As ECOWAS leaders hold a virtual meeting today on the political situation in Guinea, it is most essential that the West African Presidents do not lose sight of the fact that on that same Sunday (5th September, 2021) another coup was staged — this time in The Gambia. It was a coup d’état against the countless victims of Yahya Jammeh’s atrocities and grave human right violations. Ghana was the worst affected by this coup.
The coup occurred with Sunday’s announcement by the Secretary General of Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, at a news conference in Banjul that his party had reached an agreement with current President Adama Barrow’s National Peoples Party (NPP) to support him in the December 4 presidential election.
This marriage with the devil constitutes such a cruel betrayal of all human right activists who were given the highest assurances by President Barrow that Jammeh will be brought to justice.
Prominent in the tall list of Jammeh victims are the 56 West African migrants including 44 Ghanaians brutally murdered in July 2005 by Yahya Jammeh’s execution squad who only recently openly admitted to their crimes at Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). The TRRC’s final report had been eagerly expected this month.
Yahya Jammeh, the bloodstained dictator who ruled with an iron fist for 22 years is seeking immunity and a clandestine safe passage back to The Gambia from Equitorial Guinea where he has taken refuge since he was ousted by ECOWAS troops in 2017 after refusing to concede electoral defeat.
It is important to emphasize that transcripts I have reviewed reveal that Lieutenant Malick Jatta and Corporal Omar A. Jallow confessed to Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that the migrants were executed by the “Junglers” squad, a paramilitary force that took orders from Jammeh, across the Gambian border in Senegalese territory. “We were told they were mercenaries,” Jatta said, adding that he shot and killed one of the migrants. “I heard people shouting in the forest saying ‘save us Jesus.’” Jallow told the TRRC that Lt. Col. Solo Bojang, the leader of the operation, informed the men that “the order from Yahya Jammeh is that they are all to be executed.”
Current Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo was Ghana’s Foreign Minister when our compatriots were gruesomely murdered so he must be very familiar with this matter.
It must be recalled that Ghana and the Gambia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 2nd July, 2009 in Sirte, Libya, under the auspices of ECOWAS and UN. The two countries pledged, among other things, to bring the actual perpetrators of the massacre to justice if new evidence emerges providing a prima facie case against the alleged perpetrators.
Thanks to the work of Gambia’s TRRC, new evidence is now available to bring the rogue president who accorded himself dubious credentials ranging from Professor, Sheikh, Alhaji, Doctor, AIDS Healer and Babili Mansa to manifest justice.
ECOWAS led by our President, Nana Akufo-Addo who has direct responsibility to account to the Ghanaian people on steps he is taking to bring Jammeh to justice ought to make clear to Gambia’s President Adama Barrow at today’s meeting that Ghana and the international community would not accept the opportunistic back-stabbing maneuvers in Banjul ultimately aimed at shielding Yahya Jammeh.
While at that, it is also the expectation of many Africans that rather than the focus on sanctioning Guinea, a resolution should be passed demanding a reversal of the numerous self-serving mutilation of constitutions which has led to a wave of third-termism and the removal of constitutional term limits.
Only frank and sincere deliberations will put West Africa and the entire African continent on a sustainable path of peace and prosperity.