Thursday, November 25, 2010

UDP Calls on ACHPR Commissioners to Visit Gambia’s Court System



Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, has called on Commissioners of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) attending the 47th Ordinary Session of ACHPR in Banjul to visit Gambia’s Courts to get first hand
information regarding what he called the inhuman treatment to accused persons by the Courts.

Gambia’s Courts, which are set-up to be independent, are masterminded by inhuman treatment to accused person,” Darboe said on 15th May 2010 when addressing supporters at UDP’s first political gathering since the arrest, trial and conviction of the party campaign manager Femi Peters to one year
imprisonment by the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.

 The UDP leader added: “the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court convicted Femi Peters, but in the party’s view, the UDP Campaign Manager was not guilty of any crime against the State.” He also reiterated his stance
that Femi Peters is a hero who stood to remove his country fellows from the dark, in the likes of Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, whom he said were sent to jail in their quest for the rule of law and democracy.
However, Mr. Darboe admitted that no one in this country is above the law and that if any person commits an offence, he or she should be prosecuted according to the laws of the country, but should not be maltreated instead as Femi Peters.
On the run up the forthcoming Presidential Elections, he said the UDP is optimistic that come 2011 they will win the polls and remove President Yaya Jammeh from State House.
He argued that all development programmes undertaking by The Gambia Government are usually attributed solely to the President and not to the government at large, which he believe is seemingly appearing as if the country is owned by an individual.
Mr. Darboe’s party pulled out of the country’s biggest alliance of opposition political parties in 2005, National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) prior to the 2006 elections after opposition parties disagreed on a suitable candidate to contest against President Jammeh. However, in his recent address  to supporters in 2010, Darboe called on  political leaders to come out as the 2011 presidential elections is fast approaching  and to re-launched what he called the ‘failed 2005 alliance’ to democratically
remove President Jammeh from office.
Darboe urges opposition leaders to put aside their selfish interest and work towards serving the interest of Gambians.
He added that every public official has a right to support any political party of his or her choice but it has a limit noting that public official should not take politicians as enemy. He further said that Gambians have the right to constitutionally elect a government into office, one that will serve the interest of all Gambians. “If any government did not serve their interest they have the right to complain and also the power to remove that government out of office through the ballot box,” he said.
He argued that the ‘UDP and all Gambians will continue to distance their loyalty to a government that came to power through the barrel of the gun (coup)’, saying his  party will try all efforts to remove the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) through the ballot box.
The Minority Leader and National Assembly Member for Kiang West, Momodou Sanneh said there have been developments in the country, but argued that such development is not from the country’s budget, but from loans, charities and tax payers’ money.
He denied the reports that the Kerewan Bridge is build by President Yahya Jammeh, arguing that bridges built during Jammeh’s regime are funded from tax payer’s money.
Hon. Sanneh stressed that Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) is own by all Gambians and not by an individual, calling on the management to serve public interest and not individual’s as they broadcast some programmes that are not of interest to the public.
Do not say votes cannot remove Jammeh from office, that is a not the truth. Votes can remove Jammeh from office,” he argued while calling on Gambians to register for the forthcoming voter registration exercise for the 2011 Elections.
Mr. Kemesang Jammeh, former National Assembly Member of Jarra West also challenges Gambians to make it a point of duty to know the day to day administrative affairs of their government.
“When the junta took power, they accused the former regime of corruption and lack of accountability, but today APRC’s 15 years in power is more corrupt than the former regime,” he said, arguing that the regime has been donating millions of Dalasis without cheques.
Though Banjul has refuted on many occasions claims that it has in custody Ebrima Manneh, the missing journalist, Mr. Jammeh used the occasion to call on the Government of The Gambia to release Chief Ebrima Manneh, arguing that he was reported to have been arrested by State agents in 2006. He also urged the government to pay heed to the decision made by the ECOWAS Court on the issue of Mr. Manneh.
Mr. Jammeh also proposes what many African Governments will not likely to put in place, a term limit. “If the UDP come into office, there will be no coup because we will set a presidential term limit,” he said.
He urged Gambians to vote for the opposition, which he thinks is the only way to bring about change in the country, arguing that since APRC came to power, they (the opposition) have been claiming for a presidential
term limit and the rule of law but they are not working in that direction. Vol:2 Issn:188

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