Madi Jobarteh

(JollofNews) – Is there a greater crime than to threaten the life of a citizen to the point that such a citizen has no choice but to run away from his or her home? Have you ever considered how painful it is to be unable to return to your home for fear of your life? Imagine how many Gambians had to leave their children, wives, husbands and parents behind just because of one man and his regime.

In their absence, many lost their loved ones yet they could not bid them farewell as required by our culture and religion. For the past 22 years, there were thousands of Gambians who have been forced to flee their country and denied to come back home because Yaya Jammeh would have them arrested, tortured or killed. Yet we were supposed to be a democratic society with laws that protect fundamental human rights and freedoms?

Indeed it is even difficult to figure out what has been the greatest crime Yaya Jammeh and APRC inflicted on Gambians. Is it the summary killings of tens of soldiers on November 11 falsely accused of a coup attempt? Is it the murder of numerous individuals such as Koro Ceesay, Deyda Hydara, Daba Marenah, Enor Kolley or Elo Jallow just to cover up the abuse and corruption of the APRC Tyranny and further entrench Yaya Jammeh in power? Is it the massacre of 15 unarmed children and a Red Cross volunteer just for exercising their constitutional right? Is it the enforced disappearances of Kanyiba Kanyi, Mamut Ceesay or Ebou Jobe and many others? Or is it the murder of Solo Sandeng, Solo Koroma and Lang Marong among many others? Or is it the uncountable incidents of torture of citizens and the rape of our women and girls in these past 22 years? What about the summary dismissals, incarcerations and looting of public wealth? What is Yaya Jammeh’s greatest crime?

It is established in law that no person should be stateless. Section 8 of our Constitution established the citizenship of each and every Gambian. Section 25 subsection 2 gives the right to every Gambian citizen to move freely within the Gambia and to choose to reside in any part of the Gambia. Subsection 3 went further to state that every Gambian has a right to leave and return to the Gambia at any time. Above all, Section 1 subsection 2 of the Constitution established that the sovereignty of the Gambia resides in each and every citizen of the Gambia. Hence no Gambian must ever be forced to flee or be refused to come back to the Gambia because that is an inalienable right.

Yet in the past 22 years, we have seen how one single citizen called Yaya Jammeh made thousands of Gambians homeless and stateless by either forcing them to run away or not allowed to return to their country of birth. And then we had these APRC parliamentarians fail to stand with their fellow citizens to defend and protect our citizenship. They watched and stood with Yaya Jammeh as Gambia’s sons and daughters were separated from their children, fathers, mothers, wives and husbands just because of one man! APRC NAMs defended Yaya Jammeh to even deny dead Gambian bodies to be returned to their motherland to at least get a peaceful resting place at home. What could be more immoral than to deny a person a home even in death?

Not only had Yaya Jammeh directly sent Gambian sons and daughters out of their homes and never to return, but he also indirectly banished thousands more of our youth to their death in the wilderness. Due to his brutal misrule and gross mismanagement of our economy, Yaya Jammeh forced a life of hopelessness and homelessness on our youth who could find no opportunities at home. Consequently thousands of young souls could not but flee across the Sahara and the Mediterranean in search of better lives only to perish in foreign lands. Yet there are Gambians today such as Yankuba Colley who claim that Yaya Jammeh deserves respect.

Had Yankuba Colley’s son starved to death in the Sahara Desert? Did Yankuba Colley’s daughter drown in the Mediterranean? Was Yankuba Colley’s brother ever forced to flee and never to return to the Gambia? Was Yankuba Colley’s sister ever been raped by the Junglers? Was Yankuba Colley’s father been beaten up as Yaya Jammeh’s thugs beat up Imam Baba Leigh or Imam Hydara or Imam Bakawsu? Yet Yankuba Colley and his ilk could stand in front of Gambians to tell them to respect Yaya Jammeh and support APRC.

If indeed Yaya Jammeh and APRC were right, why would Yaya Jammeh reluctantly leave the Gambia to go into exile? If any Gambian holds that the APRC was right, why do we have a death squad called the Junglers? If APRC was right, why were Gambians tortured and summarily executed consistently since 1994 by the NIA and the Junglers? Why should anyone respect Yaya Jammeh when his government killed unarmed and defenseless children of the nation? Could such a leader and his government deserve respect anywhere in the world? Could APRC supporters ask themselves whether it was right for Yaya Jammeh to butcher 50 West Africans to death after already arresting them alive? Which decent Gambian would respect a leader who steals public money and personalizes public properties throughout the whole country?

The fact that Gambia’s sons and daughters are coming home in droves today after years of exile is a clear testimony that Yaya Jammeh was brutal and criminal who deserves no iota of respect. When there is respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law, which citizen would therefore flee his or her country even if you are accused of a crime? The fact that citizens had to flee and never to return was a clear testimony that there was a regime in place that never respected human rights and its own constitution. It tells the fact that Yaya Jammeh was a violator who ruled the country with violence in impunity. That culture of impunity was imposed on us and perpetuated by Yaya Jammeh because APRC NAMs betrayed Gambians at her most painful moment.

A home is a birthright. Yet Yaya Jammeh and APRC denied Gambians their birthright. Who therefore would stand for or vote for APRC?

God Bless The Gambia.