Burama Sanneh speaks for oppressed Gambians!

Burama Sanneh speaks for oppressed Gambians!

Gambian activist Burama Sanneh on January 26th, 2015, made the following transcribed presentation at a meeting with representatives of Washington State lawmakers in Seattle. Mr. Sanneh, a regular political and social commentator of Kairo Radio, accused President Yahya Jammeh of grooming Boka Haram type terrorists in the Gambia.

After the military regime led by Yahya Jammeh took over power by force in 1994, Gambians have since not known peace in that country. So many people, including intellectuals – the cream of our society – have either disappeared, exiled, imprisoned or summarily executed; no body knows their whereabouts. Because the state has a hand in all these disappearances, that is why we cannot trace the disappeared people. This has been going on for 20 years.

We need a genuine electoral reform because that is the only way we can make peaceful change of government, but the incumbent clearly stated that no election would remove him from power. He said whoever wants to remove him from power has to take up arms. And we think his excesses have become too much to bear. I am a democrat, and I don’t believe in forceful take over of a government. But recently some of our folks who are concerned about the situation back home took up the sacrifice to free their oppressed people. These folks living in other states have been part of the struggle to liberate their people. Two of them are in US custody for violating a century old Neutrality Act. One of them is Papa Faal who served in the US army; he who went to Iraq and Afghanistan to make sure that those countries enjoy the type of democracy the world is yearning for. The other colleague is called Cherno Njie, a very successful Texas businessman who has been in the US for over 30 years.

But we have a President who comes on national television and tell the world that whoever is accused of homosexuality will be beheaded. There is no press freedom, the rule of law and democracy in the Gambia; He has total control over everything and has ordered the arrest of relatives of the coup plotters. These gentlemen decided to take up arms to free up their country where we have our siblings and parents. How can we enjoy freedom here when my mother cannot speak to me on the telephone when I call? This was the reason why they took action. They are now accused of violating a century old US law.

Of course, you have to look at this situation from so many angles. President Jammeh has called them terrorists. In a sense these people are not terrorists. We look at them as freedom fighters because the actual terrorist that the US needs to look at is President Jammeh. If look at his utterances and his people speaking for him, you will really know that he tells Gambians that if the US wants to intervene and dictate what happens in this country, he will wipe them from the world map. Of course, he cannot do this but he can groom terrorists like Iraq, Iran and other places have done. Yes, he can do this because he has a group of young boys who are not listening to anybody other than him. Anytime he started talking, they will clap and dance; he feeds them and give them everything. This was a situation in Nigeria when Boka Haram started; nobody pays attention to them until they have grown up and have today become regional and international problem.

We felt that the US needs to act now, either in support of the oppressed or as US rules say a friendly nation which is headed by a dictator who we see as an oppressor. The Obama government should either stand by us or tell us they will stand by the dictatorship.

Ends

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