By D. A. Jawo
Once again, our African institutions have failed us, with both the African Union and Ecowas keeping so mute over the deplorable and naked human rights violations being perpetrated against innocent Gambians by their very government.
We have heard the swift condemnations of the atrocities being committed in the country from the United Nations, the European Union as well as the United States and other members of the international community, but we are yet to hear any condemnation of the situation from our very own continental institutions as if they do not care about the welfare of ordinary Africans. This is no doubt why the AU is making frantic efforts to facilitate the withdrawal of its member states from the International Criminal Court apparently because while it is always ready to come to the defense of those despotic leaders who would do anything to cling on to power, they do not care about the welfare of ordinary Africans.
Any reasonable being would have expected that both Ecowas as the sub-regional bloc and the AU, as the continental body should have been the first to react to the situation rather than behave as if they do care what happens to Gambians. This is indeed a shame that those institutions we expect to defend ordinary people do not seem to care what happens to those people.
It is even ironic that the atrocities are going on in the Gambia at the very time that the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the continent’s leading human rights institution, is going on in the country, and yet, there has so far not a single reaction from the Commission itself. One would therefore wonder where ordinary Africans should turn to for protection against their own despotic leaders when the very regional institutions that should have protected them seem to be more concerned about the welfare of the leaders than that of ordinary Africans.
The torture and ill treatment is being meted out on ordinary Gambians by our own security forces, whose sole crime is to peacefully protest against the unfair electoral system in force as well as the bad governance in place in the country.
It is indeed had to imagine that the whole world is talking about the torturing to death of opposition members as well as the incarceration of the entire leadership of the UDP and yet, there has so far not a single official communication from the government, as if the lives of the people do not matter to those in authority.
To add insult to injury, we have all seen how the people were mobilized to sing and dance to welcome back President Yahya Jammeh from Turkey, as if everything is rosy and no Gambian is in distress. It is indeed very un-Gambian to see some people jubilating and dancing whilst many innocent people were being rounded up and subjected to torture and even death simply for exercising their constitutional rights to protest against injustice.
It is indeed hard to see how the international community and all people of conscience would continue to ignore the gross injustices going on in the Gambia. Gambians definitely need someone to rescue them from the clutches of impunity where members of the security forces seem to be given a carte blanche to mal-treat the ordinary people anyhow they like, including torturing them to death and get away with it.