By Our Banjul Bureau Chief Landing Badjie.
Paid For and Commissioned by the Freedom Newspaper.

The Chief of Niamina Dankunku, Samba Ceesay, has been removed from his chieftaincy position, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The chief of Jarra East,Fafanding Darboe as well as the chief of Jarra Central, Haruna Sabally, were also retired without been  tired. According to sources, the retirement of the two chiefs as well as the termination of the services of the Niamina Dankunku chief were politically-motivated in that all their replacements were known to be APRC  sycophants.Mr Ceesay has been replaced by Alhaji Kebba Ceesay, a former intelligence operative and a native of Dankunku whilst Fafanding was replaced by Ansumana Kanyi. Sabally Haruna was replaced by Momodou L.Ceesay who was defeated on an APRC ticket in the last legislative polls.

The Ruling APRC is currently faced by internal divisions. Supporters of the sacked chiefs said the sackings were politically motivated. The chiefs were legally elected into office. Their random sacking is raising more doubts across the country. A Gambian legal luminary questions the constitutionality of their removal. The legal mind said the chiefs can only be removed if there is  credible evidence of corruption, abusive of office or infirmity of mind established by a competent enquiry.” What’s happening in the Gambia is a total lawlessness. The rule of law is under attack on a daily basis by the executive, which is expected to safeguard it. These sackings are not justified at all. It’s illegal and constitutional. The President is exceeding the powers conferred on him by the constitution. This is an assault on our judicial system.” said the lawyer who wished not to be named.

According to the lawyer, the sacking of these chiefs can be contested in the High Court, but was quick to add that the judiciary is no longer independent in the Gambia. The lawyer said besides Common Wealth judges, most of the government appointed judges and magistrates dance to the dictates of the regime.” In order to keep their jobs, they have no alternative but to do what the government wants. This is the type of situation our bench is faced with today. It’s unfortunate that the executive had undermined the bench’s usefulness. Obtaining justice is a rare thing to come by in the Gambia. Most of the sound judgments are passed by the Common Wealth hired judges.” said the legal luminary.

An insider at the state house said he suspects that the  President “is suffering from unsound mind. His decisions are never tabled before us. He acts without informing anyone. He passed judgments without listening to the other accused party. Everyone here is woried about the President’s low life. Anyone can make up allegations against public officials and get them fired as long as you posed as a di-heart party supporter. None of these chiefs have committed any crime. They removed them because some party officials don’t want to see them any more. His next line of action would be directed at Divisional Commissioners now called Governors. That I can confirm to you.”said the insider.

Local Government Minister Sambou was indisposed for comments on the sacking of these chiefs. But an insider at the local government Ministry said” The SOS has no choice but to sign the sacking letters. The order came from the top. I was present when he lamented about the move to sack the Chiefs without factual evidence. It was not an easy move for Sambou to sign the letters, but he was compelled to do it. Everyone in this office is complaining about the naked injustice meted out to these chiefs.”said the insider.

Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2007 (Archive on Monday, June 25, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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