Barrow’s Kanilai visit angers Jammeh victims of human rights abuses

President Barrow in Kanilia earlier today

Following his unannounced visit to the birthplace of former president Yahya Jammeh, President Adama Barrow has come under heavy criticism by some Gambians and victims of Jammeh’s repressive regime who accuse the president of being too insensitive to their plights.
This is President Barrow’s first visit to Kanilai since assuming office five years ago and according to some political commentators, the move is meant to solidify his re-election bid and came barely a month after NPP and APRC announced an unlikely alliance ahead of the Dec 4 presidential election.

Reacting to President Barrow’s visit, a prominent human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh said: “ The family of Yahya Jammeh is not a national priority just like my family and the families of all Gambians. The only family of national priority in The Gambia is the immediate family of the President and the Vice President of the Republic which is why they are provided full residence, security and upkeep! Therefore, for what national purpose would the Head of State Adama Barrow dare to visit the extended family and birthplace of Yahya Jammeh? It is obvious that the entire immediate and extended families of Yahya Jammeh are not victims. They have not provided any national service or suffered any disaster to warrant the use of public resources to visit them.”
The activist, who has been a vocal critic of Barrow, added: “
Yahya Jammeh himself is a disgraced former President. He is on self imposed exile because he flouted the Constitution and the sovereignty of The Gambia. It was precisely for that selfish and corrupt act of rebellion against the Republic that Adama Barrow himself was forced to flee The Gambia only to be sworn in as President on foreign soil in 2017.
Therefore, how on earth can the Government of The Gambia justify the visit of the President to the extended family and home of that former rogue tinpot dictator? This visit is a very serious matter that should attract the topmost concern of all Gambians.
Adama Barrow’s actions have ridiculed the Office of the President in the most disrespectful and irresponsible manner. This is because there are multiple families in this country who are in deep pain, poverty and misery simply because of the atrocious violations of Yahya Jammeh. Yet, Adama Barrow has never found it necessary, in the name of justice, accountability and reconciliation to visit those families.”

Momodou Ndow, another Gambian resident in the United States, also reacted:
“When the Commander-in-Chief is more concerned about the family of the devil than that of its victims. But hey, you can say or do anything when campaigning. The blatant insult is mind blowing! Is this what is meant to unify the country?”

Lamin Jarju believes the move by the Gambian leader is a mockery of Jammeh victims.
“Mocking and victimizing the victims is recipe for war. The president must stop this Yabateh! President Barrow has never been victim sensitive. We’ve seen him mock victims over and over again. The president is drunken by power such that he’s become so insensitive to the most vital things that matter. One can suggest that President Barrow is on a very dangerous path to destination nowhere. His demeanor speaks for itself. I bet if his family member was brutally murdered or mercilessly tortured, he’ll do otherwise.
As president, you represent all. We are yet to see the worst of Adama. If it means to kill few people to remain president, Adama will pursue it. You won’t understand the pain victims go through, until your family member is murdered for no reason. Shame on President Barrow,” he told The Alkamba Times.
Coach Pa Samba Jow, said: “For nearly five years, you never visited the victims’ center or any victim, but have the audacity to visit the family of the abuser in chief. Barrow is beyond pathetic.”

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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