If the Gambia government is not seeking extradition of Ousman Sonko (former Interior Minister under Yahya Jammeh) as it seems to have been confirmed by Abubacarr Ba Tambadou, then he (Tambadou) must resign. The pronouncement that the Gambia is not seeking Sonko’s extradition is preposterous by all accounts. These are people who are responsible for some of the worst atrocities against innocent Gambians whose only crimes were to exercise their fundamental human rights as citizens. Ba Tambedou’s behaviour goes to vindicate his brother’s statement that they are not interested in prosecuting Jammeh’s cronies (Yankuba Badjie in particular) as evidenced in the recent voice recordings revealed by Ndura Jawara, wife of former NIA Director General Yankuba Badjie.
I personally believed in what Sheriff Tambadou said in the voice recordings (when I listened to it), as his brother’s behaviours and actions correlate with the statement. What Sheriff said in the recording typifies the modus operandi of the legal fraternity in the country (with a few exceptions). Since Ba Tambadou’s assumption of duties things have been at a chameleon’s pace (if I may say). Whenever he makes pronouncements or is seen to be taking action, it is always in reaction to something or an event.
The way the so-called Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) has been empanelled is an insult to the Gambia and Gambians. People should not be hand-picked for such a serious body as the process can be prone to serious subjectivity. In fact, people complained about the inclusion of Marie Saine-Firdaus in one of the committees (financial) and Ba Tambadou’s response was that Saine should not be punished for his father’s actions. That statement is simply an insult on Gambians’ intelligence. Nowhere in this world will a person be included in a committee that will be investigating his/her father or the father’s associates. The conflicts of interest is obvious and in the open.
I have always doubted Ba Tambadou’s experiences for this position and as time goes by I seem to have been vindicated. People talked about his experiences in Rwanda. A colleague of mine who is a specialist in International Law told me that the Rwanda’s case cannot be advanced as demonstration of one’s experiences for complex scenarios like that of the Gambia. In Rwanda, everything was in the open and people literally know who has done what, where and when; it was a case of community against community. A far more experienced person should have been appointed as the Justice Minister. The person does not necessarily have to serve in the so-called UN systems.
The President should have accepted Ba Tembedou’s resignation and use that as an opportunity to appoint someone with the right experiences. Ba Tambadou is certainly not the right person. Let me emphasise that I have no grudges against the Tambadou brothers. I do not know them and I have never met them either. The only thing I know about them is that their parents come from the same area with me. But this is not about that, this is about the Gambia and ensuring that there is no repeat of what Gambians experienced in the hands of Jammeh’s and that justice prevails at all costs.