High stakes as West Africa prepares military action against Gambia’s  Jammeh

Abdul-Jalilu Ateku

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 January 2017

In further escalation of the post-election crisis in The Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency just a day before his official mandate was due to come to an end (Today, 19th January 2017).

The announcement followed reports that a Nigerian warship was deployed off the Gambian coast while a regional military force was being assembled in neighbouring Senegal for possible military intervention.

The events are the clearest signs that the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could act militarily to remove Jammeh from power. The Conversation Africa’s Julius Maina asks Abdul-Jalilu Ateku to examine the prospects.

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How The Gambia is testing West Africa’s resolve to protect democracy

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 January 2017

On this – the eve of Jammeh’s final day in power, the world waits to see whether he will step down from office tomorrow in line with the country’s constitution and the democratic will of the majority of Gambians who voted against him last month.

Britain has announced the evacuation of its citizens from the Gambia and other European countries are doing the same, following Jammeh’s declaration of a state of emergency, which gives him powers to declare war.

The intentions of Jammeh cannot be underestimated. He wants to stay in office by all means, and it seems he will pursue his goal by sacrificing the lives of his people.

Clearly, the resolve of the West African Community (ECOWAS) to protect democracy in the region is not only being tested by Jammeh, but keenly watched by other leaders in the West African region, that are manipulating their countries’ constitutions to extend their stay in office or impose their will on the people.

ECOWAS and neighbouring Senegal have made it very clear that they will not stand idly by and watch Jammeh continue to abuse his powers. They will defend the rights of the people of Gambia by force if necessary. How will this play out tomorrow?

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Crisis in The Gambia – ECOWAS must take note – You break it, you own it

Saad Barrie

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 January 2017

I have never been a fan of President Yayah Jammeh and wouldn’t lose sleep over his fate. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must however be warned that “regime change” is a serious business. Going in is the easy part. But getting out is an art.

The ‘pottery barn’ rule applies. The so-called pottery barn rule was General Colin Powell’s warning to President Gorge W. Bush as he went into Iraq: “You break it, you own it”. Time proved him right.  The European powers, France and UK too, learnt that lesson in Libya.

I hope ECOWAS might have learnt an expensive lesson from its own experience in Sierra Leone in March 1998.

President Kabba’s reinstatement in March 1998, was the antecedent to the January 6, 1999 invasion of Freetown, by the murderous Armed Forces Revolutionary Ruling Council (AFRC) regime they removed to reinstate him.

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A turning point for The Gambia – the smiling face of Africa?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 January 2017

President Jammeh has less than a week to either make a final stand against the democratic wish of his people, or step down gracefully to allow the newly elected Adama Barrow (Photo) to take over the running of the country.

Today as Gambians wait in hope for a peaceful political transition, they are bracing themselves for the mayhem and chaos that could be unleashed by troops and tribal militia loyal to president Jammeh.

Will Jammeh confound his critics, who say that he is a megalomaniac control freak, who sees himself as the one that has been ordained by God to deliver peace and prosperity to the people of The Gambia?

Only Jammeh can answer this question, and on the 19th of January, 2017, the people of the Gambia and indeed the world, will get their answer.

Writing for the conversation.com, Sophie Gallop discuss the uncertainties ahead for The Gambia and prospects for peace. This is what she says.

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SLPP UK Ireland executives call for peace and unity in the Sierra Leone People’s Party

SLPP UK and Ireland Branch Secretariat

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 January 2017

Following the recent and persistent spate of gross indiscipline and wanton insubordination, culminating in the political infamy of 17th December 2016, we, the bona–fide members of the SLPP United Kingdom and Ireland Region wish it be known by the wider party membership and general public, that we unreservedly abhor, utterly detest and shall vigorously resist the un-party, undemocratic and illegitimate actions and decisions of malevolent vested interests in the SLPP body politic.

We remain deeply troubled and appalled by the unbridled personal political ambitions of some at the expense of the overarching long-term best interests of our dear party – the SLPP.

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Human rights group calls for Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission to be more effective

CHRDI

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 January 2017

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI welcomes the invitation for a genuine and transparent partnership to fight against graft in Sierra Leone.

This is a call that has been made by many Sierra Leoneans who reacted to our Press Release in December 2016, condemning the ACC for largely failing to address corruption effectively and asking the Government of Sierra Leone to do more.

We want to make it very clear to the ACC and the general public that our intention is not to undermine the ACC, but to complement its effort in the fight against corruption; and hold it accountable to its failures, as we have done and will continue to do with many other Government institutions.

We would like to make it clear that we are disappointed in the ACC, when responding to our call, by providing inaccurate and incomplete account of the recovered funds, information on pending appeal cases, and the challenges the commission is encountering which may include human resources and financial constraints.

They have rather indulged in empty and meaningless reactions to our demands.

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Sierra Leone’s Anti-graft agency reacts to allegations in campaign group report

Nabillahi-Musa Kamara

Director – National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 January 2017

The attention of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been drawn to a publication titled:“CHRDI Condemns the ACC and urges government to do more to fight corruption;”authored by the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), which purported to have concluded a study on the national fight against corruption.

In another publication, CHRDI claims that the ACC has not published audited accounts in the past ten years.

The ACC wishes to state that these reports are misleading, malicious, and unfounded. ACC has no records of any CHRDI researcher speaking to any of its officials on the issues raised.

Furthermore, the facts and figures on the programs and operations of the ACC are contained in its annual reports and National Annual Audit Reports. It seems obvious that either CHRDI did not read these reports, or chose to ignore them.

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