Edward Singhateh’s appearance at the TRRC

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Edward Singhateh’s appearance at the TRRC

13 October, 2019

By Capt. Ebou Jallow rtd

The Gambian nation is geared up for another traumatizing encounter with one of the most ruthless human beings in recorded history of the country.  I have been a pioneer of exposing this devil incarnate since my resignation letter from the AFPRC in 1995; and at the same time, I am also a contemporaneous witness to the murder of Koro Ceesay based on the findings of my own investigations after the crime as a member of AFPRC:  Edward Singharteh did admit to me how Koro Ceesay was murdered and partially cremated at an unceremonious location.  Both Edward and Yankuba Touray did also give me the same and only one version of what transpired at the murder scene:

(1)  Alagie Kanyi bashed his head with a baseball bat.

(2)   Koro attempted to fend off the attack; Edward Singhateh then double tap him in the torso with two shots from his pistol.

(3)  Edward ordered Alagie Kanyi to “finish him.”

(4)  Alagie Kanyi pull out a bayonet and poke out Koro Ceesay’s eyes and cut his throat severing his carotid veins.

(5)  The dead body was then driven by Peter Singhateh in Koro’s official Mercedes Benz and subsequently cremated in the bush somewhere in the Kombos.

The only reason for executing Koro that Edward Singharteh gave me then was a spurious allegation that “Koro Ceesay was plotting a coup with the help of the Ghanaians” and I never believed nor seen any evidence to substantiate that statement from Edward.

I hope Edward Singharteh will find the moral courage to speak the absolute and undiluted truth to the Gambian people.  This is only way to bring closure to the murder, mitigate pain that the Ceesay family has endured over the years and find some peace with himself.  However, the Edward I know may attempt to stonewall and dissemble with vagaries half-truthful statements to further excavate the lingering doubts in the absence of Yankuba’s testimony.  He might succeed in protecting his fragile ego but his soul shall be damaged for good.  Otherwise he may admit to all the crimes attributed to him knowing fully well any admission he makes offers him an automatic use immunity (the government cannot use his testimony against him in a court of law).  In any case, Edward Singhateh stands to “win” because the Transitional and Consequential provisions of the Gambian constitution offer him, as a member of the AFPRC, a blanket immunity from prosecution.  This means that he can choose to appear, read out his Constitutional rights before the TRRC refuse to answer any question pertaining to the transitional period from 1994 to 1997.  Section 13 (3) clearly prohibits any proceedings (commissions, authority, tribunals or courts) to question the actions of AFPRC members:

“ For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that no action taken or purported to have been taken in the exercise of the executive, legislative or judicial power by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling council or a member there-of, or by any person appointed by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council in the name of the Armed forces Provisional Ruling Council except judges of the Supreme Court or the court of appeal, shall be questioned in any proceedings whatsoever and, accordingly, it shall not be lawful for any court or tribunal to make any order or grant any remedy or relief in respect of any such act.”

The Gambian Constitution is supreme and transcendent over all branches of the Gambia government- the president, the national assembly and the Supreme Court.  There is absolutely nothing that neither the TRRC nor the Attorney General nor the courts can do about this constitutional ouster clause, and Edward, as a practicing Gambian lawyer knows this very well.  I have heard Essa Faal and many others on social media dismissing this fact with ludicrous claims based on some previous Supreme Court decision in 2001 [Jammeh v Attorney-General (2002) AHRLR 72 (GaSC 2001)]. It is important to elucidate on this issue and put to rest these drivels. Justice Hassan Jallow, the current Chief Justice, wrote the majority decision of the court making these exact rulings:

[41.] I find and accordingly hold that the purported amendments to section 1(1) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of the Schedule II to the Constitution respectively are severable and are hereby severed from the Amendment Act (6 of 2001).

[42.] The claim of the plaintiff is accordingly only partially allowed, to the extent that I find and hold that the purported amendments to section 1(1) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of Schedule II to the 1997 Constitution contained in the Amendment Act (6 of 2001) were made in excess of the legislative powers conferred by the 1997 Constitution and are accordingly null and void and of no effect and are hereby severed from the Act.

Obviously, the integrity of the Transitional provisions remain as upheld in the 1997 Constitution which still stands as it is today.  Therefore, Essa Faal’s preposterous claims that the APRC government “re-inserted” the indemnity clauses into the current Gambian constitution are absolutely false and totally unprofessional.  These provisions are standard constitutional practices in all legal regimes across the globe wherever a country experiences a state of exception (a successful coup or a prolonged state of emergency) …, even the 1970 Constitution had similar indemnity clauses after the 1981 Kukoi armed insurrection.

What exactly Edward Singhateh is going to do is anybody’s guess but he sure does have a viable option to appear before the TRRC with legal representation and make a solid case exercising his rights guaranteed by the Gambian constitution.  However, lets hope he comes clean and tell the Gambians the absolute truth and nothing but the truth.

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