(JollofNews) – An opposition party in the Gambia has condemned last month’s attempted coup against the APRC regime of President Yahya Jammeh.
On 30 December, Gambian dissidents armed with night-vision goggles, body armour and semi-automatic rifles bought at shops in the US, hidden beneath clothes and shipped in barrels to the Gambia, attacked the presidential palace in Banjul while Mr Jammeh was away on a private visit to Dubai.
They had earlier planned to ambush the president’s convoy but their hope for military support from 160 locals did not materialise.
An “Alpha Team” would mount an assault on the front of the State House in Banjul; “Bravo Team” would secure the rear. A warning shot was fired into the air but a gun battle erupted, and an attempt to ram the front door using a rented vehicle failed and members of Alpha Team were killed.
But the Gambia Moral Congress Party (GMC) said it believes that political change should be effected democratically through free and fair electoral and electioneering processes, using all legitimate and constitutional avenues to bring about such change.
In a statement issued on Sunday on the website of its leader, Mai Ahmed Fatty, the party said it strongly abhor attempts to change the political infrastructure of the Gambia through the medium of violence or other unconstitutional means.
Below is the full statement
GMC condemns the recent effort by some Gambians to violently overthrow the government of the Gambia on the 30th December 2014.
We strongly abhor attempts to change the political infrastructure of the Gambia through the medium of violence or other unconstitutional means. We strongly condemn all forms of violence as an instrument, in the realisation or furtherance of political ambition or goals. We believe that political change should be effected democratically through free and fair electoral and electioneering processes, using all legitimate and constitutional avenues to bring about such change.
We categorically reject any effort or access to political power in any manner whatsoever and howsoever, through the back-door. Legitimate power is derived from the voters and sovereignty belongs to the people. We believe the right to political power or its sustenance should be in consequence of fraud-free and transparent exercise of the franchise by citizens of the Gambia, and not through the barrel of the gun or by electoral subterfuge. We support fully the inclusive, unlimited and unrestricted rights of all Gambians in a free, fair and equitable democratic process to change their government legitimately.
GMC urges the Gambia government to expand the democratic space, enabling all Gambians, both at home and in the diaspora equal opportunity and avenue, to fully participate in national political and democratic processes, including the right to vote in inclusive, transparent and fraud-free electoral or electioneering processes. We call on the government to encourage legitimate public debate in all fora, enable meaningful equal access to information dissemination platforms, and the meaningful exercise of freedom of association.
We strongly urge the APRC government to agree to immediate comprehensive electoral reforms, including the total overhaul of the voting system in genuine consultation with all stakeholders. It is imperative that an electoral process that provides realistic hopes of plurality be enthroned as a durable system that would clearly, affirmatively and emphatically imbue integrity and public confidence in the overall system. Hopelessness in any political process or participation spells ill-omen for the system, giving birth to desperate initiatives. Through governance practices, we should manifest hope and opportunity for our people, and learn from the lessons of negative political practices or experiments, to guide and inform our subsequent political attitude.
We call on Gambians to fully and vigorously exercise their constitutional rights in a manner consistent with the law. We also urge the government of the Gambia to fully respect the rights of all Gambians as enshrined in our Constitution and other laws of the land. This is opportunity for extensive national political conversation.
We believe a genuine inclusive national political conference should be held without delay, with a view to comprehensively canalizing a national political consensus on the way forward on all fundamental issues of governance and statutory reforms. GMC shall be supportive and instrumental in all efforts that would strengthen the democratic processes, providing realistic avenue for democratic plurality.
All Gambians, particularly the youths of the Gambia, deserve proper dividends of their true political participation, in consonance with their undiluted political will.