A close source within The National People's Party (NPP) has earlier today revealed to Kerr Fatou NPP's list of its interim executive committee with President Barrow on top of the list.
The occupants of the list executive are expected to stir up the affairs of the party, hence.
The positions are as follows;
1. Adama Barrow, Party Leader
2. Maimuna Baldeh Party’s Women National Mobilizer
3. Lamin Cham Campaign Manager
4. Seedy Njie, Deputy Spokesperson
5. Lamin Queen Jammeh, Spokesperson
6. National President, Dembo By force
7. Deputy National President, Isatou Touray
8. Demba Sabally, Second Deputy National President
9. Musa Drammeh, National Treasurer
10. Kebba Madi Bojang, National Youth President
11. Maimuna Ceesay, Diaspora Secretary
12. Lamin k. Saidy, Deputy National Youth Coordinator
13. Fabou Sanneh, National Organizing Secretary.
14.Ebrima Sallah Secretary Media and Communication.
15. Amie Fabureh Secretry women's wing
The party is yet to select a Deputy Party Leader, other Ministers are also co up members of the executive. We will update you once we get the entire list.
By Tabora BojangLike other countries in the sub-region, violence against women and children in The Gambia has been one of the most prominent human rights violations.
“In the status quo, 1 in 4 women aged 15-49 years will become a victim of sexual and gender-based violence and 26% of ever-married women have experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence by their husbands or intimate partners. About 24% of ever-married women have physical injuries due to intimate partner violence. The occurrence of GBV in some communities in The Gambia has been ‘normalized’ to the extent that 40% of women believe it is acceptable for their partner(s) to hit them,” according to UNFPA.
According to a survey conducted by the Network Against Gender Based Violence (NGBV), an NGO advocating against gender-based violence in The Gambia, violence against women and children has “escalated alarmingly” during the global pandemic.
This is despite a low turnout of cases registered at 5857; with a death toll of 173 since the confirmation of the first case in March 2020.
The Networks’ programme coordinator, Fallou Sowe, disclosed that 522 women and children have experienced some form of sexual and gender based violence according to respondent statistics.
Out of these include 243 sexual violence cases including rape and 116 cases committed against children, with the West Coast and the Greater Banjul Area topping with 151 of cases at 77 percent.
“This is alarming” Sowe warned. “Because it means lot of our children have been exposed to sexual violence in the pandemic.
Matilda Johnson, communications lead at Paradise Foundation, explained that: “In the beginning of the lockdown when everyone was inside, there was an escalation of what was already a worrying trend. We saw a lot of gender-based violence and these include domestic violence cases, sexual violence, financial violence and other forms.”
The foundation rolled out an initiative dubbed: “Tahawou-Jigueen” working with women who have been subjected to sexual violence during the pandemic, while offering them with counselling, psychological support and connecting them to emergency and other social services.
It also partnered with the government and other organisations in launching a toll-free hotline for reporting and responding to cases.
The foundation’s project coordinator, Muhammed Jah, disclosed that 3847 calls were received mainly relating to domestic violence.
“Majority of the victims are women. We also have special trained operators who would receive the calls and process the complaints. We offer them counselling and psychological first aid.
According to Mr. Jah, the toll-free hotline has had a huge impact on survivors who are breaking away from the perennial culture of silence, because “the issue of gender-based violence is either normalised or accepted at homes; so people don’t talk about it in this country.”
In a report released by the UNFPA office on Domestic and Gender Based Violence in The Gambia during Covid- 19, informants interviewed mentioned that frustration and anxiety surrounding loss of jobs have essentially caused panic, fear and anger among men, who are supposed to be the breadwinners for their homes.
“Key informants revealed that pre-existing gender-related narratives have been aggravated due to lockdown measures put in place to mitigate the spread of infections. In The Gambia, where women make up the majority of the informal sector, an estimated 52,000 people are at risk of losing their jobs in both formal and informal sectors. The situation is even worse in rural areas where more than 69% of people live below the poverty line. This economic loss has an impact on the increased risks of GBV.”
Cultural, religious barriers
It is observed that violence against women is mainly underreported due to the reasons such as “stigma, shame, cultural and religious misconceptions” which have made the reporting of abuse and violence harder.
Oumie Mbye, gender-based violence coordinator at the Paradise Foundation, described the excesses of such cultural barriers as having given rise to a tendency of which “some men felt women have no liberty over their own bodies and even over their own lives.”
Rohey Bittaye-Darboe, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said the cultural norms mainly tend families to settle for out of court arrangement before cases of gender violence would reach the court.
Muhammed Jah, the project coordinator of Paradise Foundation, observed that the country “being a Muslim majority, some people interpret religion to mean men are responsible [carers] of women and therefore they have the right to treat women like their subjects.”
Although The Gambia has ratified and domesticated several international conventions towards eliminating all forms of violence against women and also enacted local laws including The Children Act, he pointed out.
The police have also been blamed for what many described “ineffective prosecution” of criminal cases involving sexual violence offences.
Superintendent Lamin Njie, the police spokesperson explained that a variety of reasons including constraints in evidence gathering, cultural norms and low capacity among police officers are some of the reasons hindering effective prosecution of cases related to Gender-Based Violence.
He said the police were cognisant of the rising cases of gender violence which promoted its high command to seek partnership with other institutions to help in raising awareness, and increase the capacity of officers in handling cases.
“The issues affecting the police in the swift prosecution or investigation of cases are that; evidential materials are mostly tampered at the crime scene from the level of the community because of customary belief about rape cases.”
He cited mobility gaps at police stations, delays in reporting, reluctance on the side of the community members to testify in courts, medical examination delays/constraints, lack of awareness among community members as major factors hindering the police.
He also stated that the police have responded in rolling out a project funded by the Paradise Foundation and UNFPA which stepped up in raising awareness in the communities, building the capacity of law enforcement officers and enhancing mobility.
“As a government, we know that GBV will be on the increase during Covid-19 because the lockdown measures mean perpetrators and victims would be spending more time together,” permanent secretary at the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, Rohey-Bittaye Darboe stated.
She said the government responded with these in rolling out supportive mechanisms and awareness raising for victims of gender-based violence, households with children and persons physically challenged.
“We also conducted advocacy and awareness campaigns on a wider reach with support of our women councilors. We have also partnered with our donors to rehabilitate an edifice at the Children Centre in Bakoteh that would be used for counselling and with rooms to provide temporary accommodation for victims.
Mrs. Bittaye- Darboe disclosed that the government plans to establish a special court on gender-based violence to deal with the dispensation of justice in cases relating to gender crime.
The assistant programme officer at the Paradise Foundation, Fatoumatta Joof, recommends the need for sustained sensitisations and outreach programmes in encouraging survivors to speak in breaking the silence.
Oumie Mbaye called for attitudinal change in ending the cycle of domestic violence from the home.
“We need to continue with more awareness and also improve on the way we raise our children because the girl child is differently raised to the male counterpart who would turn to become perpetrators.”
Activist and volunteer Abigaelle Normand observed that crucial steps must be taken to “crush the taboos” which inform the normalisation of violence against women and girls.
“The government should place punitive measures and ensure stringent punishments are meted on perpetrators. The laws are here but the limited enforcement continue to avail windows to perpetrators to sneak” Muhammed Jah recommends.
This story is supported by Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) Canada.
Apr 22, 2021, 9:10 AM
16 APRIL 2021, Banjul – Infertile soils, high prevalence of crops diseases and pests amidst weak research, plant protection and extension services, as well as climate change impacts, remain major contributing factors to low agricultural productivity in The Gambia. More than 70 per cent of The Gambia's population, estimated at 2.2 million people, is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.Advancement in mobile technology through the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), also known as drones, in different aspects of agriculture has the potentials to help address these challenges.
Sensors mounted on drones help collect real-time information on vast agricultural areas within a short time. The data collected enables farmers, researchers and extension agents to quickly detect where crops require intervention even before signs of distress become visible to the naked eye. This information allows for appropriate and urgent actions to address issues related to nutrients, water, herbicides and pesticides, to optimise the overall input of resources (both material and humans).The use of drones in agriculture also facilitates the early detection of pests and diseases, thus reducing smallholder farmers' risk and vulnerability.
However, The Gambia lacks a comprehensive system to support, capture, analyse and report real-time Geographic Information System (GIS - a framework for gathering, managing and analysing data) field data from project intervention areas. The availability of such a system with highly trained and competent staff will assist in the tracking and reporting of climate change factors and foster coordination with other government programmes to plan and implement mitigating programmes.
In line with its 2018 – 2022 Country Programming Framework and National Development Plan 2018 – 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is assisting the Gambian Government in harnessing the potentials of IT to address these national priorities in the Agriculture and Natural resources sector (ANRs). The intervention is also consistent with the AU Agenda 2063 and the 2030 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project "Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change in the Gambia", FAO has recruited Odamme Simmons, an international consultant, to build local capacities. He is currently training 26 personnel of the Planning Service Unit (PSU) of the Ministry of Agriculture on collecting, managing, analysing and disseminating high-quality drone data for multiple uses. The intervention will strengthen the PSU's capacity to improve lives and livelihoods and contribute to socio-economic growth.
Simmons also supports the analysis of existing secondary information/ data and analyses data collection systems, database and GIS mapping, and monitoring systems for food security. He is also required to make recommendations on developing information for relevant data collection for a database system, analysis on vulnerability and risk assessment and agro-climatic monitoring for food security.
Simmons has extolled the cooperation and enthusiasm of participants. He commended FAO and GEF for their support to the Government to assess vulnerabilities and risks and timely disseminating climate risk information to users at all levels.
Perspectives of participants
According to Musa Jallow of the PSU, the training and the introduction of drones in the Gambia agriculture sector is a welcome gesture. He described the training as both timely and relevant, noting that it will equip the unit with the requisite knowledge and skills to gather data quickly and accurately. He commended FAO for the intervention. He, however, emphasised the need for more training and resources to boost capacities for effective service delivery.
Sheikh Joof of the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) also lauded the initiative noting that he has always wanted to learn and practice drone technology in his work. "We have now acquired the basics in becoming specialist in drone technology, and I am eager to use the knowledge gained to improve my work as an agriculture researcher", he said.
Ebou Jobe of the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and Ousainou Njie of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) agreed that the training is very effective and relevant to their work needs in terms of improving food security in the country.
Brikama Area Council Chairman Sheriffo Sonko has strongly rejected any claims it was UDP supporters who voted for him as chairman of BAC.
“That’s not true. So many people voted for me who are members of APRC and so many members of GDC voted for me. It’s 100% clear that it’s not only UDP [supporters] who voted me in here but it is that it is the UDP ticket but they did not spend a penny on me,” Sonko told The Fatu Network in an exclusively interview.
Sonko was a member of the UDP and his standing in the party saw him swat aside his challengers in the party to become the party’s candidate in the Brikama Area Council local government election in 2018.
However, Sonko is no longer a member of the party as he has fallen out with the party after the party sacked him last year. UDP accused him of straying from the cause of the party.
The United Democratic Party has said it has been vindicated as the party announced the conviction of the man who was driving the party’s vehicle when he was arrested with cannabis.
The Standard reported on Thursday Yusupha Jambang was convicted by a court in Brusubi.
And in a statement on its official Facebook page, UDP said: “Alhamdulillah the United Democratic Party has been vindicated.
“Yusupha Jambang has been convicted and sentenced to a fine of D7000 dalasi in default to serve 14 months in prison with no mention of drugs/Cannabis.”
ADAccording to The Standard, Jambang pleaded guilty to three counts of driving a motor vehicle without care and attention causing an accident, driving the said vehicle without a driver’s license and failing to stop when required.
Barrow urged to take advantage of Baden-Württemberg coalition gov’tApr 22, 2021, 9:05 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb.
Yahya Sonko, the newly elected speaker of Refugee Council of Germany state of Baden-Württemberg has called on the Barrow government to take advantage of and restart positive, transparency and fruitful negotiations with the coming government in Baden-Württemberg.The Greens and the CDU in Baden-Württemberg agreed on coalition negotiations on Saturday 4th April 2021, weeks after the state elections.
The Greens and the CDU want to vote on the result on May 8, 2021 at separate state party conferences.
On May 12th, Kretschmann wants to be elected Prime Minister for the third time.
Mr. Sonko said the Barrow led Government technocrats should be able to design reliable policies and programmes to be able to negotiate in the best interest of both countries.
He noted that fruitful talks with Baden-Württemberg can bring sanity to the mass deportations between Germany and The Gambia, adding that the German government is open to fruitful and reliable talks.
He highlighted that the government of The Gambia should be able to come with a clear perspective for the best interest of their citizens in Germany.
According to him, the coming of Baden-Württemberg coalition government goals are protecting the climate and preserving biodiversity which is important for a sustainable future.
He further advised The Gambia government to join the negotiation table with Baden-Württemberg government as soon as possible for the best interest of Gambian asylum seekers.
He pointed out that the Barrow led-government is struggling with youth empowerment and creation of better job opportunities for the returnees.
Mr. Sonko advised Gambian migrants to be law abiding, respect rules and regulations in Germany, look for possible integrations, do vocational trainings (Ausbildung) as well as avoid drug and/or criminal activities.
State House, Banjul, 20th April 2021: President Adama Barrow on Tuesday received the outgoing International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the State House in Banjul.Ms. Bensouda was at the Presidency to thank the government of The Gambia and President Adama Barrow in particular, for the support rendered during her tenure, particularly when she was sanctioned by the United States under the Trump administration.
President Barrow congratulated Ms. Bensouda for her outstanding leadership at the ICC and for projecting a positive image of The Gambia.
Ms. Fatou Bensouda commended the government of The Gambia among other nations for standing firmly by her during the unfair treatment by the Trump administration for merely doing her work.
“The Gambia did not remain silent, they raised their voice and recently those sanctions have been lifted,” said Ms. Bensouda. She added that the audience with the President was also an opportunity for her to express words of gratitude to the President and the government, as well as update him on the transition process as her nine (9) years mandate as the ICC Prosecutor draws to an end.
The outgoing ICC prosecutor also stated that The Gambia will continue to play its role and perform its duties, obligations and responsibilities as a state party to the Rome Statute.
Veteran Lawyer Fafa Edrissa Mbai in his third day of testimony before the TRRC, reiterated that during the 22 years of former President Yahya Jammeh’s rule, unlawful dismissals of magistrate and judges were the order of the day.The former attorney general stated that the worst civilian government is far better than a good military government, saying Yahya Jammeh was brutal during his time as president. He confirmed to the commission that 95 decrees were enacted by the AFPRC government and 13 out of the 95 were enacted during his time as attorney general.
He further testified that his frustration started when the Junta stopped taking his advice on human rights basis, saying that was the reason he didn’t last long with the military rule.
“I believe in Allah for whatever happened to me, despite my great services to the nation. I was evacuated from my property in Kairaba Avenue and as well arrested unlawfully on several occasions.”
The witness recollected that the reason he had to establish law and order for the country was more than the idea of the Junta. Mbai added that he was part of the steering committee that was tasked to establish the law school at the University of The Gambia.
“I was the first person to be employed as a lecturer of custom law.” He continued that he wrote many books used by the school.
The veteran lawyer stood firm on the decision that he was never part of the drafters of the draconic decrees, insisting he had served as an adviser to the ruling council led by Chairman Yahya Jammeh.
On his concluding remarks, he said the decrees were to address the serious and corrupt practices in the country. He added that a law that violated fundamental human rights is a bad law.
“My intention was to serve the nation to the best of my ability and I believed that was the initial mindset of the AFPRC. It was not my intention as well to enable a dictatorship; it was far from that. I was not the drafter of the decrees but I accepted them during my tenure as AG and I took the responsibility that I have advised them.”
“Unfortunately the table turned and the members of the council were driven by self-interest. With that, I parted company with them and they have seen it as I didn’t like their rule. I had suffered during my tenure and I seek forgiveness to anyone I have ever wronged.”
He thanked the TRRC, the media and other parties for providing historical records of dark moments that occurred in our country.
.Dictator Hunter says perpetrators testimony enough to prosecute JammehApr 22, 2021, 9:36 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko
Renowned international human rights advocate, Reed Brody, also fondly called Dictator Hunter says the testimonies of direct perpetrators at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) could be enough to convict former President Yahya Jammeh.The Human Right Watch lawyer told this reporter via telephone conversation that the former strongman can actually be brought to book.
Asked if the testimonies of perpetrators are sufficient enough to prosecute Jammeh, the American lawyer would hope so.
"Direct perpetrators have implicated Jammeh in murder, torture and a host of other terrible crimes," he said. "If they repeated those statements at a trial in which they were subject to cross-examination by Jammeh's lawyers, it could be enough to sustain a conviction."
Asked on the best possible trial for Jammeh in order to get the desired justice by the victims, Mr. Brody said, "a so-called hybrid court between The Gambia and the AU or ECOWAS with mostly Gambian judges could bring the best of both worlds.
"It could have its seat and most trials in The Gambia but for a Jammeh trial could sit elsewhere in the region."
Many fear bringing Jammeh back to The Gambia for a possible trial is not feasible bearing in mind the APRC founder still has a strong support in the country. Apart from The Gambia, however, there are other places where he could be tried based on international law, according to Reed Brody.
"Jammeh could be tried in The Gambia, ICC, or a third country such as Ghana which lost 44 of its citizens."
As the TRRC wraps up public hearings and preparing to deliver a report on its findings, calls have been heightened by victims and Civil Society Organisations for The Gambia government to implement the recommendations of the commission.
According to the human rights lawyer, one of the ways to ensure that the authorities implement the TRRC recommendations, victims and CSOs should use the election trail and ask each of the candidates and parties to commit to implementing the TRRC recommendations.
Reed Brody specialises in helping victims pursue justice against atrocities.
He served as a defence counsel for victims in the case of former Chadian President Hissén Habré, who was later convicted for crimes against humanity in Senegal and subsequently jailed.