By Nelson Manneh
Human rights victims of former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime have urged Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Seedy SK Njie, the current speaker and deputy speaker respectively of the National Assembly, to resign from their positions.
The development came about when president Adama Barrow announced the nominations of Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Seedy SK Njie, Fatoumatta Jawara, Maimouna Ceesay, and Kebba Lang Fofana as members of the Sixth Legislature. Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Seedy SK Njie were eventually elected as speaker and deputy speaker and this did not go down well with the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, which said the presence of Fabakary and Seedy at the Assembly, will deprive them of justice.
Sheriff Muhammed Bojang said Fabakary and Seedy are Gambians but that there are other competent Gambians who could have been nominated by the President to the National Assembly.
“1st December 2016 was a direct offshoot of the protest that Solo and your compatriots led at Westfield for which they were brutally crushed so much so that Solo and several others never lived to enjoy the freedom you and the rest of fellow Gambians celebrate today. Hence the nomination and election of Fabakary and Seedy as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, is a moral indictment of your leadership and a manifestation of gross betrayal of the Gambian nation and in particular, your very allies: Solo Sandeng, Solo Kuruma, Ebrima Ceesay, Lang Marong and Lamin Ndambung Dibba who died, and many others who continue to live in terrible pain and misery today, due to torture. This April, we recall in 2000 when Jammeh ordered the massacre of Gambian children,” he said.
Bojang said since President Barrow assumed office in January 2017, the victims’ community has always found it difficult to receive Barrow’s attention and sympathy.
“It is only once that they visited you at the State House in 2018. As we lived with that feeling of neglect by you, we watched with even bitter shock how you went further to forge an electoral alliance with the APRC,” he said.
Nyima Sonko, wife of the late Ebrim Solo Sandeng, said the nomination of Fabakary and Seedy is a mockery of the victims, and that president Barrow should have considered the victims and their families during his nominations.
“We are very disappointed with Adama Barrow. We expected him to stand beside us as victims and wipe our tears not to treat us like this,” she said.
Yusuf Taylor, a media practitioner and a member of a civil society organization, said the nomination of the members by the President to the National Assembly has a purpose.
“The Gambia needs reconciliation and good representation. In 2017, three women were nominated by the President but this time around, the president decided to nominate two women. Why the decline?” he questioned and said civil society condemns strongly, the nomination of Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Seedy Njie.