The Gambia

Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) A year ago, Gambians wept for joy as Yahya Jammeh went into exile, bringing the curtain down on a brutal 22-year rule. Today, many say freedom of speech in this small west African state is a right they cherish under President Adama Barrow’s administration. “There is a democracy, everybody feels free. Disappearances without a trace — all that’s over now,” said teacher Kalipha Dampha, referring to the dreaded work of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the “Junglers,” as Jammeh’s death squad was called. But The Gambia’sRead More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) The Gambia has suspended permission for rallies and other public political events after clashes allegedly between supporters of President Adama Barrow and those of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh. Gambian police said in a statement issued late Thursday that permits for political parties to campaign were on hold while it investigated two violent incidents in rural areas this week. “The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) notifies all political parties that all permits granted to conduct political activities have been suspended until further notice,”Read More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) When strongman Yahya Jammeh left The Gambia for exile after 22 years, new foreign minister Ousainou Darboe pledged the tiny nation would become the “human rights capital of Africa”. His remarks came days after Jammeh’s forced departure in January, and followed the release of droves of political prisoners from the country’s notorious jails — the face of years of flagrant rights abuses under the mercurial leader. But as the first anniversary approaches of the December 1 election that would eventually spell regime change for Banjul, AFP hasRead More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) Nine Gambian former state security agents accused of the 2016 murder of an opponent of ousted president Yahya Jammeh pleaded not guilty Thursday as their trial resumed after an interruption of more than six months. The nine former leaders of the notorious National Intelligence Agency are accused of the murder of activist Solo Sandeng. Sandeng was arrested on April 14 last year while leading a peaceful march for political reform and died in custody at the NIA headquarters. After lengthy procedural debates, the nine defendants, including formerRead More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) The Gambia has pledged to abolish the death penalty in a clean break with the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, giving activists hope that more African states will follow its example. President Adama Barrow, elected in December 2016, signed a UN treaty on the abolition of capital punishment following his maiden speech at the world body’s general assembly, the government said in a press release Thursday. “By signing the treaties, the new Gambia continues to promote democracy and show the commitment of the state to protect livesRead More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) After being stripped, beaten, robbed, enslaved and finally deported back to The Gambia, Karamo Keita is clear: no young Gambian should go through what he did in Libya. Keita and fellow migrants who suffered horrific abuses on their journey through the Sahara desert have formed a group to agitate for job creation from the new government and to dampen expectations among their peers that a life in Europe is within easy reach. “We experienced the journey. We know the difficulties aspiring migrants face on the way andRead More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) The Gambia has revoked the diplomatic passports of ex-leader Yahya Jammeh and his associates, the foreign ministry said Thursday, as the new government pursues former regime figures it believes embezzled state funds. Jammeh plundered an estimated $50 million before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea in January after 22 years in power, the country’s justice minister announced in May, promising a commission would trace the money. The Gambian government revoked “the diplomatic passports of members of the former regime and this includes President Yahya Jammeh, his wifeRead More
Gunjur (Gambia) (AFP) The Gambia is courting Beijing’s attention after re-establishing diplomatic relations last year, but villagers and activists say Chinese investment is a double-edged sword as they fight a firm accused of dumping waste. Chinese firms in Africa are frequently accused of polluting the environment to produce materials ready to export back home, in incidents recorded by experts across the mines of Guinea, oil fields of Chad and forests of the Congo basin. The government is nevertheless keen to kickstart direct Chinese investment to turn around the stuttering economy,Read More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) Six months ago, businessman and political novice Adama Barrow took power in Africa’s smallest mainland country after delivering a stunning defeat against ex-leader Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled brutally for 22 years. When Barrow finally took power in The Gambia in late January after a prolonged political crisis, the euphoria soon turned to grim recognition that Jammeh had more or less cleaned out the nation’s coffers before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea, he tells AFP in an interview. “We inherited an economy that was virtually empty,”Read More
Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) The Gambia’s justice minister has promised a new constitution to be voted on by referendum as the tiny west African country transitions from the long rule of former strongman Yahya Jammeh. Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said Thursday the new national charter would entirely replace the 1997 version written largely to consolidate Jammeh’s power after he took control in a 1994 coup. A Constitutional Review Commission would consult a broad cross-section of society for a maximum two-year period, Tambadou said, to “reflect faithfully and accuratelyRead More