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Friday, October 7, 2022

Ex-Sami chief says his ‘forced retirement’ is politically motivated

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By Omar Bah

The former chief of Sami District, who was notified of his retirement last week, has said the government’s decision might have been influenced by his refusal to campaign for President Barrow in December.

In a letter dated 4th August, the new Governor of CRR Ousman Bah informed Chief Jawla of his retirement effective 1st August.

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“On behalf of the president, the minister of local government and lands and on my own behalf I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your invaluable services rendered to the nation and your people during the period you served as head chief,” Governor Bah’s letter stated.

But reacting to the letter in a Standard exclusive, Chief Jawla who was reinstated by the Barrow administration after complaining that he was wrongly terminated by the Jammeh regime, said the government has “no justification” to send him into retirement.

He added that the decision came to him as a big surprise because the same government reinstated him in 2017.

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“I will be very disappointed if this decision is a punishment for my refusal to campaign for President Barrow in December or because I am Ousainu Darboe’s nephew. I want the government to provide me with answers,” Jawla said.

He added: “I am saying because in the past I am aware that I was reported many times to the former Governor Abba Sanyang (the present Minister of Local Government) and to the President for refusing to participate in politics. I refused to participate in politics because I was elected to serve all the people of Sami.”

He said his stand was legitimised by the President who himself told a meeting in Sami during the presidential election that chiefs have not been speaking in his political rallies because they want them to stay away from politics.

“But I was surprised that a few days after the president left Sami – the Governor’s office summoned all the chiefs to a meeting where they told us that they would want us to start campaigning but I refused,” he said. He said despite Ousainu Darboe being his uncle, he has never campaigned for him.

Chief Jawla said his retirement was “imposed and politically motivated.”

“There is no justification for them to send me into retirement when I am mentally and physically able to carry out my duties and responsibilities as required,” Chief Jawla said. “In fact, I never applied for retirement. So, it was not based on law or good practice.”

Chief Morro Jawla has been replaced by Mam Demba Jallow of Jalokoto village in CRR.

Meanwhile another chief, Jammeh KK Bojang of Kombo Central, has been retired and replaced by Dembo Juju Bojang.

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