Gambian opposition parties have
rejected President Yahya Jammeh's pronouncement to kill people deemed enemies
of the state.
During a television address Monday, Jammeh said he will supervise
the killing of anyone who aims to destabilize the country.
He also warned human
rights groups to stop interfering in Gambia's internal politics, warning
citizens not to cooperate with them.
But the opposition claims Jammeh's death
threat is a calculated ploy to silence any dissent.
has often been criticized for his iron fist rule in clamping down on
journalists who are critical of his administration.
Halifah Salah, an
editorial member of the Foroyaa
newspaper, said that there is need for the opposition
to demystify President Jammeh's antics.
I must say that the Gambia cannot continue to focus on statements of this
nature. What we are doing now is to get the Gambian people to understand that
the country belongs to them (and) that leaders are there as trustees," Salah said.
He described President
Jammeh's death threats as bad taste.
"What we expect is the
language that will enable the people to understand that there is rule of law,
there are courts, there are institutions. And that the executive is mainly
there to be able to utilize their tax money to build the institutions which
will protect liberties," he said.
Salah said there is need for
the opposition to provide sharp contrasting language to stand up to the
"The fact that the language
is belligerent indicates to us on our side…I must say that the way to
counteract this type of language is to offer an alternative," Salah said.
He said the opposition
should work on discrediting the president's death threats.
"We must demystify the
executive. And the way to demystify the executive is to state exactly what he
said for everybody to hear, but at the same time, to build up the confidence of
the people, to see that governance must be determined by the people," he said.
Salah said Jammeh's threats
undermine the confidence of Gambians.
"Anybody who is there who
utilizes a language which is not in the interest of the people… it is
(important) to tell the people that this language is not in the interest of the
people… and it is the right of the people to put in place the type of
government… which will safeguard their liberties prosperities," Salah said.
President Jammeh has often called on journalists to obey his government "or go to
hell". In June, 2005, he stated on radio and television that he has
allowed "too much expression" in the country.
The Jammeh government
introduced harsh new press laws following the December, 2004,
unsolved killing of reporter Deyda Hydra, who had been critical of his
administration, in. But Jammeh denies security agents were involved in the