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Beauty queen speaks out on ‘rape ordeal’ by ex-President

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A 23-year-old former beauty queen in The Gambia, Toufah Jallow, has said she was raped in 2015 by ex-President Yahya Jammeh when he was in office.

Her testimony is part of a Human Rights Watch and Trial International report that details another alleged rape and sexual assault by Mr Jammeh.

The BBC tried to contact Mr Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea, about the allegations.

A spokesman for his APRC party denied the accusations made against Mr Jammeh.

“We as a party and The Gambian people are tired of the steady stream of unfounded allegations that have been reported against our ex-President,” said Ousman Rambo Jatta, in a written statement to the BBC.

“The ex-president has no time to react to lies and smear campaigns. He is a very respectable God fearing and pious leader who has nothing but respect for our Gambian women,” the deputy APRC leader said.

Ms Jallow told the BBC she wanted to meet Mr Jammeh, 54, in court so he could face justice.

“I’ve really tried to hide the story and erase it and make sure it’s not part of me.

“Realistically I couldn’t so I decided to speak now because it is time to tell the story and to make sure that Yayha Jammeh hears what he has done.”

She said she also wanted to testify before The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which has been set up by President Adama Barrow, who won elections in December 2016.

The TTRC is investigating human rights violations alleged to have been committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule, including reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.

He was forced from office in January 2017 after regional powers sent in troops when he refused to give up power.

‘MARRIAGE REFUSAL’

Ms Jallow said she was 18 when she met Mr Jammeh after winning a beauty pageant in 2014 in the capital, Banjul.

In the months following her coronation, she said the former president acted as a father figure when they met, offering her advice, gifts and money, and also organising for running water to be installed in her family home.

Then at a dinner organised by an aide to thePpresident, she says he asked her to marry him. She refused and rebuffed other enticements from the aide to agree to the offer.

Ms Jallow said the aide then insisted she attend a religious ceremony at State House in her role as beauty queen in June 2015. But when she arrived, she was taken to the President’s private residence.

“It was clear what this was going to be,” she said, describing Mr Jammeh’s anger at her for rejecting him.

Ms Jallow says he slapped her and injected her in her arm with a needle.

“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me.”

‘PROTOCOL GIRLS’

The young woman says afterwards she locked herself at home for three days and then decided to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Once in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Ms Jallow sought the assistance of various human rights organisations. Weeks later, she was approved protection status and moved to Canada, where she has been living since.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International say Mr Jammeh had a system in place to abuse women, where some were put on the state payroll and worked at State House as so-called “protocol girls”, who had some clerical duties but were mainly on call to have sex with the President.

The BBC could not verify the allegation, but a former Gambian official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said he was aware of “inappropriate things” happening at the presidency: “Protocol staff were mostly women and they were hired to satisfy the President’s fantasies.”

He remembered seeing Ms Jallow at State House, sometimes at “odd hours”.

Another woman, hired as a protocol officer at the age of 23, told HRW she was forced to have sex with Mr Jammeh in 2015.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that one day the president called her into his room: “He started undressing me and saying that he was in love with me, that he will do anything for me and my family, that I should not tell anyone because if I do I will face the consequences.

“I felt I had no choice. That day he slept with me without protection.”

‘HONOUR’

Another woman who worked as a protocol officer said that they knew if one of them was called it was for sex.

“Some wanted it. They felt honoured or wanted the money,” she told HRW on condition of anonymity.

She described how she was sexually assaulted by the President at his summer house, Kanilai, in 2013 when she was 22: “One evening, a presidential aide called me and told me to come with her to the president’s private apartment. He asked me to undress.

“He told me that I was young and needed protection so he wanted to apply spiritual water on me.”

In an encounter the next day, she started crying as Mr Jammeh began to touch her body. He became angry and sent her away.

She says she was later sacked and a promised scholarship cancelled.

TRRC’S FOCUS

The TRRC’s mission is to establish a record of abuses committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule when it is alleged there were arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and torture against critics

Its 11 independent commissioners can grant reparations to victims.

Backed by the UN and funded by international donors, it began hearing testimonies in November 2018. Its motto is “Never again”.

TRRC’s Executive Secretary Baba Jallow has told the BBC that the commission, launched eight months ago, will focus on sexual violence in September.

“We are aware of allegations involving Jammeh but we have not heard victims on the record yet. Investigations have already started but at this stage we can’t say who is involved and how many victims there are,” he said.

Ms Jallow wants to create an atmosphere where women will feel safer to talk about rape and sexual assault: “It’s a step-by-step thing and the first part is to acknowledge it happened.

“When many other women speak up and it becomes safer and safer,” she told the BBC.

President Barrow has said he will await the report of the TRRC before considering whether to pursue Mr Jammeh’s extradition from Equatorial Guinea.

Source:nairobinews

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Africa

Robert Mugabe’s most famous quotes

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Robert Mugabe, who died Friday aged 95, and who was Zimbabwe’s president for 37 years, had a long history of making colourful or controversial remarks during his nearly four decades.

He was ousted in a military coup in November 2017.

Here are some of them:

  • On staying in office

2014: “Some are saying ‘Mr Mugabe is old, so he should step down’… No! When my time comes, I will tell you.”

 

 

2008: “Only God who appointed me will remove me — not the MDC (opposition), not the British.”

  • On Independence

Mugabe’s speech when Zimbabwe won independence was more conciliatory.

1980: “It could never be a correct justification that because the whites oppressed us yesterday when they had power, the blacks must oppress them today.”

  • On seizing farms from whites

2000: “You are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe. We are full of anger. Our entire community is angry and that is why we now have the war veterans seizing land.”

2002: “Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy.”

  • On Britain, former colonial ruler

2001: “The British were brought up as a violent people, liars, scoundrels and crooks… I am told that (former British PM Tony) Blair was a troublesome little boy at school.”

  • On homosexuality and gay marriages

2010: “Worse than pigs and dogs… Those who do it, we will say, they are wayward. It is just madness, insanity.”

2013: “(President Barack) Obama came to Africa saying Africa must allow gay marriages… God destroyed the Earth because of these sins. Weddings are for a man and a woman.”

  • On Nelson Mandela

2013: “Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks)… That’s being too saintly, too good.”

  • On Hitler

2003: “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people.

“If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.”

  • On Trump

2017: “May I say to the United States President, Mr Trump, please blow your trumpet. Blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for.”

  • On the economy

2007: “Our economy is a hundred times better, than the average African economy. Outside South Africa, what country is [as good as] Zimbabwe? … What is lacking now are goods on the shelves – that is all.”

  • On his marital affair

Before his first wife died in 1992, Mugabe started a relationship with Grace, whom he married in 1996.

1998: “I wanted children and this is how I thought I could get them. I knew what I was doing and my wife knew.”

  • On colonialism

1962: “Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it. These are artificial divisions which we, in our pan-African concept, will seek to remove.”

2015: “African resources belong to Africa. Others may come to assist as our friends and allies, but no longer as colonisers or oppressors, no longer as racists.”

  • On death

False reports of Mugabe dying were a feature of his old age.

2012: “I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once. I have died and resurrected and I don’t know how many times I will die and resurrect.”

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Africa

Selfie-obsessed man gets his fifteen minutes of fame on live TV

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A man has become an internet sensation for pulling the most hilarious stunt during a live TV broadcast.

The incident happened while a journalist attached to South African news channel eNCA was reporting live on the situation in the streets of Johannesburg, following the current wave of xenophobic attacks in the country.

In the video, the reporter, surrounded by members of the public, is seen reporting with full concentration on her task.

However, one of the people standing close to her then decides not to let the moment of fame pass him by.

He goes ahead to try and document the moment on camera and uses his phone to take a selfie.

And that is not all. He goes as far as trying to get the best angle for the selfie by moving his extended hand in different directions right infront of the journalist.

Interestingly, the reporter goes on with her job unperturbed by man’s meddling.

The video, which has been widely shared on social media, has received varied reactions from the online community.

“Anytime is selfie time,” tweeted @AdvBarryRoux.

“I like hw the journalists is minding her business,” said @ceekay.

“He is even looking for the perfect angle,” wrote @bandzandroses.

“Father God abantwana bakho, they’re on another level,” commented @kateR30.

“Once in a life time opportunity. You should grab it with both hands,” said @Mvelase.

“This journalist are going through a lot this time on,” responded @Boikanyo.

“And he’s so nonchalant about it. Come on chief,” said @terencemapfumo.

By nairobinews

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Africa

Kenyans among victims of S.Africa attacks

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Kenyans are among victims of arson, looting and physical attacks in the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa Jean Kamau on Wednesday confirmed that several Kenyans had been attacked in Gauteng Province.

By nation.co.ke

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