A statue symbolizing Gambia’s former autocratic ruler and his July 22 military overthrow has been brought down at the entrance of Banjul by country’s Works and Infrastructure Ministry.
The statue, fondly call “unknown soldier”, with a baby on his right hand and a gun on the back was built by former autocratic leader, Yahya Jammeh, as a symbol of his take over.
Haddy Trawalley, an official from the National Centre for Arts and Culture, has told SMBC on Monday that it has been brought down since last week.
Since its fall, many of his critics have asked the authorities to demolished the Arch 22 which is a monument of Jammeh’s “revolution.”
Some suggested for the government to turn both the Arch and the statue into a monument remembering the victims of the autocratic leader.
The Arch 22, as it is called, and the statue of the Unknown Soldier, are at the entrance of Banjul about 4 minutes’ walk from State House, the seat of power.
Madi Jobarteh, a Gambian civil society activist, said the decision was “100%! the right thing to do.”
“It is a glorification of a killer in front of our eyes. The statue has no value in any sense,” Jobarteh said.
Both the spokesperson for Jammeh’s party and his National Mobilizer, Seedy Njie and Yankuba Colley, declined to comment on the issue.
However, Sidi Sanneh, a Gambian activist and former minister under Jammeh, now an active blogger based in the U.S., said the “removal of the so-called statue of the unknown soldier may have symbolic value and nothing else.”
“The new government must focus its attention on formulating policies designed to reverse the declining trend of a very weak economy that was mismanaged for decades,” Sanneh said.