Last week was tumultuous along Marina Parade Boulevard in Banjul. Earlier in the week, a tape surfaced online of a surreptitiously recorded conversation between special prosecutor Sheriff Tambadou and the cunning wife of President Jammeh’s former spy chief and head of the discarded NIA.
Her husband along with several of his former operatives, are standing trial charged with the murder of then-opposition, party UDP youth leader. The death in custody of the man was the catalyst that set in motion a chain reaction of events culminating in the ouster of the dictator Yahya Jammeh. And the UDP-led government wasted no time in diligently prosecuting the accused.
Sheriff Tambadou has had a long distinguished career as a wig man and together with his brother, Aboubacarr Tambadou, now Attorney General and Justice Minister, played a leading role in ridding The Gambia of the APRC misrule. Sheriff as president of the Gambia Bar Association, famously volunteered to swear in president-elect Adama Barrow as the third president of The Gambia in the Gambian Embassy in Dakar when Jammeh refused to release his stranglehold on to power and remained entrenched behind his parapets at the State House in Banjul when his mandate formally elapsed.
As a man and as a barrister, he was a gentleman of the first order and it was natural that he was selected by the honourable Antouman Gaye, the chief special prosecutor, to join the team. As publicly stated, he met with the wife of Yankuba Badjie to discuss terms of striking a plea bargain. But the wily woman had other ideas. She attended the ‘privileged’ discussion with the intent of leading the discussion, controlling the narrative, trying to launder the soiled image of her detained husband, unethically recording the conversation and peddling it to Pa Nderry M’Bai and others online in a bid to discredit the prosecutor and the case.
Unwittingly for her, she may have aggravated things. It may turn out to be a case of the law of unintended consequences. The few unguarded remarks made by Mr Tambadou to the woman he showed empathy which she deserved none, will be only a blip in an otherwise stellar career. His reputation will not be besmirched and he will be regarded by all fair-minded Gambians as a patriot, good Muslim and outstanding lawyer whose doors were always opened to supplicant.
It is unbelievable how people can allow their Daniel to rush to judgement even before they get the clear fact of issues. The online clamour from these Gambian ‘netizens’ condemning Sheriff and calling for his brother the Justice minister to go, was ill-thought, presumptive and unfair to the two men, the Barrow government and the new Gambia we are all trying to sculpt.
But being the honourable men they are, the two men did what any honourable person would do. Sheriff recused himself from the prosecution team and Minister Tambadou tendered his resignation to President Barrow. And the president rightly rejected the latter! Who is here in The Gambia, apart from the chief justice, better placed at this juncture, with the experiential knowledge, drive and fortitude to lead the ministry in the post-AFPRC/APRC Gambia?
Well done, Sheriff. Well done Aboubacarr. You are upright men and The Gambia is proud of you!