Wednesday, 10 April 2019

How Legal And Constitutional Was The Arrest Of John C.B Mendy?

I have to acknowledge the significance on the official launch of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) by President Barrow, on Monday, 15th October 2018, to unearth the alleged summary executions, disappearances, torture, rape and other crimes that purportedly happened during the Jammeh’s 22 years brutal rule.

However, readers could recall that on 19 and 20 March 2019 Mr John .C.B. Mendy appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and testified about many events including the 11 November 1994 incident. It was highlighted that ‘‘The Gambia Police Force was informed by the MoJ to arrest and detain Mr John C.B. Mendy who was attempting to leave the country on 2 April 2019, for Casamance in the southern region of Senegal through the Giboro/Sileti border crossing’’.

Moreover, a Press Release issued by the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday 2 April 2019. Reads; ‘Based on a totality of the evidence adduced before the TRRC so far, and in light of other available evidence in the possession of the TRRC, it was evident that Mr J.C.B. Mendy was “outrageously dishonest” in his testimony about his role in several incidents of violence’. Besides, Section 13(a) of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Act, 2017 has it that the objective of the commission is to create an impartial historical record of violation and abuses of human right from July 1994 to January 2017.

On a similar note; the release added ’‘Consequently, the Attorney General, in order to encourage truth-telling before the TRRC and strongly discourage any attempts to deliberately conceal the truth in the face of mounting evidence, recommended the immediate dismissal of Mr J.C.B. Mendy and requested the cooperation of his employers at The Gambia International Airlines (GIA) in this regard’’.

The question is how did the Ministry of Justice reach the conclusion that JCB Mendy was not speaking the truth when the said TRRC is still ongoing also was he the only one who lied under oath to warrant the recommendation of his dismissal?.

Furthermore, was any travel ban issued on any of the TRRC witnesses as opposed to Section 25 (2) of the 1997 Constitution? Which reads; Every person lawfully within The Gambia shall have right to move freely throughout The Gambia, to choose his or her own place of residence within The Gambia, and to leave The Gambia.

Surprisingly, Section 24 (3a) reads; every person who is charged with a criminal offence- shall be presumed innocent until he or she is proved or has pleaded guilty.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger/ Political Activist

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Thumbs Up To The Barrow Led Administration For Ratifying the AfCFTA.

Readers could recall that in January 2012 the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area by an indicative date of 2017 as per AU Agenda 2063.

On 21 March 2018 Africa’s leaders make immense history in Rwanda when they signed an agreement that will launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). At an extraordinary meeting of the Heads of State of the African Union convened by President Paul Kagame who used to be the Chairperson of the AU at that time.

Of recent news reaching us has it that The Gambia under the visionary leadership of President Adama Barrow through the National Assembly ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, meaning the bill now has the minimum number of ratifications needed to come into effect.

Albert Muchanga the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry upon hearing the news twitted; “Good news! The Parliament of The Gambia has APPROVED ratification of #AfCFTA Agreement making us meet the minimum threshold. “The AfCFTA market is being born and is one step ready for launch of its operational phase in July this year.

The African Continental Free Trade Area will also strengthen Africa’s position in global trade: “AfCFTA will make Africa one of the largest economies in the world and enhance its capacity to interact on equal terms with other international economic blocs.”. Said. H.E. Moussa Faki, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

It is believed that the AfCFTA will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion. Besides, in terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

Furthermore, the monumental objectives of the said AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union for a better Africa we want.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger /Political Activist

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

''Adviser Henry Gomez Should Desist From Misleading The General Public''.

Henry Gomez
As usual; today on my route to work around 700 hours as I tuned in to Star FM ‘‘Wakeup Gambia show’’ moderated by Pa Nderry Touray. Which happens to be one of my loving early morning shows as it enlightens me on current affairs and the activities in our motherland.

Readers could recall that Henry Gomez’s Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP) is one of those existing ghost political parties without representation in the National Assembly neither at the Council across the length and breadth of The Gambia with its slogan of ‘‘Moh Beah Ballou’’.

During the show Henry Gomez an adviser to the President and former Minister of Youth and Sports lamented on the achievements of the Barrow led administration and the stands of his political Party GPDP. He went further to highlight that President Barrow will serve his presidency term till 2021. He informed all that there is no shortcut to the presidency and any person willing to be president should wait till 2021 to join the wrestling ring.

When Journalist Pa Nderry asked Henry Gomez about his view as per the revocation of Ya Kumba Jaiteh’s nomination as a member of parliament. He was quick to validate that the revocation of her nomination is legal. However, Henry Gomez quoted a non-existence section of The Gambian 1997 constitution (321) to substantiate his claim.

Besides, when I heard of the utterance of the none existing section (321). So many things came to mind as I was dumbfounded, mystified and befuddled. The question is how can a person who has no idea about the supreme book of the land be an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief.

Ya Kumba Jaiteh
Furthermore, if Henry Gomez whose wish is to occupy the presidential seat is not familiar with the laws of the land then that tells how doomed we are as a sovereign nation. We expect Henry to give correct information to the general public especially with regards to matters that have to do with the constitution.

Meanwhile, President Barrow has nominated Foday Gassama to become the new nominated member of the National Assembly, replacing Ya Kumba Jaiteh who was yanked from the National Assembly. A press release issued by the Office of the President has it that President Barrow relied on section 88(1) (b) of the Constitution of The Gambia to effect the nomination of Gassama.

Blogger/Political Activist

Monday, 4 March 2019

Why Is The SIS DG Sow Exonerated, Is He Above The TRRC Act, 2017?

Following the official launch of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) by President Barrow, on Monday, 15th October 2018, to unearth the alleged summary executions, disappearances, torture, rape and other crimes that purportedly happened during the Jammeh’s era, a lot of compelling revelations that are heavily linked to Jammeh and especially his fellow Junta colleagues were brought to light. They were either disclosed by persons who voluntarily headed to the TRRC or at places visited by the commission, such as the headquarters of the State Intelligence Service (SIS), the onetime infamous intelligence institution which was blamed for human rights’ violations.

Upon the commission visit to the SIS, it was very certain to every QTV viewer that members of the commission could not hide their dismay at the way and manner in which the management their managed to allegedly tamper with the evidence of torture by renovating the places that hosted these incidents.

The last time I checked, Section 13(a) of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Act, 2017 has it that the objective of the commission is to create an impartial historical record of violation and abuses of human right from July 1994 to January 2017.

Besides, Section 36 (1) of TRRC, Act 2017, reads. A person who – (a) threatens or interferes with an informant or witness or (b) willfully obstructs or otherwise interferes with work of the Commission in the discharge of its function. Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million dalasis or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both a fine and imprisonment.

However, the TRRC was so quick to act on the case of ‘‘An ex-soldier and one of the ring leaders of the 1994 coup d’├ętat Yankuba Touray, who was arrested over the weekend and still in police custody for an attempt to tamper with justice. Meanwhile, police are searching for the former speaker of the National Assembly, Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay (FJC), who is currently out of jurisdiction for the same offence’’.

Readers could recall that; on a similar note as reported by the Foroyaa Newspaper on its February 19, 2019, publication. That, ‘‘Counsel Faal on behalf of the Commission, requested that the NIA should Endeavour not to tamper with the pieces of evidence found within, and emphasized that all structures within the NIA that are not rehabilitated, should be left as they are; that the Commission should be provided with answers to the evidence and their whereabouts, of those that have been already rehabilitated’’.

“Any structures that have been restructured by the SIS (NIA), you should be in a position to tell us what had actually happened. You have to tell the Commission how they were and what happened to them,” the Lead Counsel Faal told DG Sowe. (Foroyaa, 2019).

Furthermore, Section 202 (1) empowers a Commission of Inquiry to:

“(a) Make a full and impartial investigation into the matter in respect of which the Commission is established; and

(b) Furnish in writing a report on the results of the inquiry, including a statement of the reasons leading to the conclusions of the Commission.”

Additionally, Section 203 highlighted that “On receipt of the report of a Commission of Inquiry;

(a) The President shall within six months publish the report and his or her comments on the report, together with a statement of any action taken, or the reason for not taking action.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger/Political Activist

Thursday, 28 February 2019

No Matter How High The Walls Are Built Illegal Migration Cannot Be Stopped.

The last time I checked Illegal migration is a burning and hot topic in Africa. It is believed that lack of job opportunities and prospects is the main reason forcing a number of young people in search of greener pastures in the European Union (EU) countries via the Mediterranean, which many passed through hell before reaching their final destination.

Border and Coastguard Agency Frontex estimated that 150,000 people entered the EU through irregular crossings in 2018. That represents the lowest total since 2013 and is 92% below the peak recorded during the migration crisis in 2015. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) puts the number of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe last year at close to 142,000, most of whom made the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. (Laura, 2019).

Besides, Africa is blessed with natural resources that can be utilized to benefit the whole continent. However, poverty in Africa is the lack of provision to satisfy the basic human needs of certain people in Africa. African nations typically fall toward the bottom of any list measuring small size economic activity, such as income per capita or GDP per capita, despite a wealth of natural resources.

Furthermore, the question of leadership in Africa was first faced in the 1990s, during the start of the democratization of African States. The quality of leaders has become a major concern in the founding of the democratic process and its success. Besides, those leaders who supposed to oversee the affairs of the State turned to be murderers and looters of our minimal resources. This resulted in her young people running away from the continent.

However, the young people of Africa taught that one day her continent will produce leaders who have all that it takes to transform the continent and lead them to the promised land. Unfortunately, most Africa leaders lack the foresight to lead us to the promise land as per AU Agenda 2063.

The question is; how do our leaders sleep considering the monumental catastrophic faced by our young people via the Mediterranean to live a better life in the EU countries. That, the African leaders themselves failed to provide for its citizens. After decades of colonization, the young people of Africa taught that one day Africa will be the last place of hope on earth.

In conclusion, I submit to us that no matter how high the walls are built illegal migration cannot be stopped. Unless we desist from election looters who have no vision into public offices the continent will continue to lose her young people to the Mediterranean. I pray to Allah may the departed souls of the young people who died while trying to reach Europe rest in eternal peace. Amen!

Blogger/ Political Activist

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Gambia’s Independence Celebration Is Meaningless

The Gambia gained its so-called independence on 18 February 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, with Elizabeth II as Queen of The Gambia, represented by the Governor-General. On 24 April 1970, it became a republic within the Commonwealth, following a second referendum.

The last time I checked Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory.

However, The Gambia as a country cannot claim to be an Independence State when self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-support, self-sustenance, self-standing, self-government and access to healthcare remain a mystery. After 53 years from the struggle of the so-called Independence. Yet still, The Gambia as a nation cannot feed her citizens and access to communication is a challenge in the 21 Century.

Meanwhile, Independence Day should not be a day of clapping, dancing, singing and to hold abundant ceremonial extravaganzas, which are of course footed by poor taxpayers. Instead, it should be a day of ‘‘National Thinking Day’’ to reflect on our achievements and problems as a nation, think about how to get out of these problems with our own strength and reward those who make an amazing contribution to the cause.

Furthermore, it should also be a day which calls upon the nationalism of Gambians. One thing, we do not do as a country is to reward those who in diverse ways contribute their very best, even at the expense of their life, to help move The Gambia in front. Independence Day puts too much emphasis on the colonizers who left decades and whose legacy we have not yet succeeded to improve upon.

I submit to us that; The Gambia may no longer be ruled by Britain. However, a number of its economic policies are dictated by donors such as China and the European Union to a tiny extent, international corporations who have imposed neo-liberal policies which are totally against Pan-Africanism. Some of the policies that have been adopted have increased economic growth, but that growth has not trickled down to the common man.

In conclusion, I will advise President Adama Barrow, the Commander-in-Chief to use the money budgeted for Independence celebration to buy equipment, ambulances for our sinking and failed health care for a better Gambia we want.

Blogger/Political Activist

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

‘‘The Gambia Bar Association Should Desist From Hypocrisy’’

Rachael Mendy
The last time I checked its mission is to represent its members and contribute to the strengthening of participatory legal development, the rule of law and human rights standards in the Gambia. With a vision to seek an enlightened and transparent legal environment in The Gambia in which the rule of law is upheld, access to justice is assured and the protection and integrity of the legal profession is guaranteed.

Of recent, the president of the Gambia Bar Association Rachael Mendy speaking at the official opening of the 2019 legal year noted that PBYND was set up to promote the agenda of President Barrow. Therefore, “It is for this reason that we are opposed to the action taken recently to resuscitate the establishment of a youth movement based on a personal agenda. Such action can only result in the perpetuation of disunity among the youth who should now be encouraged to work in harmony incredible social activities.”

The said statement from the GBA President was not only unfortunate but disappointing since there are salient issues that the GBA should work on. The question is where was the Bar Association during the 22 years Jammeh’s brutal rule and when the NIA was turned into a torture chamber, when Solo Sandeng was killed and on April 10th and 11th, 2000 when 14 Gambian students were massacred when they held a demonstration against the regime of president Jammeh for alleged murder of Ebrima Barry and the rape of a Brikamaba school girl. Considering its mandate for a better country we want as per defending and upholding freedom, justice and the rule of law in The Gambia.

Furthermore, Article 2 (a) of the Constitution of The Gambia Bar Association reads; to maintain the standards, integrity, honour and independence of the Bar, to promote, preserve and improve the services and functions of the Bar, and to represent and act for the Bar generally as well as in matters affecting the administration of justice.

I might not agree with the mode of operations of the PBYND. However, its formation is constitutional and legally binding as it is a charitable organization said to be registered under the Companies Act 2013. Besides, Section 25 of Subsection 1 (e) of the 1997 Constitution granted all citizens the freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join associations and unions, including political parties and trade unions.

‘‘Rachael Mboge Mendy cannot use her position to pay political and she has no right and basis for her ill-judicial comment against the PBYNP. That statement doesn't fit in the mouth of someone promoting judicial independence and reconciliation, especially after knowing that PBYNP was a legally registered body’’. Said, Jeng.

Rachael should tell the sovereign citizens how she reached at the conclusion about the illegality and the unethical formation of the PBYND. The judicial sector should be the last resort of any democratic dispensation in the 21 Century. As well its decisions should not be politically motivated, either to promote the agenda of an individual/entity.

Blogger/Political Activist