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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Letters to the Editor

Gambianization of the judiciary: step in the right direction

Dear editor,

The news of the appointment and elevation of eight Gambians in the superior courts of the Gambia and to the judiciary meant that the current Government is determined to have Gambians at all level of the Bench. The Government and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) have taken a right decision which will reinforce confidence in the Gambianization process of the Judiciary.

The appointed judges are Justice Gibril B Semega Janneh (Justice of the Supreme Court), Justice Raymond C Sock (Justice of the Supreme Court), Justice Haddy Cecilia Roche (Justice of the Court of Appeal), Buba Jawo – Esq. (Judge of the High Court) and Ebrima Jaiteh – Esq. (Judge of the High Court). The justices who were already on the bench but elevated are Justice Awa Bah (President of the Gambia Court of Appeal), Justice Basiru VP Mahoney (Justice of the Court of Appeal) and Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara (Justice of the Court of Appeal).

Appointment of judges is regulated by the Constitution of The Gambia. Section 139 of the Constitution laid down the qualifications a person must have before been appointed a judge in the superior courts. Section 139 (1) – (4) enunciated the qualifications to possess before been appointed into the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court. Basically, the qualifications are anchored on the length of practice as a judge and/or number of years after call to the bar.

Perusing the curriculum vitae of the appointees, all of them have met the qualifications required by the Constitution for appointment. They have proven records of length of practice on the bench and at the bar. Thus, their call to serve in the last bastion of hope for the common man is commendable.

The appointments of the justices of the Supreme Court complete the roll of the required number of judges to sit as full bench. All of the justices are Gambians except one who hailed from the Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian Judge’s appointment is also anchored on s.139 (5) of the Constitution which allows a non-Gambian “to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court if he or she holds or has held office as a judge of the Court of appeal, or as a judge of a court having similar Jurisdiction in a common law country.”

Functional courts in a democracy serve as catalysts for peace, development and justice. While courts regulate relationships between people, patterns of behavior acceptable to the law and uphold the values of society, a judge’s role is to understand the purpose of law in society and to help the law achieve its purpose. I believe that the appointed judges and the Government are fully aware of these sacred duties.

As I applauded the Judicial Service Commission and the President for appointing these impeccable men and women to the exalted office of justices, I wish to remind them to always invoke section 141(5) and (6) in removing judges. The constitutional requirements to be followed in removing a judge as underlined in the aforesaid section must be followed to the letter. Judges must have secured tenure of office and may “only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his or her judicial office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, or for misconduct.”

The JSC and the President must also begin to recruit judges from among the lower court benchers who have achieved the qualifications mentioned in section 139(4) of the Constitution. That will ensure continuity on the bench and possibly minimize brain drain in the lower courts.

Similarly, I call on the JSC to institute a rigorous recruitment process using public hearing before they make recommendation for appointment. This process will produce fit and proper persons who would have passed the test of public scrutiny. The JSC must be enlarged for wider representation and may learn from other jurisdictions for bench-marking.
Finally, I wish the Lords happy and memorable tenure.


Sulayman Junkung Jobarteh


Health risk associated with ataya

Dear editor,

Almost every household and workplace has a designated corner and apparatus used in brewing this amazing substance. To some it brings togetherness and for others, it’s a source of fun and happiness especially the early morning glass.

A cross sectional survey conducted in two WhatsApp groups with different personnel indicates that 90% speaks about the three. Togetherness, happiness and health risk.

Togetherness is what exposes individuals to most health risk associated with ataya in a way that one little glass will be used by a group of people with different health conditions and possibly even a passerby without a single sterilisation method. Communicable diseases such as TB can be promoted.
On the other hand togetherness brings about happiness in one way or the other.

Here comes the worst attitude towards ataya which is the fortification and over concentration of the substance especially among youths (boys). This brings about pancreas depletion which makes individuals susceptible to diabetes. Over concentrated sugar requires lots of insulin to be converted to normal glucose which the body requires. Constant exposure to this menace may cost you a pancreatic damage or insulin under secretion.
The good advice is: avoid fortifications and sugar boiling to remain safe.

Ousman Bah

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