By: Almamo Kamasso
Hon. Bakary Camara, a parliamentarian has described the 1994 Military coup as one of the most unfortunate incidents in Gambia’s political history.
“The coup had peddled the country’s hard earned human rights record into the mud. It was a rule of no respect for the rule of law and full of rampant violations of basic human rights,” the UDP parliamentarian for Kiang Central Constituency remarked. He was speaking during an exclusive interview with Daily news held recently. According to Hon. Camara, the former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) was an offshoot of the defunct Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council which was purely a military government.
“So, the soldiers used force to overthrow a democratically elected government to which most Gambians disagreed,” he argued. However, our reporter put it to Hon Camara that for the fact that APRC ruled the Gambia for 22 years, that was enough justification that the party was accepted by all and sundry. He was quick to dismiss that claim saying that the elections that kept former President Yahya Jammeh in power were all rigged. “People’s voters’ cards were constantly manipulated. These malpractices and manipulations by the APRC regime discouraged lots of reasonable and potential politicians to take part in local politics.”
Asked if he would agree that the APRC government delivered some kind of development projects during the party’s 22-year-long rule? Hon. Camara replied: “Yes, but one would see that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. If for the people whom the development was meant, were not treated with respect and their basic rights were denied then one would say that such development meant a little for the people.”
The UDP member also raised concern over the level of corruption that deprived the Gambia of billions of dollars and dalasi seen under the previous APRC regime, adding: “this current government must do all it takes to recover such monies.”
He suggested that the government should have a zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt practices. Asked about his take on the D31 million dalasi said to be in form of unretired imprest still held by some government officials, Hon Camara said: “this coalition came to office on the pretext that it will clean the system from corruption, so there should be a zero tolerance and I call for anti-corruption bill.”