I choose not to say ‘in defense of Madi Jobarteh’, because the threat to freedom of expression in the Gambia affects all of us, including those in the government. The attack on the inalienable rights of Madi Jobarteh last week, does not only remind us of the dark days of Yahya Jammeh, it sure is a harbinger of an intolerable future — something that all well-meaning Gambians must condemn and demand an immediate end to such absurdity. How could a citizen’s call for an investigation in the death of their fellow citizens be a crime in a country that recently terminated a dictatorship?
I hereby call on the Inspector General Police and the newly appointed Attorney General and minister of Justice, to immediately drop all the bogus charges filed against Madi Jobarteh.
I hereby also call on our compatriots, those who were once champions of democracy and rule of law, and are currently in the government, to resign. Ebrima Sillah, information minister, and Ebrima Sankareh, government Spokesperson, should resign their posts. I cannot see how the gentlemen could hang onto their jobs and watch silently as the democratic gains made thus far continue to wither away. It’s only honorable for people of good character to dissociate themselves from corrupt and indefensible acts, especially if one’s task is to speak for a government that is continuously failing in its obligations.
In Madi Jobarteh’s possible trial
For the IGP to prove that Madi’s statements were false, the prosecutor must prove:
1. That Haruna Jatta was not killed by a security officer,
2. That an investigation report on the killing of Haruna was released to the public and/or to his family,
3. That Ousman Darboe was never arrested by the Anti-Crime Unit and/or was not rushed to the hospital from detention by the officers,
4. That the coroner’s report was made public,
5. That up to Saturday 27th June 2020, the officers who were alleged to have killed Kebba Secka were put on trial before the courts, and
6. That the Government of the Gambia had provided information on who killed Haruna Jatta and the legal consequences for the killer; who received the coroner’s report on Ousman Darboe; and in which courts the alleged killers of Kebba Secka were arraigned.
The possible trial could provide answers to the questions that were consistently asked by the families of the deceased persons and the APRC, University of The Gambia, and the Sierra Leonean community in the Gambia.
The police must advise itself properly, drop the charges, and inform the public about what it had done since the killing and death of the trio.