Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has strongly warned against the celebrations of the coup that brought Yahya Jammeh to power by supporters of the ex-autocratic ruler, stating strongly that “democracy cannot celebrate autocracy.”
Jammeh took power in the West African country in 1994 by overthrowing the country’s first post-colonial leader, Sir Dawda Jawara in a “bloodless coup.”
What followed Jammeh’s take over was decades of repressive rule submerged in human rights and civil rights violation, an iron fist rule that has also seen the economy seriously damaged.
“My government is democratically elected and we promote the principles of democracy on which it was elected to leadership. It would be inconceivable, given the obvious historical perspective, to expect that the 22nd of July military coup d’État will continue to be celebrated,” said Mr. Barrow.
An opposition MP, Musal Amul Nyass (APRC – Foni Kansala) had announced that supporters of Jammeh would gather at a monument built in remembrance of the coup to celebrate the ’94 take over by then Lt. Yahya Jammeh.
Gambian authorities refused to give a permit to the supporters of the ex-coupist turned self-serving ruler. They risk being arrest if they assemble without the permit at the Arch 22.
“Memories are still fresh of the brutality that the July 22nd coup brought on Gambians. Families were torn apart; innocent citizens willfully killed; businesses unlawfully closed and so many of The Gambia’s most experienced and finest brains forced to flee the country because of the organized and systematic abuse of their fundamental rights,” said Information Minister Demba Jawo.
The Gambia’s new government maintains that the 1994 coup was an illegal act, staged principally, to usurp power and subvert the popular will of the Gambian people.
Authorities say they will continue to respect and broaden democratic principles and personal freedoms of citizens but the July 22 military coup, it insists, should not in any way be glorified, hailed or celebrated by any well-meaning Gambian.