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Feature Article of Monday, 2 July 2007

Columnist: Otoo, Ben

Citizens Arrest On Yahya Jammeh

The failure of the Kufour administration to take action on the killing of 50 Ghanaian migrants massacred in cold blood in the Gambia two years ago on a forged suspicion of planning to stage a coupe in that country has compelled some international heavyweight human rights activist and their Ghanaian counterparts to decide to perform the citizens’ arrest on the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, when he arrives in Accra for the AU meeting.

To some of these activists, the attitude of the Ghanaian leadership is that of complete ineptness and disregard for the life of their citizens killed abroad and far from the pacifist deportment of the Ghanaian as they would like to portray to the world. One of them I spoke to who would like to remain anonymous, intimated that the issue has myriads of facets. He said, ‘it portrays the failure of a government who views migration as the way forward for its youth to protect them in foreign lands, and a complete stab in the back of that failed agenda. This further translates in a huge cloud looming over the competence of Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Akuffo-Addo Dankwa, who is also vying for the slot of his party to lead Ghana, to navigate his way in the wide and complex oceans of international law to execute his mandate as Foreign Minister to protect the ordinary Ghanaian. Finally and interestingly, the failure of the international community to act on this issue as a human right issue and not just a Ghanaian issue’.

The minority in parliament has already sent out the signal that the Gambian Leader, Yahya Jammeh is not a welcome visitor in our country. It is hoped that the government would bolster the position of the minority and other human rights activists in our midst by calling Yahya Jammeh to order. Jammeh must answer for the killing of those innocent lads who were just struggling to find jobs abroad and learn a descent living. We don’t know when living in another country illegally has become a crime punishable by death. We therefore appeal to the Ghanaian leadership to take the appropriate steps to get a meaningful compensation for the families and relatives of those killed in this dastard act.

In a related development, all progressive African forces are calling on African leaders attending the AU session in Accra to, as a matter of urgency, agree on a communiqué to be sent to the Chinese government to take immediate steps to release all Africans in detention in that country for immediate repatriation to their various countries.

There are huge numbers of Africans in Chinese detention camps for overstaying their visas, living their illegally or for various minor immigration offences. These people are either forgotten and are rotting in jail or do not have the means to arrange for their own deportation. It is therefore incumbent on their governments to take immediate steps to negotiate their release and repatriation.



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