Monthly Archives: July 2012

jammeh axes general martin

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General Alagie Martin has become the latest casualty of President Yahya Jammeh’s hiring and firing. General Martin, the President’s Chief Guard, has been fired on Wednesday, state radio and television reported.

As usual, no reasons have been explained for the general’s firing, fueling the already climate of fear in the Gambia.

President Jammeh’s office announced General Martin’s firing and subsequent deployment into the foreign affairs in a terse communique.

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The arrest and subsequent remand of Siddiq Asemota, a Daily Observer journalist, is a clear manifestation that the Gambia’s judiciary has drawn a battle line with the country’s besieged media. 

Mr. Asemota, a naturalized Gambian who originally hailed from Nigeria, joined Abdul Hamid Adiamoh and Lamin Njie, editor and deputy editor of Today and Daily News, respectively. Both Adiamoh and Njie were charged with contempt of the court. While Njie enjoyed the court’s mercy, Adiamoh was convicted and heavily fined.

Mr. Asemota, a journalist with outstanding journalistic experience, was remanded at Mile II Central Prisons on Tuesday after a High Court judge made an order. Justice Emmanuel Nkea at the Special Criminal Division Court ordered Mr. Sidiq to be in custody until Friday, July 13 when his trial begins.

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drc arlord jailed for 14 years

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Thomas Lubanga

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday sentenced a former Congolese warlord to 14 years in prison after he was found guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 into the Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC) militia.

In March this year, the court found Thomas Lubanga, the commander-in-chief of the FPLC, also guilty of using children to participate in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern Ituri region between September 2002 and August 2003.

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the day is here again

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Chief Manneh disappears 6 years ago

They have come and gone all year around! I mean the days that leave Gambians reeling with agony, insecurity, uncertainty and so many unanswered questions.

The days that shatter innocent families’ hopes, steal their lovely breadwinners, some of them expecting to marry and reproduce so their image will remain when they join ancestors. These are the days that water down the dreams of patriotic and hardworking Gambians, including brothers and sisters fighting to give voice to voiceless communities. Their high level of patriotism pushes them to surrender their entire heart and mind to their country’s service. In so doing, most of them sacrifice their personal goals.

These sacrificial lambs will never shy away to hold the sword and fight for their motherland when the need arises. God creates them to add value or meaning to lives, which is why communities are devastated by their disappearance or death, usually in mysterious circumstances, for crossing the lines of the powers-that-be. The fact of the matter is that these gallant sons and daughters are fixed in all walks of life. Many more emerge when one dies or disappears.

Yes, July 7th is one of these terrible days – a day that demeans our noble profession and changes its color forever. The day gives us “kidnapping, disappearance and missing.” Yes, we feed on words and use them in whatever way possible; they are our arms and ammunition or better put it tools of our trade. But until the Chief Ebrima Manneh debacle, Gambian pen pushers hardly use the three above words in their day-to-day assignments.

The Gambia government’s naked lies about Chief’s disappearance and unwillingness to investigate Deyda Hydara’s callous murder are both demeaning and insulting to our profession, replacing our passion with sorrow and our hopes with despair.

We are still struggling to stomach what these days have brought to us. The days are devastating in magnitude for journalists in a country with little past problems. Who does not remember the belabored “Gambia no problem” slogan? This phrase belongs to the sweet days of Papa Jawara when we would swim in the pool of freedom and go to bed with hope and certainty of not being harmed for calling spade a spade.

Of course, this does not mean Papa Jawara’s regime has not bumped on our rights. I respect the ousted Jawara regime for not creating families like those of Chief Manneh and Deyda Hydara who are left to chase the air, in search of answers about how and why their loved ones disappeared or murdered.

In reality, our military-turned-civilian regime contains bunch of cowards who do not muster the courage to tell us what happens to those they have arrested. How long do we have to ride with a system in which no one dares tell the truth?

Exactly six years ago, Chief Manneh was arrested in the presence of his Daily Observer colleagues yet the government is diving around the simple truth.

We are desperately waiting for a day when truth will shine over falsehood. This day will reveal the skeleton hidden in our government’s cupboard. It might take some time but we will get there. Until then, our heart of sympathy goes to all the families coping with fear, uncertainty and shattered hopes. Your tears will not surely be wasted!

Musa writes this for http://www.kibaaro.com.

gambia’s army chief removed

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Lt. General Masaneh Kinteh

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has removed the army Chief of Staff Lt. General Masaneh Kinteh from office. Lt. General Kinteh has been sent on diplomatic assignment.

General Ousman Badjie, a brother to the Gambia’s convicted Inspector General of Police, Ensa Badjie, has replaced Mr. Kinteh. Former IGP Badjie is currently serving multiple prisons terms, including two life in jail for robbery and other related crimes.

No reasons have been advanced for Lt. General’s abrupt removal on Friday.

Kinteh, a native of Sankwia in Western Jarra, replaced Major General Lang Tombong Tamba who was sentenced to death together with six others. Major General Tamba, once a trusted ally of President Jammeh, was dismissed together with Major Bore Badjie, Brigadier General Omar Bun Mbye, Major General Demba Njie and Captain Lamin Fatty.

Lt. General Kinteh, an elite soldier who bags masters degree in United Kingdom, was appointed in October 2009. President Jammeh also appointed General Yankuba Drammeh as the deputy Chief of Staff at the time. Mr. Drammeh was soon arrested, allegedly tortured and later recycled into the foreign affairs ministry. He is currently serving in the diplomatic service.

Courtesy of http://www.kibaaro.com