The Gambia: Ba Marie Tambadou Resigned as AG & Minister of Justice
Mr. Abubacar Marie Tambadou oversaw as follows:
- Tambadou served Barrow administration for over 3 years that not only maintained every law in the books that Yahya used to abuse Gambians with the exception of few but also maintained government as was. They’ve since repealed/amended age-ceiling for President and Vice President and as well lowered election registration fees. They’ve also maintained 2 Ministries for education and others – got the point? Those constitutional amendments benefitted Ousainou Darbo and few others and not necessarily democracy. On the contrary, residency outside Gambia remained disqualifier for certain political participations. Remittances from this group accounts for 11% of our GDP. They also contributed immensely towards that victory that sent Yahya packing. Notwithstanding these are citizens with constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely move and locate as wish.
- Mile 2 & other incarceration centers: These facilities remained in squalid, degraded and inhumane conditions unfit for human dwelling. We’ve seen those conditions from pictures/videos after the familiarization visit of Mai Fatty as Interior Minister and Ba as AG & Minister of Justice on the early days of this administration. Sadly, our fellow citizens and others including detainees of conscience are still being incarcerated in these facilities. Treatment of those whose freedoms are legally restricted (or taken away) is another measure of a nation’s adherence to democratic ideals. This problem can be fix by dissolving Gambia National Army (Gambia truly don’t need a standing army) and re-assigned some of the vacant installations as detention centers and/or free many of the non-consequential inmates.
- Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission: Justice requires perpetrators of crimes account according to laws in the books at the times of the crimes. Instead Barrow with the aid of Tambadou choose a politically palatable so-called reconciliation over justice. They’re even paying victims with tax-payer dalasis. Gambians are billed for crimes they did not commit while the perpetrators are given warm-hand-shakes for the courage to come forward. This is a complete injustice not only to the victims but our nation at large.
- Kanilai & Faraba Banta Killings: Security agents of Mr. Tambadou’s administration allegedly shot and killed unarmed Gambians at the aforementioned villages. This matter was quickly swept under the rug – no proper (and/or independent) investigation. Except the numbers of victims these incidences are no different from April 10 & 11, 2000. This administration has repeatedly deployed armed agents at all kinds of citizen events.
- Constitutional Review Commission: Our desires for a new constitution were grounded on democratization and not for a welcome gift to Barrow. That process ought to be up and up. It should be democratic (the sovereign people of Gambia should write their constitution – at minimum our consent should be obtained) and wasn’t. It should be lawful and wasn’t. Both the National Assembly and President lack constitutional authority to repeal the existing constitution. The Act of National Assembly that authorized Barrow to set up CRC is unconstitutional. Nice try but it’s upending constitutionality. The process is also setting a bad precedence in that future administrations could rely on this to write a new constitution to their favor. Lastly, the quality of the draft proposal is at best the same as the one it supposed to replace or worse. It certainly did not advance institutional democratic dispensation. It reaffirmed centralized Banjul control.
- Police Check Points: Citizens are stopped, questioned and searched on average every 3 kilometers on public roads. For instance, Brikama to Banjul (about 36km/22 miles) has 11/12 mounted Police Check Points on a given day. They asked where we’re going, what we carry in our bags/pockets, what’s in the trunk of our vehicles and/or under the seats, etc. This is so prevalent nowadays some Police Officers living in road-side villages/settlements made their own stop-signs use during off-days (or off-hours) to line their pockets. We all know these and seemingly accept them. They’ve no probable cause in over 90% of these stops, searches and seizures. This is an unwarranted invasion of our constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy/dignity. They claimed these are necessary for a so-called national security. In an independent democratic republic, people’s rights are not perpetually suspended for some so-called national security. Good governments should (and can) provide relative security without infringing on our rights. History has that many state-sponsored abuses are perpetrated under the disguise of national security.
- Janneh Commission: Investigation(s) to determine truth whether named ‘commission’ or by public service auditors are always good. The problem with these named Investigative commissions doesn’t seem to be for truth but political endearment. It would be a hard sell if you remember the infamous Alkali Commission was about what the present Janneh Commission is looking at. The goals of such investigations into improprieties should always be:
- to determine wrong doings (or otherwise)
- recommend punishment of wrong doers (to deter repeat)
- recommend corrective measures (to prevent repeat)
Obviously, Alkali Commission and/or the aftermath failed otherwise there would be no need for Janneh Commission within a spread of about 2 decades. More importantly though the queries of Janneh Commission are the everyday activities of their own administration. For instance, Accountant General Office are still issuing memos to officials to open public bank accounts at all kinds of local banks/branches all over the country. In addition, every citizen should be concern over the cost of the commission versus what they are able to recover so far. It has to make economic sense otherwise it should not or do it in alternatives ways. We could also ask couldn’t these investigations be comprehensively done by public service audit officials. Don’t tell us they can’t. They should be fired immediately (take them off public payroll) if they can’t do their job.
- ECOMIG: This occupation ought to end immediately. We’re a sovereign nation. If an administration can’t rely on citizens – probably they don’t deserve to be the administrators
The effects of these failures are wasted 3 years that was anticipated to be democratic transition period – setting stage for a new horizon. Instead many conflated Barrow’s mild-manners to democracy. Democracy is not about an individual (good/bad/ugly) – that’s called autocracy. Democracy is instead the people, laws and institutions. Fast forward the CRC proposed draft as is did not advance democracy either but instead reaffirmed centralization of governance at Banjul and in the executive.
Burama FL Jammeh