Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard yesterday, the Kiang-born, Lamin-based head chief asserted: “Ousainou Darboe is entitled to his opinion but for him to say that chieftaincy in this country has lost value because it is politicised is not true. For over 400 years of British rule, chieftaincy has never been more vibrant and relevant to the needs of people than it is today. It is in the regime of President Jammeh that chiefs were given their rightful place in society and empowered to serve the needs of their people. Chiefs are now more than ever before closer to their people and know their needs which they are working hard to solve. Darboe is just making false allegations.
“Even if I and other chiefs wear APRC ashobee, that does not have an adverse effect on the fairness and integrity of our tribunal judgments. When it comes to the discharge of our judicial functions, everybody is equal before us and we don’t consider cases based on political affiliation because we have been appointed to serve all our people. The chiefs are doing a great job to support the development projects of our leader as patriotic Gambian citizens”.
When put to mind of Darboe’s claim that he (the paramount chief) used to mobilise other chiefs and local authorities to campaign for APRC, he replied with a tinge of exasperation: “If I support and campaign for APRC that is my civic right as a Gambian enshrined in the Constitution of The Gambia. Are chiefs not Gambians? Don’t we have civil rights which we are entitled to exercise? That’s our civic right and we will exercise it to support the development of this country by President Jammeh and his government. We are fully behind him and we shall not waver in our support for him which does not affect the fairness of our tribunal decisions. How can we lose value when we are attending to the needs of our people and doing our best to contribute to the development of the country? No, what Mr Darboe said is just not true.”]]>