By BB Sanneh
Spiritual minds wondered and lingered in limbo for 22 years as to why this beautiful country lost its moral and basic values to a state of tyranny and oppression. It is barely six months since the dictator was ousted but our comportment since then could not have better explained and rationalized this fundamental question.
Hajaj bin Yusuf who became famous as the most tyrannical and oppressive ruler of the Umayyads executed 125,000 men including Sa’id bin Zubair, Abdullah bin Zubair et al., as a result the learned and peaceful men of his time considered him as a calamity and curse sent down by God.
Similarly, the learned and wise men of our smiling coast reckon that Jammeh’s dictatorship was a cursed and calamity but the reason for this has been clearly manifested in our attitudes since the coalition government took office to date. The fighting and bickering among us, lack of respect for each other, intolerance to difference of opinion and approach, deception and cheating etc have all become the order of the day. Interestingly all the Abrahamic faiths espouse that we are a reflection of leaders. I will however, restrict myself to the menace of perfidy in our society as it relates to the subject matter.
Indeed, the surreptitious recording of the conversation between Lawyer Sheriff Tambedou and the wife of the former NIA DG is the height of deception and infidelity. The former’s sympathy and soft spot was taken for granted and turned against him through a well orchestrated and deliberate sabotage plan. Amazingly the lady exuded a great deal of faith in God with claims of constantly praying and supplicating at night. While these acts are one of the most powerful spiritual tools out of every difficult situation, her clandestine recording and double-crossing of a sympathetic Samaritan who went against every professional and ethical standard to demonstrate this leaves a lot to be desired. I wonder how anyone with such acclaimed conviction in God can launch such an all out vicious attack on the integrity and decades of consistent dignified legacy of a very naive well-wisher and still expect and hope for help from God in that case? How can we achieve any meaningful reconciliation with such a people who instead of reforming and seeking forgiveness are still busy doing what they do best?
Albeit, we applaud Sheriff for resigning from the prosecution team of the NIA 9, I believe it is imperative for a commission to be set up in order to investigate some assertions made in the audio. For Sheriff as a prosecutor in this case cum brother to the Attorney General & Minister of Justice to assert that it would be practically impossible for the accused persons to work out of this case free without a conviction for fear of the perceived fall out from the public is very worrying. There is an implicit meaning in this statement that we have a justice system that would convict these accused persons come what may even if the prosecution is unable to prove its case. Is this why he concurred with the lady that the current system is no better than the Jammeh judicial mercenary? Undoubtedly these assertions have raised a lot questions on his brother’s (Baa’s) work and integrity. Baa Tamebedou has injected and rekindled tremendous hope in our new judiciary as a man of integrity, wit and more importantly principles. He has in the past reassured us all that NO ONE CAN USE HIM TO ABUSE THE LAW, but his brother’s statements seem to throw all that away. Therefore, It is my conceived opinion that these statements have compromise the entire six months tremendous work of the Minister of Justice (Baa Tambedou) as he puts together one of the most vibrant and seemingly independent judiciary in the history of The Gambia.
Consequently, as bitter and difficult as it may be, I opine that the Minister of Justice should resign. I acknowledge that he may be perhaps the best Attorney General we will ever get but this compromised audio has taken us six months behind. If there is any consolation I would say that if there was an award for best minister of the year, I would have given it to him (Baa Tambedou) but the implications of his brother’s comments are far-reaching and damning to his work and integrity. Notwithstanding we still need explanations from his Ministry preferably from himself as Attorney General of some of these damning allegations.
Finally, I want to re-emphasis that there cannot be any meaningful reconciliation if the perpetrators are adamant and unrepentant. From all indications, this Jammeh cult is still bent on the notion of ‘us against them’ and will not stop at anything short of sabotage and insubordination. Using South Africa and Sierra Leone as examples for us to emulate without contextualising our situation is a big mistake. South Africa succeeded because the biggest victim of the apartheid system was Mandela himself, therefore if he can leave the past behind him then it only behooves the masses to follow. In contrast, we have a President who by God’s grace has never directly suffered from the injustices of the former regime so it is impracticable for him to spare head such a huge reconciliation task. The tales of war in Sierra Leone on the other hand were no doubt gruesome and scary. However, the rebels were subdued and voluntarily reintegrated into the society and most of them still live to regret those crimes while our rebels are still adamant and unrepentant. A word of advice to the lady in question and all those on the other side still, evil does not bring good. Destroying a humble and upright man’s life and career will not bring back your husband. In fact what you just did is not only ruin the career of Sheriff Tambedou but rather taken our national development six months back. By virtue of this incident, you have sowed the seeds of mistrust among our people such that even blood relatives would thread with caution against each other going forward. I urge you to repent sincerely as soon as possible and seek forgiveness from the Tambedou brothers. May God guide and protect our country and its people.