Rule Of Law At Work In New Gambia

By Abdoulie John

As the rule of law is increasingly becoming a reality in New Gambia, government has successively lost two court cases, raising some eyebrows in a country that is emerging from the shadows of two-decade long dictatorship. The Gambia’s former longtime ruler brought the judiciary to its knees during his tenure, as evidenced by compelling of “mercenary judges” to hand down controversial verdicts in court cases suspected to be politically motivated.

Anticipating this ‘surprising’ trend in court rulings, Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou made it clear that “the days of politically motivated prosecutions in The Gambia are over.” He then reiterated President Adama Barrow’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and the democratic and fundamental human rights of every Gambian irrespective of their political or other orientation.

Tambadou was reacting to a verdict by a Magistrates’ Court in Basse, about 370 km away from Banjul, dropping charges pressed against three members of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC).

When a GDC Parliamentarian Alhagie Sowe and some supporters were arrested and charged following clashes that erupted during the local government elections, GDC spokesman M C. Cham took the gloves off and accused the current regime for orchestrating a politically charged case designed to instill fear in their representatives and supporters.

However, when the presiding magistrate delivered on July 23rd his verdict
on the said case, Justice Minister Tambadou explained that it was the Ministry that advised that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute GDC MP for Jimara constituency. “Consequently, the charges against him were withdrawn by the Police and Honourable Sowe was accordingly discharged by the Court,” he said in a statement seen by this medium.

Last week, Gambia gov’t took another major blow as the High Court dismissed its application to unfreeze Yahya Jammeh’s assets with of view to building hotels for the upcoming Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit to be hosted by the tiny West African nation in 2019.

An unbelievable scenario that no Gambian would have imagined under ex-dictator Jammeh era marked by the absence of rule of law that caused a confidence meltdown over the country’s judiciary, which was turned into a repressive tool.

Despite the fact that the current gov’t has taken giant strides towards the consolidation of democracy and rule of law, businessman Prince Ebrahim Sanyang has a different opinion.

The businessman reportedly tied to former President Jammeh has denied being a close associate of the former despot.

He told reporters during a news conference that he has been targeted by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, challenging the freezing of his companies.

“I had always opined, from the very onslaught, that all allegations of close association against my companies were completely false,” he said in a missive dated June 2nd 2018 and addressed to the Chairman of the Janneh
Commission, probing into the assets ex-President Jammeh and his close associate.

“Today, I am vindicated. There had been surgically targeted protracted witch-hunts against my companies under the pretext of Attorney General’s allegations, only to damage my reputation and businesses
good standing in Gambia and beyond,” Sanyang said, expressing readiness to face the Janneh Commission to clear his name.
Asked by this reporter about his take on Prince Ebrahim Sanyang’s accusations, Justice Minister Tambadou said Sanyang has the right to seek redress at the right
quarters if he thinks his rights have been violated.

Meanwhile, The Gambia has embarked in ambitious constitutional reform that is expected to strengthen the country’s democratic standards. Hopes are high that Gambians will never experience again a besieged democracy that has given rise to the Jammeh regime. 


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