Africa Now December 7, 2016
Topics: Gambia Votes Out Jammeh; and Confronting AIDS
Topics and Guests: After being power for 22 years President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia was voted out of office on December 1. The electoral commission’s figures indicated that his main rival Mr. Adama Barrow (who headed a coalition of opposition parties) received 263,515 votes (45.5%); President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%); and Mr. Mama Kandeh, won 102,969 (17.8%). The result was unexpected to most observers as in previous contests—which activists and human rights organizations had deemed to be flawed exercises—Jammeh had managed to hold power. President Jammeh has conceded defeat on December 2 and will hand over power to Adama Barrow in January. Yahya Jammeh came to power in a coup d’état in 1994 against Gambia’s first leader Sir Dauda Jawara and two years later organized an election in which he won that had three major parties banned. His rule has been overshadowed by reports of clampdown on opposition groups and human rights abuses. Joining Africa Now! to dissect the presidential election in The Gambia is Mr. Pa Samba Jow. Mr. Pa Samba Jow is the spokesperson for the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA), a global activist movement with its roots in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Mr. Pa Samba Jow is a longtime political and human rights activist and a political commentator. Prior to coming to the U.S., he worked as a reporter for the now defunct New Citizen newspaper.
December 1 was World AIDS Day. In June 1981, 35 years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of the pandemic HIV/AIDS: of the 78 million people infected by HIV since then, 35 million have died. Once a pandemic that meant certain death, now there are 36.7 million people living with the disease because of medicines. Eastern and southern Africa have the highest number of people who are HIV-positive with a figure of 19 million; 10 million of those have access to antiretroviral therapy; but there are lingering questions particularly budgetary questions if these positive developments can be sustained. Also, questions and concerns on how the in-coming Trump administration will tackle HIV/AIDS. (Sources for data: Millions of lives have been saved, awareness is widespread, but hurdles remain as World AIDS Day is observed, By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2016; and Statement by Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations). Joining Africa Now! to discuss the status of the movement confronting AIDS is Mr. Matthew Kavanagh. Mr. Matthew Kavanagh is Senior Policy Analyst at Health GAP and a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. For over ten years Matthew Kavanagh has led trans-national policy campaigns in the U.S. and worked in Southern Africa, focused on access to HIV treatment, international trade, financial industry regulation, and water rights. He has drafted legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; presented before the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Right to Health, members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and the U.S. Trade Representative; worked on President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) reauthorization and helped lead Health GAP’s successful campaign to secure HIV treatment for over six million people. Matthew’s writing has appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus and Health Affairs and he blogs regularly at The Huffington Post. He has been interviewed in outlets ranging from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the BBC and Al Jazeera. He was listed in the POZ 100 in 2012 as one of the most effective AIDS activists.
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).
(Photo courtesy of Pa Samba Jow)