A key surrogate of the UDP Momodou Sabally has come under a barrage of criticisms after he took to his Facebook page on Friday and lashed out at Mr Essa Faal, the lead counsel at the truth commission.
Mr Sabally wrote: “And when someone asked what was my opinion about Essa Faal upon the release of his closing statement at the TRRC, this was my response: ‘This dude is a prejudiced narcissist with no other intention but to use the TRRC as a platform to launch his personal political agenda using the misery of poor victims as a launch pad for his political adventurism.
‘Essa Faal is someone who himself was a tool of Yahya Jammeh at the ministry of justice in the early years of the AFPRC. For such a person to mount the moral high horse and constantly browbeat a selected group of witnesses while protecting others like Fatou Bom Bensouda at the same time; while the nation sits hypnotised, amazes me.
‘Let’s watch his next steps; it is only when he rolls out his grand egotistical agenda, that Gambians will understand what I predicted about Essa Faal when he shamelessly bribed a witness at the TRRC in the name of a land gift; and also pitted the unwitting public against the powers that be by preempting the outcomes of the TRRC’s work…
‘Essa’s reckless adventure is certainly going to mar the public perception regarding the TRRC. At the very least, Essa should have waited for a reasonable cooling period after the submission of the TRRC report before venturing into politics. But this is Gambia…”
Among the many who criticised Mr Sabally is the strident commentator Madi Jobarteh.
He said if the UDP wishes to be respected and taken seriously then it must ensure discipline and order in the conduct of its key party members.
He stated: “The recent unsavory comments by one of its chief propagandists Momodou Sabally against the person, reputation and dignity of the TRRC lead counsel Essa Faal is utterly repugnant and reprehensible!
“TRRC is a product of a national policy and its lead counsel did a professional job in the execution of that agenda. Hence to seek to unnecessarily, unprovokingly and falsely impugn the reputation of Essa Faal is to seek to undermine the entire national agenda for transitional justice, reconciliation and accountability.
“Sabally’s comments are the very poison that detractors of the entire transitional justice process in general need to damage the great work of the TRRC hence erode the gains and hopes for a true system change of the country! Such comments are what Jammeh loyalists and supporters would carry forward to pollute the trust and confidence of the Gambian populace that in fact the TRRC was a self-serving agenda of few people within the TRRC.
“Sabally’s comments are not only dangerous but are also inflammatory that could cause conflict in our society hence a clear abuse of freedom of opinion and expression! His comments are insulting to victims many of who went before the TRRC to pour out their ordeal, most of which are very private, before the world. No party should entertain such gross misconduct from any member.
Therefore the UDP leadership must come out to totally and completely condemn and distance itself from the despicable comments by Momodou Sabally against Essa Faal and TRRC! UDP must discipline Sabally without delay otherwise what UDP would be showing The Gambia is that it is a party in which indiscipline is a way of life!
“I call on UDP, if it truly considers itself a responsible party that is worthy of governing this country of ours to speak up without delay to condemn and dissociate itself from such tragic comments from a person who had in fact fully aided and abetted one of the most brutal regimes and immoral tin pot dictators on earth!”
Many senior members of the UDP including some executive members Have expressed their solidarity with Mr Faal and his work at the truth commission.
Mr Yankuba Darboe, the party’s deputy administrative secretary for media and communication clarified: “It needed to be clarified to some critics of the UDP that the opinions shared by Momodou Sabally against Essa Faal are entirely the personal opinion of Momodou Sabally and not that of the UDP. Thus, the distinction ought to be clarified such that it is not perceived as it is UDP versus Essa Faal, that match is not yet listed!
Certainly, if Essa Faal throws his hat into the politics of The Gambia, which is perfectly his constitutional right and entitlement, the match of UDP vs Essa Faal or Essa Faal vs UDP will almost certainly be an inevitability, but that is not yet the match of the day. Thus it is fair and accurate to limit the game to the teams playing on the day and not extend it to teams that have no part in the match of the day.
“Notwithstanding, Momodou Sabally is a member of the UDP and has never shied away from expressing the same either in private or public, but that does not translate to mean that his rights to freedom of expression is controlled and can be restricted or limited by the UDP. Neither are his personal opinions on issues to be viewed or perceived as that of the party position. He is perfectly entitled to his personal opinion, which we can agree to agree with or dislike but cannot deprive him of such opinions.
The UDP is one party that does not believe or encourage censorship or gagging of our supporters. I believe that has been evident enough in the past! The party instead encourages and embraces diversity of opinions and beliefs…
“The party’s position on TRRC is clear enough and cannot be distorted. For it supported the establishment of the TRRC, participated in it and commended its great job in unearthing the truths of persecutions of the Yahya dictatorship. The contribution of the lead counsel Essa Faal in that noble endeavour has never been and can never be trivialised.
The party is further committed to the implementation of the commission’s recommendations, if elected into government on 4 December 2021; even if that would be at the displeasure of some of its members or supporters or sympathisers.”