Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gambia: Opposition want strategy to end impunity

A Living Mirror, a book on the life of Deyda Hydara by Demba Ali Jawo and Aloe Ahmed Alota (Photo: The Point)

Opposition leaders in Banjul have said a strategy has to be put in place to end impunity in The Gambia, where there have been a massive crackdown on press freedom and free expression.

“We have to come up with strategies that we can take to stop impunity in The Gambia because our rights cannot be negotiated,” Omar Jallow, leader of Peoples Progressive Party said.
Jallow told a public lecture organised by Gambia Press Union on the 10th anniversary of the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara on December 19 in Fajara, that "impunity affects not only security and development but negatively impact on people’s daily lives." 

The theme for the event, “The effects of impunity on security and development”, discusses the killing of the veteran journalist and co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper in 2004 by yet to be known gunmen – and the chilling effect it has on national development and security.

Jallow said: "It's sad for people to gather yearly to remember the death of Hydara who is not only a journalist but a father. One day justice will prevail; Deyda’s family will smile to see those hidden criminals who committed this crime face justice accordingly.

"Impunity does not affect the media alone but the entire country; people are witnessing the subsequent arrest and detention without due process of the law.

“It can only be stopped by Gambians to say enough and enough of impunity, we have to come together and speak out against it."

Ousainou Darboe, leader of United Democratic Party, said: “We all should focus on, and asked ourselves what can we do to end impunity in The Gambia. 

“I believed The Gambia has competent investigators and if they are given chance they can investigate the death of Deyda and bring the culprits to book.

"Impunity affects all Gambians, and we all have a duty to come together and do something about it in the interest of the nation.”
'An ugly face'

Halifa Sallah, Secretary General of Peoples Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, described Deyda as a “sacrificial lamb” of The Gambia. 

He said the culture of silence leads to a culture of impunity. “There is impunity because power is unchecked, unrestrained and we must constantly remind them of issues,” he said.

Hon. Samba Jallow, minority leader of the National Assembly and member of Niamina Dankunku, said the death of Deyda Hydara has given "an ugly face" to the country. He said ten years is too much and still justice has not been done.

“We should tighten our belts to challenge the system to end impunity against our people,” he said.

Pap Saine, managing director of The Point newspaper, urged The Gambia government to re-launch the investigation into the killing of his colleague, Deyda Hydara.

On Tuesday, the Gambia Press Union demanded the killers of Deyda Hydara must be brought to justice now.

The accomplishment of “our crucial role” would be hard to come by when rogue elements in society who negate the work of journalists enjoy the fruits of impunity, the journalists’ body said in a statement.

Deyda Hydara, a celebrated co-proprietor and managing editor of The Point newspaper, was assassinated in a drive-by shooting on December 16, 2014. The GPU calls it a “gruesome murder” of which the gunmen behind this “nefarious act” still walk freely.
  • Source: The Voice, Additional reporting by Modou S. Joof . A version of this story appeared on The Voice newspaper on Dec. 17.

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