Women of Substance





11 years without justice

Gibaru Janneh , GPU, Gambia

It is now 11 years and still justice remains a far cry. The murders continue to be clothed with the tinted glass of impunity. All calls for justice continue to fall to deaf ears but for how long?

It is imperative that the Government of the Gambia expends all its efforts and tools to investigate this matter in order to bring the culprits to book. Failure to do so only serves to entrench a culture of impunity in our society. The Gambia Government and indeed all Gambians need to realize that a culture of impunity in any society threatens the very security and safety of the life of each and every one in that society, sooner or later.

What happened to Deyda can happen to any other Gambian at any time. Besides a fundamental constitutional responsibility of the Government is to protect the right to life of all Gambians as entrenched in Section 18 of our constitution. Thus the Government of the Gambia bears the primary responsibility to protect the life of Deyda and indeed all citizens.

The murder of Deyda is a fundamental human rights violation that goes against the very essence of our constitution and all regional and international instruments that the Gambia Government has ratified. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, hence the responsibility to ensure justice prevails and the protection of human rights in our society lies squarely in the hands of the Government.

Failure to launch a conclusive investigation into the murder of Deyda Hydara continues to portray the notion that the Gambia is a state where life, limb and liberty are at a constant risk of being harmed. This situation further makes a parody of our justice delivery and law enforcement system and goes against the grain of our society as a civilized, law abiding people of faith who belong to one Big Gambian Family.

All decent and patriotic Gambians are appalled that in a society of 1.8 million people where everyone is practically related could cultivate a situation in which fellow citizens could lose their lives and liberty in such stark circumstances and yet the Government and the people and their organizations demonstrate such incredible impotence to deal with the situation.

This act is indeed a shameful stain on our conscience, our faith and our culture that each and every Gambia, and more so the Government of the Gambia must not allow to continue any longer.  Do we forget that Deyda was a father, a husband, a grandfather, an employer, a mentor, a Muslim and a human being and citizen? Do we have the right to deny Deyda’s children and his wife a warm father and husband respectively?  Bringing the murderers of Deyda is therefore a moral, legal and political responsibility of each and every Gambia person, institution, organization and government that must be fulfilled.

I am speaking out because I recognized that protecting Deyda's right to life is also about protecting my own right to life. For, if I fail to speak out and stand up for Deyda, I do not expect another Gambian to speak up and stand up for any of me when I face similar circumstances. I join the call for justice not only because Deyda was a member of our constituency, but also and more importantly because Deyda was a human being and a citizen. We cannot allow a situation in which the life of citizens can be taken by anyone anyhow. I therefore once again call on the Gambia government to take prompt and resolute steps to properly investigate the murder of Deyda Hydara so that justice can take its course.

It should be noted that journalists like all others are partners in development. We serve a crucial role not only in bringing the state closer to the citizenry but also promote the creation of an open society where democracy and good governance flourish. The accomplishment of our crucial role would be hard to come by when rogue elements in the midst of society who negate the work of journalists are offered the veil of impunity.

Much more, justice is the principal pillar that binds and enhances the advancement of every organized social group. This is what our culture and religions preach. The Government of The Gambia should thereof openly manifest its commitment of this core value of our culture and religions by standing by the principles of justice at all times.

The killers of Deyda Hydara deserve nothing but justice. Let this justice that we have long demanded and long been waiting for take its course now

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