By Omar Bah
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has written to the Inspector General of Police demanding explanation over the reinstatement of Gorgi Mboob as anti-crime boss.
Mr Mboob was removed as head of the police Anti-Crime Unit in July last year after he was accused of assaulting a detainee with a hoe on his private parts.
A joint investigative panel, including members of the NHRC, Tango, Ministry of Interior and Gambia Bar Association found him guilty of assault and recommended disciplinary measures against him, and he was later deployed to Farafenni as police commissioner.
However last week he returned as head of the Unit, a move that has caused controversy and anger among human rights defenders.
According to the NHRC boss Mr Emmanuel Joof, Mboob’s reinstatement has come as “a surprise” to his institution.
“We were surprised when we heard that he was brought back – we don’t know the circumstances surrounding his return and why because this is not just the NHRC talking, this was the police, Ministry of Interior, Gambia Bar Association and Tango talking.
This is why we have written to the Inspector General of police asking for an explanation. We are waiting for him to tell us and as soon as he responds, we will tell you,” he told journalists yesterday at a news conference.
Chairman Joof said the commission has also written to the government over the verbal exchanges between Ba-Kawsu Fofana and Musa Boto Saidy. The two Muslim leaders have been trading threats and bitter exchanges.
“These are worrying threads when you have incitement to kill people, incitement to violence,” he said.
Joof said Gambians have to understand that there has to be due process.
“We have rights but every right holder also has a duty and responsibility. We cannot encourage lawlessness or impunity and this is what everybody should stand for. If you are a religious leader, minister or the president you must know that nobody is above the law,” Joof said.
The human rights lawyer said the commission has closely monitored the voter registration process and has prepared a report which will be shared with the IEC and the public soon.
He said the NHRC had also engaged the electoral commission and discussed with them about the upcoming presidential election on measures that should be taken to ensure a peaceful and transparent election.
“Elections are very important because they legitimize the democratic process and if we do not get it right then we have a problem. If you look at the drivers of conflict in Africa, it mainly has to do with election disputes and this is the last thing we want to happen in The Gambia,” he noted.
Joof said the commission, concerned by the current political tension in the country, has started meeting party leaders to engage them on the need to counsel their supporters to avert the issues of hate speech.
He said the commission has already met NPP’s President Adama Barrow, UDP’s Ousainu Darboe, GFA’s Bakary Bunja Dabo, CA’s Dr Ismaila Ceesay and they will meet all the other political party leaders.
Commenting on the TRRC, Joof described as “very sad” attempts by some individuals to rubbish the efforts of the truth commission.
“How can you promote reconciliation and healing when you are a group that is not only in self-denial but mocking victims and their families? So we have to be very careful on that line or else we will never have healing,” he said.
He said people should allow the TRRC to complete its work and submit its report to the president.