The Gambia’s self-anointed Pen is at last off the hook after a protracted legal battle with a government he had given his very best. Momodou Sabally was a former Secretary General and Presidential Affairs Minister before he fell apart with President Yahya Jammeh a year ago. What is the meaning of this last minute action by President Jammeh is anyone’s guess?
And as the old saying goes: when the rock and egg fight, the latter is left with cracks. Of course, Mr. Sabally became the egg. He was arrested, detained, shackled and forced to walk on the busy street of Quadrangle in Banjul. As if the punishment wasn’t enough or fit the crime, the Pen who defended Jammeh to the core was denied bail for months. In one his bail hearings, Sabally broke down explaining his patriotic intentions to stay for his country instead of working for international institutions. He was granted bail after a tough fight by his lawyers.
Sabally was later arraigned in court and slapped him with eight counts which include abuse of office and economic crime – charges that hang over all Gambian civil and public servants.
The dropping of charges against Mr. Sabally last week which follows a presidential amnesty will put a smile on his face and that of his family and friends. It has however left a dent on his character. An acquittal by the courts would restore some level of public confidence in him, even though his brand is no longer marketable.
We don’t have problems with the presidential amnesty, which is President Jammeh’s bonafide right, but doing so without offering proper explanation, especially when huge amount of taxpayer Dalasis were wasted is simply unjustifiable. So many fundamental questions need to be asked here: does the State think it will lose the case before the verdict is handed down? Were the charges slapped on Sabally to massage Oga Jammeh’s fast boiling ego? What exactly might have prompted the amnesty and why others in the same shoes are not considered? Is it done to recyle Sabally for the political season? The coming weeks and months will surely provide answers to the reasons for the government’s sudden about turn.