By:- DR. Henry D.R. Carrol (M.R.G.),
Senior Oxford-Trained Lawyer, Solicitor
General Emeritus Of The Gambia & Founder
Senior U.T.G. Law Lecturer (From 2007 to Date).
I invite reference to Mr Madi Jobarteh’s latest hilarious interview published in the Friday, 3 May 2019 publication of The Standard. He was ably interviewed by Mr Alagie Manneh, and it was nice and entertaining, although a totally unacceptable brainstorming session. Mr Jobarteh should know that if he publishes an interview or writes an article, this puts the matter in the public domain. Therefore any member of the public would indeed have locus standi (legal standing), to fittingly reply to that published matter for the public good. Intellectual mediocrity is very unacceptable.
Do you play kora?
Mr Jobarteh’s reply to the aforesaid question, was as follows: “…No, I don’t play kora. I love it though, but I don’t consider myself a jali, because I don’t believe in feudalism…” The kora is a 21-string bridge harp, used extensively in West Africa, by griots or jalis, for their trade. “Feudalism” is defined by Google as: “The dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from The Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the noble, while the peasants (villains or serfs), were obliged to live on their lord’s land, and give him homage, labour and a share of their produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.”
Quic quid plantatur solo solo cedit (Latin: What is attached to the land, is part of the land). Google also defines ‘medieval’ as: “In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or Medieval Period) lasted from the 5th to the 15th Century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and merged into The Renaissance and The Age Of Discovery, or “The Age Of Exploration”, from 15th to 17th Century.” During this period, Christopher Columbus, the famous Italian explorer, discovered North America on 3rd August 1492.
But West Indian singer, Mr Winston Rodney, alias Burning Spear, regrettably sang: “Christopher Columbus is a liar.” In Mandinka, jali means “a praise singer or a griot”, and in Wolof, it is called gewel. Therefore, when Mr Jobarteh, in his reply to the aforesaid question said: “…but I don’t consider myself a jali because I don’t believe in feudalism…”, he was therefore manifesting, both historical and linguistic bankruptcies, because: (1) Firstly,” Feudalism”, as authoritatively defined above, was never ever practised anywhere in our beloved African continent, The Gambia is part of the said continent; (2) Secondly, by his aforesaid misleading statement, Mr Jobarteh was committing, what is called in the Queen’s English, malapropism (i.e. using a word in a wrong linguistic context). The word malapropism, emanated from an interesting character called, Miss Malaprop, in a famous comedy, titled The Rivals authored by Richard Sheridan (an Irish ), around 1775. Mr Jobarteh was therefore very ignorant, of the mammoth linguistic difference between feudalism and the African caste system. “Knowledge is power, and the pen, is mightier than the sword,” as the famous adage goes.
Did Madi Jobarteh emerge from a griot or jali family?
When Mr Manneh asked him: “Your last name is Jobarteh, are you from a jali or griot family?”, his reply was: “Yes, traditionally.” When he later asked him: – “Do you play the kora?”, he inter alia replied: “No I don’t play kora…but I don’t consider myself as a jali…” Here Mr Jobarteh, is wrongly portraying himself as a person who is very ashamed of his tradition and culture, this was very unfortunate and unacceptable. A famous adage reads: “What you are speaks so loudly, therefore I do not hear, what you are pretentiously saying about your self.” Res ipsa loquitor (Latin: The thing speaks for its self). The late Mr Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr (UMH), a Jamaican-born political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur and orator, and the first president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, once rightly said: “A people, without the knowledge of their past history, culture and origin, is like a tree without roots.” Section 32 of The Gambia’s 1997 Constitution, guarantees or protects “the right to culture”, with an entrenched clause. What Mr Jobarteh said was therefore a self-violation of his “right to culture.
” Volenti non fit injuria (Latin: The law does not provide a remedy for people who voluntarily or negligently accept risks). If every animal in Animal Farm wants to unilaterally do away with or to discard his or her tradition and culture, then there will be no Animal Farm. “All animals are equal, but some are more equal, than others”, as the celebrated English novelist, Eric Arthur Blair, alias George Orwell (pen name), rightly said in his masterpiece novel titled, Animal Farm. May be the said Mr Blair, is related to Mr Tony Blair, a former Prime Minister of the UK, who made a televised brief state visit to His Excellency, President Adama Barrow, at the State House on Friday 1st April 2017. Mr Jobarteh, should be urgently lectured on unity in diversity, which is indeed an indispensable hallmark, for peaceful co-existence, or symbiotic relationships, among civilised human beings. Madi Jobarteh wrongly said: “We are a republic, and in a republic, all citizens are equal.” This is constitutionally false, for example Section 62 (1) (a) of the Constitution says: “A person shall be qualified for election as President if 🙁 a) he or she is a Citizen of The Gambia, by birth or descent.” This automatically means that, all other types of Gambian citizens, (i.e. by naturalization, by marriage to a Gambian citizen etc), are not qualified for election as president. Expresssio unius est exclusio alterius (Latin: What has been expressly stated by the law, excludes what has not been stated). This powerful and very relevant Latin maxim, is an important aid for statutory and constitutional interpretations, to decipher “Parliament’s/National Assembly’s intention.” The Holy Bible says: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
Was FLARE the first indigenous human rights organisation in The Gambia?
Mr Jobarteh wrongly said: “…Together with friends, we have this organisation called FLARE, Foundation for Legal Aid, Research and Empowerment… considered to be the first indigenous human rights organisation.” This is obviously a cock and bull story because before FLARE was registered at the Attorney General’s Chambers & Ministry of Justice on 9th March 2011, as a charitable human rights organisaton, other indigenous human rights organisations, were already in existence, and fully operational in The Gambia. For example, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), which is both a regional and an indigenous human rights organisation in The Gambia, because: (1) It was brought into being by an indigenous law (i.e. an Act of our then Gambian Parliament in 1989, and (2) Secondly, the first Gambian executive director of the ACDHRS, was a distinguished indigenous Gambian lawyer, Mr Raymond Claudius Sock (ORG), a Solicitor General Emeritus, a former Acting Lord Chief Justice of The Gambia and now deservedly, a judge of The Gambia Supreme Court, our apogee or zenith court, which replaced the perennial Her Majesty’s Privy Council, in London, in 1997.
Madi Jobarteh’s chequered work experience
A rolling stone gathers no moss, as the adage goes. Mr Jobarteh said he had worked for Radio Gambia, the UN, GRA and Tango. He said our immediate past Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, made him to stop working at both Radio Gambia and GRA, but he didn’t tell us why he stopped working at the UN? Was he being economical with the truth?. I presume, that he is still working at Tango.
Has Madi Jobarteh locus standi to hold leaders of political parties accountable?
The obvious answer to this important question is NO. Mr Madi Jobarteh wrongly said: “…They have all come to attack me on that base, because they don’t like anyone to hold their parties or leaders to account.” My two relevant questions are: to account to whom? and to account for what? I am putting it to Mr Madi Jobarteh, that if he is not a member of a certain registered political party, if he has not paid his membership subscription of that particular party, he would not have any locus standi to hold either those political parties or their leaders to account, because he didn’t vote those honourable leaders into their respective high political offices. He is indeed, “a meddlesome interloper”, as my learned junior and learned friend, Mansour Jobe, a state counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers & Ministry of Justice, and the able Deputy Director Of Research And Investigation at The TRRC, would rightly say, and I concur with him in toto ab initio (Latin: altogether from the beginning).But Honourable Mr Alhaji Mommar Njai, the brave, honest and God-fearing chairman of the IEC, can constitutionally and legally hold both the said leaders and the said parties to account. He has recently and legally suspended the NCP, for illegally organising two congresses.
Was President Adama Barrow destined by God to be our third Gambian president? The obvious answer to this important theological and philosophical question is Yes. As a senior Canadian-trained theologian, let me quote, what is authoritatively stated in the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 1, Verse 5 (Holy Bible), where God says: “I have known you, before I formed you, in your mother’s womb.” Therefore before President Barrow was born into this world, God had infallibly decreed, that he will certainly be our third Gambian president, after our political independence, from the UK on 18th February 1965, under the able leadership of His Excellency Mr David Kwesi Jawara, the then Gambian Prime Minister. Predestination, is one of the six pillars of faith in Islam. Mr Jobarteh must fully respect this, he must not merely pay lip service (insincere approval) to it. This is monumental intellectual dishonesty.
Did God play any part in removing ex-president Yahya Jammeh, and the election of Adama Barrow as President-Elect?
Mr Jobarteh wrongly said: “…God did not make Adama Barrow president. God did not remove Yahya Jammeh as president, we the people of The Gambia did…” Firstly, it should be pointed out in crystal clear terms, Adama Barrow was an independent candidate and simultaneously or contemporaneously, the presidential candidate or flag bearer of a coalition of eight registered Gambian political parties, dubbed “Coalition 2016”, which, by God’s grace clearly defeated, the former president, Yahya Jammeh, at the aforesaid free and fair presidential election, and this was confirmed beyond all reasonable doubt by international political observers, who were then in the country.
“Seeing is believing”, as the famous adage goes. Secondly, the laconic phrase, “we the people of The Gambia did”, was constitutionally and legally wrong. It should be: “we the Gambian electorate did”, because not every Gambian is constitutionally and legally eligible to vote. Vox populi, vox Dei (Latin: The voice of the people, is the voice of God). This incontrovertible legal analysis, is also fully applicable to the popular slogan, “Gambia Has Decided”, coined by my learned junior, Mr Salieu Taal, in 2016, during the presidential election on 1st December. I have already clearly told him this, during a World Press Freedom Day celebration at the Tango Conference Hall, two years ago. “…He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted the humble..”, from Luke Chapter 1, Verse 52, The Song Of Mary (The Magnificat), The Holy Bible. “Say O Allah Lord Of Power And Rule, thou givest power to whom thou pleasest, and thou strippest off power from whom thou pleasest. Thou enduest with honour whom thou pleasest, and thou bringest low whom thou pleasest”, from Chapter/Sura Ali Imram (ie Family of Imran, a notable Jew), The Holy Qur’an. I am very grateful to my good friend, Alhaji Kebba Njie of No 21 Independence Drive, Banjul, (formally called “Clifton Road” in Colonial Gambia, after British Governor Clinton), for providing me with appropriate and powerful quotations from The Holy Qur’an, for this article. What Mr Jobarteh said was blasphemy, both a Common Law and a Shariah offence (i.e speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things…) In Saudi Arabia, Mr Jobarteh would have been mercilessly stoned to death publicly (i.e. the death penalty or), except if His Majesty King Mohammed Bin Salman, (Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques), pardoned him, by evoking his Royal Prerogative of Mercy.
Should His Excellency, President Barrow rule The Gambia for 3 or 5 years? Madi Jobarteh wrongly said for three years, for very bogus and unacceptable reasons. Even though the Coalition Agreement /Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), wrongly said for three years, President Adama Barrow shall, by God’s grace or ceteris paribus (Latin: all things being equal), rule The Gambia for five years, because Section 63 (1) of the Constitution, clearly and authoritatively says so. Also when President Barrow was being sworn into office at the Independence Stadium, in Bakau by Honourable Lord Chief Justice Mr Hassan Jallow (CRG), on 18th February 2017, one of the three oaths, was for him “to uphold and defend the Constitution, and other Laws of The Gambia, so help me God.” I was present as a competent and compellable witness by God’s grace. Since the concerned leaders of the eight Gambian political parties which formed “Coalition 2016” with Honourable Adama Barrow, an independent candidate as its able presidential candidate or flag bearer mistakenly did not sign the written MoU, they will therefore not be able to benefit from the contract defence of non est factum (Latin: not my deed), Gallie Vs Lee (1970), later named Saunders Vs Anglia Building Society. “Equity aids the vigilant, but not the indolent”, as the Equity maxim goes. Ex turpi causa non oritur actio (Latin: no right or benefit, can be derived from an illegal action). This is the equivalence of the famous Equity maxim: “He who comes to Equity, must come with clean hands.” I rest my case.
The author Dr Henry DR Carrol (MRG), solicitor general emeritus of The Gambia, senior Oxford-trained lawyer and founder senior UTG Law lecturer, 2007 to date.