Gambia: Gov’t Dismisses Coup Claims, calls for Calm
June 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The Gambia government has unmasked two men behind claims of a coup in The Gambia, assuring citizens that there is no cause for fear or alarm.
Audios emerged online on Sunday filled with claims of a coup in the country. Some of the people mentioned to be behind the act included Essa Faal, Abubacarr Tambadou, Lamin Sise and army spokesman Lamin Sanyang.
The government said in a statement on Monday signed by spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh: “In the wake of malicious and subversive audio messages circulating on Social Media warning The Gambia Government of a looming coup plot allegedly being hatched by some private citizens, senior government and military officials, the public is hereby informed that these are outrageous and baseless allegations.
“In total, all these audio messages being circulated are orchestrated by detractors and agent provocateurs who do not in any way wish The Gambia well contrary to what they claim in their audios.
“Their intention is to inject fear, panic general apprehension and discord in public and within government circles.
“Therefore, no sooner had the audios hit the airwaves yesterday than the various security and intelligence services—SIS, Police, Military and ECOMIG, conducted joint investigations to establish their veracity across the country.
“The Government is pleased to announce that the totality of these tapes is false; they constitute fake news calculated to destabilize our fledgling democracy.
“Unlike the past dispensation where such wild allegations could have landed innocent citizens in unwarranted arrests and other forms of trouble, The Gambia Government exercised utmost maturity in handling these potentially incriminating recordings.
“As such, not a single officer or civilian was questioned, arrested or interrogated as the audios had intended the Government to do. Also, no weapons were found nor the vehicle they claimed carried the cache of weapons for the imaginary coup operation.
“Preliminary investigations have established that two Gambians, Omar F.S. Sanneh aka Baitulah and Momodou Marong are complicit in the recording and subsequent dissemination of these provocative audios that have succeeded in sending fear and general apprehension among some Gambians both at home and abroad.
“Omar F.S. Sanneh (alias Baitulah), is an ex-soldier who in 2018, reportedly jumped bail after he was accused of ‘communicating threats’ via WhatsApp and fled to Cassamance, where he is now believed to be a resident fugitive from justice.
“Like Sanneh, his colleague, Momodou Marong is believed to have left The Gambia using illegal migration routes and currently lives in Italy from where he too, has been involved in the prolific production of malicious and subversive audios.
“Accordingly, members of the public, the Consular and Diplomatic Corps are urged to go about their normal businesses as there is no cause for fear or alarm over these malicious audio messages intended to undermine The Gambia’s peace and security.”
Can COVID-19 cure COFID-16 in Cameroon?
June 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Mwalimu George Ngwane*
Pandemics have had great influence minimizing conflict curves and engendering peace settlements. Can COVID-19 pandemic provide scope and space for the management of what I term the Conflict Over Federalism, Independence or Decentralisation (COFID) that reached its manifest stage in 2016 in Cameroon? Can all parties in the ongoing crisis in Cameroon emulate the “Push for Peace within a Pandemic” call to stop the fighting and start the healing? Under the terms of a peace agreement that came into effect on 22 February 2020 (within COVID-19) South Sudan set up a Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity in Juba (capital of South Sudan) under the mediation efforts of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
All the parties acknowledged that the Transitional Government is not a goal but the beginning of a process towards the transition to civil rule. Since 2004, Southern Thailand has struggled under a bloody confrontation between local armed cells and the Thai military resulting in over 7000 deaths. Ceasefires have been repeatedly proposed but never gained momentum in Thailand. But recently the threat of COVID-19 has led to a minor break through as the main rebel faction informally decided to postpone hostilities until the pandemic is brought under control.
United Nations (UN) top envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen told the United Nations Security Council on 28 April 2020 that Syria desperately needed a nation-wide ceasefire after more than nine years of civil war, to enable its war-weary citizens to access the equipment and resources necessary to combat COVID-19. It is in this vein that the Syrian warring sides agreed to the constitution talks that held in Geneva in May 2020 (within COVID-19).
An All Manyu Conference in Cameroon was held on 16 May 2020 following the gruesome murder of Mayor Ashu Ojong of Mamfe. It was a conference that sought to brainstorm over tracks that could lead to sanity and peace in the conflict-prone Manyu division.
Back in time and in December 2004, the Tsunami and the calamitous devastation it caused (130000 killed and 500000 rendered homeless) paved the way for a peace deal that ended 30 years of violence in Aceh, Indonesia. In the wake of the Tsunami, separatist rebels and government started cooperating to enable humanitarian aid delivery, and within 8 months they had signed a peace agreement under the mediation of former Finnish President, senior UN diplomat and eventual Peace prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari. Within the peace agreement, the insurgent groups renounced their claim to a separate state and in exchange Indonesia agreed to afford a large degree of political, economic, and developmental Special autonomy or Special Status to the Aceh region.
On 23 April 2020 the UN Secetary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire so that parties to any conflict join forces against the corona virus instead of fighting. By end of May 2020 the UN could cite twelve countries in which one party to a conflict had endorsed the ceasefire appeal. Under these circumstances a nation-wide ceasefire is needed in Cameroon (within COVID-19). If within this pandemic, our government has authorized the opening of public spaces including schools, then all stakeholders to this conflict can open dialogue spaces for a bilateral ceasefire and a lasting peace settlement.
A pandemic, according to the Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen, can be viewed as a third party that changes attitudes in a conflict. For Minna Kukkonen-Karlander of the Finnish Crisis Management Initiative, COVID-19 can help build the trust needed to resolve more difficult issues, and apply pressure on conflicting parties to engage in practical cooperation.
Cameroon’s quest for silencing the gun and summoning the peace can be challenging but surmountable. Does Cameroon’s four year asymmetrical conflict have a permanent External Mediator or Facilitator (sub regional, regional or global)? Do we have any homegrown Mediator or Internal Facilitator (Church, Media, NGOs, Academia, Traditional authority, Trade Union, or Independent Personality) that can process the peace plan?
Does the government acknowledge the importance and necessity of third party mediation? Are the hydra-headed insurgent groups so organized as to produce an accepted collegial leadership and a realistic common vision towards the resolution of the conflict? Are all conflicting parties prepared to delve into the root cause rather than latent causes of this conflict?
Do the parties know the difference between the Anglophone problem and the problems of the Anglophone in this crisis? Are the stakeholders aware that comprehensive peace agreements are often the result of compromise efforts and not hardened positions? Do they know that peace talks are not often a one-off-event nor a one-stop-shop?
Liberia had over a dozen peace talks before the watershed Accra Peace Agreement of August 18, 2003. Sierra Leone had close to six peace accords before it produced a people-centered democratic rule. The Syrian conflict has had twelve rounds of peace talks in Kazakhstan and eight rounds of Geneva conferences. This of course is not to validate protracted conflicts or legitimize recurrent peace talks even when the conditions for peace discussions are organically rooted. Contrary to some opinion that lays claim to the effect that armed conflicts often take close to ten years or more before they can be resolved, the Biafra-Nigeria war ended after 2 years,6 months,1 week and 2 days (6 July 1967 -15 January 1970).
The Major National Dialogue organized by our government between September 30 and October 4, 2019 was significant in establishing the fact that only through dialogue can we as a people find lasting peace. More dialogue corridors need to be ventilated. The principle of a Special Status emanating from the Major National Dialogue shone a light on the dark chambers of hyper-centralisation. Yet subsequent Follow-up discussions to the content of this Special status need to align this status to the basic universal canons of any Special autonomy worldwide and to design its architecture to reflect the specific container of an erstwhile associated statehood.
It is on record that on Thursday 14 May 2020 President Paul Biya had a telephone conversation with the President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga over the prospects of resuming peace talks (within COVID-19). With close to 3000 deaths and more than 700000 internally displaced persons and refugees in COFID-16 any mediation (Swiss, American, German or African) needs no ‘wait until COVID-19 is over”.
While COVID-19 entails that we wash our physical hands with sanitisers so as to stay safe, COFID-16 would require that we fill our political minds with energizers so as to stay relevant. While COVID-19 demands that we put on face masks to prevent viral infection, COFID-16 would underscore that we take off fixed positions to enhance vibrant discussion.
While COVID-19 establishes that we observe social distancing in order to curb contamination, COFID-16 would encourage ideological proximity in order to find common ground. If COVID-19 can provide the decisive impetus to COFID-16 then let the mediation begin.
*Mwalimu George Ngwane is author of the book “Settling Disputes in Africa” ,Senior Chevening Fellow, Conflict Prevention and Resolution, University of York (UK) 2010, Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Chulalongkorn, Bangkok (Thailand) 2015, Commonwealth Professional Fellow, Minority Rights Group, London (UK) 2016, Bilingual Commission Scholar, Cardiff, (Wales) 2016, United Nations Minority Rights Fellow, (Geneva) 2016
Former African Heads of State mount pressure on Donald Trump to eradicate racial discrimination against African Americans
June 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Members of the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government known commonly as Africa Forum have in a declaration expressed anguish and frustration over police killing of black man, George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by Minneapolis police officer.
The grouping of former African leaders that was established in 2006 in Maputo, Mozambique, under the patronage of revered political activist and Nobel Prize laurate, Nelson Mandela, wrote that they were deeply concerned, indignant and devastated by the high levels of crime and violence that has targeted the black community in United States of America.
“The members of the Africa Forum would like to encourage the President of the United States of America to urgently take the appropriate measures to put an end to this violence and these murders which, alas, exceed the crimes committed against minorities during the World War II” a section of their declaration, a copy of which was sent to our Washington DC Metro headquarters reads.
In the declaration penned on June 1, 2020 in Cotonou, economic hub of Benin, the Africa Forum said it stands in solidarity and supports the strong position against lethal violence on black communities and the eradication of white supremacy adding their voice to the fact that “Black Lives do Matter”.
Describing the actions taken on African Americans by white supremacists as nothing short of “barbaric”, the former Heads of States questioned what level of cruelty must be reached before the whole world finally wakes up and expresses its indignation?
Demanding that perpetrators of these crime and all other crimes of this nature are punished with the utmost rigor, the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government issued a clarion call on all Governments on the African continent to rise in strong protest against the ignoble killing of George Floyd and racial discrimination that has targeted its denizens in the diaspora for decades.
Singed by Nicéphore D. SOGLO, former President of the Republic of Benin including some 37 other former leaders, the dignitaries of the continent reaffirm their commitment to eradicating racial discrimination, and supports the measures that leaders and elected black representatives should consider useful to take to put an end to these repeated provocations and barbarism on African Americans.
Signatories to the declaration include :
HE Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo, Former President of the Republic of Benin and Vice Chairperson of the Africa Forum
2. HE Festus Gontebanye Mogae, Former President of the Republic of Botswana
3. HE Ian Khama, Former President of the Republic of Botswana
4. HE Pierre Buyoya, Former President of the Republic of Burundi
5. HE Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires, Former President Republic of Cape Verde
6. HE Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Former Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
7. HE Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, Former President of the Republic of The Gambia
8. HE Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, Former President of the Republic of Ghana
9. HE John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, Former President of the Republic of Ghana
10. HE John Dramani Mahama, Former President of the Republic of Ghana
11. HE Emilio Mwai Kibaki, Former President of the Republic of Kenya
12. HE Prof Amos Claudius Sawyer, Former President of the Republic of Liberia
13. HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic of Liberia
14. HE Dr Bakili Muluzi, Former President of the Republic of Malawi
15. HE Alpha Oumar Konaré, Former President of the Republic of Mali
16. HE Cassam Uteem, Former President of the Republic of Mauritius
17. HE Karl Auguste Offmann, Former President of the Republic of Mauritius
18. HE Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President or the Republic of Mozambique and Chairperson of the Africa Forum
19. HE Armando Guebuza, Former President or the Republic of Mozambique
20. HE Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma, Former President of the Republic of Namibia
21. HE Hifikepunye Pohamba, Former President of the Republic of Namibia
22. HE Dr Abdul Salam Abubakar, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
23. HE Maththew Olusegum Obasanjo, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
24. HE Gen Dr Yakubu Jack Dan-Yumma Gowon, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
25. HE Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
26. HE Miguel Dos Anjos Trovoada, Former President of the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
27. HE Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes, Former President of the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
28. HE Thabo Mbeki, Former President of the Republic of South Africa
29. HE Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, Former President of the Republic of South Africa
30. HE Benjamin William Mkapa, Former President of the Republic of Tanzania
31. HE Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Former President of the Republic of Tanzania
32. HE Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
33. HE Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, Former President of the Republic of Zambia
34. HE Rupiah Bwezani Banda, Former President of the Republic of Zambia
35. HE Chief Eleazar Chukwu Emeka Anyaoku, Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations
36. HE Donald Kaberuka, Former President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
37. HE Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Former Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania and Former Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
38. HE Abdoulie Janneh, Former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Malawi leader under fire for sexist remark about former President Joyce Banda
June 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
By James Mwala
Gender activists are still calling on President Peter Mutharika to issue a public apology over a recent slur remark in which he accused former President Joyce Banda of planning sexual acts with the late leader Bingu wa Mutharika.
The incident comes after Mutharika and Banda have been on each other’s neck as they are in rival camps ahead of the fresh presidential election.
Earlier on, Banda had at a rally in which her People Party has joined other eight parties to unseat Mutharika in the election made claims the incumbent had drunk himself uncontrollably in China when the late Bingu was President.
Banda went ahead to tell Malawians not to vote for a leader who drinks beer.
But in a smear response, Mutharika claimed at a public podium that her enemity with Banda came as he stopped her from sleeping a room close to Bingu at a summit in China.
Mutharika surprised many when he said he had actually told Banda ‘to leave her prostitution in Lilongwe (Malawi’s capital) and not take that habit to China’.
The remarks have since attracted the wrath of gender activists who are calling on the President to apologise.
One of the leading NGOs, the Gender Coordination Network through Chairperson Babra Banda has described the remarks as meant to undermine women before calling on the President to apologise.
Several other organizations and civil societies have since threatened to take to the streets should Mutharika not apologise.
However, there has not been any statement from the state house over the matter.
Banda is part of the Tonse Alliance which is led in the elections by Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party and Vice President Saulos Chilima, Mutharika’s fallout Veep.
The alliance forms a fierce rivalry to Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party after the leaders of the alliance had their application for the nullification of the Presidential poll last year accepted by court.
South Sudan:SSPDF Army Officer Lual, the Suspect in Juba Shooting, Is Dead
June 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF) officer, the nephew of President Salva Kiir who shot dead unarmed civilians in Sherikat, suburb of Juba capital city on Wednesday has succumbed to death due to some head injuries, the army spokesperson has said.
The standoff between the gunman and the residents was triggered by a dispute over a piece of land.
On Wednesday, eyewitnesses said that the SSPDF officer; claimed colonel in the army, former known as Lual Marine arrived at the bus park and allegedly started shooting civilians indiscriminately over a land dispute, killing five and wounding seven others.
Protests broke out in the area where the incident took place as residents blocked roads and burned tyres, while in the placards written, “Lual is a killer, and “Kiir must go, among others, demanding justice for the slain victims.
On the same development, hundreds of citizens in Bor town of Jonglei State floods to the streets to protest the killings in Gumbo-Sherikat – East of Juba town. Both the protesters demanded justice for the victims.
President Kiir’s nephew Lual Akook Wol Kiir and six of his bodyguards were arrested after a shooting incident that killed at least five unarmed civilians, injuries seven civilians.
As a result, the Office of the President issued a statement condemning the attack, saying a full probe was underway, adding that Lual was in a hospital in a critical condition due to injuries.
However, the SSPDF spokesperson, Major Gen. Lul Ruai confirmed that suspect Lual had succumbed to the injuries.
“It is true that he [Lual] had passed on yesterday [Wednesday] at 9. P.m, and there is no reason to fake his death” Lul told Pan African Visions. “The next step is that before he passed on he was arrested along with his six (6) body-guards that were involved in shooting in Sherikat, we are filing on with legal charges against those who are already in custody.”
Lul says the special court martial is going to be formed. “They will be try and sentence in accordance with the laws.”
On the other hand, Police spokesperson Brig Gen. Daniel Justin also confirmed it, saying the case is opened and the suspects must face justice.
Both Lul, Justin says his co-accused will be arraigned before a court martial for trial.
Following the incident, the government appealed for calm as the government took charge of investigating the incident.
Lual has been accusing of committed several crimes and terrorize people in Juba, including head unknown gunmen group in Juba.
The observers say the dude uses Kiir’s name and state powers to terrorize and kill at will since 2013.
Though calm has returned to Sherikat, there is heavy military presence in the area.
Kenya:Uhuru Clips Deputy President Ruto’s Wings In Deft Political Move
June 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, issued an Executive Order NO.1 of 2020 which outlined some changes in the organisation of the government.
The new order saw the Office of the Deputy President put under the office of the President and according to lawyer Donald Kipkorir, the new order has stripped the Deputy President William Ruto powers to hire or dismiss staff or have a budget related functions. He argued that Ruto will now serve alongside the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua; however, he remains the second in command.
“In new Executive Order, President Uhuru Kenyatta changes his office from “Presidency” to “President” .. This innocent looking nomenclature change has huge legal implications … President denotes singularity of power in rem … Presidency is shared power … Offices of Deputy,” Posted lawyer Kipkorir on his Twitter handle.
Lawyers Ahmednassir Abdudallh and Mutula Kilonzo said the changes are constitutional noting that the order has been misinterpreted. The duo said the term “Presidency” is wrongly used to show that the Offices of the President and Deputy President are working as a unit.
“The term presidency was used very loosely because it is not a term that is known in law. It was political because there is nothing called the Presidency. It creates the impression as if the presidency is something that someone is holding with another person. You can only have one president. I think this is why the clashes in Jubilee government have happened because of the misconstruction of the word presidency,” said Senator Mutula Kilonzo.
“The leading legal commentary on the executive order issued today by H.E Uhuru is advanced on Twitter by laymen with zero legal education. The constitution talks of The President. The Deputy President…etc. The “presidency” is a “constitutional heresy,” Ahmednassir posted on his Twitter page.
The new order also put the newly-formed Nairobi Metropolitan Service under the office of the President.
“IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by Article 132 (3) (b) of the Constitution, as read with all other enabling Laws, I, UHURU KENYATTA, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, order and direct: “THAT the Government shall be organized as set out in this Order; (ii) THAT this Order contains portfolio responsibilities and changes made in the structure of Government; (iii) THAT this Order assigns functions and institutions among Ministries and State Departments; and (iv) THAT this Order supersedes Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 (Revised) issued in July 2018,” the order reads.
These changes come in the wake of purge in Jubilee Party which has shown Ruto’s allies kicked out of leadership positions both in the National Assembly and the Senate.
South Sudan:President Kiir’s nephew shoots five Dead In Juba including a woman
June 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir’s nephew killed five civilians and wounded seven others at Sherikat, suburb of Juba on Wednesday morning.
The eyewitnesses said the shooting was triggered by a quarrel over a land dispute. The deceased are South Sudanese nationals, and include a woman.
“Justice must prevail! People are being put under injustice and this is not fair, we have to be given equal opportunities and he must face the law, that is what we are calling for,” said Garang Peter, one of the protestors.
The protestors’ further call for the government to actually serve justice, otherwise things will fall apart across the country.
According to protestors, Lual – marine, Kiir’s nephew has been threatening the livelihood at the Sherikat residential for quiet long.
It was few months ago, President Kiir’s nephew, cleared out a cemetery around Sherikat residential of Juba and built his hotel without any authorization or permission from the state authority.
He, Lual attempted to take a public toilet in Bor Bus Park which belongs to some guys. The dispute parties were in court and court ruled in favor of folks.
Despite the court decision, the claimed army officer Lual extended his fence to include the disputed a plot. In turn, the owner responds in destroying the fence in his present on Tuesday afternoon.
But he reported kept quiet, left and mobilized his military force which led to killing on Wednesday, according to eyewitnesses.
Eyewitnesses say that the group of land owners and Lual later fought each other in which Lual is accused of starting the fighting. He was ‘hit back’ and that when the soldier with him started shooting at random at the civilians.
The killing of unarmed civilians by Lual Marine, president Kiir’s nephew, who is said to be a soldier, has ignited protests there, hundreds of residents flooded the street with some protesters carrying “Kiir Must Go,” Kiir is our corona virus,” Lual Is A killer’, ‘We Don’t Need a Killing Regime in placards, also written ‘justice must prevail’ this time.
Major Gen. Daniel Justin, Police spokesperson explained that the cause of fighting was land dispute between one army officer and local person, which resulted to the killings of five people, four men and one woman.
“We have arrested the suspects – they are six , as since the suspects are arrested and the case is opened and now is being investigating, let them be calm and give us the chance, as the law enforcement to finish our work,” Justin told this media.
A statement from the president’s office, signed by Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny, said Mr Kiir “is saddened about the shooting and further condemned it.” It added that the incident would be investigated thoroughly.
“The perpetrator has been apprehended by authorities and is under close monitor in hospital, in a critical condition. It is unclear whether he was injured during the incident or after his arrest. The killings of five people are a very serious criminal act the perpetrator [s] must be punished,” said in part of the statement, by president Kiir.
President Kiir’s family has strongly denied Lual Akook’s paternity saying he is not the biological son of the President.
Ateny Wek Ateny says Lual Akook is purported to be “distant relative” from President Kiir’s clan, but he was acting alone.
“The incident would be investigated and public will informed of the outcome through the court of law,” Ateny said in the statement, further warns of politicizing the clear criminal matter.
But many people says Lual is a biological son of the president Kiir despite denial him at the moment.
In Facebook post in 2019, the Office of the President identified Lual as Kiir’s nephew at his wedding.
“We are calling on the South Sudan government to intervene, because killing of unarmed civilians is against humanity – this impunity must end,” said Bol Deng. “We are tired of this gibberish.”
The killings received condemnations from the civil society groups and urged the president to intervene.
The chiefs of the army, military intelligence, police and other government agencies went to the demonstrations scene to cool the situation but were resisted by the protectors. The road was remained blocking and protesting is expected to resume.
“We shall overcome! Our lives matters too – being Dinka is a pre-requisite to mismanage the country – we demand justice,” said Peter Arok, a relative of the one of deceased.
Observers say the dude uses Kiir’s name and state powers to terrorize and kill at will.
Kenyan Senator clinches Deputy Speaker seat unopposed
June 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar on Tuesday was sworn in as the Deputy Speaker in the Senate.
Prof. Kamar secured the seat unopposed after his competitors bowed out of the race.
“Accordingly, I hereby declare Senator Prof Margaret Kamar as the duly elected deputy speaker of the Senate,” Ken Lusaka, Speaker of the Senate said.
Five candidates had been cleared to contest for the seat. They were Isaac Mwaura (nominated – Jubilee), Judith Pareno (nominated – ODM), Steward Madzayo (Kilifi – ODM) and Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga – Independent).
Judith Pareno was the last candidate to pull out of the race few hours before the elections began. The vote was slated for Tuesday at 2pm (local time).
“Following consultations with the leadership of my party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), I hereby give notice of my withdrawal as candidate for election as Deputy Speaker of the Senate. Thank you,” reads the statement addressed to the speaker.
“Everybody has withdrawn so we are leaving it to her so that we don’t seem to be scrambling over the position. We are a handshake team and we don’t want to fight,” she added.
Pareno’s move came hours after Isaac Mwaura had announced withdrawal of his candidature following the decision by his party to endorse Kamar for the seat. Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru who was perceived as the front runner was the first contestant to bow out of the race on Monday.
“When party does so, we have no option but to support, we will toe the party line,” Mwaura said.
On his part, Senator Madzayo said he threw in the towel following a wide consultation with his supporters and party officials.
“My decision is premised majorly on the need to continue supporting the political coherence currently being advanced by H.E Raila Amollo Odinga and H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta. I also believe my decision to no longer run for the post of Senate Deputy Speaker, will advance gender equity; a spirit I passionately subscribe to,” he said.
The seat fell vacant after the holder Prof. Kithure Kindiki was impeached in May, 2020, over allegations of insubordination. Tharaka Nithi Senator was among the Jubilee leaders who boycotted Senate Parliamentary Group meeting held in the State House on May 11. The meeting was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Gambia: Christians Decry lack of Protection in the Draft Constitution
June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The Gambia Christian Council has lamented that that the Draft Constitution does not fully protect the rights of Christians in the country.
It further decried that this generational legacy of religious tolerance and mutual coexistence however, is now under a real threat ironically because of the 2020 Draft Constitution.
“Instead of marking a return to order and the rule of law, the adopted text of the Constitution has plunged The Gambia into even greater chaos as regards religious tolerance. It is having the effect of polarising rather unifying us as a nation”
In a statement signed by the Executive Committee of the Council below the full statement read….
The 2020 Draft Constitution presented by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) for approval by the Executive and National Assembly of The Gambia in our considered opinion still falls short of protecting Christian religious rights.
Apart from the text of the draft itself which allows for more than a single interoperation on this issue the primary concern of the Christian Community is driven by the reality of its experiences during the Jammeh era. The Christian community wishes to ensure that its rights as a minority religion are protected in the said Constitution.
For more than 20 years, we have watched helplessly as the government openly encouraged and permitted the construction of mosques in government institutions, at the expense of other religions, including Christianity and in a country which the government was not permitted to prefer any one religion over another.
Arabic inscriptions were placed over government offices and the dress code of female students in schools was altered to require schoolgirls and women functionaries to wear the Hijab in public as their peers are obliged to do in Arab Islamic countries.
The overwhelming feedback from a large section of the population is that they want a Gambia where both Christians and Muslims continue to coexist in peace and good neighbourliness as they have for generations.
This generational legacy of religious tolerance and mutual coexistence however, is now under a real threat ironically because of the 2020 Draft Constitution. Instead of marking a return to order and the rule of law, the adopted text of the Constitution has plunged The Gambia into even greater chaos as regards religious tolerance. It is having the effect of polarising rather unifying us as a nation.
The new Constitution has for the first time since The Gambia became an independent country created a parallel legal system to the common law system, this is the Shari’ah legal system.
The Constitution makes it mandatory for the majority of the Gambian people to be subject to Shari’ah law in matters of marriage, burial, inheritance, adoption, endowments, all the key areas of human life.
Gambia: Defence Minister assures Gambians of Continuous Government Protection
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Gambia’s Minister of Defence Sheikh Omar Faye has assured Gambians that the government of President Adama Barrow will never abandon her citizens. Speaking during a recent visit to Garawol Kuta Village in the Upper River Region of the Gambia which was the centre of an incident with Senegalese forces, Minister Omar Faye said the Government of President Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues.
“The Government of the Gambia will never abandon her citizens, and the immediate deployment of a patrol team that crossed into Senegal to follow up on the case is a clear indication that the security forces and the government will never abdicate their responsibilities,” Omar Faye said.
While some people took issue with the fact that the Minister had taken long to visit considering that the shooting incident took place on the 8 of March, Minister Omar Faye indicated that the government of President Adama Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues .It has been a long and rocky effort to ensure that peace continues to prevail , he said.
Mr Omar Faye informed the villagers that so much has been taking place behind the scenes and will be eventually brought to the public at the appropriate time. The Minister said he was not there to cover or bend the truth but to inform the villagers that the government was with them and doing everything possible to protect them and ensure that such incidents are averted in future.
Going further, the Defence Minister said at the diplomatic level a mediation team had been composed to work out modalities to avoid the reoccurrence of this kind of incidents though the outbreak of COVID-19 had slowed things down, the team will continue work.
The experience of Mr Sulayman Trawally and the villagers as a result of the incident and the ordeal were very unfortunate and regrettable, Mr Faye said , and lauded the efforts of the MP for the area ,the Chief and other community leaders whose efforts contributed to the resolution of the matter.
who spoke at the gathering were; the Deputy Governor of the Region, the Member
of Parliament of the area, the chief of the area, the Alkalo of the Village and
two community leaders. They both expressed appreciation for the visit and
requested for more support in terms of road infrastructure and security.
The Hon Minister was accompanied to the area by Commissioners of Police, Immigration, Commanding Officer of 3rd Infantry Battalion and other Security heads of the region.
Cross border issues are a regular occurrence in Africa and have often times required great tact and diplomacy to resolve in way that broader relations are not strained. The closeness of Gambians and Senegalese means that people interact frequently on both sides of the border and every now and then misunderstandings could occur. It is therefor in the interest of leaders of both countries to ensure that misunderstandings are handled amicably with issues understood before actions taken.
Gambia 2021 Elections: Female Candidate Unveils Interest in Top Job
May 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Marie Sock, a developmental expert and business mogul has revealed her interest of been Gambia’s next president come 2021 presidential elections.
Gambia goes to presidential elections in 2021, more political parties and independent candidates are emerging.
Sock told Fatu Network that ‘I’m here to reunited Gambia’ as she on Thursday called on all Gambians to back to her to become the country’s next president.
Sock said: “I feel there are too many political parties right now and it’s catastrophic. So I want to get out of that. This is why I said, ‘no I am not gonna form another political party to be part of, I gonna stand independently’.”
The businesswoman is calling on all Gambians including political parties to endorse her in her grand plan.
She said: “Standing independently doesn’t mean I don’t wanna work with anyone. That’s why I’m standing independent. Of course, it will be great if Gambians can come together regardless of any political party that you are affiliated with, to endorse my candidacy because what I want to do is to bring everybody together as Gambians.
“I’m looking actually for all the parties to endorse me. I cannot predict the future, I can only come out and say I’m standing on my own. For now I can only say I am aspiring candidate and talk to all the people to support me and come onboard as one.
“I’m here to reunite Gambia. If we talk about we want Gambia to be one, I think this is the platform to do so. We put our political affiliations aside, we put our religion aside, we put our tribe aside.”
Statement of the Chairperson following the murder of George Floyd in the USA
May 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
29 May 2020, Addis Ababa: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend his deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Recalling the historic Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the United States of America made by African Heads of State and Government, at the OAU’s First Assembly Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt from 17 to 24 July 1964, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.
He further urges the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.
The Spokesperson of the Chairperson of the Commission