The Gambia’s former Vice Present Sheriff Mustapha Dibba did what would remain reverred any time the history of the country is written or spoken. Mr. Dibba tendered his resignation on September 15th 1972 when his brother Kutubo Dibba was involved in butut scandal. As a member of cabinet Sheriff was neither aware of the scandal nor an accomplice of it. Even former President Jawara was convinced about his innocence. Mr. Dibba was concerned about the effect of the scandal on his dignity and the distraction that would follow and took the honourable decision to resign. This decision, which took place over four decades ago, was meant to teach Gambians that public officials must remain role models and where their reputation or public confidence of their office is at stake they should honourably resign. The case of Tambadou brothers – Abubacarr (Baa), Justice Minister and Sheriff, Prosecutor – should in fact deserve more attention than that of Kutubo who was only a private citizen at the time of his scandal. Sheriff Tambadou’s comments in a leaked social media audio that “left to Baa alone, Yankuba Badjie and the 8 former spy agents would not be prosecuted for the murder of Ebrima Solo Sandeng” are worrying, disturbing and implicative. The comments have left the Tambedou brothers with no choice other than relinguishing their positions, which will restore dignity of their respective offices. But the question that remains is whether Baa Tambadou will muster the courage to ply on Sheriff Dibba’s road by publicly condemning interference of a case before the courts as well as tendering his resignation. Sheriff Tambadou’s leaked recorded conversation with Ndura J. Badjie, Yankuba Badjie’s wife exposes serious vulnerability of our public officials. This New Gambia requires extract carefulness or cautiousness on the part of public officials. Those who refuse to guard their words and actions will soon become victim of smartphone.
Throughout history, men will forever be judged by their actions. Clearly, Sheriff Tambedou’s comments have convinced observers that the Tambadou brothers have some skeletons hidden in their cupboard. Let’s remember Sheriff’s leakage seems to have authenticated Baa’s reluctance to support Solo Sandeng’s case. The brothers have had their hands dirtied already. We are therefore waiting for both of them to do what honourable people do. Attorney General and Justice Minister of any country is too important to be compromised for any reason.
We reproduce below Sheriff Dibba’s 1972 resignation letter and former President Jawara’s reply. Thank you Mr. Dibba for leaving behind a high standard legacy.
No. 1 Marina Parade
Bathurst, The Gambia
15th September 1972
Dear Sir Dawda,
You informed me during the course of our discussion on 13th September, that preliminary Police enquires have revealed that the Land Rover involved in the recent smuggling incident, collected my brother (who was onboard the vehicle at the time it was arrested in the Republic of Senegal) at No. 1 Marina Parade and that the contraband goods impounded by the Senegalese Authorities were allegedly loaded into the Land Rover at the said premises.
I would like to assure you that I stand high among all Gambians in condemning this shameful crime which had not only caused serious embarrassment to your Government, but to my humble self and it is my view that all the culprits should be brought to justice.
In view of the circumstances on this matter, I have regrettably decided to resign from the office of Vice President, in accordance with Section 46(c) of the constitution with effect from today. In taking this decision, I wish to inform you that I have no knowledge of this crime when it was being committed, and that I wish to declare my innocence.
Finally, I would like to thank you, and all my colleagues in the Government for the way in which all of you co-operated with me in the execution of my duties as Vice President and leader of the House of Representatives and you can continue to rely on my loyal support for the Party and Government.
Yours very sincerely,
(SGD) SHERRIFF M. DIBBA
President Jawara’s reply
SIR DAWDA K. JAWARA,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPIBLIC OF THE GAMBIA,
BATHURST, THE GAMBIA.
THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE,
BATHURST, THE GAMBIA.
15TH SEPTEMBER 1972.
I have received your letter of 15th September 1972 in which you informed me that in view of the serious embarrassment caused to the Government by the involvement of a member of your family in a recent smuggling incident, and considering that the contraband items were alleged to have been loaded on a vehicle at No. 1 Marina you have decided to resign from office of Vice President with effect from 15th September 1972.
With much reluctance I accept your resignation. I appreciate the dedication and high sense of responsibility to the Nation which has prompted this difficult decision on your part, and I can assure you that I have no doubts as to your innocence. I hope therefore in consonance with your pledge of loyal support for the Party and Government you will continue serve as Minister of Finance. In keeping with the usual practice in these matters, I am publishing your letter and my reply for the information of the public.
(SGD) DAWDA K. JAWARA,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA