On December 1st, 2016, the Gambian people voted out their autocratic President Yahya Jammeh, after 22 years in power, and elected Adama Barrow as their new president. Jammeh conceded defeat, but a week later announced that he was annulling the election results and would not step down. A grassroots movement #GambiaHasDecided emerged in reaction.
Activists initially set up billboards with the slogan #GambiaHasDecided. The billboards were torn down by Jammeh loyalists. Not to be intimidated, the activists around the country turned to spray painting the slogan.
Following the turmoil of a contested presidential election in 2016, The Gambia faced an uncertain future. While the population had high expectations for the political transition, a fragile economy along with the state’s poor record in providing basic public services threatened the country’s stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections in 2017 paved the way for policymakers to restore fiscal sustainability and lay the groundwork for the country’s economic recovery. The European Union has supported the democratic transition from the outset with an ambitious budget support program that includes complementary support measures implemented by a technical assistance team…DAI
‘TRRC Digest Edition 10 is out! The 10th session focused on the witch-hunt campaign ordered by Yahya Jammeh against mostly elderly men and women accused of witchcraft in The Gambia. Read the testimonies here ‘ANEKED (African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings & Enforced Disappearances)
“Green Boys and magicians came around the village, singing, drumming, and dancing, and targeted NRP (UDP) opposition party members” Doudou Sanyang
The Witch Hunts of 2009 – The Gambia. Dodou Sanyang, in the room of his recently deceased mother, Naa Joni Sonko. She was one of over a thousand elderly people abducted on the order of the former president, Yahya Jammeh. Groups of Jammeh’s paramilitary troops along with his youth brigade, The Green Boys, and ‘magicians’ from Guinea, went from village to village as part of a nationwide hunt for witches.
The alleged witches were held for up to five days in secret locations and made to drink ‘Kubehjaro’, a hallucinogenic substance, and then forced to confess to witchcraft. Some were also severely beaten, and robbed by their captors. Some died at the detention sites, and others like Sanyang’s mother suffered years of illness before dying. Many in Sanyang’s village believe the elderly there were not targeted for witchcraft, but because the village had been an opposition stronghold – Essau, Northbank Division, The Gambia.
“I was kept for five days. When they forced me to take the medicine (‘Kubehjaro’ a hallucinogenic substance), I could no longer stand up… I fell down on the ground… ” Sankung Balajo