The Gambia Youth for Unity (GYU) and its civil society coalition partners are deeply concerned over the sudden overtures by President Yahya Jammeh, pronouncing The Gambia an Islamic Republic without the due procedure as provided in our Constitution.
The Gambia is a secular state and the freedom of worship of all religions has been guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution of The Second Republic. Such a sudden move by The Gambian leader has the potential to polarize our peace loving, social setup as Gambians, something we cherished for lifetime.
“As a youth movement that is representing the voice of the country’s 60 percent youth population, we deem that it is only when president Jammeh steps down that the country will create a new path to a democracy, freedom and progress for the population that has been obediently living under tyranny for two decades,” said Omar Bah, Chairman of the GYU.
Failure to respect such a call will leave us with no choice but to resort to civil disobedience in line with our planned Vision 05/16 (Vision No-fifth-Term for Jammeh in 2016), Mr. Bah added.
“The GYU and its partners believe the trend that Yahya Jammeh is taking has the potential to jeopardize the peace and stability of the country and therefore calls on him to step down as a way to maintaining the stability the Gambia has been known for, said Saihou Mballow, President of the Organisation for Democracy and Justice in West Africa and Coordinator of Gambian Movement for Democracy and Development (GMDD).
President Jammeh has been in power for twenty one years and has amended the constitution that stipulates a two-term mandate leaving it to indefinite term in office.
“In today’s Africa, it is proven that such overstay in power is a recipe for instability in emerging democracies hence Yahya Jammeh should step down without contesting the 2016 presidential election if The Gambia is to avoid political instability,” said Alieu Badara Ceesay, leader of the Scotland-based Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia.
Mr. Assan Martin, a human rights lawyer, speaking on behalf of the Gambian Diaspora Coordinating Committee (GDCC) argued that the withdrawal of The Gambia from the Commonwealth, and the threat to withdraw from the African Union by President Jammeh, as well as the lack of support of the regional block, ECOWAS, for the excess of two terms in office for presidents shows the Gambian leader has no regards for international norms in the 21st Century.
Mr Martin added that the extent of human rights violations and abuse by Jammeh, coupled with unheeded calls for electoral reforms in The Gambia by opposition and civil society groups are all indications that Jammeh is taking The Gambia on the wrong path that runs contrary to the wishes of The Gambian people and the international community.
It is therefore time that the youths start taking back our country from the clutches of the dictator, Yahya Jammeh if he frustrates all democratic means for transition of power in The Gambia, Omar Bah added.
Mr. Omar Bah, Chairperson, Cambia Youth for Unity (GYU)
Saihou Mballow, Gambian Movement for Democracy (GMD)
Alieu Badara Ceesay, Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia (CHRG)
Mr. Assan Martin, Gambian Diaspora Coordinating Committee (GDCC)
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