Omar Jallow, leader of the PPP

(JollofNews) – An opposition leader in the Gambia has renewed his attacks on President Yahya Jammeh, accusing him of using brute force to turn the west African country into an open prison.

Omar  Amadou Jallow (OJ) of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said since Mr Jammeh came to power in July 1994, brute force, intimidation, arrest, detention and violation of human rights has been the order of the day in the Gambia and Gambians are not only suffering from suppression and oppression but are now suffering from a worse state dilemma than when they were colonised by the British.

“The Gambia has been turned by Jammeh into an open prison and the only solution left is for the opposition to forget about partisan politics and individual differences and come together in a strong and effective alliance  and confront the dictator and despot,” he told the Dakar-based West Africa Democracy Radio.

“What have happened in the Gambia in the recent past particularly in our judiciary was seen by my party as a travesty of justice.  Innocent civilians, opposition party leaders and their members were wrongly accused, wrongly arrested and subsequently wrongly sent to jail while they were just exercising their constitutional rights, which is guaranteed under the constitution, which the incumbent have sworn to uphold and defend.”

Mr Jallow who was Agriculture minister in the First Republic added: “For me, I see our courts as kangaroo courts and then we were vindicated when a judge of the high court who was then presiding over the case of the UDP

President Yahya Jammeh
President Yahya Jammeh

leadership went on an online radio and admitted that these people [the opposition members] should not have been arrested in the first place not to talk about detaining them and charging before a court of law. And when this interview went viral he has to recuse himself from the case. What is happening in the judiciary is not fair and is not just.”

Mr Jallow said Gambians are fed up with Jammeh and are determined to deny him a fifth term in office. But he warned that any failure by the opposition to come together in the election would gift Jammeh another victory

He added: “I have said it on many occasions both within the Gambia and abroad that if Jammeh wins in 2016 nobody should congratulate Jammeh or his party. They should congratulate the opposition leaders for failing the Gambian people by not coming together to salvage this country.”

Commenting on the 22nd July celebrations which was held on Friday, Mr Jallow criticised the commemorations of the day. He said the day should not be celebrated because Mr Jammeh overthrew a democratically elected government

“All those who tried to do what he [Jammeh] did on that faithful day have been sentenced to death and some have been executed while others still languishing in prison,” Mr Jallow added.

“Therefore, how can somebody who says he is now democratically elected and working under a democratic constitution be celebrating a day that is a criminal day and a day of treason. He is the only African leader who after overthrowing a government celebrate that day every year. That shows the type of person we have in the Gambia.”