BY: Ousainou Mbenga, Washington, DC, USA
For nearly three years, erstwhile Minister for Local Government & Land Administration, Lamin Waa Juwara, was entangled in the “legal cob webs” of Jammeh’s courts on trumped-up charges of “abuse of office”. Deep inside Jammeh’s bloody pockets, his mercenary judges, magistrates and prosecutors willingly created the prevailing set of “notorious charges” such as the “abuse of office” and “economic crimes”. These two charges can be as elastic as Jammeh wants to stretch it against his perceived “unpatriotic” opponents and political enemies. Manufacturing criminal charges and crimes has become the primary function of the Gambian judiciary, with never any challenge from The Gambia Bar Association.
The law, according to Jammeh, has been the thorn on the side of the “judiciary” rendering it into a den of mercenary judges both home grown and imported. Typical of mercenaries; their conscience is numbed to the point of being remorseless, all that matters is money.
“There Are None With Clean Hands…” But No Spectators Allowed!
But as the saying goes: “Lengoo ak saaw duuy yaga” – A hug with a porcupine never lasts long. All those who attempted to hug and suck –up to Yaya Jammeh, ultimately had their rude awakening when “Jammeh the porcupine” ejected his projectiles at them resulting in death, maiming, unemployment and forced exile. If the current Nigerian “mercenary judges” are deluded by blood money, no worries, the rude awakening is inevitable.
Notwithstanding Waa Juwara’s error, he has refused to be a spectator in the midst of Jammeh’s hell –bent determination for a fifth term. He defied and condemned all the conditions imposed by the “Independent Electoral Council” (IEC) on all the legally registered political parties in the Gambia. The despotic conditions that the not so “Independent Electoral Commission” shoved down the throats of the “opposition parties” were all unacceptable according to Juwara. The outrageous nomination deposit of half a million dalasis which use to be ten thousand dalasi, age limit imposition, reregistration of political parties, exclusion of potential voters in the Gambian “diaspora” and the exclusive “selection” of members of the IEC were resoundingly denounced as unacceptable. Is it any wonder that he was convicted on one bogus charge, “abuse of office” and imprisoned for six months?
Juwara’s ordeal and ultimate imprisonment began in 2012 after his removal from office as Minister of Local Government, Lands and Regional Administration. Juwara‘s charge sheet accused him of abusing the authority of his office “in a manner prejudicial to the Alkalo (village head) and elders of Jamburr Village by creating Sinchu Gidom as a village and appointed one Baboucarr Sillah as an Alkalo of the said village, knowing that Sinchu Gidom is a Kabilo within Jamburr village”.
Lawyer Lamin Mboge submitted that the accused person, Lamin Waa Juwara, was empowered by Section 59 of the Constitution to appoint an Alkalo in his capacity as a minister at the time. Lawyer Mboge further argued that “Section 59 of the Constitution has killed this case and that Section 4 of the same Constitution buried it and anyone that appoints the Alkalo other than the Minister for Local Government and Lands is tantamount to a violation of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia”. The “law according to Jammeh” has turned that “1997 constitution” into a toilet paper.
Juwara denied the absurd allegation on the basis that he was not the Minister for Local Government, Lands and Regional Administration when the Department was roiling in that “land dispute”. This ministry has a long history of convoluted land disputes of unscrupulous proportions. But nothing surpasses the reckless and un-satiable “land grabbing” by Jammeh and his “sharers of crumbs”. Juwara was granted court bail of D150,000 and his travel documents confiscated by the regime.
To prove that the charges were trumped–up to highest order, this case lasted for three years with all the standard delaying tactics the mercenary judges are instructed to apply to frustrate Juwara and his counsel, Lamin Mboge. All the evidence presented showed that there was no case to answer. You may recall that Juwara was acquitted twice by magistrates Ebrima Jaiteh and Sidit K. Jobarteh respectively. But the “law, according to Jammeh”, runs supreme in The Gambia; a “nation behind bars”. On several court dates the state prosecutor didn’t even appear in court, likewise the state witnesses gave flimsy excuses such as being stranded in the provinces because of automobile break down. This game that the state and its witnesses played went on for three years. Three different magistrates presided over this case because Jammeh was not satisfied with their deliberations. Jammeh finally found a home grown “mercenary magistrate” in the person of Omar Cham to reverse the dictum of justice.
The die was cast in Juwara’s case when the magistrate that presided over the case for the past few months was abruptly replaced on the day of the April 14, 2016 hearing by magistrate Omar Cham who finally convicted and sentenced him to six months in jail on April 18, 2016. The other accused, Tamsir Onasis Conteh and Hamidou Jallow were given hefty fines of D125,000 and D175,000 respectively or risk 5 -7 years in jail, way beyond the normal court fines in such cases. The normal fines in the criminal code are between D5 -10,000. According to reliable sources, the home grown “mercenary magistrate”, Omar Cham has since his remorseless judgement been promoted to be a principal magistrate.
Beware of the rewards from “Jammeh the porcupine”!
The Jinni is out of the bottle and can never be put back in. In fact, we are breaking all the bottles to liberate the “Jinni”. Mercenary judges/magistrates, NIA, Junglers, and all enablers are put on notice that FEAR, no longer resides in The Gambia.
FREE WAA JUWARA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! PUT JAMMEH ON TRIAL!