Gambia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the cancellation of Diplomatic and Service passports issued to former officials of the Jammeh administration. Mr. Saikou Ceesay, the Communication Officer at the Foreign Ministry tells this medium that 271 Diplomatic and Service passports were cancelled by the new government.
“Yes, it is true. They are 271. It is 271. In March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release urging all those in possession of Gambia diplomatic passport; diplomatic and service passports, who are no longer in public office, or not entitle to enjoy such state privileges to surrender such passports to the Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Ceesay told me in a phone interview on the line to Banjul on Wednesday.
According to Mr. Ceesay, some of the former government officials have complied with the government order. This followed, a public announcement made by the government for the affected officials to surrender their passports.
“But I can tell you that those in the country have complied. They have submitted their passports; former Ministers; former government officials among others have submitted their passports,” Ceesay added.
A document forwarded to the Freedom Newspaper by a source revealed that dictator Yahya Jammeh, his wife Zeinab Soumah Jammeh, children, family members, and Jammeh’s in laws were among those who had their diplomatic passports cancelled. Businessmen, businesswomen, and some Foreign Nationals were also among those affected by the government’s decision.
We reproduce the document below:
Fatu Camara, Jammeh’s press officer also had her diplomatic passport cancelled. She said she never had possession of the cancelled passport, as it was kept at the State House while she was working there.
“ I was issued a Diplomatic passport based on my position as a senior government official. And my Diplomatic passport was never handed over to me. It was a passport that was kept at the office of the president for travel purposes. Each time, I travel with him, the protocol will handle it,” she said.
Ms. Camara says she never used the said passport, when she migrated to the United States. She said she left the passport at the State House at the time of her firing.
Ms. Camara was fired from her press officer job after serving three months on the job. She was accused of supplying information to the Editor of the Freedom Newspaper, a charge she denied in court. She was granted court bail after spending over 21 days under NIA custody. She later fled the country. She was subsequently granted political asylum by the US government.
Washington DC based Gambian political activist Pa Samba Jaw welcomes the decision made by the Barrow government to cancel Jammeh’s Diplomatic passport. Mr. Jaw said the government should now proceed and press extradition charges against Jammeh, so that he can face justice for the crimes he has perpetrated against the Gambian people.
Mr. Jaw recalled how dictator Jammeh was in control of the tiny West African country during the peak of his twenty-two years dictatorship by ruling the nation with an iron fist. He says Jammeh has subjugated Gambians for decades, but today the former despot is living in Equatorial Guinea without a passport.
Jammeh’s supporters believed that the government’s decision was a pure witch hunt against their former leader. Mr. Gibril Fadia, a Gambian based in Rhode Island accuses the Barrow government of violating the constitution. He says the regime has no right to cancel Jammeh’s passport. Fadia argues that it was wrong for the Barrow government to cancel Jammeh’s passport and that of his family. He accuses the government of violating some of the basic democratic values and tenets. He also says The Gambia under Barrow’s rule cannot brag of being democratic if it can “illegally revoked” Jammeh’s passport.
Former Army Captain Ebou Jallow is the spokesman of the former military junta. He is also a former Jammeh protege and close confidant. He said Mr. Jammeh risked facing trial in the Gambia—given the recent cancellation of his passport. He says Jammeh has been embarrassed in the eyes of the world; hence he warns about the possibilities of Jammeh being extradited to the Gambia to face justice.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
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