(Opinion) – The Gambia Consultative Council (GCC), an organization designed to raise awareness about the tyranny in The Gambia, unequivocally condemns the celebration of twenty years of senseless and merciless murder, executions, incarcerations, exile and forced disappearances of fellow citizens and non-citizens alike over the past two decades.

The military regime, under Yahya Jammeh, has imposed the worst kind of dictatorship known to West Africa since the dawning of independence in the 1960s. In Gambia today, fear reigns, and the price of having an independent voice is stiff; ranging from incarceration, forced disappearance, exile and death. There is hardly a Gambian family unaffected by the vicious tyranny in Gambia, either by the incarceration of loved ones, disappearance of a neighbor, forced exiling of a relative and the murder and execution of a fellow citizen.

As Gambians, who are sold to Yahya Jammeh and his AFPRC military regime’s propaganda and lies, celebrate with him on this sad two decade anniversary of military misrule, they should also remember all their fellow citizens who we have lost. They should remember Hon. Bubacarr Michael Baldeh who we could not burry in his beloved village of Mansajang Kunda. They should remember the nine prisoners executed by machine gun fire. They should remember the school children massacred for merely protesting their government. They should remember the ten soldiers summarily executed in November 1994. They should remember the more than five hundred Mile 2 Prisoners who died and were buried secretly. But remember also all the elderly who died or are maimed in the witch-hunting five years ago. And remember the other hundreds of murdered fellow citizens and the ten thousand who fled Gambia.

On this twentieth year of the ascension of the military regime, it is a time for reflection about what happened to our country since Yahya Jammeh came to power. This is no time to celebrate a history that has left Gambia in utter dysfunction. Think about it, fellow citizens, Gambia is a country of “one man” and all power resides in his hands of one person and everyone’s life rests in his hands; Yahya Jammeh. Those who dare to refuse to carry out his orders to arrest or kill their fellow citizens, become victims; instead. But we are not helpless. We have the power to end this nightmare if we want peace and tranquility to return to our country. We can end this crazy brutality before more of our citizens become victims. Our fellow citizens, one person alone is in control of an entire country and we must end it? The international community is with us. It is our time to stand up and take back our citizenship. It is time to end Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny and abuses. It is time for us to come together and face this evil regime.