MEDIA STATEMENT

 

3 April 2017

Gambian Human Rights Activist, Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Appointed Coordinator of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity

A human rights activist who organised widespread protests to get longtime Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to step down has been named to lead emerging pan-African movement, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.

Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, a 32-year- old activist from The Gambia with a background in youth development, was appointed Coordinator of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity, taking over the reigns from global human rights and environmental justice activist and launch director, Kumi Naidoo, following an Africa-wide search.

Confident of his successor’s talent, Naidoo said: “We are delighted and excited to welcome someone with Saidykhan’s vision, experience and energy to steward a movement that is determined to build the #AfricaWeWant.”

Saidykhan is no stranger to people’s movements – he played a central role in mobilizing in the streets and online in The Gambia against Jammeh when the former President refused to accept electoral defeat in January 2017. He also served as Co-Chair of ActionAid International’s Youth Working Group and as a lead Coordinator of the youth-led Activista initiative.

Said Saidykhan: “I am both excited and slightly daunted by the challenge of leading the building of Africans Rising but I am confident that the time for African unity, youth leadership and the better life we have dreamt of for so long is within our grasp – I am ready to work together, share, learn and build together with all Africans. ”

Africans Rising is an emerging de-centralized, citizen-owned movement of people and formations, working for justice, peace and dignity. It seeks to foster Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose with the peoples of Africa to build the future we want – a right to peace, social inclusion and prosperity.

The movement was formally validated in August 2016 by hundreds of representatives of civil society, trade unions, women, young people, men, people living with disabilities, parliamentarians, media organizations and faith-based groups from across Africa and the African diaspora gathered at a conference in Arusha, Tanzania.

The movement’s founding charter, the Kilimanjaro Declaration declares that:

“Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our People, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised.”

With this ambitious vision behind the movement, the new Coordinator has his work cut out for him with Africans Rising working towards a #25May2017 continent-wide launch with a series of actions and events with local partners and supporters.

Naidoo will continue to help steward the movement with Saidykhan for the next three months and will formally hand over the reigns after the official launch on 25 May 2017.

Naidoo will remain actively involved in Africans Rising after the launch. He will serve on the movement’s interim board and help to devise an Africa-wide process for the election of the first permanent board following the May launch.

Ends.

Note to Editors:

On Africa Liberation Day, 25 May 2017, to mark the official launch of Africans Rising, we are calling on Africans across the continent to wear red, signifying the blood that was shed for African liberation – a liberation that still eludes far too many Africans – and the bleeding of the continent’s resources and wealth that continues today. We are calling on people to gather between 12 noon and 2pm, and read out the Kilimanjaro Declaration as well as a list of demands for changes they would like to see happen. We are calling on them to turn off their lights from 8pm to 9pm in solidarity with the millions of Africans with no access to electricity, and to light a candle.

For more information, contact:

Grant Clark

+27 63 567 9719

[email protected]

Skype: grantnpr

 

Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan

+220 988 4761 / +220 688 4761

[email protected]

Skype: lamin.saidykhan3

 

Kumi Naidoo

[email protected]

Skype: kumi-naidoo

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