July 22nd 2021

DEMOCRACY OVERTURNED

July 22nd 1994 was the day that the AFPRC led by 29- Year – old Lieutenant Jammeh overthrew the democratically elected government of the PPP in the most dramatic way. Therefore, this day should be a day of reflection for the PPP and The Gambia. “The world was just waking up to the fall of democracy in Banjul” (Kairaba) indeed the world and most Gambian people supported the military Junta as they were blindfolded with their sing-song slogan accusing the PPP government of “Rampant Corruption and flamboyant Lifestyle”. 

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As mentioned by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara in his Book the Kairaba the AFPRC Finance and Economic Affairs Minister (Bakary Bunja Dabo) “Bodly assuring the general public that there was, among other things, enough foreign exchange available, in the banking system to hold up the country. He called a special press conference of local and international journalists to dispel rumours of scarcity. He said there would be a continuation of the economic policies of the ousted government. At a meeting with businessmen and senior officials of the Gambia Chamber of commerce, he revealed that there were adequate reserves to cover the country’s import bill and that there was enough supply of basic commodities including rice and fuel to keep the country going. He signed a letter on 13 August 1994 and circulated it to all on the list of the country’s development partners assuring everyone that there would be a timetable for the restoration of civilian rule in forty-five days. I could not help but ask myself the question: what kind of plunder of the economy had we been guilty of then to warrant our overthrow? It was unlikely that a corrupt and vile government would have left a buoyant Central Bank reserve, a functioning chamber of commerce, and shops filled with basic commodities. That rosy picture of a stable and vibrant business and consumer environment presided over by my government might begin to lend credence to the suspicion that the reasons for the overthrow of my government were probably far removed from the impression the sing-song “Rampant corruption and flamboyant lifestyle” of my government was meant to convey”.

The AFPRC established commissions of inquiries that was meant to prove to The Gambians that the PPP government was corrupt or to justify their coup, and promised to make the reports of all the commissions public. All the commissions’ reports were made public except the Banfor commission that was looking at the President, Government Ministers, Senior Civil Servants and head of Parastatals is yet to be made public which is a clear indication that the AFPRC was simply misleading the public in their allegations of rampant corruption.  

The Junta had in detention former government ministers late Hon. Landing Jallow Sonko, Hon. Alhagie Yaya Ceesay, Late Omar Sey, Hon Omar Amadou Jallow, Late Hon. Alieu E W F Badjie, Hon. Sarjo Touray, Late Hon Bubacarr Baldeh, Hon Alkali James Gaye, late Hon. Mathew Yaya Baldeh, Hon Assan Jallow then Justice minister and current chief Justice. Managing Directors of parastatals were also arrested and detained included Pa O B Cham Gambia Port Authority (GPA), late Sankung Fatty Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), late Alieu Mboge National Trading Corporation (NTC), and Abdoulie M Touray National Investment Board (NIB). There were also over 30 security Officers detained.

The Junta suspended the 1970 constitution and replaced it with draconian decrees that imposed press censorship, banned all political activities, forbidding the criticism of the governmentetc. A crackdown on officials of the ousted government in which many former government officials were tortured in the most inhumane manner. 

The PPP appreciate the late Alh. Landing Jallow Sonko, Hon. Alh. Omar Amadou Jallow alias OJ, Hon. James F. Gomez, late Hon. Kebba Jawara, Late LB Mbodge, Hon. Alh. Yaya Ceesay, late Kama Badjie, late Ousainou Njie, and Hon. Alkali James Gaye, just to name a few, who played crucial roles during the difficult years under the military dictatorship to reestablish and reorganized the PPP.

The PPP also want to use this opportunity to congratulate Hon. Omar Amadou Jallow for the proclamation made by the County Executive Matthew Meyer declaring July 12th as Omar ‘OJ’ Jallow day in Newcastle, Delaware, USA.

The PPP is very excited about the news, and will continue to appreciate as well as thank honorable OJ for his efforts, dedication and commitment that he singlehandedly steered the affairs of the PPP, and because of his perseverance the PPP still exists. OJ played a crucial role to end dictatorship under coalition 2016, and continues to maintain the spirit of democracy and rule of law.

While the PPP reflect on how far we have come from dictatorship to the new dispensation. It is important that the Gambian People deal decisively with the obstacles to reconciliation, among them the high levels of personal attacks in our country and the persistence of tribalism in our political activities.

As the nation awaits the TRRC recommendation, we remind the Government the need to seriously look at the adverse and negative effects the military coup inflected on both the civil servants, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), and politicians under PPP government.  

We appealed to the President to focus more on national reconciliation as it is the only way to nurture peace and stability, for progress and meaningful national development.

Signed

Kebba E Jallow

Secretary and Party Leader, PPP

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