The TRRC Lead Counsel Essa Faal has made it emphatically clear that Civil Servants should not be involved in politics and it was wrong for Civil Servants to reduce themselves as Jammeh sycophants during dictators Jammeh’s twenty-two years rule. Mr. Faal made the statement on Monday, when Harry Sambou, a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, appeared to give evidence.
“The civil service was reduced to sycophancy. Everybody praises him wherever they went. It was wrong for Civil Servants to involve in politics. Civil Servants worked for the government and the government should be neutral. It should not involve itself in party politics. The government of the Gambia is different and separate from the politics of the country. Civil Servants must not be involved in the politics of the country” Faal remarked.
This followed Sambou’s admission to the involvement of partisan politics. He told the Commission that Civil Servants were required to wear Jammeh’s “Asobi” or they might risked losing their jobs.
“Yahya Jammeh ordered for these paraphernalia, caps, and he will send bails of these materials to the departments to be distributed for free of charge, prior to certain events. Who am not to take what my DG gave me to wear and distribute?” Sambou said.
Praising Jammeh, and supporting Jammeh’s political party, he said, was the order of the day. Sambou cited lack of job opportunities as a reason to justify their sycophancy for Jammeh.
“Apart from agriculture, the government and civil service are the biggest employers. Almost every Civil Servant has 20 mouths to feed. Who would risked losing his job? You have an 80-year-old mum in the house, nieces are at home waiting,” he said.
Sambou notes that it is not new for Civil Servants to support African dictators. He added that it is apart of the African democracy. He said the late Congolese leader Sissoho and other despots on the continent were availed with the same treatment by government workers.
“It is norm in Africa, it is African democracy, it is bad, it is wrong,” he admitted.
Lead Counsel Faal disagrees with Sambou. “It is a Gambian tragedy; Civil Servants were paraded in airport dressed in Yahya Jammeh Asobi. Just to save our jobs, I am saying our because it is all of us, to save our jobs, we have to accommodate Yahya Jammeh to be a dictator, what do you say to that?” Faal asked.
In response Sambou said: Deegala. That is true. We made Yahya Jammeh what he was.”
Sambou also admitted that the NIA was being used to harass and subjugate Gambian citizens. He also admitted that the agency was being used by Jammeh to torture Gambians, especially his opponents.
Lead Counsel Faal noted that Civil Servants are obligated to follow the dictates of the government General Orders and desist from any form of partisan politics