In an authenticated audio message available to Freedom, the catholic Bishop Hannah Faal Heim put it to Jammeh: “ I want to ask your permission to speak truthfully and plainly to you because I see you as a brother because we are all Gambians. I have not come here as the Chair of the Gambia Christian Council. In fact many people told me not to come here today, and all of us not to come because people are so angry with you. I seek your permission with deep respect. Because the nation has been going through a very painful time. I don’t know whether many people tell you, but you know they tell me that I should not tell you because I will be in trouble.” 

“We must be one. We must all work for Gambia. And they say that now the election took place, you never had any intention of stepping down. You have conceded but you will not accept the results, you will not help the nation to have a smooth transition and you will be prepared to even fight and put the guns on the street to stay in power in Gambia. Sir these are painful things for all of us. Painful for me to sit here and tell you but the people must talk.They don’t feel trust and they said the only place you can hear them is through the ballot box,” she added.

The catholic bishop posited that despite the potential ramifications of speaking truth to a dictator like Jammeh, she had no fear except that of the living God she serves. She further called on Jammeh to ensure peaceful transition and spare Gambia the prospect of foreign intervention with attendant loss of life and property. The comments of the religious leaders asking Jammeh to step down were suppressed by pro-government Gambia radio and television services.

Written by Sainey Darboe 

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