By Mustapha Darboe
The Gambian president has promised non-interference with the judiciary from the executive arm of the government as 6 Gambian judges took oath of office at the presidency on Tuesday.
Barrow said the judicial system continues to be Gambianized with qualified legal experts as number of women increased in the Superior Courts. He said the entire judicial system will be efficiently and professionally managed by qualified Gambians.
“Personality, integrity, professional ability and experience, are among the qualities required to maintain the quality of the Bench and Bar,” Barrow said.
“These qualities are critical to command respect, trust and preserve confidence in its competence and independence. I have no doubt that you all meet these criteria given the vigorous selection process undertaken prior to your appointments.”
Barrow describes law as bedrock for any society and the last line of defense for all citizens.
“The oath you all swore to today, requires justice to be done and you have pledged to do right to all manners of people according to law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” he reminded the judges.
Barrow said the new appointment is an attempt to Gambianise the judiciary that has been accused of corruption under the former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh.
The recent appointees all of whom are Gambians have brought the total number of judges appointed by Barrow to 8.
The recent appointment came on the hills of protest by the Gambia Bar Association for all the Nigerian judges who had reportedly served Yahya Jammeh to be fired, during which they boycotted all court proceedings.
All the judges swore to execute the functions of the office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will according to the Constitution and other laws of the Gambia before signing the oath book.
The Gambian leader has tasked the judges to maintain personality, integrity and professional ability on the bench.
The judges are: Justice Awa Bah, President of Court of Appeal, Justice Haddy Cecilia Roche as Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Basiru V.P. Mahoney as Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Kumba Sillah Camara as Justice of the Court of Appeal, Buba Jawo, Justice of Court of Appeal and Ebrima Jaiteh, Justice of High Court.
The oath of prescription is a constitutional requirement under 138 (4) before assuming the functions of office.
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, speaking on behalf of the sworn-in judges, said they are grateful for the appointment for the office of the justices.
“We are given the challenge. We will strive hard, work hard to our challenges and pray that our work is guided by justice. I thank His Excellency the President for giving us this opportunity and privilege to serve our nation. We are honoured and grateful and we shall live by the Constitution and other laws of the Gambia in duly executing our functions,” he assured.
Jaiteh emphasised the need for true qualities of an upright judge pointing out dignity, mercy, behaviour as he referenced a law book entitled ‘Family Law.’
Chief Justice of the Gambia Hassan B. Jallow informed that Justices Gibril B. Samega Janneh and Raymond C. Sock as judges of the Supreme Court were among the appointed judges. However, he said the duo did not take oaths because they were practising judges before.