Gambia’s former Justice Minister Fafa Edrissa M’Bai has called out the TRRC Lead Counsel Essa Faal, after accusing him of double standards and also using his position to audition to his fellow Banjulians, who were victims of the junta’s draconian decrees, amid Faal’s desperate attempts to portray a false and misleading impression that Lawyer M’Bai, was the “demon, and villain” behind the passage of those bad laws. Despite Mr. M’Bai’s categorical rejection of Faal’s repeated suggestion that he (M’Bai) was behind the creation and passage of those draconian decrees, Faal still insisted that M’Bai should take responsibility for being responsible for the creation of what he called “those bad laws” that had put the likes of late Abou Denton, the late Ousainou Njie, Pa Cham, and one Mr. Badou Faye of Bakau in pain and misery during the junta’s transitional rule.
“I will never accept the suggestion, the suggestion that I create a role in these decrees, I create a role in commissions and that I was responsible for the misery or the seizing of property of the person you have mentioned. There were other people involved, but you chose to mention the people of Banjul, because that is an audience,” the former Justice Minister told Mr. Faal.
The exposed Essa Faal ran out of words. He could be seen struggling to put up a response. He then interjected: “Mr. M’Bai allow me, I mentioned the names not because I chose to mention names. I mentioned names because those names were those that are stated in the decrees.”
But Mr. M’Bai wouldn’t buy Mr. Faal’s explanation. The highly respected lawyer contends that Faal’s deliberate move to mention the names of his fellow Banjulians, was done on purpose. He noted that Faal’s assertion was centered on a selected few. That he (Faal) had excluded the names of Ministers who had hailed from the provinces in his address.
M’Bai thinks that Faal was bent on auditioning to the people of Banjul, in a bit to make him look bad in the eyes of Gambians, as if he (M’Bai) was responsible for the sufferings that Pa Cham and co had endured because of those draconian decrees.
“There was another list, another list where President Jawara, where the Lamin Kitty Jabang, where the Pakiya Fofona, were mentioned in the decrees,” M’Bai remarked.
Mr. M’Bai then accused Faal of cherry picking on the names of former PPP officials that he (Faal) had presented before the commission as victims of the military decrees.
In response, Lead Counsel Faal said: “I only went by those decrees that I have in front of me, that were passed during your time and in none of those were those people you mentioned, mention by name. I will take them out. I will be happy to mention them equally.”
Lawyer M’Bai disagrees. “Not to mention them, but the omission is eloquent, the omission is definite,” the former AG posited.
Faal then reassured Mr. M’Bai that his move wasn’t malicious at all.
“I would not have any special reason to omit them. If I had seen them in my compendium, I would have mention them.I just want you to understand that what we are doing is being done honestly and in good faith without any hidden agenda,” Faal stated.
Mr. M’Bai maintains that Faal’s “blame game” towards him was obvious.
“Yes, yes, I have seen the track,” he remarked.
Mr. M’Bai had earlier told the commission that it was erroneous for Faal to make the proposition that he (M’Bai) was behind the creation of the draconian decrees. He said as Justice Minister, his job was to provide legal advice to the military council.
“These decrees were enacted by the military council and I played the role of a chief legal adviser. I have said in my statement that I have advised them strongly against some of these things,” M’Bai testified.
Mr. M’Bai testified that he had on numerous occasions advised the former junta to respect human rights, the rule of law and good governance. He even recalled the junta council members calling him “the human rights Justice Minister.”
The TRRC is yet to be told the name of the legal draftsman, who was behind the drafting of those draconian decrees that Faal had accused Mr. M’Bai of being responsible for its creation. Faal had never asked Mr. M’Bai to disclose the name of draftsman, whose identity is yet to be documented on record.
However, sources in Banjul have told this medium that Mr. Faal’s buddy Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the former Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was the main brain behind the drafting of those draconian decrees. Both Jallow and Faal are trained legal draftsmen.