Women platform brief the media

Sarjo Camara-Singateh

The Senegal-Gambia-Guinea Bissau Women’s Forum for Peace and Security, which brings together organisations from the three countries, including African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, organised a press briefing to inform the media about their recent move to promote peace and stability in the Gambia after hearing that outgoing President Yahya Jammeh has rejected the December 1st election results.

Speaking at the press conference Mrs. Thiam said they came into the Gambia to broker peace negotiation between the two leaders, outgoing President Jammeh and President elect Adama Barrow, for an audience and fortunately they met with president elect Adama barrow but still it is proving futile as they could not receive any communication from outgoing president Yahya Jammeh for talks. Mrs. Thiam commended the security for their foresights in promoting peace and stability.

She said they want to discuss the political and security situation in The Gambia which the members of the Forum find ‘very disturbing’. Following the decision by President Yahya Jammeh to challenge the official results of the December 1st election after formally declaring that he accepted the verdict of the ballot box, the sister republic of The Gambia is now experiencing a serious post-election crisis.

Madam Ndey Marie Thiam noted that the Forum urges President Yahya Jammeh to respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia as he was guided to do by his intuition on the evening of 2 December when he conceded defeat, earning him the admiration and respect of his people and the international community.

“The Forum strongly urges The Gambia Armed Forces not to stand up against their people who have so far demonstrated a high level of maturity to support the desire for change, progress and peace”

Mrs. Silvina Travarse said the purpose of Senegal-Gambia-Guinea Bissau Women’s Forum is to help promote and strengthen peace and stability in our sub regional area. Therefore, it cannot remain silent in a situation that may lead to military intervention or a civil unrest in a sister country. We are urging all the parties to exercise full restraint and give priority to dialogue and non-violence to resolve this crisis.

Madam Margueatte Coley who spoke in Jola said the Forum is firmly convinced that all these scenarios can only create greater tension and seriously endanger the peace and security of The Gambia as well as in Senegal and our entire sub region which is already exposed to terrorism, overflow of mercenaries and proliferation of arms.

Madam Margueatte Coley said for peace and stability to prevail both parties have to adhere to the concerns of women.

The press briefing was chaired by the executive Director of ACDHRS, Mrs Hannah Foster. She expresses the need for this women group to be at the centre of negotiation to meet both sides. She assured the members that they will not relent on the process but to push the agenda of advocacy to peace in the country. Mrs. Foster responding to questions said as soon as they get reply from out-going president Jammeh, the team will come back to meet with the president. She noted that still there are other women groups that collaborated for the cause especially the women in the mano river basin. She said there is an event that would hold that everybody will dress in white to promote peace. “We did not foresee any military intervention; we are promoting the peaceful transfer of power come January 19t.

She noted that the constituencies of women representation is wide as the Senegalese platform is consist of 210 women groups from 14 constituencies; Guinea Bissau  56 groups from 8 constituencies and Gambia 22 women groups.

Amie Sillah- Sarr on her vote of thanks lauded the women in the sub region for the position they have taken because if Senegal or Bissau is trouble, the region would be affected pointing out that Gambia should be a safe haven for everyone.