First press conference of the AFPRC at State House that evening: Mr. Malick Jeng: (Press Officer): Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council and Head of State, members of the Council, members of the press, we are gathered here in the Cabinet Room at State House for a press conference with the Chairman of the Armed forces Provisional Ruling Council, Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh. This is the first press conference of the Chairman and we would now like to invite His Excellency to make a statement which would be followed by questions from the press. Fatoumata Ceesay, Freelance/Daily Observer: was the first to ask the junta ………
Mr. Momodou Musa Secka, Daily Observer: Your Excellency, it is indeed agreeable that you have lofty goals and noble objectives in toppling the previous government, especially where corruption is concerned, which was the headlines of many national and international newspapers. However, military governments in Africa do not have a rack record of fulfilling the lofty ideals for which they seized power, instead what happens the people experience more suffering, more often far worse than before.
This is because the military rule with guns, the people remain helpless victims of military and suppression. I hope this will not happen in this country and taking into consideration the unique record in which you have toppled this government, could you give us the guarantee that this will not happen in this country?
Lt. Jammeh: Well, it is wrong to judge our government by the records of previous military governments, in the sense that this is a military government with a difference. It is composed of patriotic Gambians. We are not here to enrich ourselves.
We are not here to live flamboyant lifestyles, and looking at the composition of the government that should send a signal that we mean an equitable distribution of the national assets; one getting what you have sweated for and we are assuring the public that we are not here to breed on the back of somebody’s neck.
We are here to accept ideas and criticisms and that our government will be open to criticisms and at anytime you are free to see us, criticize us where we are wrong and contribute where you can contribute.
We are not serving ourselves. Remember, every one of us, as Gambians, must serve the interest of the Gambia. Whoever is appointed is not serving the military government but is appointed to serve the interest of the Gambian people.
Deyda Hydara, the Point: the outgoing government recently put in place an impressive and very comprehensive plan of action aimed at alleviating poverty in general and improving the lot of Gambian masses in particular. In the same vein, that same government recently conducted far-reaching negotiations with the Bretton Wood institutions. I would like to know if your administration is going to pursue the same objectives within the stipulated programmes?
Lt. Jammeh: Well, the stipulated programmes you mentioned were instituted by the overthrown government. We are coming in with our own programme that will not only be there to impress the people but that will yield results for the entire people to benefit. We are not here to fool Gambians by giving them bogus programmes that will never be implemented.
Mam Sait Ceesay, Freelance: the former government recently abolished the death penalty. What is your thinking on this issue?
Lt. Jammeh: As I said before, we are not here to kill anybody and the nature in which we took power, I think, can concretize the idea that we are not here for bloodshed. We avoid the death penalty as much as every Gambian. We are not brutes from the army coming to kill anybody. We will make sure that a judiciary system is in place and it is the duty of all Gambians to decide whether or not they want the death penalty in force or not and let nobody fear because we are not going to set any military tribunal. That is why we only suspended the constitution but the judiciary is not suspended. All due process of law will take place without the interference of the constitution.