Ghana election – opposition seeks to make economic turnaround main issue

Reuters

 
By Kwasi Kpodo | ACCRA

Ghana’s main opposition leader on Sunday called on voters to rally behind him, saying he has the credentials to quickly turn the economy around and is not looking to amass personal wealth.

Nana Akufo-Addo told flag-waving supporters at a rally ahead of Wednesday’s polls that President John Mahama’s government has mismanaged the economy and unleashed hardship on the people, adding that retaining it would constitute a threat to the nation’s future.

Mahama is seeking a second and final four-year term in what is expected to be a close race between him and Akufo-Addo. Voters will also be choosing members of parliament for 275 constituencies.

Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil is currently following a three-year aid deal with the International Monetary Fund to restore economic balance to an economy dogged by public debt, deficits and high interest rates.

“I am not seeking your mandate to come and amass personal wealth. I am not coming to pocket (state) money. Rather, we’re coming to work for development and to reverse our privation by creating jobs and wealth for our people,” said Akufo-Addo, 72 who lost narrowly to President John Mahama in 2012.

More than 5,000 supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), blew vuvuzelas, beat drums and danced in a carnival atmosphere to blaring hip life music at the forecourt of the International Trade Fair Centre in the capital, Accra.

Two huge elephant effigies draped in the NPP’s red, white and blue colours towered over the revellers.

Many say they believed Akufo-Addo will deliver on his campaign promises, which include setting up a factory in each of the 110 districts and giving every constituency the equivalent of $1 million a year if he wins power.

“I see the commitment in him and he’s got the integrity to fight corruption, ease our economic hardship and give us our basic needs,” said 61 year-old retire university lecturer Kwesi Addai-Donkor who said improving health insurance mattered to him most.

Mahama, who has been showcasing scores of infrastructure projects as proof of development in his last four years, said he needed a second term to consolidate the gains and create jobs.

He will end his campaign with a similar rally on Monday, ruling party officials say.

Wednesday’s vote will be the sixth consecutive democratic elections since former military ruler Jerry Rawlings introduced multiparty politics in 1992.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; editing by Diane Craft)

South Africa – Zuma uses Mandela death anniversary to try to divert criticism

BD Live

President Jacob Zuma speaks during the funeral ceremony for former president Nelson Mandela in 2013. Picture: REUTERS
President Jacob Zuma speaks during the funeral ceremony for former president Nelson Mandela in 2013. Picture: REUTERS

President Jacob Zuma issued a plea for national cohesion on the third anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela.

“On this day in 2013‚ the first president of a free and democratic SA‚ President Nelson Mandela passed on‚ leaving behind a rich legacy of building a dynamic young nation‚ from the ashes of apartheid‚” Zuma said in a statement on Monday.

“President Mandela taught us to unite and to love and respect one another as South Africans. He also taught us to build friendly relations with our neighbours and the international community as a whole.

“Today‚ on the anniversary of Madiba’s sad passing‚ let us recommit ourselves to unity‚ and to working together to build our country‚ regardless of whatever political differences we may have.”

Zuma said a lot of good work had been done towards building a truly united‚ nonracial‚ nonsexist‚ democratic and prosperous SA‚ while acknowledging that “the road ahead remains long and full of challenges given the unending economic slowdown globally and locally and the need to continue building a better life for and with our people”.

“There is indeed a lot more hard work to be done‚ as we move towards the ideal society he [Mandela] envisaged when he said let there be bread‚ water and salt for all.”

TMG Digital

South Africa – Phiyega unfit to be National Police Commissioner

News24

2016-12-04 06:02

Riah Phiyega. (AP, File)

Riah Phiyega. (AP, File)

Johannesburg – Suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega is not fit to hold office and should be dismissed, the board of inquiry into her fitness to hold office has found.

Phiyega will now become the third successive national police commissioner to leave under a cloud, and the first police officer to be held to account for the 2012 Marikana massacre, in which 34 mine workers at Lonmin’s platinum mine were killed while protesting for higher wages.

Her predecessor, Bheki Cele, was fired by President Jacob Zuma in mid-2012 after the Moloi Board of Inquiry found gross misconduct on his part when dealing with a property lease for police headquarters.

The career of Cele’s predecessor, Jackie Selebi, also ended in disgrace in 2009, when he was discovered to be in a corrupt relationship with convicted drug lord Glenn Agliotti – a crime for which he was convicted after he left the police service.

Now Phiyega also faces the prospect of being booted out, perpetuating the state of turbulence in police leadership.

Three sources with knowledge of the findings told City Press this week that the board of inquiry, headed by Judge Cornelis Claassen, also found that Phiyega lied to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired Judge Ian Farlam. Phiyega is challenging the findings of the commission.

It found that she failed to disclose that there were two crime scenes at which the 34 mine workers were gunned down in August 2012 – Scene 1, at which some of the mine workers were killed; and the infamous Scene 2, where police pursued and shot fleeing mine workers, many of whom were killed while hiding behind rocks.

The findings have not been communicated to President Jacob Zuma because the presidency is yet to provide a date on which the board can brief him about its findings and recommendations. The inquiry concluded on June 3 and the report was finalised on November 13.

City Press has also learnt that Phiyega only became aware of the findings “informally” – and she is already planning to have the report reviewed in court.

Two sources sympathetic to Phiyega, as well as one close to the Claassen inquiry, confirmed she was found unfit to hold office.

“Phiyega’s future as the commissioner has been cut short,” said one.

“She is also aware that she will not return to the police service again. But she is considering challenging the verdict and will only do so when she gets a report.”

Said another: “She is not going to go without a fight. She does not want a golden handshake; she wants to clear her name.”

City Press has learnt from two senior security cluster sources that the hunt for the next national police commissioner was already under way this week.

“The plan is that, when the president announces the findings, he will also appoint a permanent police commissioner,” said one highly placed police official.

After learning of the inquiry’s findings, Phiyega wrote to the board’s secretary, Advocate Liza Tsatsi, asking that the board comply with the SA Police Service Act, which stipulates that at the conclusion of an inquiry, the board must submit its report to the president, the national police commissioner, the commissioner concerned and the relevant parliamentary committee.

“In light of the above, kindly furnish us with the copy of the report,” Phiyega wrote.

City Press learnt that Tsatsi did not respond formally to the letter, but informed Phiyega that it would be unfair for her to receive the report while “other parties involved” had not yet received it.

A board insider told City Press this week that Phiyega’s case at the inquiry was badly damaged by her refusal to submit to cross-examination.

The case against her was also significantly strengthened by Claassen’s ruling that witnesses, who had not testified at the Marikana Commission before Judge Farlam, could be called to give evidence.

The most damning testimony, a board insider said, came from former police spokesperson Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, who told the inquiry that Phiyega instructed him to present the massacre as one incident and not two, and also to say that the police had acted in self-defence.

“Mashigo’s testimony was very direct, because it was first hand. He was directly implicating Phiyega in wrongdoing,” the insider said. “And she failed to dispute that. She made it difficult for the judge to believe her because she refused to take the stand.”

Mashigo told the Claassen inquiry that he made changes to the police’s media statement, issued after the massacre, because Phiyega had told him to.

“The changes came about through dictation by the national commissioner. The main changes were on the statement,” Mashigo testified.

Mashigo said Phiyega told him that, at a media briefing the day after the massacre, they should relay the Marikana shootings not as two scenes, but rather, as a single occurrence.

The changes, he testified, included “not differentiating between the two scenes” and “the ‘systematic withdrawal’ of the police. That, too, was dictated to me by the national commissioner.”

In the statement, police said that they “retreated systematically and were forced to utilise maximum force to defend themselves”.

“That is a line that was dictated to me by the national commissioner when we were compiling that media statement,” Mashigo testified.

The board insider told City Press that closing arguments by evidence leader Advocate Ismail Jamie SC were also “very strong and convinced the judge and his assistants”.

Zuma had asked the Claassen Board of Inquiry to investigate whether Phiyega misled the Marikana Commission by hiding a decision to implement a “tactical option”, taken at the national management forum meeting of senior police the day before the massacre.

He also asked it to investigate whether a catastrophic result should have been foreseen, and whether Phiyega’s speech to police officers the day after could have been construed as permission to frustrate the Marikana Commission’s work.

The board was also to investigate whether Phiyega lied about Scene 2, and about the police having acted in self-defence.

Jamie told the board of inquiry that anyone with a “slight” understanding of the situation at Marikana at the time would have foreseen that the tactical option would lead to disaster.

He said Phiyega was either incompetent or grossly negligent, and if she anticipated that mine workers would die, she could be guilty of murder or culpable homicide.

Jamie said Phiyega’s statement to police officers after the massacre, in which she said Marikana “represents the best possible policing”, was “breathtakingly inaccurate”.

“It was a disaster, for which the captain of the ship must take responsibility,” Jamie told the commission.

He also slammed Phiyega for staying silent, after what she had claimed was a “witch-hunt” against her.

“This was a specific inquiry focussing on the conduct of the national commissioner, precisely to get to the bottom of this sort of thing … and she chose not to testify. And we say, that says it all,” he said.

This week, police watchdog body the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) confirmed it had listed Phiyega as a person of interest in its investigation into the massacre. “It does not mean that when she leaves the police service, we will not go after her,” said a senior official.

“We will still charge her if the need arises.”

In February, Ipid told Parliament it would recommend charges of defeating the ends of justice against senior members, including Phiyega, but no police officers had faced any formal charges resulting from the massacre.

At the time, Ipid told Parliament it still did not have enough evidence to bring formal charges against any officers.

Nigeria – army denies Operation Python Dance is anti-Igbo

Punch

Tony Okafor, Awka

The Nigerian Army has dispelled the insinuation in some quarters that “Operation Python Dance” inaugurated on Monday last week in the South-East geopolitical zone was targeted at inflicting harm and hardship on the Igbo.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, stated this on Sunday while conducting journalists round army checkpoints in Awka and Onitsha, Anambra State.

He said the exercise was to ensure a crime-free Yelutide and free flow of traffic in the zone during the festivities.

Musa said public complaints against the exercise would be addressed where appropriate.

He said the fear being expressed by some people about the exercise was unfounded.

The spokesperson added that similar exercises had been launched in other parts of the country according to the peculiarity of their security challenges.

Public condemnation had trailed the inauguration of the Operation Python Dance, especially among rights groups and pro-Biafran agitators, accusing the army and the Federal Government of a sinister move to cause hardship on the people of the geopolitical zone.

Debunking the allegation, the spokesperson said the exercise was not targeted at anybody or group.

He said, “Exercise Python Dance is not targeted at any individual or group of people.

“It is purely a command post and field training exercises as a way of enhancing troop’s preparedness across spectrum of contemporary security challenges peculiar to the South-East geopolitical zone.

“For emphasis and clarity, Exercise Python Dance is not targeted at MASSOB/IPOB or any individual or group.

“ It is only a Field Training Exercise that is designed to where necessary dovetail into real time activities such as anti-kidnapping drills, patrols, raids, cordon and search, checkpoints, road blocks and show of force.

“This is with the aim of checkmating anticipated rising wave of crimes usually prevalent during the Yuletide period.”

It maintained that similar exercises had been conducted in other geopolitical zones of the country.

Exercise Shirin Harbi was conducted from 17 to 19 April, 2016 in three Division Area of Responsibility to take care of the insurgency, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the North-East geopolitical.

Exercise Harbin Kunama was held in 1 Division AOR from 9 to 15 July, 2016 to rid the North-West geopolitical zone of banditry, insurgency and cattle rustling among other menaces.

“Also, Exercise Crocodile Smile was conducted from 5 to 10 September, 2016 in the Niger Delta region with the aim of reducing incidences of illegal bunkering, oil theft, sea piracy and other peculiar criminalities across the entire region.

“In the same vein, Exercise Python Dance has been planned for the South-East geopolitical from 27 November to 27 December, 2016.

“The prevalent security issues such as armed robbery, banditry, kidnappings, herdsmen – farmers’ clashes, communal clashes and violent secessionist attacks among other security threats in the geopolitical would be targeted.”

He asked the public to disregard “the unfounded fear and allegations orchestrated by ill-meaning individuals and groups that the exercise is ‘ a plot to kill IPOB members.”

“This assertion is not only insidious and mischievous but is also devious and should be disregarded,” Musa stated.

Copyright PUNCH.               

Nigeria – Buhari rejects UN and other accounts of crisis in North-East

Premium Times

IDPs

IDPs

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the reports by local and international humanitarian agencies detailing the high level of deprivation in the war-ravaged north-east Nigeria were exaggerated.

The president said the United Nations and other private humanitarian groups are deliberately hyping the level of the crisis for financial gains.

The reproach came two days after the United Nations warned that more than five million victims of Boko Haram face serious food shortages in the coming year.

“A projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for the third year in a row, causing a major food crisis,” the U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Peter Lundberg, said in a statement Friday.

Mr. Lundberg’s alert followed a similar one issued by a sister agency, UNICEF, in September.

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

UNICEF, which focuses on humanitarian assistance for children and mothers, said more than two million people remained trapped in Boko Haram-controlled areas while about 400,000 children were at risk of acute malnutrition.

The agency said more than half of the children could die within 12 months unless urgent measures were taken by the concerned authorities.

But in a statement signed by his media aide, Garba Shehu, Mr. Buhari faulted the findings of the UN and also added some non-governmental organisations raising concerns about looming food crisis for the victims of the seven-year-long insurgency.

“We are concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a non-existent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies, a type of hype that does not provide a solution to the situation on the ground but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad,” the president said.

The president highlighted contradictions in some of the claims made by different humanitarian groups about the crisis.

“In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die due to starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.”

“So while local and international humanitarian responders including the United Nations have done an immeasurable amount of effort filling in the gaps wherever they existed, it is not true as these reports have indicated that 100,000 or even a million people will die because the government is unable to provide care at the camps.

“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people,” the statement said.

Boko Haram
Boko Haram

While acknowledging a decline in socio-economic activities of the people of north-east, Mr. Buhari said his administration is making efforts to resolve the crisis and improve the living conditions there.

“There can be no doubt that the effect of the Boko Haram terrorism and their occupation of communities and destruction of houses, infrastructure and means of livelihood has been manifested in the decline of socio-economic activities throughout the North-East.

“Arising from this, farming, pastoralism, trade, exchange of goods and services and social interaction among the people have negatively been impacted leading to the displacement of more than two million people, mostly women and children. Consequently, there is death, there is hunger and there is poor nutrition.

“The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community,” the statement said.

But in the interim, the president warned that humanitarian agencies should desist from continuing to blow the situation out of proportion for financial gratification.

“We do not, however, see the reason for the  theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies.

“The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part.

“The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is, therefore, uncharitable and unnecessary,” Mr. Buhari said.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis: ‘We survived militants but face starvation’

BBC

A nutritionist feeds a malnourished baby at the Molai General Hospital Maiduguri, Nigeria. November 30, 2016.REUTERS Maiduguri has become the centre of aid efforts

Kawu Ashe is just one of up to 120,000 people facing starvation in north-eastern Nigeria, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Last month, she made the life-and-death decision to flee her village after militants delivered a chilling message: “We are coming back to take your son.”

The insurgents killed her husband, a cattle trader, two years ago and were now insisting that the couple’s two-and-a-half-year-old son Abdullahi belonged to them.

Ms Ashe knew she had to act – even if the penalty for trying to escape could be execution.

Kawu Ashe and her two-and-a-half-year -ld son Abdullahi in northern Nigeria
Abdullahi faces a serious risk of starvation

Under the cover of darkness, she and her two children and a younger sister walked through the bush for nine hours to safety.

But although Abdullahi survived the militants, he now faces another deadly threat – starvation.

He is among the estimated hundreds of thousands of children in north-eastern Nigeria currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The UN describes it is as the “greatest crisis on the continent” and is appealing to the international community for more than $1bn (£793m) to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to almost seven million people in the region.

Abdullahi is skeletal. His body weight at 7kg (15lb) is around half of what it should be at his age.

“There was barely any food or clean drinking water in the village,” said Ms Ashe, speaking at a Unicef malnutrition clinic set up in the region’s main city, Maiduguri.

“Even if we did get some food the militants would take it away. Things are little better here. But I’m still struggling to feed my children.”

‘It starts with the kids’

Last month, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said thousands of children had already died of starvation during the crisis.

The seven-year-long Boko Haram insurgency has laid waste to this region – killing thousands and forcing millions to flee their homes in north-east Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

But as the Nigerian military pushes the insurgents from territory they once controlled, the sheer scale of the hunger and devastation is being revealed.

Frequent Boko Haram attacks mean farmers have been unable to plant anything in their fields for the third year in a row and aid convoys are ambushed on insecure roads.

There are allegations of wide-spread aid theft, which are being investigated by Nigeria’s senate.

Women and children are seen gathered at the water point at the internally displaced peoples camp Muna camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, December 1, 2016.REUTERS The UN says there is not enough money to fund the aid efforts

The military has also closed down markets because of security concerns but it means people have nowhere to buy food or to make a living.

The UN says millions are now reliant on food aid and there is simply not enough to go around.

“Without more international assistance, many more people are going to die” says John Ging, operations director for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“It starts with kids because their parents have no means to actually take care of them,” he says.

“We can do better than that in 2016 – it’s a rich world. We need a very small fraction of those riches for international humanitarian action. At the moment we’re not getting that small fraction.”

‘Bloated’ with hunger

The city of Maiduguri is now the centre of the aid efforts. Its population is swollen by the hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled the violence and are now living in make-shift camps.

The worst cases of children suffering from starvation are brought to the MSF medical facility in the city.

In the intensive care unit, around a dozen severely emaciated children lay on beds.

They were hooked up to oxygen. Some had drips attached to their skulls as that was the only place the nurses could find a vein.

One of them is two-year-old Ali, who was born albino.

His mother Zara Mustafa said that her husband struggled to find work after they were forced from their home and they had no money to feed the family.

“Sometimes we don’t eat for three days straight,” she says.

Zara Mustafa and her two-year-old son Ali, an albino, who is starving
Ali’s family struggled to feed him when they were driven from their home by militants

In another bed lies one-month-old Mohammedu – his little body bloated my malnutrition. His mother, Aisha Umar has six other children.

“It’s unbelievably difficult to get food here. I have to send my children out to beg,” she says.

While the children are in a terrible state, they are at least getting some care.

There are still areas under the control of Boko Haram, which aid agencies cannot reach.

Conditions there will almost certainly be worse than those in Maiduguri.

And with the start of the dry season under way, yet more hunger is now on the horizon.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram videoBOKO HARAM VIDEO Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and often displays its trademark black flag
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory in the last 22 months.

Gambia – election winner Barrow says vote heralds new hope

BBC

Supporters of the newly elected Gambia President Adama Barrow tear down posters of the incumbent Yahya Jammeh in Serekunda on 2 December 2016.AFP Adama Barrow’s supporters took to the streets in celebration after the results were announced

Property developer Adama Barrow says his shock win of the Gambian election heralds new hope for the country.

Yahya Jammeh, an authoritarian president who ruled for 22 years, has confirmed he will step down.

“I will help him work towards the transition,” Mr Jammeh said on state TV on Friday evening, after speaking to the president-elect by telephone.

Mr Barrow, 51, who has never held political office, won Thursday’s election with 45.5% of the vote.

Hundreds of Gambians took to the streets to celebrate one of the biggest election upsets West Africa has ever seen.

Mr Jammeh, also 51, took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and has ruled the country with an iron fist ever since.

President Jammeh took 36.7% of the vote, while a third party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won just 17.8%.

The BBC’s Umaru Fofana, who spoke to Mr Barrow, said the president-elect seemed bewildered by the result.

President Jammeh has congratulated the property developer and vowed not to contest the results after deciding “that I should take the backseat”.

Who is Adama Barrow?

Adamu BarrowAFP

“I am very, very, very happy. I’m excited that we win (sic) this election and from now hope starts,” Mr Barrow told the BBC’s Umaru Fofana, adding that he was disappointed not to have won by a larger margin.

Born in 1965 near the eastern market town of Basse, Mr Barrow moved to London in the 2000s where he reportedly used to work as a security guard at an Argos catalogue store.

He returned to The Gambia in 2006 to set up his own property company, which he still runs today.

Mr Barrow, who is leading an opposition coalition of seven parties, has promised to revive the country’s struggling economy, look at imposing a two-term presidential limit and introduce a three-year transitional government.

Why was it such a shock? By Alastair Leithead, BBC Africa correspondent

Despite a surge of support for an opposition broadly united behind one candidate, most people expected the status quo to prevail.

Hopes weren’t high for a peaceful transfer of power, with a crackdown on opposition leaders months before the polls, the banning of international observers or post-election demonstrations, and then the switching off of the internet on election day.

Gambians celebrate the victory of opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow in the streets of Serrekunda, Gambia, on 2 December 2016AP There were scenes of jubilation in The Gambia after the result was announced

But in a place where glass beads are used in place of ballot papers, it seems that the marbles have spoken.

The unseating of an incumbent president is not the usual way politics goes in this part of the world – but it’s becoming popular in West Africa at least, with Muhammadu Buhari unseating Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria just last year.

Former businessman Adama Barrow now has his chance to tackle the poverty and unemployment which drives so many young Gambians to join the Mediterranean migrant trail every year.

How has incumbent President Jammeh reacted?

The incumbent president has asked his successor to set up a time to meet and organise the transition period.

Yahya Jammeh, a devout Muslim, had once said he would rule for “one billion years” if “Allah willed it”.

“It’s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,” the electoral commission chief, Alieu Momar Njie, said on Friday.

Human rights groups have accused Mr Jammeh, who in the past claimed he could cure Aids and infertility, of repression and abuses of the media, the opposition and gay people.

In 2014, he called homosexuals “vermin” and said the government would deal with them as it would malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Several previous opposition leaders were imprisoned after taking part in a rare protest in April.

Mr Barrow has promised to undo some of Mr Jammeh’s more controversial moves, including reversing decisions to remove The Gambia from the Commonwealth and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Where is The Gambia?

The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, with a population of fewer than two million.

It is surrounded on three sides by Senegal and has a short Atlantic coastline popular with European tourists.

Beach in GambiaTHINKSTOCK The Gambia is known to many outside the country as an ideal beach holiday location

Tourism has become The Gambia’s fastest growing sector of the economy, and it is known to travellers as “the smiling coast of West Africa”.

Last year, President Jammeh declared the country an Islamic Republic in what he called a break from the country’s colonial past.

Read more on The Gambia