By Omar Bah
The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has expressed concern over UDP’s decision to accept controversial former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lamin Babadingding Jobarteh into the party.
Jobarteh was among Jammeh-era officials accused of human rights violations during testimonies at the truth commission and critics said his admission into the UDP is a betrayal of the victims.
The former AG was welcomed back to the party together with 25 National People’s Party supporters by UDP leader Ousainu Darboe on Saturday at a Saruja rally, where Jobarteh even mounted the podium to speak.
“The UDP’s decision to embrace Babadingding Jobarteh is disappointing and despicable. Giving Jorbateh a platform to address a political rally is the biggest joke of the century and for the UDP to make such a colossal mistake few months before the election is a failure on the party’s part towards the plight of the victims, especially after all what they have said about the NPP/APRC alliance,” Sheriff Kijera, chairman of the victims centre told The Standard yesterday.
Kijera said the victims had great respect for the UDP and had hoped that under a UDP government, given the party’s struggles under Jammeh, they would ensure justice.
“It is a betrayal to the trust of the victims because we have great respect for the UDP because of their struggle against the Jammeh regime,” he said.
Kijera said the victims have nothing against Mr Jobarteh supporting any political party, including the UDP.
“He has every right to belong and vote for any political party but going that far to give him a platform to speak in a rally is quite despicable. How could you embrace someone who validated the legal justification to kill 9 Mile 2 inmates, participated in the brutal torture of innocent people at Mile 2 and NIA and cut off the nipple of Balo Kanteh?” he said.
The UDP, Kijera added, has now lost the moral argument to denounce the alliance between the NPP and APRC.
“You cannot blow hot and cold at the same time,” he said.
“This is even more worrying because the UDP is a government-in-waiting; it is an alternative government, so for them to come and demonstrate such a terrible mistake is unfortunate and disappointing,” he added.
He said the actions of politicians have left the future of the country very uncertain.
“We are in a political situation that is very messy. We are confronted by politicians who are very unrealistic, unpredictable and politicians who have their own hidden agenda to gather crowds by any means necessary.
“Politics in this country is now based on competition of who has the most crowds rather than competing of ideas and policies that steer the affairs of this country forward. It is time for our politicians to start acting responsibly. We need to talk to them and hold them accountable and make sure they play by the books because what is unfolding right in our political landscape is worrying and disappointing. We should disassociate ourselves from the torturers of the atrocious regime of Yahya Jammeh,” he noted.
Kijera said the victims now wonder whether the UDP will implement the recommendations of the TRRC.
“If you ask, should the UDP win the election in December, will they implement the TRRC recommendations? I will say no because by all indications, embracing one of the most notorious torturers of the Jammeh regime, shows how uninterested the UDP is in the victims. This is a total betrayal to Femi Peters, Solo Sandeng and even Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh,” Kijera added.