Saturday, May 14, 2016

The battle for the soul of The Gambia

Darboe leading a protest march  with party members

As international pressure mounts against the tyrannical regime of Yaya Jammeh, locally the ground is also shifting rapidly as it dawns on the opposition that time is running out if they are to succeed in replacing the repressive, corrupt and incompetent system.

The latest development on the international front is the European Parliament's passage of a resolution calling for, among other stringent measures, the application of travel ban on Jammeh's security personnel responsible for the human rights violations of ordinary citizens peacefully exercising their right to free expression.  Targeted sanctions have also been authorized by the resolution that allows individual members of the European Union to apply them when and where appropriate.

At the national level, the opposition party unity that has eluded opposition politician seem to have taken a big step forward with the announcement at a press conference by the Interim Leader of the PPP, Omar Jallow (OJ) that he is finally throwing his party's full weight behind the protest demonstrations that has been, up to this point, an exclusively UDP affair.  These demonstrations are now seen as a national affair and not the exclusive domain of a single party.

The shift in emphasis from elections by all means necessary to electoral reforms as a necessary prerequisite to elections is another significant development which we hope ALL the other political parties will adopt as a party policy.  Political party leader can no longer afford to be seen sitting on fence and theorizing about how to fight and win an election agaisnt Jammeh under the current electoral law and under an Independent Electoral Commission that is as rotten as the regime it serves.
The PPP's announcement that they will be joining the UDP on the streets of Banjul on Monday in solidarity with Ousainou Darboe and all those in custody is a shot in the arm to the protests demonstrations that have been growing in size since the first protests of 14th April that was led by Solo Sandeng that led to his arrest and eventual death at the hands of the Jammeh's and Yankuba Badjie's torturers at the National Intelligence Agency torture chambers.

We expect that all the leaders of opposition parties will join in the street protest demonstration against tyranny on Monday and beyond.  It is no longer sufficient for leaders to demonstrate alone or attend the trials of the victims of a repressive regime but to urge their respective supporters to take part in the protests as well.  We are battling for the soul of our beloved country - The Gambia.