Gambia: There’s Confidence In Gambia Judiciary But…


Dear Pa: I would like to draw your readers’ attention to the above headline that appeared on front page of The Standard newspaper today Thursday, 26th November 2015 in which Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) said that he has so much confidence in the justice system of the Gambia. He was quoted in that report as saying “The judiciary is doing everything possible. I have confidence in the judges. They are working very hard, but then if you have external interference that hampers the work you are doing.”

I could not believe what I was reading in the Standard paper. I thought they might have misquoted Lawyer Darboe giving the injustices meted out to his party members since Jammeh took power in 1994. The conviction and sentencing of Amadou Sanneh would have been treated as a frivolous law suit in any proper judiciary system other than the Gambia. If Darboe is being quoted rightly, then I will have to side with some of his critics who have long suspected him of playing double standards of being an untrusted politician by day and a check-book lawyer by night.

Putting personal sacrifices aside, an ineffective opposition has helped to solidify Jammeh’s hold on power. It is therefore regrettable for the leader of the main opposition party explicitly endorsing a flawed judiciary system where all judges are reporting to a Chief Justice appointed by Yaya Jammeh, where the president can sack the Chief Justice without consulting with the Judicial Services Commission in line with our Constitution, where  judges can impose ridiculous bail conditions only to appease the dictator and where the president can say something and it became a law without being referred to the legislative.

The judiciary under Yaya Jammeh is effective only in operating a military justice system befitting a dictatorship. Lawyer Darboe should not forget those people from his party that were sacked from their jobs, killed or imprisoned whose only crimes were being members of the opposition party. 

There is no confidence in a judiciary where there is no security of tenure and the head of state is judge, jury and executioner. in a country where one person makes all the rules, nominate all the members of the legislative, appoints and dismiss judges, detains magistrates and sack members of the Judicial Service Commission, whether in the superior courts or the lower courts, justice will never be served. Mr. Darboe should stop this politics of dispiriting vapidity if he wants to be taken as a serious presidential threat to Yaya Jammeh in 2016.

By An Insider Banjul

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