There are tens of professional Gambians illegally dismissed from their longstanding jobs and then summarily arraigned before the courts to be sentenced to many years in prison. Many have to flee the country to struggle in foreign lands, while others have become paupers in their own country after giving the best and most part of their lives to national development. There are many Gambians who have be illegally arrested, detained and tortured and then arraigned before the courts to be sentenced to long jail terms for political reasons.

There are many Gambians who have been illegally arrested and summarily executed.

The Government of Yaya Jammeh has refused independent visits to the prisons such as by the Red Cross or the UN Special Rapporteurs in November 2014, among others.

Many more Gambians continue to languish in the prisons without trial or placed in remand for long periods.

There are many more abuses and atrocities such as the murder of Deyda Hydara for which the Government has refused to investigate appropriately. There is the case of Chief Ebrima Manneh in whose favour the ECOWAS Court ruled and yet the Government refused to fulfil its obligation as per that ruling.

Gambians continue to be subjected to all forms of abuses and violations by law and practice in all spheres of their lives.

When you have this kind of situation in a country, what difference does it make to release 85 prisoners among whom some are already dead while many others are due for release anyway? At this moment there are hundreds of fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, children, men and women in all walks of life sitting in our prisons and other unidentified detention centres in total contravention of our constitution and laws. No one but Yaya Jammeh has caused them to be confined in these ungodly places with impunity. Conditions in these prisons and detention centres remain dire while torture and other forms of inhuman treatment continue unabated.

Since the release of these 85 people, many individuals have been pouring praise on Yaya Jammeh for the gesture as if they do not seem to realise the above realities in this country? It is sad that Yaya Jammeh has succeeded to hoodwink these people to believe that he is a man of mercy and a leader who is fulfilling his responsibilities to his people. While this is far from the truth, our people have not asked themselves who in fact are these 85 people? But more importantly, what about the many more tens that are being bars simply for political reasons or perceived threats to the regime and for sheer abuse of power by the President of the Republic. With all fairness to them, what crime has Njogu Bah or Pa Harry Jammeh or Jesus Badgie or Lamin Jobarteh committed that is far more serious that Yaya Jammeh’s crimes? When Jesus Badgie testified in court that it was Yaya Jammeh who asked him to sell drugs and the court did not reject that testimony, what justification is there to therefore send Ensa to prison and leave Yaya Jammeh out? Yet Yaya Jammeh has refused to release Ensa Badgie or Njogu Bah who were merely following the orders of Yaya Jammeh? Of course we know that Njogu Bah or Lamin Jobarteh or Ensa Badgie are being paid in their own coins because after all they know and yet defended the criminal project of Yaya Jammeh, and for that we hold little sympathy for them, if any at all. But they have rights that must be respected according to the laws of the Gambia.

But then what about the illegal jailing of UDP’s Amadou Sanneh or the disappearance of a Police prosecutor Eliman Njie and even the insulting detention of Mamburay Njie among many who are languishing behind bars on the orders of Yaya Jammeh in total disregard of law and God.

More painfully what about the parents and children of alleged armed attackers of December 30? Why would you incarcerate old men and women and children just because their sons and fathers were in a state of dispute with you? Why didn’t Yaya Jammeh release those people? In fact why should those people be arrested in the first place? How can you lock those people and then go ahead to release so-called 85 people, some of who could be probably serving genuine jail time for their own crimes? How about these people, who have not committed any crime whatsoever?

Let the truth be told.

Yaya Jammeh pardoned these people not because he believes in mercy and compassion and is interested in fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities. He released them because he has no plans to abandon his evil project but is seeking to divert attention and reduce pressure on him to do the right thing. No one should accept and applaud this gesture. Rather this is the moment to highlight the hypocrisy and the evil nature of this ungodly act, and put even more pressure on Yaya Jammeh to leave the Gambia for good.

Gambians, let us not allow a criminal to rape our mother and then shower gifts on our aunties and sisters and then we applaud him. Yaya Jammeh is a damaged property beyond repair. He cannot be salvaged through any acts of hypocrisy and deception. His only repair is his removal and trial and incarceration. No more, no less.