Monday, September 26, 2016

Senior Intelligence Officer losses job after advising release of political prisoners and postponement of elections

Election Day in Gambia 
The Director of Political Affairs, Samba Bah, of Gambia's National Intelligence Agency, lost his job after advising Jammeh to release Ousainou Darboe and all the other political prisoners held at the Mile II facility which is among the worst prisons in the world.

Citing the tense political climate and environment of insecurity and uncertainty that has engulfed the country, Mr. Bah also recommended postponement of the scheduled December 2016 presidential and the April 2017 National Assembly elections.

Samba Bah is a highly respected professional intelligence officer who is known, according to sources, to be non-partisan.  He is said to be one of the few college-educated officer at the notorious National Intelligence Agency that is better known for the brutal use of torture against opponents of the regime of Yaya Jammeh.

Although Jammeh disagrees with the assessment conducted by his Director of Political Affairs that led to his recommendations and subsequent dismissal. it is a view shared by many observers of the Gambian political scene, especially now as recent events start to unfold.  The fleeing to Sweden of Jammeh's long-serving Interior Minister where he is seeking asylum has started to reverberate across Jammeh shaky security establishment.

The mass arrests and imprisonment of the leading opposition party leader and nearly all of its senior executives and supporters have contributed to the political tension.  The demand by the European Union for the release of all political prisoners has added to the pressure the regime is facing.  Our sources have intimated that Jammeh thinks that Samba Bah's recommendations were influenced by or taking direct orders from the EU.

Bah's recommendation to postpone the elections is also consistent with the general consensus that appears to be building, fueled by the apparent lack of financial support from Gambia's traditional donors who finance the electoral process.  The poor human rights record has caused all donors to withhold funds until the abuses stop and the environment improves, a highly unlikely proposition as long as Jammeh remains in power.