By Omar Bah
The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has asked President Adama Barrow to resign over his ‘insensitive’ visit to former president Yahya Jammeh’s family in Kanilai.
The president was in Kanilai on Thursday where he met with family of the exiled former president. His visit to the former president’s home village was heavily criticised by human rights activists.
The centre, which continues to ask for justice for the victims of rights abuses under Jammeh, said Barrow is showing signs that he will compromise the truth commission’s recommendations for his personal political gains.
However, the Gambian leader said his visit was meant to inspect a school in the village.
“That’s why I am here. But this is the former president’s village. If I come to this village, if I come for any purpose, it’s important for me to come and see his family, especially his immediate family. Out of respect, out of courtesy, that’s why I came to see his family,” Barrow said of his unannounced visit last week.
But the victims centre chairman, Sheriff Kijera told The Standard that the president’s visit to Jammeh’s family demonstrates his “irresponsible leadership and lack of respect to the plight of Jammeh’s victims of atrocities”. Kijera said the president should, out of respect, tender his resignation with immediate effect to save himself from embarrassment in December.
“But it is not a surprise because Barrow will do anything to hold onto power. I think he has a very hollow ambition to contest the December election. It is purely for political expediency and attempts to self-perpetuate in power,” Kijera said.
Kijera added: “It is rather unfortunate that after he won the 2016 presidential election using the victims, he has never visited the same victims”.
“What gives him the audacity to pay a visit to Yahya Jammeh’s family? A man, who brutally killed, tortured, raped and disappeared hundreds of innocent Gambians. This is no more hearsay but facts that were corroborated by the TRRC from the over 200 witnesses. So Barrow is such an irresponsible leader,” he said.
Kijera said the president continues to ridicule the integrity and status of the Office of the President in a manner that has caused “a national embarrassment for The Gambia under the eyes of the global community”.
“He doesn’t deserve our votes in this coming presidential election. Therefore, I will just call on him to resign with immediate effect as the president of this country because he lacks the temperament and moral integrity to continue serving as head of state,” he noted.
Kijera added: “Yahya Jammeh cannot be fooled in the face of the emerging realities on the ground with all that has been unraveled by the different commissions established by the Barrow administration. Jammeh is aware of this government’s position with regard to his assets and the international goodwill to get him prosecuted.
“Jammeh might be a wicked person but he is not stupid and he knows what he is doing and I am sure he is aware of what Adama Barrow is looking for because Barrow is not doing all this to defend the interest of Jammeh but consolidate his insatiable desire to grip on to power. The alliance is not in the interest of Jammeh. It is unfair for Barrow to treat Jammeh that way.”
He said if President Barrow really cared about Jammeh, he would have attended his mother’s burial or sent a delegation there. “That has never happened. Why now? It is simply because it is election year and it is as simple as that. So Barrow is desperate. He is such a desperate person,” he added.
Kijera said the Barrow administration has been a failure and the president has been “so disrespectful to the citizens of this country by insulting our conscience and the office of the president. I think December is the best time for us to take our country from this irresponsible leadership”.
Kijera added the NPP/APRC alliance “is going to be the biggest tomfoolery of the century because there is no way Jammeh is going to evade justice”.
“Jammeh will go through the accountability process because it is not for the Gambia Government to grant him immunity. The crimes he committed are crimes against humanity and he must face justice,” he said.