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Rawlings Asked To Call Prez Jammeh To Order
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Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings has been asked to call his protégé, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to order over his flagrant violations of human rights of Gambians and foreigners.

President Jammeh is on record to have declared that his coup which brought him to power was inspired by ex-President Rawlings. “Rawlings should call his friend, Jammeh, to order; he is a disgrace to the high office of presidency. He has gone beyond bounds and since he describes the former President as his mentor if he speaks to him he will listen,” a journalist at a news conference by civil society groups in reaction to death threats on journalists issued by President Jammeh suggested.

He said against the backdrop of how President Jammeh has consolidated his reign which makes it impossible for his removal from office through the ballot box, the only way to get rid of him is to go what he termed the “Tanzania way against late Iddi Amin”. Mobilizing a group of people to overthrow him.

On September 24, 2009, news emerged about President Jammeh’s remarks proclaiming an impending war against all human rights defenders purporting to sabotage his government. He is reported to have declared, “I will kill anyone, who wants to destailise this country. If you think that you can collaborate with so called human rights defenders, and get away with it, you must be living in a dream world. I will kill you, and nothing will come out of it.

“We are not going to condone people posing as human rights defenders to the detriment of the country. If you are affiliated with any human rights group, be rest assured that your security and personal safety would not be guaranteed by my Government. We are ready to kill saboteurs.”

The CSOs consisted of the Commonwealth Human rights Initiative (CHRI), the Media Foundation for West Africa (NFWA), Amnesty International-Ghana (AI), West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP), the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), among others. Addressing the conference, Nana Oye Lithur of HRAC said the declaration of war by President Jammeh, a member of the ECOWAS Heads of Government, “is deeply lamentable and must be condemned”.

She observed that the protracted attacks on freedom of expression and of the press, abuse of power, disregard for the rule of law and brutality towards innocent civilians suspected to oppose his government has been the hallmark of President Jammeh’s rule in the recent past.

The unleashing of terror by President Jammeh on civilians is not limited to Gambian citizens or residents but extends to innocent foreigners including 40 Ghanaians who were part of an emigrant group heading to Europe in July 2005 when they intercepted, illegally detained and some were later murdered in cold blood whilst in the custody of military agencies in the Gambia.

“An independent enquiry into this matter was undertaken by the UN and ECOWAS and established that the Gambia was responsible for failing to protect these emigrants who were in its jurisdiction when the crimes were committed.

The team recommended compensation for the victims, which to date has still not been provided. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of those heinous crimes remain at large,” recalled Nana Lithur.According to her, President Jammeh had extended his nefarious activities beyond the frontiers of Gambia in that he had with effrontery spurned the authority of human rights monitoring institutions including the ECOWAS Community Court, which has issued several judgments against the Gambia on human rights cases, which so far had gone unheeded. “Worse of all, the Gambia Government has gone ahead to ECOWAS Court of Justice under the Supplementary Protocol creating the Court… in attempt to weaken the Court’s power in confronting tyrannical regimes such as President Jammeh’s notorious government and a move to get rid of the necessary safeguards against impunity and arbitrary,” she further observed.

Nana Lithur called on the African Union (AU) to relocate the African Commission on Human and People Rights which is headquartered in Gambia since President Jammeh’s action is an affront to the august institution.She called on ECOWAS governments to take a stern position condemning the Gambia and the continued reign of terror led by its Head of State, President Jammeh.

Mr. Sam Okudzeto of the CHRI, urged journalists to use their media to dispel the darkness of human rights abuses wherever it is, and constantly protect the independence of the judiciary.Alhaji Alhassan Abdulai, a Moslem opinion leader, said he felt embarrassed by the behavior of President Jammeh who is also an Islamic faithful. He disclosed that he would bring the attention of the National Imam, adding that it was unfortunate that the countries in the West African sub region where such atrocities are taking place, Guinea and Niger, have Moslems as their leaders.

Source: Public Agenda

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