25 February 2013

Gambia: The Unsettling Scene at Daily Observer the 'Taff Taff' Economy Does Not Promote Honesty


Foroyaa usually waits for the involvement of family members before we pursue any case of detention without trial or disappearance without trace. One of the strangest cases that have been brought to our notice by non family members is that of Jobe. He has been in detention for more than 72 hours without bail or trial.

This is in gross violation of Section 19 of the Constitution. However, we cannot get a single family member to officially explain when the gentleman was arrested, for how long and whether they have offered to sign a bail bond to facilitate his release after 72 hours. One could imagine what it means to totally be in the hands of another person without anyone trying to find out whether one is alive or dead, protected or maltreated, fed or unfed.

The only family member we came across did not even know that he was under arrest until inquiries were made. Subsequent contact with him revealed that he could not get any information from any of the contacts he had from Daily Observer because of fear. The young man is from a village set up. The father has passed away. The mother is aged. He appears to have been the breadwinner of the family.

We do not know how the Gambia Government intends to deal with the problem of asylum. There are genuine asylum seekers and feigning asylum seekers who fall into all categories of the political spectrum and social fabric. It should not be a surprise to find Active supporters of the APRC claiming persecution to gain asylum and then promote the party abroad. It is not uncommon to have opponents of the APRC abroad accusing supporters of the party of using feigning persecution to gain asylum or trying to block their applications for asylum. It is also not strange that because of the TAFF TAFF Economy many hostile critics of the government do cross carpet and become the most hostile critics of the opposition while serving as praise-singers of the ruling party. Gambia is a country of ironies and for the sake of survival, everything goes.

In many countries Security agents take cases seriously only if the security of the state is at stake. We hope the state will handle this case with speed and leave Daily Observer to go back to a state of normalcy. Furthermore we hope the state will activate the establishment of a Human Rights Commission so that people will have a proper organ to report detentions without trial and disappearances without trace for immediate action. It is often relaxing to perpetrate violations of rights without check. However it is tormenting when the records are published for public scrutiny. To protect rights is the road to national security and integrity and not the opposite. The state has nothing to gain when it comes to detentions without trial and disappearances without trace except endless exposures.

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