Gambia’s Justice Minister Baa Tambadou, has today proven himself as a marcher-in-chief, as the Minister led a procession march in commemoration of the massacre of the country’s students back in 2000, by the former administration of dictator Yahya Jammeh. The Minister, who represented some of the injured students in court at the time, was heard chanting “ who killed the students.” Over 14 students were killed on that fateful day, while dozen others were critically injured. A journalist and Red-Cross Volunteer Omar Barrow, was among those killed.
Unlike past procession marches, this time around, students and non-students, and political activists, including government officials, showed up to pay tribute to the departed students. The presence of Justice Minister Baa Tambadou, Youth Minister Hendry Gomez, and rapper Ali Cham, AKA Killa Ace, was evident in the crowd.
Also in attendance at the procession march, were the victims of the April 10th incidents massacre. Some of the injured students are yet to fully recover from the gunshot wounds they sustained in the hands of Gambia’s trigger happy security personnel.
In the past, demonstration—be it peaceful or violent was a no, no, under Jammeh’s rule. The dictator bans procession marches, and instilled fear into the minds of the citizenry. He decreed that members of the security forces can kill at will if anyone organizes a protest march without his approval.
Under the new democratic dispensation, government Ministers are leading protest marchers; marching alongside with protesters. This is new as far as protest is concerned in the Gambia. It was a somber day in Banjul. Marchers reflected on the day. Some even shed tears!
It should be noted that the killers of the April 10th students were indemnified by the former regime of dictator Jammeh. The new government can use parliament to lift the immunity accorded to the killers. Some of the killers are in the country, others are at large. Some have fallen out with the dictator and are living in exile in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere around the world.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai