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Gambians split over consul in Abidjan

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By Omar Bah

The Central Committee of Gambians living in Ivory Coast have countered reports that Gambians in the former French colony have endorsed Dembo Fatty as consul.
Some members of Gambian community in Ivory Coast recently wrote a letter to the Gambian leader informing him of their wish for one Dembo Fatty, a protocol to the late Gambian Honorary consul, Alhagie Ismaila Sibi to be retained as consul.
Meanwhile, another section of the Gambian community in Ivory Coast has countered that suggestion.

In their letter shared with The Standard, the Committee countered: “We wish to express on behalf of The Gambia Central Committee in Cote D’Ivoire our concern about information that is making rounds that Dembo Fatty (President of the committee) has been appointed Consul General of The Gambia”.

“As a body entrusted with the responsibility by the Gambian community to look after the wellbeing and welfare among other issues of Gambians, we felt if this information claiming the appointment of Mr Fatty is found to be correct, it would not only bring division and lack of trust between us but may also lead to some serious unforeseen outcomes,” the letter reads.

The letter further reads: “It could be recalled that the late Consul General of The Gambia in Ivory Coast, Ismaila Sibi passed away on the 23rd August 2019 after three decades of distinguish services for his country; and hence a need for replacement for the vacant post. Following the demise of the Consul General, Mr Fatty immediately started his campaign for the position by illegally declaring himself Consul General to Gambians even before the late Consul was laid to rest. We as an association of Gambians resident in Ivory Coast felt that such actions were not only untimely and inhumane but equally lack decency and falls short of our moral standards”.

“We also understand that Mr Fatty recently flew a member of his team to Freetown in an effort to present his case to the Gambian Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Ebraima Manneh and upon his return to Abidjan, he claimed that he was appointed by Ambassador Manneh as Consul. The ambassador can recommend for appointment but this can only happen after conducting an impartial finding about the candidate’s competence and eligibility”.
The central committee strongly recommended that Musa Sibi be appointed as Consul General because “we know him of good qualities and had served as secretary general at the Consulate and held several positions including the post of Vice Consul.”

Alhaji Soriba Jabbi, founder and first president, Gambia Supreme Islamic Council

By Ba Jabbi

Alhaji Soriba Jabbi was born in 1942 to Soriba Jabbi and Oumie Jabbi in Jarra Sutukung village, Jarra East District. He was a Muslim cleric of the Jahanka tribe who have been active in teaching and spreading the Islamic religion in the sub-region for centuries.
He was named after his father because the death of his father found his mother heavily pregnant with him and his twin sister. When they were delivered, it was only him who survived and it was decided by his mother’s uncle Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi to be named after his father Soriba.

Shortly after his christening, his grandfather, the caliph general of the Jabbi clan in Sutukung, Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi (RA) also passed away in 1942. In fact, Alhaji Soriba was the last to be christened by the venerable Sheikh, who was a renowned hafizul-Qur’an.

In the middle of 1800s, Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi, son of Timbuktu Foday, a renowned graduate of the University of Timbuktu, embarked on a journey to Morocco with his brother, Alhaji Karang Dembo Jabbi, his first son Abdoulie Bakodaye Jabbi and some of his disciples from Fouta Touba, a Jahanka settlement located in Fouta Djallon mountains which was founded by the famous saint Karamba Touba Jabbi.

Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi’s journey from Guinea Conakry took him to The Gambia and ended in Jarra Sutukung where he established a caliphate after a short sojourn in the Nianis in the Central River Region. In Niani, he married Mama Jakongba Kanyi, the daughter of the wealthy and famous marabout, Morr Kajali Kanyi. She is the mother of his second son Alhaji Sheikh Seedia Jabbi of Brufut Jabbi Kunda.

The Sheikh was later to be joined in The Gambia by some of his relatives, among them his niece, Alhaji Soriba’s mother and father. This is how the parents of Alhaji Soriba Jabbi came to live in The Gambia and precisely, Jarra Sutukung Jabbi Kunda.

Alhaji Soriba grew up under the tutelage of his younger grand uncle, Alhaji Karang Dembo Jabbi, the younger brother of Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi. Among hundreds of Alhaji Dembo’s students, Alhaji Soriba was taught tawhid [oneness of Allah] and fiqh [Islamic law] alongside receiving deep knowledge of the Holy Qur’an.
After the death of his grand uncle and teacher, Alhaji Soriba embarked on travelling the world in search of knowledge. He toured many African countries, America, Europe and finally settled in France for many years.

He wasn’t comfortable living in the West, according to accounts narrated by his brothers and in 1980 or thereabout, he decided to finally return to The Gambia to concentrate on supporting his uncle Alhaji Sheikh Seedia Jabbi (RA), the then leader of the majlis established by Karang Sambou-Lamin. During this period many members of the majlis in Sutukung had left for disparate locations within and outside The Gambia.

His uncles, Alhaji Bakodaye Jabbi migrated to Guinea Bissau where he established a majlis, Alhagi Sheikh Seedia Jabbi settled in Brufut, Alhaji Abdul-Qadri Jabbi also known as Alhaji Kawsuba Jabbi went to Kaur, Casamance and Alhaji Karang Madiba Jabbi also went to Kandjalong, Casamance. All of these imams established big majaalis in these communities. The period also witnessed a mass travel of many members of the family to Europe and other parts of the world. This was a concern to Alhaji Soriba as he thought the family was on the verge of losing the cohesiveness hitherto maintained by his elders.

The birth and background of the Supreme Islamic Council
In 1988, during the caliphate of Sheikh Alhaji Kang Seedia Jabbi of Brufut (RA) Alhaji Soriba was inspired to call a meeting of his uncles in Jarra Sutukung to discuss how they can increase inter and intra-communication among the members of the caliphate founded by Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi.

The meeting ended in a resolution to organise an annual gathering of the family and disciples of Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi in Jarra Sutukung to, among other things, offer prayers together for the late caliph and others and to interact in order to consolidate the legacy of his grandfathers. Hence the famous annual ziyareh and Islamic conference in honour of Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi was enacted and consequently, Jarra Sutukung Islamic Foundation was founded. The foundation would later build an Anglo-Arabic school, a mosque and a clinic in Sutukung. Alhaji Soriba was able to get teachers from both The Gambia and some Arab countries who were being paid by his foundation.
Later on, this was discontinued due to unavailability of funding resulting in the dwindling of its activities which impacted negatively on the viability of this project. This caused him enormous pain.

Every year thousands of Muslims from The Gambia, Senegal, the two Guineas, Mali, Mauritania, the Arab world and Europe would converge in Sutukung for mass prayers in honour of Sheikh Karang Sambou-Lamin Jabbi.

In 1989, after consultations with his uncles Alhaji Sheikh Seedia Jabbi, the caliph general at the time, Alhaji Kawsuba Jabbi, deputy caliph general, Alhaji Kang Madiba Jabbi the eldest cousin of the two caliphs, Alhaji Soriba started to agitate for the creation of an umbrella body that would manage the affairs of Muslims in The Gambia. After receiving the blessings of his seniors in the majlis, he went on a countrywide tour to many Islamic centres in The Gambia to enlighten their heads about the necessity to form a supreme body of Gambian Muslims through which all the issues affecting the general welfare of Gambian Muslims would be channelled.

After getting overwhelming endorsement, he summoned a big stakeholders’ meeting of Islamic centres in Sutukung that would coincide with the annual ziyareh. The meeting was successful as almost all the invitees came and it was there that the final blueprint for the establishment of the Supreme Islamic Council was concretised. On the heels of this landmark gathering, Alhaji Soriba proceeded to get the support of the government then headed by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. He succeeded in getting the executive nod to go ahead with the process of forming the body and he was given all the needed support to form the council.

When he bought a house in Banjul on Allen Street, he got close to many very good people. Those were the first group of people he started to inform about his plans after the Gikineh and the Sillah family of Sutukung. Among the people he spoke to in Banjul were the then Imam Ratib of Banjul, Alhaji Abdoulie Jobe, Alhaji Baboucarr Njie alias ‘Njie BP’, Alhaji Dawda Njie, Alhaji Dodou Taal and some erudite imams in Serekunda like Alhaji Muhammed Lamin Ceesay, Alhaji Muhammed Lamin Bah and others. In West Coast Region, he solicited the support of Alhaji Kawsu Sillah, Imam Alhaji Karamo Touray of Brikama, Alhaji Yusupha Darboe of Basori, Alhaji Mamanding Kanteh of Siffoe and Alhaji Sheriff Kebba Hydara of Brufut. These elders gave their unalloyed support to him for the creation of the council.

In 1989 after successfully sensitising all the relevant stakeholders of the Islamic Ummah in The Gambia and the religious sects in Senegal, he called for a congress at the Independence Stadium to elect the executive committee of the Supreme Islamic Council. He was nominated to be president by all the religious leaders mentioned earlier but was opposed by some Arabic university graduate teachers.

His manifesto was to create an impartial and semi-autonomous supreme Islamic body that would serve as a focal point for development assistance from sister Islamic countries, a body that would be a point of reference for all matters relating to the affairs of Gambian Muslims. He wanted to pioneer a council that can bridge the gap between the Gambian Muslims and their brethren in the world. Alhaji Soriba was conscious of the fact that The Gambia, a predominantly Muslim country can derive more support from the richer Islamic countries only when she is effectively and structurally integrated into the wider Islamic Ummah. This was his agenda and he was elected by the congress with a landslide as the first president of the Supreme Islamic Council.

Alhaji Soriba then requested from The Gambia Government help to travel to the Islamic countries to formally inform the leaders of these countries about the developments. This was granted without delay. He visited presidents Abdou Diouf of Senegal, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Lasana Conté of Guinea, Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini of Iran and the royal families of both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and used the audiences to solicit their support and cooperation.

Being a strong advocate of consensus building as an effective development tool, he had earlier insisted for the adoption of a constitution that would define the structure and the governance procedures of the council. This constitution would point out the terms and conditions of service of the executive of the council and also define the electoral code. The executive council was supposed to be asking for fresh mandates from the general membership every five years and in one of the subsequent elections, he lost the presidency which he accepted in good faith.

The history of the formation of the Supreme Islamic Council cannot be totally fair and reflective of the hurdles leading to its formation if one did not know the huge challenges and opposition that Alhaji Soriba had to face from some Islamic graduates who unsuccessfully tried all they could to stop him. When they failed to convince the stakeholders with their allegations that the man wasn’t a university graduate and so therefore could not be a president even when he came up with the idea, they continued to correspond with Saudi Arabia with a view to convincing the Saudis not to recognise his bid for the presidency. At one point, the Jabbi family had to summon him to ask him to let go but his responses had always been that a development phenomenon can never be successfully realised without challenges and therefore he was ready to ride the waves to form this all-important body, come rain or shine. He asked for blessings and guidance from his uncles. Interestingly, through persuasion and his genuine intents, he was to be embraced later on by most of his arch critics. He was a peaceful man who wouldn’t hesitate to talk truth to power.

Alhaji Soriba Jabbi was respected and revered by both Sir Dawda Jawara and Yahya Jammeh, the first and second presidents of The Gambia, owing to his steadfastness to the principles of Islam and his stance on tolerance and truth-telling. A non-violence advocate, Alhaji Soriba Jabbi was able to mediate in conflict situations among many people in The Gambia. When he lost the presidency of the council, he continued to strengthen the Sutukung Islamic Foundation and the annual ziyareh. In one of his visits for a medical checkup in London, he summoned my presence by his hospital bed and said he feared the council would be mired in countless controversies and its history might be distorted and different groups motivated by different interests would attempt to use it for different purposes. This, he said would bring agony to the council thereby making it lose some of its respect and relevance for a while. According to him all these shall come to pass and the Supreme Islamic Council would re-emerge to be governed by its generic ideology which would once again rally all Muslims around it and would serve its purpose for the better wellbeing of all Gambians.

Alhaji Soriba Jabbi passed on in 2003 and he is survived by 27 children, 13 of whom are males. He left behind a Supreme Islamic Council that complements government’s efforts in ensuring that a peaceful environment is sustained for development. The majlis and the caliphate he helped consolidate are still thriving today under the caliphate of Alhaji Wahab Jabbi hafizul-Qur’an of Sutukung. The annual ziyareh is growing in strength and as he said, family members numbering thousands are in constant communication with each other thanks to the annual Islamic gathering. The latest high profile member to come on board is Her Excellency Madam Fatima Bio-Jabbi, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, who contributed significantly towards the successful staging of the last gathering.

Failed Gambia project: President Adama Barrow is not to blame, blame his philosophy

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With Alhassan Darboe

As Gambia slides into executive anarchy and kakistocracy, most of the Gambian commentariat including myself blamed Adama Barrow for the quandary our beautiful country, The Gambia has found itself in.And then boom, I had an “Aha” moment as to why our president is failing and making all the wrong moves for our country and government. Our president is not bad or willfully corrupting our country. It is his philosophy of life and mild intellectual retardation.

 

I am not trying to dumb down anything to my very brilliant readers but for starters, it is important that I give a little background here on the meaning of philosophy at both general and personal levels. Philosophy stems from the Greek word philo (love) and Sophia (wisdom). Oxford dictionary defines philosophy as “the use of reason and argument in seeking truth and knowledge of reality especially of the causes and nature of things, of principles governing existence, perception of physical phenomena and human behaviors”. In a nutshell, philosophy concerns our mental processes, our desire to think or not think at all and even our perception of reality or lack of it thereof.

According to American philosopher William James, philosophy works in the “minutest crannies of our brains, it bakes no bread but can inspire our souls with courage and inspiration”. An individual philosophy is a personal perspective about life, about the world we live in, the kind of spouses we choose to have and keep, friends and even the kinds of lives we lead.

Philosophy determines whether a man is rationalistic, intellectualistic, idealistic, optimistic, pessimistic, sensationalistic, materialistic, pessimistic, fatalistic, and even dogmatic. Philosophy is everything in life and even a dog has a philosophy in life—of loyalty and care. Philosophy dictates whether a human being or country overcomes challenges and succeeds or not. Gambia and Singapore both gained independence at the same time, Gambia under the philosophy and poor ambition of late Sir Dawda Jawara went on to remain a third world country and Singapore went on to become a first world country because of the philosophy and personal drive of Lee Kuan Yew.

Personal and governmental philosophy dictates the caliber of people a leader hires to work with to run a government in a particular jurisdiction. Gambia was very desperate for a new, less deadly president as far as it is not Yahya Jammeh. In our desperation to extricate ourselves out of 22 years of dictatorship, we failed to interrogate ourselves and Adama Barrow about his philosophy of life, of governance, ofleadership, of development, of foreign relations, of national security, of economics and even of communication.
Take it for granted or take it as the proverbial case of flying from frying pan into fire. Gambia changed Jammeh for a leader whose philosophy of life, leadership, development and governance does not rise above an intellectual’s.

Writing in his collection of essays entitled Heretics G.K Chesterton, English philosopher and “Prince of Paradox”captured the essence of my thesis: “There are some people–and I am one of them–who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them”.

Adama Barrow’s philosophy of life and government is laid bare by his deliberate patterns and not mistakes and here they are:
Janneh Commission rendered a waste of taxpayers’ money
Believe this when I tell you, Janneh commission is the biggest waste of Gambian taxpayers’money. It is an insult to both taxpayers and voters who thought they were removing a murderous dictator only to replace him with a less aggressive but a pathetic human scoundrel for a president.

Some time back in March 2019,the Janneh Commission after two years of sittings, over 50 million dalasis in expenses of taxpayers’ money submitted the report to Barrow. The commission’s report indicted the current minister of Finance Mambury Njie, Alagie Ceesay, Chief protocol of the president among many notables in Adama Barrow’s government. Instead of implementing the recommendations of the commission, he disagreed with some of its findings and went on to implement it selectively while surrounding himself with the very people who were indicted for helping Jammeh pilfer our resources. What a very tragic and wasteful way to spend our taxpayers’ money. Again, don’t blame Barrow, blame his personal and governmental philosophy. He does not care about the taxes we pay and how he spends our money.

Appointment of oppressors into a revolutionary government
Change is good they say but transformation is even better. When Barrow came to power on the back of a revolution, most of us naively thought his government was going to be revolutionary and transformational except that we were dead wrong.First,to succeed in changing our change into a meaning less regime change but no system change, he killed the coalition and the principles of the coalition. He will go on to recycle former Jammeh enablers to help him master the ways of his predecessor.

Online Gambian website whatsonGambia inaugurated Barrow the Africa king of recycling as most of the ministers and heads of parastatals are former Jammeh top operators. Finance minister, foreign affairs minister, secretary general and head of civil service, chief of protocol, interior minister, defense Minister, admin secretary NPP, Governor WCR, Governor CRR, heads of government agencies and parastatals and even the Chief Praise Singer of NPP are all recycled. Holy God, what have we done to deserve this punishment of an insensitive and clueless government? What does our sacrifice, the death of late Solo Sandeng and imprisonment of Darboe et al mean to Barrow and his government? Again, don’t blame the man, blame his philosophy.

Clueless, uneducated, deplorable presidential advisers
Barrow upon arrival at the seat of power committed a great wrong. Instead of hiring advisers from Gambia’s pool of highly educated and respected experts, he went on to hire as presidential and government advisers the brainless and clueless quartet of Siaka Jatta, Dou Sanno, Henry Gomez and Saihou Mballow as a political compensation for whatever they did for him. These quartet do not even know the terms of references of their employment. They have nothing to offer and that’s one reason they keep verbally assaulting anyone critical of Barrow and our government. In their cluelessness they didn’t know it is not their job to defend Barrow against political opponents but to advise him on policies. They are failing unquantifiably because they have no education or governance experience to offer.

I hope and pray that our president will see the sunlight and put himself on the good side of history by stopping the waste of our taxpayers’ money on his confederacy of illiterate and brain-dead advisers. It is very disrespectful to the hard work of taxpayers for him to continue to pay incompetent advisers with our money. Again, blame Barrow not, just blame his deeply flawed advisers, philosophy of leadership and governance.
To be continued

US gives D15M to help Gambia fight Covid-19

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Press release

The United States is committed to supporting The Gambia’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and keep Gambians throughout the Smiling Coast safe. The U.S. Government is working closely with the government of The Gambia, civil society, and community leaders to combat the pandemic. This assistance builds on long term U.S. Government support, which totals approximately $3 million (GMD 150 Million) this year.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) committed $310,000 (GMD15.5 Million) to assist The Gambia in its efforts to slow the COVID-19 outbreak and promote citizen accountability in executing the local response. These additional funds will raise public awareness and promote transparency around the COVID-19 response through television and radio broadcasts, a nationwide public awareness campaign on prevention, support to Follow the Money to track funds and program implementation related to COVID-19, and support to an online fact-checking platform to counter disinformation about COVID-19.

The U.S. Government is also partnering directly with communities to combat the disease.
Alumni from U.S. exchange programs are demonstrating the leadership skills they developed during their programs in helping sensitize their fellow Gambians to COVID-19. The State Department’s Alumni Rapid Response program is providing alumni with grants up to $10,000 to address the current COVID-19 outbreak and support future recovery efforts.
Recently, Prospect for Girls (PFG), a civil society organization founded by two Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni, won a State Department Alumni Rapid Response Fund award to implement a COVID-19 Awareness Campaign. PFG’s project will raise awareness on the global pandemic and its long-term effects, especially on women’s health. The organization will use video tutorials to be aired using traditional and new media to reach people across the country.

The Balal Public Library in the rural town of Soma, was selected to receive an Alumni Rapid Response grant to implement the COVID-19 Community Awareness Project. The library is run by a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow. This project is expected to reach 100,000 people through 28 weekly radio talk shows on COVID-19.

The United States is also working with local government. The U.S. Department of Defense, with help from USAID, is in the process of responding to a request from the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) for funding in the amount of $15,000 (GMD750, 000) to support the Council’s logistical, sanitization, and safety needs to effectively respond to COVID-19 in the Municipality.

Commenting on these developments, U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia, Richard Carl Paschall, said: “The United States stands shoulder to shoulder with the people and government of The Gambia as we face – together – the threat this virus poses. My team and I at the U.S. Embassy will continue our work to coordinate assistance with other donor countries and organizations, to support the truly heroic work being done by Gambians from Kartong to Koina. The United States has always stood by our partners through pandemics and crises. In the face of COVID-19, the American people are here to help.”

The United States is actively working with international partners and governments to combat the spread of the outbreak, reaffirming the centrality of diplomacy every step of the way. The U.S. government has briefed more than 100 officials from 70 nations, and is working with international public and private sector partners, including the WHO, to rapidly enhance our knowledge of the virus, inform out public health decisions, and accelerate the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. government has committed over $1 billion in assistance to date.

The United States is by far the most generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action through UNICEF, the World Food Program, and dozens of international organizations. In the 21st Century alone, the United States contributed more than $140 billion in global health assistance. USAID has invested more than $1 billion to help prevent, detect, and respond to endemic and emerging health threats, including diseases like COVID-19. Americans do not just provide aid through government means, though. We have helped populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world through the generosity of private businesses, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, and individuals with over $4.3 billion in donations and assistance globally.

The United States remains deeply concerned by information indicating some government regimes may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak and, given the implications to public health, continues to reiterate that all countries should transparently share information and cooperate with relevant international public health and aid organizations.
The United States will continue to lead in global health security to create a healthier world for all.

Lawyer Sissoho urges court to free Yankuba Touray

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By Bruce Asemota

Lawyer Abdoulie Sissoho, defence counsel for Yankuba Touray, ex-junta member of the AFPRC government yesterday urged Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul to acquit and discharge his client as he has no case to answer in the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay in June 1995.
Lawyer A. Sissoho made this request during his no case to answer submission before the court.

He invoked section 7(b) of the 1997 Constitution, section 166 and 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code and stated that Yankuba Touray is charged with murder contrary to section 187 of the Criminal Code and that the particulars of the offence indicated that Yankuba Touray caused the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay by beating him with a pestle-like object.
Sissoho urged the court to look at the totality of evidence so as to establish whether the prosecution has established a prima facie case against Yankuba Touray to warrant him to enter his defence.

Lawyer Sissoho argued that Yankuba Touray is persecuted and not prosecuted and submitted that there is no evidence indicating Yankuba Touray’s involvement in the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Lawyer Sissoho argued that the evidence of all the witnesses excluding Pw6; Alagie Kanyi never saw Ousman Koro Ceesay with Yankuba Touray.
He said Pw 9, Sanna Ceesay disclosed that he saw Ousman Koro Ceesay a week before he died on the 23rd June, 1995.

He submitted that the evidence of prosecution witnesses one, seven, eight and nine are irrelevant and have no value.
Sissoho submitted that the prosecution indicated that object-like pestle was used to commit the offence but this object was never tendered before the court to connect the accused to the ownership of the object.

Sissoho disclosed that Pw7, Momodou K. Bojang said upon arrival at the scene, Ebrima Njie, the superintendent at the mechanical department, Alieu Njie, the photographer from the scientific support unit and Ebrima Njie alias 11, former Inspector General of Police were present at the scene but the prosecution failed to call these people to lead evidence before the court.

Sissoho submitted that Pw 2,3 and 4 are connected to Yankuba Touray and they confirmed that they never saw the accused person with Koro at no material time,whether at the airport, State House or at the accused person’s residence.
He further submitted that the evidence of Pw2,3 and 4 are inconsistent with the evidence of Alagie Kanyi (Pw6) as none of them saw Alagie Kanyi at the accused person’s residence.
Sissoho submitted that only Pw6; Alagie Kanyi confirmed in his evidence in chief and in cross examination that he was at Cape Point around 8pm upwards and was also at Yankuba Touray’s residence around 8pm upwards.

Defence counsel Sissoho said in defence exhibit 8 (evidence in chief of Alagie Kanyi) from page 52 to 55, Alagie Kanyi disclosed that all of them hit Ousman Koro Ceesay till he died but Alagie Kanyi did not tell court which of them killed him.
Sissoho further said when Alagie Kanyi was asked if he killed Koro, he said no and when he was asked if the accused person killed the Koro, Kanyi said no.

Sissoho submitted that Kanyi stated that as soon as the Koro walked in, he was struck by Edward Singhatey (Vi; Vi) and he fell on the ground and was completely dead.
He further submitted that Alagie Kanyi also in his 2nd statement said that after Edward Singhatey hit Koro, all of them hit him.
Lawyer Sissoho submitted that Yankuba Touray has no case to answer and so prayed the court to leave him to walk as a freeman.

New survey reveals 60% of Gambians happy with CRC’s work

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By Omar Bah

A new nationwide survey, conducted by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research, has revealed that majority of Gambians are satisfied with CRC performance.

The survey also revealed that most Gambian citizens would vote in a constitutional referendum, “But the lack of voter ID cards could hamper turnout”.
“Gambians are looking forward to a new constitution that strengthens fundamental rights and freedoms. In order to meet the high threshold for voter turnout, it is critical that the government addresses barriers to voter participation before holding a referendum,” said Greg Kearns, IRI Regional Director for Africa.

According to the poll, 87 percent of Gambians agree that the country needs a new constitution, and 60 percent rated the performance of the CRC as either “very good” (42 percent) or “somewhat good” (18 percent).
“Furthermore, 88 percent of citizens support the inclusion of presidential term limits in the new constitution. Fifty-seven percent cited this as a main reason for turning out to vote in a potential referendum, along with 49 percent of Gambians who cited fundamental rights and freedoms. While the vast majority (74 percent) of Gambians intend to vote in the referendum, among the 13 percent who said they are unlikely to vote, a plurality (39 percent) cited a lack of a voter’s card as their primary reason for abstaining,” the survey added.

According to the survey, the poll reflected general optimism regarding the country’s democratic trajectory.
“Fifty-eight percent of citizens agree The Gambia is headed in the right direction, and 66 percent of citizens think democracy is the best possible form of governance. However, citizens under 36 years of age were more likely than older adults to say that other forms of government could be equally good or better for the country. When asked about the most pressing issues facing the country, 37 percent listed the cost of living, high prices and unemployment as their highest priorities”.

The survey was conducted in November and December 2019, after the release of the November 2019 draft constitution.
The data was collected using a multistage probability sampling method through face-to-face interviews with n=1,178 Gambians aged 18 and above. The data was also weighted for age, gender, urbanicity, and local government area based on results of the 2018 Labor Force Survey of The Gambia.

NIGCOY 4 gives D50,000 and food items to schools

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Press Release

The Nigeria Company (NIGCOY) 4 ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) arrived in The Gambia on 23 March 2019 under the auspices of the providing peace and security. Additionally, the ECOWAS Mission mandated Contingents to strengthen Civil – Military Relations through quick impact community projects, sensitization programs, sporting activities, medical outreach as well as providing other humanitarian services. In compliance with the ECOWAS mandate, the NIGCOY 4 ECOMIG had within first and second quarter of 2020 carried out some notable Civil – Military activities in The Gambia which included donation of funds and food stuffs amongst others. For instance, on 3 February 2020, the Unit granted financial assistance to the tune of GMD 10,000 to Fajara Barracks Lower Basic School to enable them conduct education tour for students of Grades 3 and 4.IMG 20200518 WA0010 1 Additionally, on 10 February 2020, the Contingent granted a financial assistance of GMD 10,000 to Yundum Barracks Upper Basic School. The purpose of the donation was to cater for refreshment during the Inauguration Ceremony of a new structure within the school premises. Similarly, on 14 March 2020, the Unit granted financial assistance to the tune of GMD 10,000 to Fajara Barracks Nursery School to enable them take part in the Nursery Schools Independence Anniversary play-let at the McCarthy Sq. Likewise, on 28 April 2020, the Unit Granted financial assistance of GMD 20,000 for the installation of an overhead water tank at the Regional Health Directorate office complex Lower River Region Mansakonko.

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Furthermore, on 18 May 2020, the Unit in an effort to support the Gambian Government in providing palliatives to vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures donated food items to A1 – Jawuhri Orphanage Home Wullinkama and Shiek Ousaiman Quranic School Farato. The food items donated included rice, spaghetti, vegetable oil, sugar, milk and tin tomatoes amongst others. In summary, these mentioned humanitarian services were embarked upon to further strengthen the already established cordial Civil – Military Relationship between the NIGCOY 4 ECOMIG and the good people of the Republic of The Gambia.

IMG 20200520 WA0007 1

The Commanding Officer NIGCOY 4 ECOMIG Lieutenant Colonel Muhammed Tijjani Nagudu therefore wishes to inform the general public of these developments. He also solicits for the cooperation of the general public in the discharge of the ECOWAS Mandate so as to pave way for peace, security and development in The Gambia.
Signed:
Captain AA TIJJANI
Public Relation Officer
Nigerian Company 4 ECOMIG

Gambian Olympians Keep Shape Despite Covid-19 Hibernation

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Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its toll on normal life, Olympians Gina Bass and Adama Jammeh and Olympic hopeful Ebrima Camara are still focused on their career and dream for Japan 2021.

The trio are seen on a video released by the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, training to keep fit as they prepare for more competitions.
Gina Bass is already qualified to the rescheduled Olympic Games in 100 and 200m while experienced Jammeh and Camara have to run an Olympic standard time at a recognised IAAF event to qualify.

Meanwhile Olympic hopeful Faye Njie is on isolation training to keep fit amid the COVID19. He is few fights away to get his slot at the rescheduled Olympic Games in 2021.
Njie was the first ever Olympic judoka for The Gambia. He competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, in the men’s 73 kg, where he was eliminated by Didar Khamza in the first round.

He won a silver medal at the 2015 All African Games in Brazzaville and qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio based upon the continental quota for Africa. He is based in Finland, fighting for The Gambia.

Blame France, Senegal, our Judases and IEC for the illegal military occupation of Gambia- not Sam Sarr

By Samsudeen Sarr

It is becoming quite evident that some of my lousy critics are still entertaining their intersubjective misjudgment that the role I played in the 2016 political impasse in The Gambia precipitated the illegal military intervention and occupation of our nation by ECOMIG/Senegalese Armed Forces. This intersubjective misconception still existing in the collective imagination of certain low-IQ-elements perpetually overshadows their objective faculties to recognize how I was at the time sternly dissuading the warmongers from unnecessarily invading The Gambia. Virtually, all of these folks were indeed gravitating for the war orchestrated by French president François Hollande (killed Gaddafi and destroyed Libya) in which Senegalese president Macky Sall was sponsored and instructed to unleash a war of terror against The Gambia government and its security forces.

However, to expatiate on the subject I will first refer any interested reader to an interview still accessible in the video archives of the Voice of America (VOA), conducted on January 18, 2017, few days before the commencement of the reckless annexation.

Moderated by the luminary-Ugandan-born-former-child-soldier host, Doctor Shaka Ssali, in his Straight Talk Africa program, subtitled Political Crisis in the Gambia, the APRC-Judas-ambassador-to America, now the minister of defense to President Adama Barrow’s government, Sheikh Omar Faye and I discussed the implications of the impasse as guest speakers; in the interview, I vehemently opposed the illegal invasion of The Gambia based on my fear of starting the French-desired-military conflict in the country, reminiscent of the 1997 civil war they incited in Guinea Bissau between Brigadier General Ansumane Manéand his best friend for decades, president Joao Bernardo Vieira, emphasizing how it could thrust the nation and the entire subregion into another variation of a Libyan or Iraqi quandary, for its potential-unintended consequences. I even had to recapitulate the new UN Secretary General’s special warning in his inaugural statement in 2016 when he, Antonio Guterres, advised all member states against starting wars which are no longer winnable but instead often degenerate into protracted conflicts beyond their expected number of casualties, size of destructions and length of durations.

But like I said, almost all dissidents at the time against the APRC government wanted nothing other than to see the attack launched by the barbarians to kill or capture Jammeh by any means applicable.

Please readers, just take a moment and watch the tape for better understanding of my consistency in that position, although I expect no changes in the minds of the dogmatic adherents even if they were to watch it a million times.

But for more insight, let me take you back to the general election night of December 1, 2016 at the State House. I was there in attendance with several dignitaries at the president’s mainconference hall where the results were monitored live, compiled from all polling stations in the country and computed to the last vote cast.
I did discuss this important event in many of my writings and conversed about it during the last interview I had with Captain Ebou Jallow on Saturday, May 23, 2020 in his online SUN XALAT talkshow presentation.

The program allowed me to set forth the names and job designations of most of the attendees I could remember that evening:
1. Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy
2. Works Minister Bala Jahumpa
3. Justice Minister Mama Singhateh
4. Tourism Minister Roberts
5. Agric Minister Ismail Sanyang
6. Information Minister Sheriff Bojang
7. Education Minister Fatou Lamin Faye
8. Interior Minister GeneralMA Bah
9. APRC Speaker of the house Hon. Bojang
10. Fatou Kineh Jobe-Permanent Secretary, president’s office.
11. Ambassador Mass Axi Gai-APRC Representative to the AU
12. Ambassador/Colonel Momodou Badjie-APRC ambassador to Turkey, now national security adviser to the Barrow government.

As a matter of fact, it was Ambassador Momodou Badjie who extended the invitation to me to join them and took the trouble of picking me up at my house in what he had said had always been the tradition on election-results-announcement nights.
Host President Jammeh occupied the high seat facing everybody in an elaborate rectangular wooden table while other members of his cabinet including the Vice President sat around it; the rest of us filled up the soft seats on the outer space of the hall.
There was also an overhead flat-screen TV where the IEC chairman sporadically appeared to read the results sent from the polling stations. However, the APRC election agents placed at the polling stations kept us updated with the confirmed results far ahead of the IEC announcements.

By 2:00 am, it was crystal clear to everyone present that the APRC government had lost to the Coalition Party by about 18,000 votes.
Being my first experience but in a situation of total shock and surprise to everybody, I could sense how nobody had an immediate answer to the novel bombshell. Yes, it was like a train-wreck.

Certainly disappointed in my expectation that President Jammeh was going to open the floor for discussion or to elicit our opinion over the inconceivable situation, he unequivocally addressed us to understand that he had lost the election to Adama Barrow and will call him tomorrow to concede defeat and start working on his handing over obligations. Adding that the election was freely and fairly conducted in a rig-proof system that simply epitomized the aspiration of the Gambian electorate to have a new president and government.
I can still remember the Speaker of the House Hon. Bojang being the first to leave the hall and the State House.

Lady Zineb Jammeh came out briefly to bid us farewell in a rather sorrowful but congenial mood before we all dispersed. While being driven back to my house by Ambassador Momodou Badjie, joined by Ambassador Mass Axi Gai, our discussion centered around what had possibly gone wrong for the APRC to lose, attributed to several factors but intuitively to Jammeh’s enfeebled enthusiasm to win this time. That he may have even intended to retire, considering how his campaign zeal and material investment were throughout far below average.

That was the last time I physically saw or heard from President Jammeh. Nevertheless, I left the State House vowing to stand by him on whatever he had decided to do, as his deputy ambassador at the UN.

The next day December 2, 2016, like everybody, I watched the drama unfolded on TV where he did exactly what he had sworn to do earlier. He called elected President Adama Barrow, conceded defeat, congratulated him and shared some words of wisdom about national security matters. He had wanted to settle at his home village of Kanilai and spend the rest of his life on his greatest hobby, farming.

Then on December 5, 2016, the IEC shadily threw the whole orderly process into a dangerous disarray by coming up with new set of results. Shady in the sense that, what should have been announced publicly for the whole world to hear, was discreetly done at their office headquarters within the restricted knowledge of the representatives of the contesting three parties. They had detected errors in their initial computation of the results and had been corrected but with the APRC still losing. What else could they have said differently and lived happily ever after? In December 2014 Gambian dissidents living abroad, for lacking confidence and trust in the IEC to conduct free and fair elections, sponsored an ill-fated armed attack in the country to overthrow the APRC government. Then in April 2016, Gambian dissidents again living abroad for the same reasons sponsored and incited a doomed demonstration in the country aimed at toppling the government. And a month before the election, word was everywhere that Jammeh had paid theIEC $400,000 to rig the election in his favor. Not forgetting the ritual killings of school children by his government to win. Now, how reasonable, under such circumstances, would the IEC have appeared to the world if the chairman had on December 5, 2016 announced that the APRC had won after the correction of their errors, instead of the Coalition?

Obviously, that was possible taking into account the combined votes won by the APRC (208,487) and the GDC (89,768) totaling (298,255) indicating that, with all the noise, the Coalition’s winning numbers (227,708) actually illustrated a victory from less than the majority of votes cast. So the slogan, subjectively touted as the “Gambia Has Decided” should have objectively been “Forty-three per cent of Gambians have Decided”.
Without doubt if the GDC had refused to endorse the results on the same disagreement as the APRC, that an election with two conflicting results had never happened anywhere in the world and could no longer be considered credible or rig-proof, the Coalition would have had no choice but to work out something reasonable and civil with them. But Hon. Kandeh was not interested in pursuing that and had perhaps thought that he could eventually work with the Coalition government until the realities later dawned on him that this was not the kind of government he had expected to work with.

I think Jammeh could have struck himself and his government a better deal by compelling the IEC to go back to the national TV and announce to the whole world the mess they had created. Or when he had decided to annul the election results on December 9, 2016, to feature the two suspicious results pivotal in his argument. But it wasn’t like that, a gross mistake exploited by France and Senegal with the critical support of the APRC ambassadors (Judases) that ultimately brought about the UN resolution that forced him into stepping down. They further misled the UN Security Council altogether with the devious story that President Jammeh had first conceded defeat but had suddenly changed his mind for no reason whatsoever.

To bolster their rationalization, the Senegalese described the Gambia Armed Forces to the UN Security Council as a force predominantly composed of MFDC and Liberian rebels destabilizing Casamance and were now terrorizing the whole Gambia by assisting Jammeh to kidnap and murder school children for ritual sacrifices. Yet, with all those deceptions, the Security Council strictly prohibited using force in the absence of any corroborated violence in the country and should only be used if necessary, but under a new resolution requiring their endorsement.

But France and Macky Sall wanted war and had to swiftly mobilize the troops and logistics to start one.
In my VOA interview with Minister Sheikh Omar Faye, one will also see how he avoided talking about the second set of results or even how it impacted the smooth process of the whole election.

With the above experience and all the witnesses mentioned, hearing the IEC chairman saying that on the election night of December 1, 2016, Jammeh called from the State House and tried to force him into changing the results in his favor was not only incorrect but very ungodly. Nothing like that ever happened in our presence.
I had visited the Kenyan, Egyptian, Liberian, Russian, Burundian, Ugandan and even French embassies at the UN, but none of them heard about the December 5, 2016 second election results either.

That was why at some point I started to strongly believe that the French leader subtly instructed Macky Sall to convince the IEC into coming up with the second set of results, knowing full well that Jammeh will challenge it and provide them with the justification for military intervention.

In the end when it became clear that a peaceful solution to the problem was no longer feasible and war was imminent, I called the GAF Headquarters in Banjul from my office and spoke to then Deputy CDS Gen Yankuba Drammeh, the Operation Commander Gen. Momodou Sowe and the Interior Minister, Gen. M. A. Bah suggesting the need to disperse all their soldiers from the barracks and streets just to avoid any form of armed resistance to the invaders. That the warmongers were ordered to kill as many Gambians as necessary including Jammeh and any loyal member of his government.

We agreed on preventing the bloodbath they were looking for.
There was no war but more combatants are still being sent by Macky Sall, paid for by France in what I think is aimed at starting one to achieve their annexation objective.
And trust me, there are many Gambians in the Barrow government not limited to the known Judases, ready to surrender the sovereignty of the country to France and Senegal as long as they are assured top jobs. There are also Gambians outside the government subscribing to the same Senegalese-and-French-takeover.

These Judases will always claim to be the majority, but to avoid the looming conflict, why not put the final determinant to a referendum on whether Gambians want the merger or not? I think it is even more important than the referendum to approve or disapprove the new constitution. I can’t see the indefinite and illegal occupation of our country ending anytime soon while President Barrow is in power and Macky Sall playing tricks around him. Senegal will most likely help him to win the next election in a setting where he will appoint his own IEC, exploit the incumbency advantage and create the winning conditions. Spare Sam Sarr the blame tomorrow for that eventuality.

A different experience in the People’s Republic of China

By Muhamed A Badjie

Apparently, some people in The Gambia have been spreading falsehood about the People’s Republic of China. They have been misleading the public by spreading false information to tarnish the image of a great friend of The Gambia. This is rather unfortunate. We need to focus on the most essential and avoid the distractions.

The People’s Republic of China, a country that has always fascinated me. I was fortunate enough to have been in a school where we were taught the history and geography of the world. When it comes to China, we were mainly taught about Sun YatSen, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping. We heard the inspiring and motivating stories of young Chinese that created robots, and made watches. We were taught of their level of discipline, the cultural differences and the food, etc. I have been following China since then because their system amazes me. I followed the news and observed the different policies of Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and President Xi Jinping.

In 2019, I was given the opportunity to further my studies in this renowned country that is on the rise. I did not know what to expect, so I psychologically and emotionally prepared myself for the worst because I had bitter experiences in another country. I watched few videos, but I saw that some people said positive things and others said bad things about the country.

So I stopped watching or worrying and I said to myself that I will have my own experience. When I came to China, I observed that people are mostly focused on their phones, and they mind their business. Old people and children mostly look at you curiously because of the apparent differences. Even the pets act differently towards you. When you smile and say “Hi”, some of them approach you and start speaking Chinese. Some will kindly want to take pictures with you. You feel like a celebrity. In The Gambia, the same thing happens with “toubabs”, Asians, Arabs. Life was normal. I try different Chinese Halal food almost every day. The Chinese experience has been great for me. I went to places, tried to integrate into the society and also made new friends. The people I met so far are very nice and open. On the news I see and hear horrible things about China, but I have never felt so great in an environment. My experience in China has been amazing so far. I can see how the government is making efforts to protect the environment and ensure that people are healthy and safe. I freely moved in the streets of Beijing without worrying because they are secured and people are so organized and disciplined.

Fast forward, in January 2020, I learned about the COVID-19 outbreak. People panicked and some even left the country. Many bought groceries and provisions. I kept my cool because I was confident that the authorities will take all necessary actions to contain the virus and keep people safe. I was neither in support of people leaving the country nor in support of the evacuations carried by foreign countries. The level of discipline, patriotism and commitment of the Chinese people assured me. The University authorities took necessary measures to ensure that we are safe and healthy. As the situation got more serious, we were informed that we were going to be on lockdown on campus until further notice. We were sensitized about COVID-19, advised to avoid gathering, stay indoors and given face masks. Our temperature is checked twice daily(mornings and evenings). I informed two Chinese citizens (One at the Chinese Embassy in The Gambia and one at my University) that I would like to volunteer to help in the fight against COVID-19. I was advised to stay healthy and safe. The Supermarket on campus is still open though at times it lacked all the necessary items we need. It is understandable because we were going through different moments when almost everything was shutdown. What always strikes me is the level of discipline, devotion and consideration of the Chinese (University authorities, lecturers and students) that are on lockdown with the rest of the foreign students. My University authorities also allowed two canteens to reopen so that students that cannot or do not want to cook can buy safe food.

A friend of mine complained many times about being disrespected by Chinese people he interacted with. Whenever I accompanied him to sort out matters, I noticed that his communication with those Chinese was poor. He arrogantly talked to them without even greeting them. So I always fixed such situations with a smile and greetings in Chinese. Understanding people’s culture and way of life is very important.

One day, I was walking with a black friend, and he was narrating negative stories about Chinese people. He told me things that I could not understand. I mean he sees racism everywhere. So while we were walking, there was a lady with her child in front of us. She looked at us and moved him to the other side out of respect for us. But my friend unfortunately saw racism and that is when I started to comprehend his lack of knowledge of Chinese culture and his negative nature.

There was also a day when another friend went out without his face mask. He claimed that he forgot to wear it. When the security officers saw him, they chased him with their vehicle. He ran away and escaped.
Another day, I went to the canteen to get food. As I got to the gate of the canteen, I found a black guy who was stopped for not wearing a mask. He claimed that he forgot it. He was kindly requested to leave the place and was not granted access.

Another day again, I was at the counter of the supermarket and a foreign student came in with his mask on his chin. He was kindly requested to wear it. He cooperated, his temperature was taken, and he was allowed in.
The behavior of these few people make the majority look bad. They cause lot of unnecessary trouble and when action is taken by the local authorities, it blows out of proportion.

Nonetheless, unfortunate incidents happen sometimes, and they are taken out of proportion. They are the “rotten potato that spoils the rest”. No society or man is perfect. China has taken the fight against COVID-19 very seriously because it is a killer. At my University, foreign students have been complaining that they are tired of the lockdown, and they would like the gates of the University to reopen to enable them to go out, ignoring the efforts being made to keep them safe. Currently, the situation in China has improved. From the barricade of the University, I can see people moving and businesses reopened. People are back to their normal lives and activities. We are still on lockdown because the authorities feel like they have the obligation to protect us as foreign students.

The way The Gambia for instance is handling the pandemic worries me compared to what I am experiencing in China. People are not taking it seriously. The State of Public Emergency is not even followed compared to the one that was declared during the impasse in late 2016 for instance.
I fancy China’s success which I think is mainly based on the discipline, hard work, dedication and patriotism of its great citizens.

Muhamed Amin Badjie is a Gambian civil servant currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China.

Lamin Darbo—right, Madi Jobarteh—wrong, President Barrow’s term cannot start in 2017

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I invite reference to an eye-catching frontpage article published by my learned junior Barrister Lamin J Darbo, in the Monday 18TH May 2020, publication of the widely-read Standard Newspaper, titled:
“President’s term cannot start from 2017.”

The article inter alia started thus: “As the debate on the two-term limit on the Draft Constitution rages on, a leading Constitutional Lawyer, has agreed with The Cabinet, that President Barrow’s first term cannot start form 2017.”I have already written and published a legal article in the Standard Newspaper, which was in tandem with the Cabinet’s opinionon the aforesaid Constitutional matter of paramount importance. This is indeed “Concensus Ad Idem” (Latin:a meeting or convergence of minds). As a senior Canadian-trained theologian, let me say: “A people fall, when there is no counsel, but with the multitude of counselors, there is safety”- The Holy Bible.

The Standard Newspaper has recently published the Cabinet’s serious and far-reaching concerns about certain provisions in the Final Draft, notable among them was the two-term limit, which certainly and unjustifiably bars/disqualifies His Excellency President Adama Barrow, from contesting another presidential election, after the 2021 presidential election, to be ably conducted by the IEC.

My learned junior, Mr Lamin J Darbo, a Barrister was speaking as a panelist, on the Paradise TV national discussion on the Final Draft Constitution, recently (ie last Saturday). Mr Darbo rightly said that, if His Excellency President Adama Barrow wins the 2021 presidential election, then his first term should start from there. Mr Darbo attempted to justify his statement, by wrongly quoting Section 102 (c) of our present 1997 Constitution, which he wrongly said, prohibits retroactive legislation. Either my learned junior misquoted the correct Section or the journalist wrote the wrong Section because Section 102 (c), has nothing to do with retroactive legislation, and it reads:“In addition to the other powers conferred on the National Assembly by this Constitution or any other law, the National Assembly may – (c) examine the accounts and expenditure of the Government and other public bodies funded by public monies, and the reports of the Auditor General thereon.”Section 102 (c), is the Official Constitutional mandate, of the National Assembly’s joint Committee, which is composed of both: (1) Public Accounts Committee (P.A.C.) and Public Enterprises Committee (P.E.C.), abbreviated as P.A.C./P.E.C. Committee.

The correct Constitutional provision which expressly prohibits retroactive legislation, is Section 100 (2) (c) of the said Constitution, which reads:“The National Assembly, shall not pass a Bill (c) to alter the decision or judgment of a Court, in any proceedings to the prejudice of any party to those proceedings, or deprive any person retroactively of vested acquired rights, but subject thereto, the National Assembly, may pass Bills, designed to have retroactive effect.”

It is of paramount Constitutional importance to also highlight the fact that, this very important Constitutional provision has also been ippissima verba (Latin: verbatim), and rightly so incorporated in the aforesaid so-called “Final Draft Constitution.” In my humble legal opinion, “The Final Draft Constitution”, is not yet final, it is so-called, because it contains a few unacceptable Constitutional deficiencies, which must be regularized/corrected right now by the CRC pro bono publico (Latin:for the public good), before the Honourable IEC Chairman (Mr. Alieu Momarr Njai) and his electoral experts, organize a Referendum on it, for The Gambia’s electorate, in the not too distant future. One of the three classic Greek philosophers, Plato (the other two were: Socrates and Aristotle), in his masterpiece Political Science/ Government book titled: “The Republic”, authoritatively wrote: “The price wise men pay, for not taking part in Government, is to be governed, by foolish men.”Since as a result of respect for women’s rights, we now have women occupying high positions in Government, therefore if Philosopher Plato, should be writing for today’s reading public, he would have written: “…. to be governed by foolish men and women….”

Since the so-called Final Draft Constitution is clearly saying that His Excellency President Adama Barrow’s term has started in 2017, this is a flagrant violation of Section 100 (2) (c) of our 1997 Constitution, which is still in force. Section 102 (2) of the so-called Final Draft Constitution says: “No person shall hold office as President for more than two terms of five years each, whether or not the terms are consecutive.”This simply means that the present five-year presidential term of His Excellency President Adama Barrow has been wrongly counted by the CRC drafters. The landmark United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “The mother of all International Human Rights Conventions”, has long been signed and ratified, by both The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal, and the said International Human Rights Convention/Declaration, expressly prohibits Member States which are State Parties to the aforesaid Convention, from making any retroactive law in their Nations/States.

On Sunday 28th March, 2016, a Constitutional Referendum was held in neighbouring Senegal, and 62% of registered voters who cast their votes confidently voted “Yes”.The said Referendum which was proposed by the incumbent President, His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, was meant to Constitutionally amend, two “Entrenched Clauses”in The Senegalese Constitution, namely: (1) The duration of the Presidential term was reduced from 7 years to 5 years, and (2) after the Constitutional amendments had been made, no sitting Senegalese president shall hold the Office of the President for more than two terms. It is of paramount importance to note with glee, that the two aforesaid important Constitutional amendments, via a Constitutional Referendum, rightly did not in any way affect the incumbent Senegalese President, His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall. The aforesaid Constitutional amendments therefore rightly entered into force in 2019. This is International best practice, therefore why should the CRC Chairman, Justice Cherno Jallow and CRC Members, attempt to make The Gambia to act as an island in “The Comity of Nations”, by doing something that is diametrically opposed to International best practice, and then making frantic efforts to hide behind the debatable doctrine of “National Sovereignty”, in Jus Gentium(ie Public International Law or the Law of Nations)? “Prevention is better than cure”, as the age-old and time-honoured adage goes.

The locus classicus (Latin: best known), The Gambia Supreme Court Case, on this important Constitutional provision is: Kemesseng Jammeh Vs The Attorney General, which was decided by the said apex Court on 29th November, 2001, and coincidentally, our present and learned Honorable Lord Chief Justice (Honorable Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow –CRG), ably delivered the landmark Judgment, when he was then a Judge of The Gambia Supreme Court (TGSC), our apex or apogee National Court, during that time.

It is very important to take Judicial Notice (ie a fact which need not be proved), that Justice Cherno Jallow is presently and substantively a Judge of TGSC. Therefore, when he was presiding over official meetings and deliberations of the CRC as its Chairman, one wonders like “Alice in Wonderland”, by Lewis Carroll, (a celebrated Irish novelist), why on earth Justice Cherno Jallow, did not remind his colleagues at the CRC about the aforesaid very important, sacrosanct and inviolable case of TGSC? In fact, some members of the CRC are my learned friends or senior Gambian lawyers who obviously know the aforesaid important TGSC case very well. But unfortunately, I think the majority of them might have decided, (1) to either turn a blind eye to the aforesaid important The Gambia Supreme Court case, or (2) they might have been outvoted, when this important matter was put to the vote, during one of the CRC official sessions. Two of my learned juniors namely: (1) Mr Gaye Sowe and (2) Mr Lamin S Camara are also members of the CRC.

According to the doctrine of “Stare Decisis” ( Latin: let the decision stand), which is a cornerstone of The Common Law, all inferior courts in the hierarchy of National Courts, are legally bound to follow to the letter and spirit of the law, those previous decisions which had been made by their learned Judicial superiors, in past identical cases. The only 2 legal exceptions to this indispensable Judicial Rule are: (1) If those previous decisions, were made “per incuriam” (Latin:in error or ignorance of the law) and (2) if the facts of the cases concerned are radically different. But if the differences between the cases concerned are very minute then the “Stare Decisis”Judicial doctrine will still be applicable in that legal scenario because of the famous Common Law maxim, “De Minimis Non Curat Lex” (Latin:ie the law does not concern its self with little things, or inconsequential trivialities).

According to the Judicial doctrine of “Stare Decisis”, it is only apex or apogee National Courts (which in the Case of The Gambia is- The Gambia Supreme Court), which has the authority or Judicial mandate to depart from its previous decisions. But all other inferior Courts in the hierarchy of National Courts are firmly bound by their previous decisions. Section 4 (3) of The Supreme Court Act (1999), reads: “The Supreme Court may depart from a previous decision, when it appears to it right to do so, and all other Courts, shall be bound to follow the decisions of The Supreme Court, on a matter of law.”  In Jurisprudence, when we talk about “The apex Court departing from its previous decision”, this means that, such an important Judicial decision must be taken by the apex Court itself when it is in official session. Therefore,the decision of Justice Cherno Jallow and his CRC colleagues to radically depart from the previous decision of The Gambia Supreme Court in respect of The Kemesseng Jammeh case was clearly made when the said apex National Court was not in official session. Therefore, the aforesaid decision of Justice Cherno Jallow and his CRC colleagues, was unconstitutional and null and void ab initio (Latin: ie from the beginning). “He who comes to equity, must come with clean hands”, as the famous Equity maxim goes. The locus classicus (Latin: ie best known) British case which firmly established the doctrine of “Stare Decisis” was Young Vs Bristol Aeroplane Company.

 

 

 

Mr Madi Jobarteh’s habitual, monumental legal nonsense

In his letter to The Standard’s Editor, published in the Tuesday, 19th May, 2020 publication of the Standard Newspaper, Mr Jobarteh bogusly and maliciously inter alia said: “.… first among these, is the issue of the Presidential term limit, as it relates to President Barrow’s first term. I find the point by Lamin J. Darbo, that the final draft is retroactive and discriminatory, as unfounded. This final draft is not a law, that has taken away vested or acquired rights of Mr. Barrow. The fact is, President Barrow is currently serving his first term as President, which he will enjoy to the end. Hence when the final draft stipulates that, a Presidential tenure, shall be maximum of ten years for any Citizen, and the counting begins in 2017, this does not deny the incumbent of anything……”

My legal analysis

Firstly, when Mr Jobarteh wrote: “… I find the point by Lamin J. Darbo that the final draft is retroactive and discriminatory as unfounded ……”, this is very legally wrong. I am putting it to Mr Jobarteh that if he seriously reads Section 33 of our present 1997 Constitution, which is still in force, to know how “discrimination”, has been authoritatively and broadly defined, he will instantaneously retract his aforesaid bogus statement with a monumental apology to all readers, both nationally and internationally.

 

Secondly, when Mr Jobarteh wrote: “This final draft is not a law, that has taken any vested or acquired right of Mr. Barrow.” This is also legally wrong because: (a) the final draft is not yet a law, it is a proposed Supreme Law of the land. It only becomes a law and therefore legally enforceable, after 75% of Honourable parliamentarians have voted in its favour and after it has been officially adopted by a clear majority of our Gambian electorate, in a Constitutional Referendum. Mr Jobarteh is indeed Constitutionally bankrupt.

Thirdly, if this proposed Supreme Law is discriminatory in its effect, then automatically when it actually becomes law, it will inevitably take away “vested and acquired rights”of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, which had been given to him and all Gambians by the aforesaid important The Gambia Supreme Court case and Section 26 of the said Constitution, titled: “Political Rights”, and Clause (b) reads :- “Every Citizen of full age and capacity, shall have the right, without unreasonable restrictions, (b) to vote and stand for elections, at genuine periodic elections, for Public Office.” The aforesaid unacceptable Constitutional provision in the so-called Final Draft Constitution is not only discriminatory against the incumbent Gambian President (His Excellency President Adama Barrow), but it also shocks the high sense of decency of human rights lovers and defenders, because it is also calculated to disenfranchise the incumbent for no justifiable legal reason whatsoever.

Conclusion

What the so-called Final Draft Constitution is wrongly saying (ie that the term of the incumbent President, His Excellency President Adama Barrow, has started in 2017, is therefore Constitutionally wrong. It should be instantaneously amended, so that it now rightly reads: “That the term of the incumbent Gambian President, starts in 2021, since this is a transitional term to The Gambia’s 3rd Republic, and it is against both National and International Law, for The Gambia to make a retroactive law.” Finally, it will be of paramount importance if this important Constitutional matter is quickly referred to The Gambia Supreme Court, (our apex or apogee National Court), which replaced Her Majesty’s Privy Council in London for it to quickly exercise its Original Jurisdiction, under Section 5(a) of The Supreme Court Act, so that this highly controversial Constitutional controversy will be fully cleared and finally laid to rest, once and for all.

Mr Madi Jobarteh has now made it a hobby of regularly distorting the lawand pretending to be a lawyer. He can be rightly charged under The Gambia Criminal Code, with the heinous Criminal Offence of: “impersonation of a Gambian lawyer”. I know he enjoys doing this for cheap popularity, and hiding behind the right of “freedom of speech and expression”, which is inter alia guaranteed by our present 1997 Constitution. I am vociferously putting it to him, that the aforesaid human right indeed has both Legal and Constitutional limitations. His younger brother, Mr. Kutubu Jobarteh, was one of my brilliant L.L.B. Degree students, at the Faculty of Law of the University of The Gambia. He is now my learned Junior and the able legal adviser of PURA. Let me strongly advise Mr Madi Jobarteh, to be humbly taking his articles to Mr Kutubu Jobarteh, for the necessary legal vetting, before they are published in national newspapers and on the social media, and this will save him from a lot of public embarrassment, from people who know the law more than him. “A word to the wise, is quite sufficient”, as the famous adage goes.

I rest my case.

 

Letters: Apparent lack of preparedness in the opposition camp

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Dear editor,

When governments are mired in indecisiveness, ineffectiveness and ambiguity and saddled with rampant corruption, people naturally look up to opposition group for alternative and clarity. In our case, however, opposition parties increasingly appear to be less ready and prepared to meet or even exceed the hopes and aspirations of the citizenry.

In more their decades leading the fight against Yahya Jammeh’s slew of bad, violent and often bloody leadership, our expectation was that Gambia’s tenured and seasoned opposition parties were equipped with practical strategies, workable policies, stronger structures and organizational discipline to take over the country from day one. But, as we have all witnessed during and right after the political impasse in 2016, we were arguably chasing far-fetched dreams. There was very little or no such thing in place.

The fast and cataclysmic fracture of the Coalition camp soon after taking over power from a pioneering tyrant provide additional prove to their lack of preparedness. Even where a plan seemingly existed as previously argued, mistrust and bad faith among the very architects and supposed guardians of the transition agenda notably stymied actual progress in the early days of the Barrow administration before effectively rendering it dead on arrival. The haphazard manner in which the initial government was formed, including the deliberate insistence on appointing a constitutionally disqualified Vice President, revealed a telltale sign of a weak framework and to the general pointed to lack of readiness to take up the mammoth challenges.

Our current situation is no different. Opposition parties have proven time and again that they are more polished and interested in finding faults and loopholes of the Barrow administration than offering clear and convincing alternatives beyond the smokescreen. Many governance and policy blunders have dwarfed Barrow’s government and alienated the citizens. The opposition parties, in their wisdom, find it absolutely expedient to amplify the barrage of criticism on social media and hardly organize press conferences or release policy statements to prosecute their cases to the public and offer their parties’ contrasting methodology and mechanism to handle similar matters if given the opportunity. To be fair, Hon Mai Ahmad Fatty is the most vocal and visible exception.

Before the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, our country had string of natural disasters that affected the livelihood of some Gambians. Kuntaur flood disaster was a prominent one. But these calamities underscored the government’s woeful or near absent disaster management protocols and procedures. There was very little or nothing in place to support emergency disaster responses. Basse and Brikama fire outbreaks also highlight, in disappointing measures, another pattern of serious systemic decay and wanton recklessness on the part of our government to protect life and property in vulnerable, populated communities.

It was therefore commendable that some local volunteers and politicians took their time to visit, empathize and assist the affected communities. Although the politicians used the opportunity to blast the government’s slow, uncoordinated response, they offered no viable, alternative plan as to how they would be dealing with tragedies.
Our healthcare system has been in the doldrums since independence and even face grimmer prospects in light of emergent pandemics. Again,, neither our government nor the Opposition is offering anything concrete that prepares the country or the people to deal with infectious and potentially deadly outbreaks that can happen at any time. Our hospitals are plagued with resource constraints. In all of this, poor Gambians are slipping away and succumbing to preventable and curable diseases because of our government’s shocking and inexcusable lack of vision, foresight and priorities.

Wouldn’t it be prudent for opposition parties to have, for example, shadow Ministers responsible for drafting and augmenting their parties’ policy framework that are accessed by open to expert and media scrutiny and interrogation and ready to be rolled out once in power? Or would it simply the case of “oh we inherited a bad system”?
Thus, it is our considered opinion that government in waiting should be able to offer more pragmatic, more proactive and more resourceful alternatives to the status quo. Yes, we appreciate knowing what our government is doing wrong but we would like to know what our opposition will do differently and how they will do it if or when given the opportunity. To support, consolidate and strengthen our democracy and good governance, our opposition parties must demonstrate readiness and preparedness to over the reigns of leadership of our country from day one without a needless, unnecessary circus and déjà vu. We need to see more!

Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Queens, USA

Where is the IEC?

As 2021 slowly encroaches and political parties begin the sometimes contentious issue of choosing a flagbearer, the level of preparedness of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) needs to be inquired about.

It is not a secret that since the previous election in 2016, thousands of citizens have matured into the voting age and that many people have sadly passed away, there is now a need for a fresh voter registration to ensure that the voter list is up to date.

Considering that there is also the issue of a referrandum before the presidential and parliamentary elections in order to usher in the Third Republic, it is imperative that voter registration be embarked upon as soon as possible.

Additionally, there is the issue of electoral reforms and perhaps redrawing or remapping of the constituencies, there is a lot of work to be done and this might be an uphill task. But due to the COVID-19 these and other issues pose a tremendous challenge which have to be tackled head on.

As the date and time of the end of this pandemic is not known as yet, it is important that strategies and plans be put in place in order to work around it and do the needful. All this work will not accomplish itself, it has to be faced immediately if the Constitution is to be respected and followed.

It will not do to just sit idly by and wait until such a time that it will no longer be possible and turn around and blame the COVID-19 for lack of preparedness. If the political will is there, there are certainly a number of ways in which these exercises can be tackled immediately.

Already, many of the political parties are gearing up to the elections and it is time that the referees also put on their work boots and enter the field even if it is to warm up for the game.

There is no time to waste. The work needs to begin now!

‘Gambia’s Reform Programmes Hijacked By Jammeh Enablers’

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By Alagie Manneh

According to Sheriff Kijera, chairman of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, even after three years since the end of the Jammeh dictatorship, The Gambia’s reform programmes continue to be “hijacked” by the former president’s enablers who continue holding key public institutions.

“I think the government should do more to address such issues. Institutional reforms haven’t been quite meteoric as it is supposed to be because our country is being hijacked by these people who have a lot of influence in the government,” Mr Kijera told The Standard.

Mr Kijera went on to denounce the frequent recycling of many who worked directly under Jammeh, either in his cabinet and in other public institutions, saying this action by the president is a mockery of the 2016 revolution, which is causing “distress” to victims of Jammeh.

“It is about time that these issues are addressed. It is embarrassing to be recycling Jammeh enablers. But I think the fact remains that the government is not steering the affairs of this country as it is supposed to be,” he lamented.

Corruption
Mr Kijera further noted that corruption is also an issue that needs to be looked into and addressed by the government. “I don’t know what is the obsession,” why Adama Barrow is so obsessed with such enablers,” he said.

UDP NBR fires back at NPP bureau chief

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By Omar Bah

The United Democratic Party in the North Bank Region has challenged the National People’s Party to declare its source of funding.
In a recent interview with a local radio station, the NPP administrative secretary Mambanyick Njie denied accusations that the president is using his influence to fund his party through government coffers.

Reacting to the NPP administrative secretary’s assertions, the UDP NBR committee spokesperson Karamo Njie countered: “Mambanyick should tell Gambians where the NPP is getting the monies they are using to buy all the vehicles that they are sharing among themselves.”

The NPP’s Mambanyick had also said there are few people in the country who feel like they own the country and to them the country is only safe in their hands and further commented that to be educated is different from having common sense.

But in his response, Karamo said these ‘irresponsible’ comments are directed at the UDP. “Let me first ask Mambanyick to give an example of any uneducated successful president. If Mr Mambanyick is himself smart, he would by now realise and admit that Barrow is failing because he is not educated. If you look at some of the famous African leaders like Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and even Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, you will discover that they were all university graduates who were very successful presidents because of their high level of education,” he said.

Karamo Njie further said the classical example of failure in Barrow’s camp is his very choice of political aides, taking as an example Mambanyick himself “who is a self- centered political adventurer who has toured NRP, APRC, GDC and now NPP with only one objective, to butter his bread while the honeymoon lasts. I am so even if the UDP comes near to power, he will knock their doors,” Karamo Njie teased Mambanyick.

“Let me remind Barrow about something he had said in a meeting in Baddibu where he himself said Baddibu is a university of politics and whenever they turn their backs on him, he will pack his bags. Let me tell him to start packing his bags because Baddibu are done with him,” Karamo Njie added.

The UDP man said political novices like Mambanyick must realise that the only party close to UDP in NBR is the Gambia Democratic Congress, GDC.
Also reacting to recent comments made by presidential adviser, Saihou Mballow that the UDP leader is a former convict, Karamo Njie said: “The likes of Nelson Mandela and Abdoulaye Wade were jailed before they became president and God-willing, Ousainu Darboe will also be a president in this country.
Gambians have learned a lot from 2016 to date and so no one can fool us again.”

New SG’s appointment is constitutional

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The Standard has reliably learnt that the appointment of the new Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Nuha Touray is in fact constitutional.
Nuha, a former cabinet secretary, was appointed by President Barrow on Tuesday, replacing Muhammed BS Jallow as SG.

However, Touray’s appointment was met with huge criticism across the country, with some claiming he was illegally hired.
One such prominent critical voice was Mai Fatty, leader of GMC and one-time adviser of President Barrow, who claimed Touray was not holding an office in the Public Service which disqualifies him to be appointed SG.

However according to new information The standard is privy to, Nuha Touray has actually been in the civil service for past three years.
The information reveals that Touray was reinstated into the public service on 3 May, 2017 after his dismissal from the Jammeh government.
After his reinstatement, Touray he was sent on a two-year secondment at the Economic Community of West African States.

After completing his secondment, Mr Touray was then granted a leave of absence without salary for six months, beginning 17 July, 2019.
After the expiry of his leave of absence, Mr Touray wrote to notify government of his availability to resume work.

Touray has since resumed duties on 1 December 2019. He was eventually appointed SG effective Tuesday 26 May, 2020.
An experienced civil servant with remarkable institutional knowledge of the Office of the President, Touray has been hailed as a principled man.

Gov’t awaits auditors’ report on Covid-19 funds

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By Omar Bah

The Minister of Finance, Mambury Njie has revealed that the government has tasked auditors to audit the Covid-19 funds and report back on their findings for further actions.
Health Minister Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh nearly two weeks ago shocked the nation with his frank revelation of an apparent attempt by corrupt officials to steal monies from the D500M provided by government to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Samateh told the National Assembly that over 300 ghost names were submitted as beneficiaries of allowances from the Covid-19 money.
“The auditors have already started looking at how the Covid-19 funds were disbursed and spent. The government has no other choice but to wait for the auditors to finish and submit their reports…from there we will see what action we can take because we cannot act based on speculations. We have to follow due process and that will include allowing the auditors to do their job. All what people are saying now is based on allegations,” he told journalists at a press conference yesterday.

Also speaking at the press conference meant to shed light on government’s food aid distribution, the Vice President and chairperson of the cabinet Covid-19 response committee, Dr Isatou Touray said all the distributions were done transparently without segregations as instructed by the president.

“Due process was followed in the distribution of the food aid. Those who are blaming the government for segregating others do not understand the process used by the government. Yes, there were duplications but that should not be use as yardstick to criticise all  the good work the government has done,” she said.

VP Touray said the food aid distribution around the country will soon be fully accomplished. She urged Gambians not to be complacent as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country are on the rise.
“I call on all and sundry to exercise social distancing and the security forces responsible for enforcing the emergency regulations to intensify their efforts in protecting our lives,” she said.

She said the government is aware that if they fail in their responsibility to take the Covid-19 pandemic seriously “it could further deepen the country’s poverty. This is why the president should be praised for taking the right decisions to contain the spread of the virus”.

Madame Touray added that the outbreak of Covid-19 could serve as a good opportunity for Gambians to unite and turn the future of the country around for the better.
“…but this will only happen when people stop making statements and comments that are misrepresentation of the facts. We are concerned about accountable and good governance but our institutions must be respected…People should take the state of emergency very seriously and avoid seeing it as political. We need to agree as a nation and not as political parties to engage proactively to see what is best for this country and we can only do this by supporting and appreciating the president in these try times,” she added.

Banjul
The Veep said the issue of duplication they were facing with the distribution in Banjul has been solved and very soon the food aid will reach to the beneficiaries without any further delay.
The vice president also took time to urge journalists to report factually and responsibly.

Gambians in Ivory Coast write to Minister Tangara to reinstate consul

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By Omar Bah

Gambians living in Ivory Coast have officially written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mamadou Tangara urging him to reinstate the Gambia’s Honorary Consul to Abidjan, Dembo Fatty.

Fatty was a protocol to the late Gambian Honorary consul, Alhagie Ismaila Sibi. He was recommended by some members of Gambian community in the former French colony to replace the late Sibi, which was approved in December, 2019.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently sent a memo to Dembo Fatty asking him to cease all activities within the consulate.

In their letter shared with The Standard, the association of Gambian nationals in Ivory Coast demanded: “We kindly ask you to reconsider your decision as soon as possible to avoid division within the Gambian community of Ivory Coast”.

The letter went on: “The Gambian community in Ivory Coast asks you to review the document of the order of appointment which were sent to us through the ambassador of the Republic of The Gambia in Ivory Coast resident in Sierra Leone, Ebraima Manneh. These documents include an order of appointment which concerns two Gambians citizens, Dembo Fatty as consul of the republic of Gambia in Ivory Coast and Ismaila Ceesay as consul of The Gambia in Liberia. We cannot understand why you decided to terminate the appointment of Dembo Fatty and allowed Ismaila Ceesay to continue in his position when they were all appointed through the same procedure. The Gambian community in Ivory Coast is in a panic. Hon Minister, a good leader is the one who hears the cry of the hearts of his fellow citizens. You cannot suspend a consul legally appointed to the service of his community and whose order of appointment has been established in your ministerial cabinet on behalf of the Gambian government for the benefit of another family as if this position was reserved for a certain family,” the letter reads.

Diplomatic passport scandal reaches court

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By Bruce Asemota

The Attorney General’s Chambers yesterday filed eight count charges against Mansa Sumareh, former chief driver of President Adama Barrow, Ebrima J.S. Sanneh, Saikou Sanneh, protocol officers and one Ousman Touray, at large, ranging from forgery of official documents, uttering false documents, making false documents without authority, procuring execution of documents by false pretense to three separate counts of conspiracy to commit felony.

When the matter was mentioned yesterday before Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh at the High Court in Banjul, senior state counsels Patrick Gomez and M.B Sowe of the Attorney General’s Chambers announced their appearance for the state but the accused persons were absent and their absence prompted the state counsel to seek for an adjournment in order to liaise with the serious crime unit of the Gambia Police Force Headquarters to notify the accused persons or sureties for the commencement of their trial.

The presiding Judge, Ba Jaiteh granted the application and urged the state prosecutors to liaise with the serious crime unit to procure the accused persons in the next adjourned date on 2 June, 2020.

Covid-19 food transporters demand payment

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By Momodou Justice Darboe

Several transporters involved in the government’s Covid-19 food aid distribution have told The Standard they are still waiting to be paid even after several pre-Koriteh efforts to recover the sums proved futile. The transporters had a contract with government to transport the food and get paid later.

At the time of filing this story yesterday, frantic consultations were reported to have been underway between some representatives of the transport union and the government to find a way to pay the transport owners.
The Standard could not however establish the amount of money that the government owed transporters.

However, the president of the Gambia Transport Union has informed The Standard that government has resolved to settle the money owed to the drivers in the shortest possible time.

“We have a contract with the government through the National Disaster Management Agency to transport this Covid-19 food package. Before time of [Koriteh], we owed some drivers some money and they came to us to help them with their daily lives. So, we engaged the government and according to the government 99 per cent of the drivers will receive their monies before the end of the day [Wednesday],” transport union president Omar Ceesay told The Standard.

He continued: “We understand the concerns but we must all realise that this is a national call. We all know this Covid-19 is a pandemic that’s why we pre-financed the transportation and we believe that at the end of the day, we are going to have our money back.”
The Standard could not confirm whether the drivers have got their monies as we went to press yesterday.