EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Gambia’s exiled former President Yahya Jammeh has come under strings of stringent opposition this week, as his APRC party loyalists continue to demand for his return to the country from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where he has been lodged by his comrade dictator since he lost to power in the 2016 general elections.
Mr Jammeh’s loyalists demonstrated last Thursday to ask the UN, AU, Ecowas and other authorities to respect the agreement they had with him during a peaceful transition negotiation before his going into exile, but the country’s Justice Minister said Mr Jammeh will face immediate arrest and be charged with the most serious crimes anytime he comes back to the country.
Addressing the opening of the 2020 legal year at the Law complex at High Court in Banjul on Sunday, Abubacarr Marie Tambedou said no amount of irresponsible and idle talk or political brinkmanship can prevent Mr Jammeh from being arrested and charge if he set foot in the country.
He said removing former President Jammeh from power, impossible as it seemed at times, may prove to be an easier task compared to the challenges that lie ahead of The Gambia as a nation.
“We made a choice. We chose liberty over tyranny, democracy over dictatorship, and reconciliation over revenge. The road to sustainable peace and democracy in our country will be a long and bumpy ride but we will not fail,” Mr Tambedou said.
During his 22-year rule of the West African nation, Mr Jammeh is accused of committing gross human right violations, including the killing of civilians and security personnel and corruption.
A commission of inquiry that was instituted by President Adama Barrow in July 2017 had recommended in its report for Mr Jammeh, alongside several of his then inner circle to be banned from handling public office in the country for the rest of their lives for financial mismanagement, which was accepted by the government.
The mass gathering of the APRC party that ruled the country for 22 years is largely attributed to a command from Mr Jammeh, who in a leaked conversation with the party’s inner circle expressed desire to return home as per his agreement with the ECOWAS, AU, and UN.
Justice Minister Tambedou further said that the country still have too many challenges that cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone in just three short years.
President of the Gambia Bar Association, Salieu Taal said as they are making some inroads as a profession, they still continue to face numerous challenges.
He said there is need to ensure that lawyer’s skills and knowledge are continuously updated through mandatory continuing legal education to meet the demands of an ever- changing legal environment.
Story written by Binta Badjie