By Kemo Cham
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), has condemned President Yahya Jammeh’s move of expelling the UNICEF envoy in the country as testimony of his intolerance to dissenting views.
Lawyer Darboe told Voice of America (VOA) in an exclusive interview that the Gambian leader doesn’t accept dissenting views.
“He has been very resentful of anything that touches on the government’s democratic credentials and his government’s observance of the rule of law…and he doesn’t take kindly to it,’’ Darboe said, pointing to a similar move by the Jammeh regime to expel the former UNDP coordinator in the Gambia apparently for making statements that ‘‘depicted the true situation in the country.”
Ms Min Whee Kang was declared persona non grata last Friday by President Yahya Jammeh, whose government is yet to give any explanation for the move. She reportedly left the country by road to neighbouring Senegal. But Mr Darboe described it as another testament that Mr Jammeh doesn’t respect diplomacy and international laws.
“Obviously it is an action that is condemnable and it is condemned by all opposition parties in the Gambia and indeed by any right thinking individual. President Jammeh believes that he can treat international civil servants as he pleases. That is unacceptable and it puts Gambia in bad light within a community of nations,’’ Darboe said.
The opposition leader added that the move by the Gambian leader ‘‘just shows again that this government does not have any regard for law…not only for domestic law but also for international law.”
According to latest reports, the UN agency has formerly requested an explanation from the Gambian government for the unceremonious removal of its staff from the country. The issue also surfaced, last Wednesday, at the UN daily briefing.
But opposition leader Darboe is not the least sure that the Gambian government will give any explanation. He added that the expulsion casts a dark shadow over the country’s independence anniversary celebration.
VOA reported that some political analysts argued that the expulsion is the government’s way of intimidating any international organization since the administration has often come under criticism over its poor human rights record.
By Kemo Cham