By Tabora Bojang
The chairman of the TRRC, Dr. Lamin J Sise has offered a glimpse of how former UN chief Ban Ki-moon had reacted after former president Jammeh declared top diplomat, Fadzai Gwaradzimba persona non grata and asked her to leave Banjul within 24 hours in 2007 when she raised doubts about his bogus Aids treatment.
TRRC chairman Dr. Sise, who served as Chief of Staff for former UN secretary generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, said the situation really triggered ‘intense reactions’ in the UN as Mr. Moon threatened to suspend operations of all UN agencies in the country barely 24 hours after the expulsion of the diplomat.
“This situation was addressed the very next morning and it really got a difficult reaction within the United Nations. I was sitting with the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that very morning and what he had wanted to do was to close the entire programme of the United Nations in The Gambia. But he backed down a little bit after consideration and said he did not want to punish the entire Gambian population who are certainly not a party to Jammeh’s actions,” Sise said at the TRRC yesterday during the testimony of Dr. Assan Jaye, an international senior scientist.
According to chairman Sise, Ban Ki-moon then had to issue a statement condemning the expulsion of the UN representative after careful consideration over the consequences of withdrawing all UN programmes in The Gambia.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jaye, a celebrated doctor of international reputation and once at West African Research Collaboration Network who was then working at the Medical Research Council, confirmed that Jammeh’s so-called HIV/aids treatment was a ‘hoax’ and led to the untimely death of many Gambians.
“It was criminal and people who are not supposed to die have died,” he told the commission.
He explained that Jammeh had approached the authorities of MRC and urged them to partner in conducting clinical trials for his herbal medicines for the cure of asthma and hypertension.
He said the MRC wrote back to the president indicating that their mandate does not cover research on traditional medicine which he angrily reacted to and said he in fact did not want any support from the MRC.
He said the most ‘bizzare’ period for the MRC in the country came when he threatened to close its operations in The Gambia after it was announced on the BBC that they (MRC) is to participate in regional clinical trials for Ebola.
“He threatened that we should be closed. It was a difficult moment, we sought audience with him to explain our side of the story but he rejected the offer. We ended up sending him a letter and also solicited the support of some elders from Banjul and Christian Council, who approached him and the matter was resolved”, Dr. Jaye added.