Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Gambia: YJAG Says Troubled By Current Political Deadlock

YJAG also calls for the withdrawal of military officers from the streets (Photo Credit: Lamin Jahateh/FPI/Sept2013)
The Young Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (YJAG) says it is “gravely concerned and troubled by the current political deadlock” following outgoing President Yaya Jammeh’s rejection of the December 1 presidential election results one week after conceding defeat.

Mr. Jammeh’s earlier acceptance of the outcome of the election earned him commendation from Gambians and non-Gambians at home and abroad.

“However, the unconstitutional declaration to annul the results and deem them null and void is a total disregard to the will of the Gambian people,” YJAG said in a statement on December 20 following an emergency executive meeting.

YJAG President Nfamara Jawneh said Jammeh’s actions could undermine the peace and security in the country as it could serve as “a recipe for chaos and disorder.”

“…which undoubtedly, could endanger the lives of all Gambians particularly the young reporters thus threatening our cardinal principles of access to information, media freedom and the protection of welfare of our members,” he said.

Jawneh said young people and media practitioners are always first victims of conflicts and that YJAG is urging outgoing President Jammeh to respect the verdict of the Gambian people. 

Sulayman Ceesay, secretary general of YJAG, said apart from the prospects of endangering the lives of young reporters, Jammeh’s rejection could paralyze and compromise the principles of journalism and “our ability to access and disseminate information.”

“As young people in the media, whose mandate include promoting democracy and good governance in the country, YJAG urges the outgoing President to reconsider his decision and respect the will of the sovereign people of The Gambia,” Mr. Ceesay said.

YJAG further urges Mr. Jammeh to accept defeat and peacefully hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow unconditionally.

It said it is also concerned about the deployment of soldiers in strategic locations around the greater Banjul area which no doubt create fear among the populace including young reporters.

“As such, we call for the withdrawal of military officers in our streets since we are not at war,” the journalists’ body demanded.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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