Monday 22 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
The Gambian parliament on Tuesday scrapped the constitutional age limit on presidential election candidates after new President Adama Barrow faced questions over his deputy's eligibility due to her age. Anyone over 65 has been barred from running for The Gambia's highest office under a constitutional amendment that came into force in the west African country in 1997. The new change comes after Barrow -- who took office on February 18 after 22 years of iron-fisted rule by his predecessor Yahya Jammeh -- faced criticism over his decision to nominate 68-year-old Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang as his vice president. According to the constitution, the vice president must fulfil the qualifications required for a president -- which made Tambajang overage. Tambajang was last...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
Gambia's President Adama Barrow has fired the head of the armed forces, General Ousman Badjie, as he continues a clear-out of senior officials linked to the despotic rule of his predecessor, a military and government sources said Monday. Badjie has been replaced by General Masanneh Kinteh, a special military adviser to Barrow since January, according to the military source. Barrow retook his oath of office on February 18, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle with his predecessor Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh had refused to step down following his defeat in December elections, but agreed to leave for exile on January 21
(Reuters (Eng) 02/28/17)
When Gambian intelligence officers arrested journalist Ebrima Manneh at his newspaper, he asked an office guard to save some tea. "I'm coming right back," he said, according to colleague Alhagie Jobe, who was present in the newsroom. That was on the afternoon of July 11, 2006; since then, neither his colleagues at the Daily Observer nor his family have seen him again. Rights groups say Manneh is one of dozens of Gambians who disappeared without trace during the 22-year rule of president Yahya Jammeh, which ended last month when he fled the country.
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(AfricaNews 02/27/17)
Ousmane Badjie, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) under former President Yahya Jammeh has been redeployed to Foreign Service by President Adama Barrow. This new decision comes a month after Barrow stated in Senegal – where he took his first oath of office – that Badjie will maintain his position as Army Chief of The Gambia. It is not known what exact destination he will be headed to. He is to be replaced by Masaneh Kinteh who previously served as the Chief of Defence Staff between 2009 and 2012. Incidentally, when Jammeh removed him as CDS, he was redeployed to foreign service and served as The Gambia’s Chief
(AfricaNews 02/27/17)
The Gambia is set tor receive $60 million in budget support from the World Bank. This was revealed on Saturday by the Bank’s president for Africa, Makhtar Diop, during a meeting with the newly installed government. Diop told journalists after the meeting that he had pledged to give $40 million before June with the remainder to follow later. we need real help from donors to sustain the country The funds will help fill empty state coffers following allegations that former Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, fled into exile with more than $ 11 million. Gambia’s finance minister, Amadou Sanneh, said “ All parastatals especially the National Water and Electricity Company, telecommunications company (GAMTEL) and the Gambia Public Transport are bankrupt”, adding,...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/17)
The Gambia's new president has fired the head of the national prison system, officials said Sunday, taking aim at a service denounced for alleged abuses under the former regime. President Adama Barrow on Friday "sacked David Colley, the director-general of the Gambia Prison Service", a government source said late Saturday. The prison service confirmed the news on Sunday. Colley had run the penitentiary system nearly non-stop since 1997 under Yahya Jammeh, the longtime leader of the tiny West African state who was forced out of power last month after losing an election. The United Nations and rights groups repeatedly condemned The Gambia's security services under Jammeh
(Xinhuanet 02/26/17)
The government of the Republic of The Gambia fully endorses the one China policy and recognizes that there is only one China in the world, the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday in a press statement. The Gambian government reaffirms "its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China," said the press statement. The Government of The Gambia recognizes "the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, with Taiwan as an inherent part of China's territory," it said. "The Gambia Government undertakes not to establish any official relations or engage in any official contacts with Taiwan," it stressed. "The friendly bilateral relations that so...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
Gambia's dreaded former spy chief -- whose watch was marred by allegations of killings and torture -- and eight subordinates were charged Thursday with killing a leading opposition member in April. Yankuba Badjie headed the National Intelligence Agency, which rights groups say carried out arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and torture during ousted strongman Yahya Jammeh's 22-year rule. Badjie and the eight others pleaded not guilty to the charges by prosecutors. The nine men, including the NIA's former director of operations, Saikou Omar Jeng, denied killing opposition figure Solo Sandeng of the main opposition UDP. Sandeng was arrested on April 14 last year while leading a demonstration for political reform and died in custody at the NIA headquarters. Two days later,...
(The Guardian 02/23/17)
Ministers say scale of looting by autocratic former leader Yahya Jammeh was much higher than originally thought and that he left country $1bn in debt. The former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh stole far more money from the state than previously thought, the new government has alleged, leaving the country with a “monstrous debt” of more than $1bn. The autocratic former leader of the small west African country siphoned off at least $50m from social security, the country’s ports, and the national telecoms company, according to two senior ministers in new president Adama Barrow’s government. Jammeh’s private jet was bought with $4.5m (£3.6m) taken from the state pension fund, they said. Many Gambian pensioners have been refused their pensions or given...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(AL Jazeera 02/22/17)
Spy chief Yankuba Badjie has been accused of overseeing kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture, killings and rape. Police in The Gambia have arrested the country's former head of the national intelligence agency and his deputy, both accused of overseeing killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture and rape during their time in office. Spy chief Yankuba Badjie and director of operations Sheikh Omar Jeng were detained on Monday and being investigated for potential abuses of power, spokesman Foday Conta told the DPA news agency on Wednesday. The arrests were part of new President Adama Barrow's attempts
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AfricaNews 02/21/17)
Dozens of opposition supporters in the Gambia have been arrested by police in the western town of Kafenda – a stronghold of the former leader, Yahya Jammeh, an opposition spokesperson and former information minister has said. Seedy Njie, now the spokesperson for Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, (APRC), said the police picked up 51 supporters including three nursing mothers and 26 minors. Reports indicate that all the minors have since been released. ‘‘They (Barrow faithful) called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters),’‘ he told local media outlets. They called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters). But a police spokesman Foday Conta said the arrests...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
Pensioner Sarjo Manneh celebrated more joyfully than most when former leader Yahya Jammeh agreed to leave The Gambia in January. After a decade, he believed he might see his son again. But nearly a month later, he is still waiting. His son Chief Ebrima Manneh, a journalist for a pro-government newspaper, went missing in 2006 during a summit held in the tiny west African country. Agents of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which reported directly to Jammeh, appeared at the offices of the Daily Observer and took him away. His colleagues and family have never seen him again. In 2009 The Gambia's then attorney-general Marie Saine-Firdaus told parliament that Manneh was not in state custody, while others including the...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
Thousands celebrated Saturday as new Gambian President Adama Barrow retook his oath of office, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle. February 18 is also the anniversary of The Gambia's independence from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box. The festivities began Saturday morning at Independence Stadium in Bakau, west of the capital, and were attended by several African heads of state as well as high-ranking diplomats. The guest of honour was Senegalese President Macky Sall. Tens of thousands packed the venue, singing and dancing, an AFP correspondent said. Barrow told the...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said here on Tuesday that he had confirmed from Gambian president Adama Barrow that the West Africa country expected to return to the Commonwealth. Former president Yahya Jammeh withdrew his country from the Commonwealth in 2013, accusing the body of being a "neo-colonial institution". "We have a great conversation with President Barrow who has a fantastic ideas taking this country forward," Boris said at a press conference in Banjul Tuesday. "I am proud to report that President Barrow is going to take the Gambia back to the Commonwealth. I talked about that last night to the Secretary General of Commonwealth and she's determined to speed that up to get it done as soon as possible,"...

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