Friday, December 2, 2016

It is not business as usual: Jammeh must go

Voters lining up to vote Jammeh out of office
It makes us wonder why Yaya Jammeh who has harassed, jailed, tortured, maimed, assassinated and make journalists to disappear without trace is allowed the luxury of staying in The Gambia one more day without him spending the night in the 5-Star Hotel he made famous during his disastrous 22-year dictatorship.

We have always stood for reconciliation without which the wounds of the nation will never heal.  For this reason we have advocated for a True and Reconciliation Commission to be constituted for the country, its citizens to confront their tormentors of 22 years to speak the truth about their victims and to admit guilty by taking full responsibility for their actions.

Families of Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe, two Gambian-Americans who disappeared while visiting their country deserve to know what happened to their loved ones.  Only the truth shall bring closure to these and numerous others families whose loved ones were tortured, murdered and raped by Yaya Jammeh soldiers and security personnel - some of whom are still in the service of the Gambia Government.

Gambians have suffered at the hands of Yaya Jammeh to allow him continue to stay and meddle in the affairs of state.   This man has been a security threat to the country and to the region while president and will pose similar threat, especially to a young and transitional government with weak institutions - thanks to Yaya - outside of government.  In fact, he will menace the state by meddling in its affairs thus posing serious threat to public safety.  Jammeh must proceed on exile. Senegal is an option.  Morocco is another option.  But he must leave The Gambia for his own good and for the good of the country.

Almost a third of the entire Gambian population stood in line for hours to cast their vote that rejected everything Jammeh represents.  To allow him to stay will not only expose the state to the dangers posed by this man but it means stepping on the message of repudiation of dictatorships everywhere.   Gambians have demonstrated that African dictators, even those as brutal as Yaya Jammeh can be deposed democratically.  We run the risk of diluting or stepping on a message that is barely 24 hours old.  It will be the gravest error of the transition government if Jammeh is allowed to stay in the Gambia one more day.  He must leave voluntarily or be deported to a country of his choice.