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Every dysfunctional relationship requires two parties. One party believes that, in order to be true, it must beat the other over the head with what ever would inflict the most pain. The other party believes, in order to be true, it must take the beating.

I think it is fair to characterize Gambian politics as dysfunctional. It will change when (a) APRC stops beating the opposition or (b) NADD quit taking it and say enough. Events of the past week suggest that NADD is waiting around for Yahya and his gang to have mercy on them and stop beating them. Yahya is relying on a tactic that has proven effective over and over again - the belief that when the political knives come out, most opposition leaders will act like p***ies and back down. Yahya has come to learn that the most that Ousainou and others will ever do when confronted is called on their supporters to calm down while they run to his slavish minions on the courts for relief. This could have been the best opportunity for NADD to show strength and confront Yahya’s fake macho swagger. Unfortunately, it is clear to most observers of Gambian politics that NADD’s leadership doesn’t know how to go in for the kill when the opponent is on the ropes.

The President stood up before religious leaders, put on his customary clenched-jaw scowl, and with a show of palpable, smoldering anger told the whole country that he was going to teach the opposition a lesson and that some of them will not witness the 2006 elections. True to his dare he arrested three of them and imprison them without any cause. What has been the response of the remaining NADD executive members? It went something like: Whoa there buddy. Let's simmer down.

Then they ran to the courts and behold their old nemesis Paul was waiting to put the final nail on the coffin. If you know the rules are stacked against you but you play the game, you can’t cry foul at the results. By running to a judiciary that is corrupt and stacked with mercenary judges, NADD gave them credibility. Couldn't at least one prominent NADD leader just say: We demand the release of our compatriots in X days or I will lead our supporters on a non-violent demonstration. Yes, the aggressive tone will put the government on notice that the opposition is serious and here to stay. It will turn more people on. Frustrated Gambians everywhere, who are fed up with Yahya’s brutality and all the accompanying B.S, and who are looking for a leader, will think: it's about time somebody had the guts to say the obvious and stood up to Yahya’s bullying.

However the response of NADD’s executive to this crisis has little to desire for. It seemed that they have confront the situation with a personal and political style based more on personal preservation - or attempting at least not to offend Yahya even more. But in the process they are losing the respect of some of their most loyal friends.


The people of our dear nation are shocked by the press release emanating from the Department of State for the Interior informing the world at large that Hamat Bah, Omar Jallow (OJ) "have been arrested and are helping the Police in their investigations into subversive activities and posing threat to national security" and that "the third suspect Halifa Sallah of NADD" was at large. Gambians and all sane and decent minded persons are not only shocked by this announcement but they are disgusted by the misinformation and the arbitrary arrest and detention of these three members of the Executive Committee of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD). They have, since their arrest by the Security forces on Tuesday, 15th November, 2005, been held incommunicado.

Although the State's misinformation machinery disclosed that these three senior members of the NADD Executive are helping the Police in their investigations of subversive activities and threats to national security yet information reaching NADD from official sources are that the State is studying what charges to prefer against them. This practice of arresting political targets and then scratching one's head in the search for trumped up charges is to say the least arbitrary and an abuse of the State's power of arrest. It is inimical to the rule of law and undermines the bona fide application of the due process concept that requires the arrest of a suspect upon reasonable suspicion that he has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence.

The release issued by The Department of State for the Interior is very typical of the false and fabricated assertions by dictators against political opponents and this particular release is no exception.

Gambians will recall that after the Supreme Court of the Gambia declared the seats of the four Opposition National Assembly members vacant, President Jammeh addressed a political rally at Sinchu at which he declared that he will support and take part in any effort that is aimed at destroying Hamat Bah and that he will do everything possible to ensure that both Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah do not return to the National Assembly. The arrest of and detention of both Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah is a fulfillment of that promise. With the type of fabricated allegations against the three arrested

NADD Executive members, Halifa Sallah (the Minority Leader and a member of the Pan-African Parliament) will not only be kept away from participating in the proceedings of the National Assembly and the PanAfrican Parliament for an indefinite period but the wish and will of the people of Serrekunda Central in electing to the National Assembly will stand stultified.

It is the view of the NADD that the airing of the Press release by the State media which continued even a day after the arrest of Halifa Sallah is a calculated ploy by President Jammeh's regime to mislead the nation that he was at large even though he had been arrested by 7.30pm on Tuesday 15th November, 2005. Such an act is very irresponsible and constitutes an abuse of office. The ploy will however not work.

The interest of NADD is to have a clean sweep at the 2006 polls. But the conduct of the President is yet to convince the Gambian public that he is interested in a peaceful, free and fair election. On the contrary, the indications are that he is interested in an election ridden by violence, intimidation, chaos and confusion. The unwillingness of the APRC to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between political parties in The Gambia initiated by General Abubakar former Head of State of Nigeria on behalf of the Commonwealth is a living testimony to this.

The arrest and detention of these three persons runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding. These arrests and detention are politically motivated and signs of what is in store for the Opposition in the run-up to the 2006 Presidential Elections

We demand the immediate release of the three NAAD Executive Members whose continued detention is without justification. Their continued detention is unacceptable.

My Take

So NADD decided to lawyer up and write a treatise essentially begging a dictator to spare their imprisoned colleagues. Take the last sentence in their press release for instance:

We demand the immediate release of the three NAAD Executive Members whose
continued detention is without justification. Their continued detention is

They made a demand but failed to specify what the consquences will be if their demands are not met. If that is not wimping out then I have a camel to sell you.

Click here to listen to the interview Ousainou Darbo (Leader of UDP) and an executive member of NADD granted to James Butty of the Voice of America on Monday November the 16th 2005.

Granted this and other interviews that are granted by the opposition to foreign based news outlets like the VOA and the BBC serve a purpose. But the people who need to get assurances the most...(the opposition supporters on the ground) are still not well informed as to what Mr. Darbo and the rest of NADD's executive are doing to get their colleagues release from illegal detention.

Mr. Darbo used very strong language to denounce the actions of the government on VOA. He should be commended for doing that. My concern is that I haven't heard or read from any source that he made any such statement available for domestic consumption. Yeah I understand that GRTS ( radio and Tv) will not cover it, but calling a news conference and demanding the immediate and unconditional release of his comrades will be a morale booster for NADD's supporters. Putting on a barristers hat and challenging an illegal actions is a bad political move. Yahya Jammeh is making a political statement...he is telling the electorate in a very subtle manner that NADD's leadership is made up of wimps. If they can't protect themselves, they sure ain't in hell going to protect a country. If he (Yahya) gets a positive reaction out of this illegal action, then he wins. A positive reaction for Yahya in this case will come about if NADD instead of a show of strenght ran to the mercenary judges that Gambia's judiciary is stacked with for help.

A show of strenght on NADD's part will involve calling their supporters to the street demanding in a non-violent way the release of their leaders. We in the diaspora get castigated for saying that. But what our detractors failed to understand is that we are part of this fight like the people on the ground. Granted we are not physically in harms way but our parents, siblings and other family members are. Also we are not seeking to lead a nation. If you are ambitious as to seek the leadership of a nation, their is a price to pay. It doesn't come on a silver platter especially when the opponent is a murderous dictator. Just ask Mandela.

With three influential opposition figures arrested and imprisoned by their government without any wrong doing ( the government hasn't offer any explanation), you will think serious journalist working for the country's own daily newspaper will do what is expected of members of the fourth estate... held the government accountable by seeking answers to the reason behind the arrest and incarceration of law abiding citizens of that caliber. But that is too much to ask of a garbage outlet like the Gambia's Daily Observer.

This is how they went about reporting the story:

Nadd Leaders in hot soup

by DO
Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Former National Reconciliation Party (NRP) leader and executive member of the National Alliance for Development and Democracy (Nadd), Mr Hamat Bah was Tuesday arrested together with the interim leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Mr Omar Jallow, alias OJ and are helping the police in their investigations into subversive activities, as well as posing threat to national security.

The third suspect, Nadd’s cordinator, and the former National Assembly Member for Serrekunda Central, Honourable Halifa Sallah, is presently at large and urged to report to the nearest police station, with immediate effect.

According to a press release from the Department of State for the Interior “any person found wanting in this regard”, and wish to provide shelter for Mr Sallah will be apprehended and charged for aiding and abetting.The release finally assured the general public that there is no cause for alarm and should remain calm.

I was always a skeptic of the observers reporting, but this looks more like gloating to me than reporting. NADD leaders in hot soup? Are they gullible or what? This headline sound more like propaganda than a news story to me. The rumor that Yahya owns the observer is manisfested in such a shoddy piece of reporting. Yuck these guys have no professional intergrity.

According to the press release my left foot. Anybody reading that garbage you passed for a story will know that this is the damn press release.


We have just received news of the arrest and detention of Omar Jallow (OJ),
Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah of the NADD Executive Committee, at around 5.30pm
this evening. We have confirmation that the trio are currently being held at the
Central Prisons in mile 2.

Our sources have also confirmed that Hamat Bah's residence has been searched by security forces in connection with what the government radio and television stations referred to as "subversive activities".

We await further news on the arrest and detention of
the NADD leadership and will keep you informed of developments as they

However it appears that the president has made good his "korite day" threats to "deal" with the opposition Alliance. Again he has demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law, democratic norms and civilised behaviour. However he is put on notice that the opposition will not be cowed into submission, whatever he does.

The MRDGUK registers it collective disgust at this illegal act and states that the arrest and detention of Mrssers Jallow, Bah and Sallah is an illegal and deplorable act; not in compliance with due process and we condemn it without reservation. These gentlemen should have been arraigned before a competent court of law before their detention at the central prison. The opposition will not tolerate this illegality and we demand their immediate release pending the application of due process, which we believe will exculpate all three opposition leaders.


I hope the rest of the executive members of NADD do not take the passive route. It is time to call your supporters to take to the streets in a non-violent upsurge to demand the release of your comrades. If you resort to the Kangaroo courts that are stacked against you by the mercenary judges, the end result will be disasterous for the morale of your supporters. Yahya Jammeh... like every other dictator is a coward. If the opposition alliance can muster the courage to call their supporters to take to the street demanding the release of these folks, he will relent before you can count to two. The boost in opposition morale from such non-violent peaceful citizen power will carry the opposition to victory come 2006. But if NADD executive lawyered up to fight this trangression then we might as well fold the mat, because the game is over...2006 will be a lost cause.

To Halifa, Hamat and O.J our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are proud of your sacrifices.

Could this and this be the reason for their arrest. Dictators can't handle the truth.

Here is an audio transcript of Omar Amadou Jallow’s response disputing the diatribe made by Yahya Jammeh during a visit by religious leaders on the occasion of Id-el Fitr prayers. It is in English and Wollof. You need real player to listen to it.

Click here to listen. Audio is courtesy of Free Gambia.

Here is how the Point newspaper reported the story. Reproduce below is their entire story. The point’s links are flaky and may not respond a few days from now. So I am pushing the envelop on fair use again by reproducing their entire article below:

No Tolerance for Religious Fundamentalism, Homosexuality in this
Country - Jammeh

Monday 7th November 2005

President Yahya Jammeh has emphasised that religious fundamentalism and homosexuality would not be tolerated by his government. The president made these remarks on Thursday when Muslim elders in Banjul and heads of different denominations paid their usual courtesy call on him at State House, shortly after Eid prayers marking the end of the Holy month of Ramadan.

Addressing Muslim elders, the Gambian leader said he was very pleased with their kind words and prayers for the country, adding that as the Holy month of Ramadan ends, people should forgive each other.

The President, who spoke at length, gave detailed explanations of the recent border problem between The Gambia and Senegal, intimating that the problem started as a result of false allegations leveled against The Gambia by unpatriotic countrymen.

“The Gambia–Senegal border issue was initiated in The Gambia by some Gambians who will never rule this country,” the President said, adding that they (the initiators) went and told all kinds of false allegations against The Gambia to the Senegalese authorities.

“If I did not use my five senses, we would have been fighting with Senegal by now,” the Gambian leader pointed out.

He said it was not only the ferry tariff that brought all these problems, but also the opposition. He claimed that the opposition has given so
many false information to the authorities in Senegal, which could create big problem between the two neighbours.

“I am not against opposition, but an opposition whose intention is to bring trouble in this country will not be allowed here,” the Gambian leader noted, adding that “because they know that next year is elections and there is no chance for them to win, so the only thing
they can do is to try to create conflicts between Senegal and The Gambia , and then later will say ‘let us get rid of Yahya Jammeh so that we can have peace’.”

The opposition, President Jammeh continued, even told the Senegalese authorities that his state guards are all rebels from Casamance, and claimed that we even kill Senegalese in The Gambia.“The opposition even claimed that Gambian soldiers sent on peace-keeping mission in Dafur, Sudan and that half of them are rebels from Casamance,” the President said.

President Jammeh said the Gambian Army can be regarded as the best army in the world, so he sees no reason why he should he go for rebels in Casamance.He added that the opposition even went further to say that one of the outspoken rebel leaders, Salifu Sarjo, at times spends the night at State House in Banjul and even in Kanilai and further noted that he later killed Salifu Sarjo, but to his surprise Mr Sarjo recently spoke on Sud-FM in Dakar.“You see all these are false
allegations leveled against me and my government by the opposition and I want you Muslim elders to know what has happened, so that when I start dealing with them, I don’t want anybody to come and beg for sympathy,” the Gambian leader noted.

He said further that it is not only the opposition, but there are some civil servants and some Gambians abroad who misinformed the Senegalese authorities, adding he would soon start giving them their ‘Salibo’, meaning he would punish them “without hesitation.”

Commenting on Eid prayers, the President urged the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council to have a code of conduct so that whoever fails to honour it should be dealt with.He stressed the need for Muslims
in The Gambia to always observe Eid prayers in unison, and therefore called on the Supreme Islamic Council to make sure that the whole country observe such occasions the same day.

The Gambian leader pointed out that government would not allow differences in the observance of such religious feasts.The president therefore immediately instructed the Secretary of State for Local Government and Lands to inform all divisional commissioners to write to all villages and towns who fail to pray on this day that action can be taken against them, because as he put it, “too much freedom is not good.”

Speaking earlier, the vice-president, Isatou Njie-Saidy, the Secretary of State for Religious Affairs Samba Faal, and the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Yankuba Touray, all called for peace and stability in the country.The speaker of the National Assembly, Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, urged the Supreme Islamic Council to call for a national conference in order to trash out such differences among Gambians. The president of the Supreme Islamic Council, Alhaji Banding Drammeh,
reported that half of the country did not pray on Thursday, as they claimed not sighting the moon with their own eyes.

That was the hallucination of the full blown dictator ruining the Gambia. He lied on the opposition to cover his own inepititude. Then turn around and threaten people with jail time if they don't follow his dictates and observe Eid on the same day. What a freaking moron.

Ali, dressed in a suit, barely cracking a smile, received the loudest and most
sustained applause of the day. And the always quotable man who said "I ain't got
no quarrel with them Viet Cong" and "I am the onliest of boxing's poet
laureates" delivered the most striking moment without speaking a word...Wapo

A picture is worth a thousand words. It is my opinion that in the pose above, Ali is sticking it to Bush. It was his way of embarrassing Bush. Ali is very playful and would have pretended to box the President if he respected or liked him. He occasionally did that to Howard Cossell… the sports reporter who first called for an end to the boxing world's ban on Ali. By putting his dukes up, Bush was angling for a photo of Ali and him in such a pose. Good for Ali, not only did he refuse; he made a point of it. This is Ali's way of saying to Bush: I am not endorsing you asshole, so don’t think I like or support you just because I am here accepting an award from you.

Thank God for national treasures like Mohammed Ali.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick exulted early today when he claimed a stunning comeback victory that gives him another four years to show Detroiters that he has learned from his mistakes while launching what could become a new political dynasty.

Kilpatrick, 35, used his tremendous personal appeal and a series of impressive public appearances in the wake of civil rights legend Rosa Parks' death Oct. 24 to overcome what had been a 19-point deficit in late September and defeat challenger Freman Hendrix, 55.
A last-minute negative ad blitz against Hendrix and a show of force by supporters at the polls may also have pushed Kilpatrick past Hendrix in a race that was not decided until early this morning.

Kilpatrick claimed victory around 2:30 a.m., leading 53% to 47% with 99% of precincts reporting.

"We had people power," Kilpatrick told supporters at a Renaissance Center ballroom. "Some of y'all just plain crazy, because you had no business standing up...we couldn't win. So some of y'all just plain crazy. And right now, the whole country that's been watching is saying you crazy like a fox."...Detroit Free Press.

Personally I am not a fan of Kwame Kilpatrick, but the guy run a lean, discplined and very well coordinated campaign. One would only hope that the Kwame that showed up during the campaign will overcome the party animal of yester years. Detroit needs a discplined, coordinated and capable leadership to avoid state receivership. If Kwame can work so hard to overcome insourmantable deficit in the polls to win as he did last night then there is hope that he could pull detroit out of the financial mess that it is in.

In the same elections Detroiters got rid of the always controversial city clerk Jackie Currie to elect Janice Winfrey. Currie has been marred by allegations of impropriety. The FBI is still investigating allegations of voter fraud and has a court order to keep the absentee ballots intact until the end of the federal probe into allegations of death people voting in detroit elections.

The Detroit city council has four new members joining its ranks. Monica Conyers, wife of Congressman John Conyers is one of the new faces gracing the city council.

About 205,000 Detroit voters today are expected to decide whether to keep the city's 60th mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, for another term, or replace him with Freman Hendrix, the former deputy mayor... Detroit Free Press

There is no credible exit polls to gauge the final outcome. But the election has been marred by accusations of intimidation by suburban mostly republican poll challengers according to the Detroit NAACP chapter. A law suit has also been filed by the controversial city clerk to reclaim the authority to count absentee ballots that a judge took away from her earlier in the week after allegations of impropriety.

Will keep you updated on the final results. If the polls are anything to go by Kwame Kilpatrick the incumbent mayor will lose tonight.


Virginia viewers of the post-Redskins-Eagles ESPN Sportscenter were graced with a political ad entirely in Spanish, a Service Employees International Union
endorsement of Democrat Tim Kaine in tomorrow's Virginia governor's race.

In a
joint campaign appearance with Kaine, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson pronounced that "the multiethnic component of Northern Virginia is going to be critical" on Election Day. Kaine's approach to winning that vote is to oppose local
enforcement of immigration laws

Given that learning English is required for U.S. citizenship and only U.S. citizens are supposed to vote, the SEIU is targeting who exactly with this Spanish-only strategy?...
Jim boulet

Jim Boulet is either fundamentally dishonest or ignorant about immigration issues to write the above. Learning English is not required for US citizenship. Granted, you need some proficiency in English for naturalization, but how any intelligent person can turn that into wholesale learning is intellectually dishonest to say the least. Besides proficiency doesn’t mean fluency.

If Jim wasn’t out to disparage Kaine he would’ve inform his readers that the Republican candidate in the same Virginia race…Jerry Kilgore is running his own Spanish language website. Furthermore the white house website has a Spanish language component as well. Who exactly are they targeting Jim? Unlike you I believe they are communicating to the millions of American citizens who happened to speak Spanish as a first language. Therefore it’s perfectly legitimate for Kaine to appeal to Spanish-speaking Latinos. Latinos represent a significant share of the population in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, and are not insignificant in Fairfax County. It will be political suicide not to appeal to them in a language they speak fluently to get your message across. Using code words to malign a people because they happen to speak a different language is taking demagoguery to far.

Today we bid a final farewell to Rosa Parks, the mother of the civil rights movement.It won't be easy to say good-bye. Detroit was the city that gave her refuge when she was abused and mistreated in the South, simply for taking a courageous stand against segregation. We opened our arms to her, embraced her strength and loved her for all she did to change the history of our nation.

Now all we can do is show our gratitude.

Good-bye, Mother Parks. Your children will miss you. Godspeed.

Read the free press blog for further commentary.

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