GAMBIA’S PRESIDENT CALLS FOR QADDAFI’S RESIGNATION!
“ Power Belongs to The People. Qaddafi Must Respect The Will Of The Libyan People. He should resign now,” Says Gambian President Yahya Jammeh
By Ebrima Jatta & Pa Nderry M’Bai, Raleigh, NC
Banjul, THE GAMBIA—President Muammar El-Qaddafi’s longest political ally, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, of all people on Wednesday, in an unprecedented diplomatic twist calls for the immediate resignation of his Libyan dictator brother, while condemning the senseless killings of Libyans. Political instability has rocked the Islamic nation, with Libyans calling for the removal of Qaddafi's regime.
Speaking on behalf of The Gambian leader, during in a nationwide televised speech, the Head of Gambia’s Civil Service Dr. Njogu Bah said Mr. Qaddafi has lost the will of the people, and should resign in the interest of peace, stability, and tranquility in Libya. Mr. Bah says power belongs to the people, and the mass revolt in Libya clearly manifests that Libyans want to see an end to Qaddafi’s rule.
The Gambian Government sided with the Libyan demonstrators saying that Mr. Qaddafi had over stayed his welcome, and should consider handing over the country for the sake of the restoration of democracy in Libya. Failure of which, said the Government, could lead to more bloodshed in Libya.
The Secretary General, who surprises the nation with his anti Libyan sentiments said Mr. Qaddafi has been defiant over the years for a regime change in Libya—with his constant refusal to step down—even though there have been writings on the wall for his imminent fall.
The Libyan revolt, said SG Bah, would serve as a lesson to Mr. Qaddafi; that power belongs to the people. He says six years ago Mr. Qaddafi saw the writings on the wall for a regime change, but he refuses to respect the wishes of Libyans. He says the destiny of Libya lies on the hands of its nationals, and Qaddafi should resign to avoid further bloodshed in that troubled region.
The Gambia has been a major ally to Libya—dating back in July of 1994, when former army Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh, and a group of soldiers toppled the democratically elected Government of former Gambian President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. The Libyan Government provides bilateral support to the impoverished Gambian nation in the areas of military hardwire (weapons) agriculture, education, and other areas of national development.
Mr. Jammeh’s sudden move to distance himself from Qaddafi, has taken many people here by surprise. For example, many are of the view that Mr. Jammeh lacks the moral authority to preach for regime change in Libya, given the fact that he ( Jammeh) treats his political opponents in The Gambia like endangered spices. He ordered for the killing of 14 students in April of 2000 in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest.
Besides the killing of the student demonstrators, Mr. Jammeh has also been linked to the murder of over sixty West African nationals, majority of whom Ghanaians. A good number of senior, and junior army officers also died under Jammeh's watch.
Continuing his address to the nation, SG Bah lambasted the African Union (AU) for its failure to convene an emergency meeting on the Libyan crisis. He says the AU has not been living up to the expectations of Africans.
Commenting on the recent revolution that swept many North African nations, Mr. Bah said African leaders must begin to start respecting the will of its people. He noted that across the continent, the demonstrators had common slogans; that is for incumbents to step down because they had been in power for decades.
"The Gambia Government will continue to advocate for peace in Africa, and other parts of the globe, as this administration believes in peace and stability,” he said. SG Bah also observed that where there is famine, corruption, and destruction, there will be no peace, and development—while urging African leaders to put public interest ahead of personal interest. He blames the continent's political woes to greed, self perpetual rule, and rising corruption.
Meanwhile, Gambia’s opposition are yet to react to President Jammeh’s call for Qaddafi’s resignation. An opposition leader reached on the phone early Thursday morning by the Freedom Newspaper, ran into laughter, when confronted on Jammeh’s speech. He said if there should be any statement issued, his party will provide a fitting reaction at a latter date.
In a separate development, a two day international consultation conference is currently underway in the Senegalese capital Dakar. The Gambian delegation headed by the Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy are taking part on the meeting, which among its goal; is to promote peace, stability, and unity between the two sister countries.
Senegalese Prime-Minister Mr. Sulayman Neneh Njie, in his opening remarks said the consultation forum is geared towards promoting unity between Dakar, and Banjul. He said the meeting’s agenda also include: the establishment of Senegalo-Gambia Secretariat, the building of a bridge at Bamba Tenda and Yilitenda, trade and among other issues of common interest between the two nations.
Gambian Vice President Aja Isatou Njie Saidy , who led the Gambian delegation to the forum, was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Momodou Tangara, Lamin Kaba Bajo of Fisheries, Ousman Sonko of The Interior, Abdou Colley of Trade and Industry and Regional Cooperation and other Senior Government Officials. The VP said the Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh is committed to the promotion of peace in the region