London Letter With Dida Halake: Extraditing Yahya Jammeh

Extradition To The Gambia

If I may make my position clear at the outset, extraditing Yahya Jammeh to The Gambia is a bad idea. I say so because Yahya Jammeh, inspite of all the dastardly crimes he has committed against Gambians and the State itself, has what is still substantial support amongst the electorate: in his native Foni where his party the APRC swept up all the 5 available parliamentary seats and in the recent KMC elections where the APRC candidate Rambo Jatta came second with a sizeable number of votes.

I think any trial of Yahya Jammeh in The Gambia is bound to polarise society and endanger The Gambia’s much valued peace and social harmony. As we all know, Jammeh himself thrived in his later years on setting Gambians against each other. To be sure, Jammeh himself might wish to come back to The Gambia and polarise the society further. In my humble view, it would be bad for The Gambia if Yahya Jammeh set his foot in the country again – just it would have been a disaster if he had retired to Kanilai as he had initially planned to do (thank you VP for that Guardian interview).

What about Ghana?

An extradition to Ghana would have to be requested by Ghana itself since it is their citizens who were killed by Yahya Jammeh. But, Ghana’s current President, as Foreign Minister, did a deal with Yahya Jammeh to amicably settle the issue. Ghana’s President also sought and received compensation for the families of the victims. How can the Ghana President then turn around and seek to extradite Yahya Jammeh for matters that the two of them had settled amicably? Further, a trial in Ghana, fully covered by the Gambian media, will still polarise The Gambia community – more so if Jammeh is given a media platform to defend himself and arouse his supporters.

At ICC or Equatorial Guinea?

ICC’s Bensouda has always maintained that she has no jurisdiction to interfere “because Jammeh has not committed a crime against humanity”. The killing of the 50 Ghanians is Jammeh’s single worst atrocity. But it seems that Ghana’s current President and the investigators (UN involved?) accepted Jammeh’s excuse that the killings “were a mistake because soldiers thought they were mercenaries invading The Gambia in the night”. This being so, then ICC Bensouda’s stance seems unassailable.

Personally, I think Human Rights Watch and the UN campaigners should seek to persuade Equatorial Guinea to set up a “Yahya Jammeh Crimes Court” in Equatorial Guinea itself with ECOWAS COURT judges to try Jammeh’s crimes. This should not just involve the Ghana victims but also Gambian victims. Of course Human Rights Watch, UN and ECOWAS should fund the “Yahya Jammeh Crimes Court” and the travel expenses of witnesses that travel there to give evidence.

Finally, the tremendous expenses involved in such a trial would break The Gambia – whose finances Jammeh looted before he left for EG. The Gambia’s government made a wise decision to have former Interior Minister be tried by Switzerland.

PS: Today’s APRC and Yahya Jammeh

We had a small debate on this on social media so I post it here:

Sambagate Snr (Facebook – Dida)

APRC NEEDS TO BURY YAHYA JAMMEH – FOR THE SAKE OF THE APRC’S SUPPORTERS. This is the debate we are having over at JollofNews:-
Kinteh (kemo) JollofNews

MAY 17, 2018 AT 10:34 AM
For me parties are a means to make our country better. Hence irrespective of party loyalty, there are facts we all need to agree to. One of these facts is that Jammeh presided over extrajudicial killings of gambians and non Gambians alike during his reign. This terrible legacy is the definitive legacy he has left behind – just like ” Ivan the terrible “. No amount of infrastructure development can vindicate jammeh.
And as the result of Bakary Badgie showed, the tribalism that Jammeh sowed and nurtured will be an enduring presence in Gambian politics for the foreseeable future. Babu soli, with all your enthusiasm about an APRC come back, i hope you take a time to reflect on that and try to understand the consequences of jammeh’s actions- and words.

Luntango (Dida) JollofNews

MAY 18, 2018 AT 6:03 AM
100% Kemo. As I said earlier above “Babu, unfortunately the FACTS are that Babili Mansa BUTCHERED his fellow Gambians and other Africans – and RANSACKED Gambia’s Central Bank.” And as you say Kemo “No amount of infrastructure development” can wash his bloody hands: he is indeed Gambia’s Ivan The Terrible.
On the APRC as a party (without Jammeh) if the votes in KMC and previously in the Fonis are anything to go by, it represents a sizable chunk of The Gambia’s CITIZENS who have their rights too. Bereaved by loss of power they have taken comfort in the APRC, and as Lawyer Darboe himself has CHAMPIONED their rights within the law we too must respect their rights. Madi Jobarteh’s rants about “banning” the APRC has rightly been ignored and that is as it should be. As with UDP Bensouda’s PLEDGE, the way forward is to work with all Gambians, more so the sizeable number represented by the APRC to develop KMC and the Gambia (and above all to preserve the nations CHERISHED PEACE.


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