I’d never heard of Baa Tambadou until his appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The two (nonpartisan) Cabinet appointments I was so excited about were his and D.A Jawo’s. One, the youth in Hon Tambadou and his record of service at the International Tribunals would impress any Gambian. D.A for his trade, as the Journalism fraternity had it the worst under Jammeh. And as we look to consolidate our democracy, media and media freedom is crucial. So I thought a journalist in cabinet is a huge declaration of intent.
My faith in Hon. Tambadou began to shake when he had a press briefing to give an update on the NIA9, where he told the world that his counterparts at the Interior/Police did Not consult his ministry. That they do not have the capacity to prosecute cases and no new cases will be heard until… I was shocked and disappointed for more reasons than one. A press conference was not the right platform to throw colleagues under the bus but most certainly not the place to spell dents on the State’s most high-profiled case thus far.
The subsequent presser where he gave update on the Ministry and announced the court order to freeze assets of the former president, the appointment of Solicitor General and appointment of a Special Prosecutor to take over the NIA9 case, restored a great deal of faith in him, his ministry and their resolve to pursue and have justice at the core of their pursuit of process and institutional reforms in his backyard.
What we’d seen and heard in the private conversation between a senior lawyer of the Prosecution team who happens to be a brother of the AG and the wife of the accused person, was a serious professional and ethical misconduct, though I do not believe any crime was committed. Hear me well!
Nobody is saying that AG Tambadou had done anything and should be found wanting for his brother’s rudimentary misconduct. At least I’m not. But the only reason Ba’s name is in this conversation was not necessarily because of his relationship with Sheriff, but for what Sheriff alleged the AG’s position is. That he does not believe or want the murder and murderers of Solo Sandeng prosecuted. That is troubling to me, and it still would have been had any member of the prosecution team or the AG’s Chambers said that about Hon. Tambadou. This has lessened my faith in the AG. I have deduced (wrong or right) that he is more enthused and passionate about the TRC than prosecution of alleged cases of crimes and injustices.
I’m mindful though, that Hon Tambadou did not do anything to arrive at that conclusion but his brother and a member of his team allowed for speculation and suspicion if not impugn his integrity. He said Baa is been compelled against his wish, to have the state pursue the slaining of a healthy, innocent man 24 hours after his broad day arrest; a murder that the State admitted to, with a body available. How and why would he not have been in for prosecution?
A prosecution counsel dirtied the AG. He threw out a disturbing and damn near confirmation of a TRC led by the AG being a lifeline for potential criminals.
Ba did nothing wrong, but his brother had put him in a position where the confidence reposed in him has been shaken in what looks like backroom deal intended to compromise a process. I’m sure Ba understands citizens’ concerns on that. To resign or stay on is something he would have to decide. That’s his control. But that confidences are shaken is legitimate. And he’d have his brother to blame for that.