaya Jammeh. So as long as there are no problems in the horizon, Jammeh will continue to push the envelop behind the curtain until something goes wrong and then he will blame the Chairman Touray of the Supreme Islamic Council for causing the problem. If you don't believe us, ask Imam Fatty.
Finally, just ask yourself what would SIC do if Jammeh was to pronounce this afternoon that Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at is after all a Muslim sect. The Chairman of SIC will be the first to rush to the local news outlets to declare that, indeed, Ahmadiyya are Muslims and that it was all a mistake on his part.  Jammeh is right and the Supreme Islamic Council was wrong.
These people are not pious Muslims but charlatans who are allowing themselves to be used for a few worldly possessions like an SUV, a fat salary, salibos and periodic trips to Mecca. Shame on them.