With the annual jamboree that is the July 22nd celebration around the corner, the Point newspaper has a run down of reactions from some of the leading Gambian politicians: from the ruling APRC and the opposition parties.
The speaker of the house:Fatoumata Jahumpha Ceesay [no relation to the author] waxed philosophical in her trademarked sycophantic way. If you let her tell the story, the Gambia is the promised paradise prophesied in the scriptures. She went on to talk about human rights and press freedom when a few days ago the government of the Gambia failed to answer to a case brought before a regional court for the illegal detention of a journalist. The illegal detention of Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta, the disappearance of Daba marenah and five other alleged coup plotters aren’t human rights violations in the speakers book.
For their part Ousainou Darbo and Halifa Sallah: leaders of the opposition UDP and NADD respectively, admonish the notion that a government that claims to be democratically elected will be celebrating the undemocratic takeover of a government that took place more than a decade ago. They condemned coups and bemoan the abject poverty that prevails in the country. Darbo went on to castigate the government on its human rights record: illegal detentions and general break down in the rule of law. No surprises there for the lawyer turn politician.
Halifa also took to task the supporters of the coup who never fail to point out the structural projects initiated after the 1994 coup. He schooled them on the economics involved. The projects, he explained are financed with interest laden loans that makes the Gambia a seriously indebted country without any self sustainability. Building infrastructure from loans that you don’t have the human capital to maintain is the worst form of development paradigm. He made references to the plight of the Gambian farmer and how the lack of government foresight has reduced them to beggars.
Juwara of opposition NDAM took a different tack. He hasn’t condemn the coup outright. In fact he has some praise for the government. His critics will point to this interview as a step in his metamorphism from the most outspoken critic of the government to joining the ranks of his former tormentors. The peeve I have with his portion of the interview is where he made this comment:
I call on the government to release Chief Ebrima Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta if they are in their custody and if not in their custody to do all it takes to know who is holding these guys. After all they are not important. And it is only going to give the country a bad name.
They are not important….what is Juwara smoking? Who determines their importance? These are people with families and responsibilities. They are very important to their friends and loved ones and all peace loving people. Juwara’s transformation is a sight to behold.