By Omar Bah
The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has blamed President Adama Barrow for emboldening former president Yahya Jammeh, who has now become a regular figure in the country’s election campaign through his almost daily telephone calls from Equatorial Guinea.
President Barrow has angered the victims and many concerned people for courting Jammeh’s APRC to support his reelection bid. The president even made a trip to Jammeh’s home in Kanilai. However, the former president opposed any alliance with Barrow’s NPP leading to a deep split in the APRC. The former president has a big following in the party, part of which he told to back GDC’s Mamma Kandeh. Jammeh regularly calls GDC-APRC rallies to condemn Barrow’s regime.
However according to victims, who continue to ask for justice for the rights abuses, President Barrow was the first to embrace and embolden Yahya Jammeh. “It was Barrow who invited Jammeh into the country’s political discussion and democratic process. If Barrow had not gone into an alliance with the APRC, Jammeh wouldn’t have had the audacity or the guts to speak in any political forum in this country,” victims centre chairman Sheriff Kijera told The Standard.
Kijera added: “Adama Barrow is quite a disappointment and his actions are quite despicable and disgraceful and beyond comprehension. How could any sensible person embrace Yahya Jammeh after listening to all the revelations at the TRRC?”
He said Barrow has caught the entire victim community by surprise for deciding to work with the enemy even before the TRRC submits its report to him.
“The guts Jammeh has to rant is entirely Barrow’s fault and for him to threaten GDC and Mamma Kandeh about something he started is the most senseless and disgraceful action to be taken by a president. So, we are very disappointed,” he said.
“I think Mamma Kandeh and Adama Barrow don’t deserve respect from any Gambian because the way they are behaving is quite embarrassing and shameful and selfish. All they’re after is their ego and self-interest,” Kijera said.
He added that Jammeh should be condemned by “all well-meaning Gambians because he doesn’t deserve respect as a senior statesman. All he deserves is to be put in chains and escorted to a court of law to answer for the atrocities he committed in this country. Jammeh knows more than anybody that the international community is ready to bring him to book. He knows that he is finished but he wants to do everything possible to cause chaos in this country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the American human rights and International Commission of Jurists lawyer Reed Brody, who works with Jammeh’s victims, commented: “I know that for victims who were tortured or raped, or have their loved ones killed under Yahya Jammeh, it will be painful to see him trying to play king-maker instead of answering atrocity charges before a court of law. However, I think his time may be coming soon.”