|President Yahya Jammeh|
President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia has given the strongest hint yet that his government is prepared to repeal the country's controversial death penalty laws.
Mr Jammeh who has already announced suspension of all executions of death row inmates, said changes to the capital punishment laws in the country’s constitution will only be made when the Gambian people express a desire for him to repeal the law and not through international pressure and condemnation.
“I am working for you and I’ll live for you and die for you,” Mr Jammeh told a group of youth in his native village, Kanilai, some 43 kilometres away from the capital, Banjul where he is on his annual leave.
“I will not succumb to human pressure to change the death penalty, no way, but if you the Gambian people plead with me to halt the executions, I will suspend it because whatever I do, I do it for your interest. If you Gambians want the death penalty to be removed from the constitution, it will be removed.”
Mr Jammeh added: “The death penalty has nothing to do with politics. If I am to sign 10, 000 death warrants to save 1.6 million Gambians, I will do it. If any country has a citizen in the Gambia and do not want them to face the firing squad, let them not kill any person in the Gambia. I am not a colony of European Union and I am nobody’s colony.”
The Gambian leader who has come under criticism since he announced the execution by a firing squad of nine death row inmates last months, said he took an oath of office at the beginning of his tenure to execute the functions of the Office of the President without fear or favour, affection or ill will and he will not in anyway succumb to any human pressure in the execution of his mandate.
Source: JollofNews, Sept. 20, 2012