By Omar Bah
In his “farewell sermon” as minister of justice, Abubacarr Tambadou could not leave without taking a last dig at his biggest critics, the leadership and members of the former ruling party, APRC.
Addressing the press on Friday at his chambers in Banjul, the outgoing attorney general blew his last reveille and told the APRC to wake up from the dream that former president, Yahya Jammeh, will return and make a political comeback.
He stated: “I am aware that my principled position on former president Jammeh has not endeared me to his supporters and sympathisers, and to them I say, Jammeh belongs to the past, so wake up from your dreams of a Jammeh political comeback and move on with your lives.
“Jammeh has caused too much pain and suffering to the people of this country throughout his 22-year reign of terror as the TRRC keeps revealing. He has during this period destroyed the innocence and soul of Gambian society with the sheer brutality of his crimes, and for this, he will be brought to account someday here or abroad. He will surely have his day in court.”
“To the victims of human rights violations and abuses during 22 years of Jammeh’s rule, you will get justice. I have always had you in mind at every stage of our transitional justice process and I have been committed and dedicated to your cause since the first day I was appointed. I know that there have been difficult moments for you and your families in this process and I can only assure you that it will not have been in vain,” he added.
Tambadou who refused to take questions from journalists said he resigned based on personal reasons, since 1st June 2020.
He said although he was saddened to leave office at a critical juncture of the country’s transition, but was consoled that he left behind “a capable team of committed and dedicated personnel whose institutional knowledge and experiences will ensure that these ongoing activities remain on course and on the right track.”
He said since his appointment he had established a panel which reviewed a total of 241 ongoing criminal cases involving304 accused persons and discontinued prosecutions in 36 cases involving 86 accused persons on the basis of insufficient evidence.
“It is expected that a new voter registration exercise and a constitutional referendum will be conducted at least six months before next year’s presidential election,” he said.
“The biggest threat to our peace and fledgling democracy is misinformation. I implore the media to be mindful of your critical role in a fragile democracy such as ours. Do not turn your supporters in government against you by your actions. Do not, under the guise of freedom of expression, ruin the lives and reputations of others simply because you can.
“In small communities like ours in this country, the consequences of publishing false information can be devastating. The people you write about have families too, their kids go to school with other kids, their spouses interact with others at work and other public places. By all means, expose corruption and corrupt practices in government, but I encourage you to do so with facts, and to be fair some of you do to your credit,” he said.
He urged journalists “not allow those with a partisan political or narrow personal agenda to use them to smear others because when you do, you will also discourage honest and hardworking Gambians from accepting to serve in public office and consequently deprive this country of the best human resource talent that we need to develop our country.”
“Notwithstanding, it is refreshing to see a vibrant media and an active press corps in the country nowadays, and I in particular, wish to take this opportunity to say well done. But in your hands lie the stability of this country. Be responsible about it,” he said.