A Gambian journalist based in Senegal, Sana Camara, has described the defeat of the country’s president of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh, as a sign of relief for all Gambians.
Camara is one of over hundred journalists and activists exiled abroad because of Jammeh’s repressive rule and the lack of press freedom.
Opposition politicians, journalists and activists in the Gambia, have been randomly arrested and jailed, tortured or killed in the small West African country under Jammeh.
Camara was forced to flee two years ago after a series of arrests following several stories he published including one on human trafficking in that country.
“In 2014 November, I went on a trip to Nigeria and we had a transit in Gambia and I had to step out and breathe the fresh air of Banjul. That was all I could do. I haven’t been to Gambia since I left in August 2014. I have been staying here in Senegal and my family and my kids are all in Gambia” he told Citi News.
With the ousting of the “oppressor” through the ballot, Camara is looking forward to reuniting with his family and practicing his profession in freedom.
“People have fought very long and very hard and made a lot of sacrifices to make sure that a day like this is realized. Personally, I am very excited. In fact, it is mixed feelings. I can pursue a future in a very free Gambia. I can return to my family and be with them. I can choose to work in Gambia or Senegal, but either way, I know things will never be the same again” an elated Camara said.
There have been fears the man who had ruled the Gambia with an iron fist for the past 22 years, will cling to power either through fraud or violence.
Instead, reports from the Gambia say he conceded defeat in a phone call he placed to the incoming president, Adama Barrow, with words like, “congratulations, I am the outgoing president; you are the incoming president”.
Despite the victory and the seeming air of freedom, Camara says a lot more work needs to be done “in order for us to have a free and democratic Gambia”, adding that “defeating Jammeh is just the first step”.
“The sacrifices people made; being victimized for what they believed in…we will not allow that to happen in Gambia again. So the task is not finished”, he added.
Adama Barrow, 51, will be the third Gambian president since the country attained independence in 1965.
By: Eugenia Tenkorang/citifmonline.com/Ghana