Rest in Peace, Mr. Baldeh



Even in the event of death and mourning, Yaya Jammeh is not magnanimous. Case in point this: H/T Kaironews


Sad news coming from Senegal and the Gambia that Yahya Jammeh has given instructions that the remains of the late Buba Baldeh, former Member of Parliament and Minister of Youth and Sports and Culture during the PPP era, will not be allowed to enter the Gambia to be buried. Buba Baleh’s corpse and entourage were stopped by military personnel at the border and prevented from entering Basse Mansajang the home town of the late Buba Baldeh. By this action, Yahya Jammeh has once again demonstrated his callousness, pettiness, and lack of respect for people in genera and even the dead.
 Our village idiot cannot be mollified. His intransigence knows no bounds. Denying a family from according their loved one a fitting burial, because the deceased happens to be a political opponent, is the height of cruelty. When you think, Yaya Jammeh couldn't stoop so low, he turns around and blow your mind with another cruelty. What has Gambians done to deserve this monster? Your guess is as good as mine. 

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Iraq Burning


This is my two cents on the Iraq conflict. I have written about it on these pages in the heydays of the US invasion of Mesopotamia. I have not been blogging for a while now, but this Huffingtonpost headline gave me the impetus to write down what i believe to be the reason behind the ISIS surge in Iraq. Here goes.

When we (the United States) left Iraq, the insurgency was over, thanks in part to the surge, but mostly to the fact that previously disaffected Sunni factions were won over to the side of the government. They help purged insurgents from their midst. Maliki threw that victory away through short sighted and selfish sectarian policies, that favor Shia over Sunni and Kurds. This insurgency has revived because Maliki provoked it. He lost allies and created enemies where conciliatory policy would have solidify peace for all. But as it is the norm for dictators, Maliki saw democracy as a process whereby his group gets to lord over everybody else.

ISIS and groups like it are far more dangerous to the United States than some rag tag terrorist group in Yemen or Mali, primarily due to the economic importance of Iraqi oil. But no amount of drone strike (as Maliki is asking the US to do) will make a difference here, as the problem is primarily political.

Also, I think it is reasonable to ask, why it is that the united states has such a dismal record in training foreign troops. The performance of US trained forces in this hot spots has mostly been distinguished for ineffectiveness, abandoning their equipment and running away. This might be evidence that, an army's effectiveness is not only in the equipment they carry, but depends on the intangibles. Perhaps, we train them in our ways, which poorer nations cannot support logistically. Either way, we should re-examine this question before committing to doing something about another conflict.

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Video produced by DUGA

DUGA is the acronym for Democratic Union of Gambian Activists. It is pretty well put together video. I particularly love the sound track.

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Gambia Day of Outrage ...Seattle

This was back in September of 2012 when emotions were still raw over the murder of prisoners in the Gambia without due process.  I am one of the organizers of this seattle protest. Due to the workload involved in the project I am working on, I barely have any time left to pontificate on issues. However, I take to my twitter feed to express my indignation or support of issues on any given day. The 140 character nature of twitter gives me the opportunity to vent or support ideas as they happen. Check the button of the page for my twitter feed. If you happen to be on twitter, you can follow me at @oceesay.


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The village Idiot's dictate continues....

This sort of dictates make my blood boil. The village idiot (Yahya Jammeh) is capitalizing on the cowardly nature of our people. Yep the joke is on the rest of us. We've never been able to vote freely, now you can't worship the way you want either. History is prologue and folks in Gunjur will succumb to the dictates and leave it in the hands of Allah...the usual way it is done in Gambia. See the daily observer story below

The Office of the President has issued a press release, informing the general public that no Ziyareh is allowed to take place in the coastal village of Gunjur, any time soon or in the future. The release reads: Since matters relating to religious affairs fall under the purview of the Office of the President, the general public is hereby informed that no Ziyareh is allowed to take place in Gunjur, any time soon or in the future. Any persons or group found contravening these instructions will face the full force of the law.

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Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Full PBS Documentary)

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Bullies in Saba have their Comeuppance

Bullies for eons have glass jaws... all it takes, is for someone, to stand up to their tactics and their whole scheming fall apart like a wet rag. This is exactly what happened when Njoku decided to take a bunch of scheming bullies to the high court, for infringing on his rights. The village development committee, run by a bunch of schemers in Saba, thought they could get away with arbitrarily fining an innocent man out of pure spite. If we let this bullying stand, they will continue to levy ridiculous fines against our family members one at a time, for issues that don't constitute crimes in the Gambia.

Njoku is my hero. He is the antithesis of that old Edmund Burke adage "that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

On a personal note, I will part with my last farthings to sue these bullies whenever they pull this sort of ignoble stunts. Maybe that Nincompoop of a Seyfoo (Fafanding Kinteh), who made it a habit to insult and intimidate folks in lower Badibu  will learn a thing  or two. He is gonna get his behind sued in a minute as well. He is forwarned.

I am reproducing the whole Judgement below...Courtesy of the Observer Newspaper:

High Court overturns district tribunal’s judgement


"Justice Edrissa F. Mbai of the High Court in Banjul, yesterday, 29th February 2012 set aside the judgment delivered by the Lower Baddibu District Tribunal in the matter of the District Tribunals Act and in the matter of an appeal by one Njoku Sisay against the alkalo of Saaba Village as first respondent, five Kabilo heads of Saaba Village in the Lower Baddibu District, as the 2nd respondent and the Attorney General as the 3rd defendant.

Delivering judgment yesterday morning, the presiding judge, Justice Edrissa F. Mbai disclosed that the appellant was fined D7, 000 in default to serve 6 months imprisonment with hard labour for failure or refusal to participate in the cleaning exercise locally known as set-settal, organised by the village. After paying the fine of D7, 000, the appellant filed an appeal against the said judgment before the court. The notice of appeal, dated the 21st October 2011, was filed on the 25th October 2011. The grounds of appeal are: The tribunal did not have jurisdiction to try the appellant for what did not constitute an offence in law; and the appellant did not have a fair hearing.

The prayer sought before the court was to order that the judgment of the Lower Baddibu District tribunal be set aside. According to the certified true copies of the record of proceedings the appellant was defiant to honour the call of the Alkalo and the Kabilo heads and the VDC.

The records of proceedings states “…the Alkalo called for the clearance of the weeds in the health centre on the request of the nurses there. All those who were absent were listed and a penalty was instituted against them of which Njoku was part of. We called them to come and others didn’t including Njoku.”

There are two issues that needed to be determined in the appeal. The first issue is whether the district tribunal has any jurisdiction to try what in law does not amount to an offence. The second issue is whether based on the record of proceedings the trial was conducted fairly.

On the first issue, it is the duty of the respondents to establish that legally they can bring the action they took against the appellant. The participation in the national cleansing exercise, which is initiated by His Excellency the president of the Republic is indeed a civic duty. It requires the commitment and total participation of everybody because the whole objective of this exercise is to have a clean and healthy environment, the primary beneficiaries being the people who live in such communities and villages. The importance of cleanliness goes back to the biblical principle that man must be clean first before he can pray to his Creator.

However, although the appellant’s refusal or failure to participate in the national cleaning exercise, organised in his locality may be described as a defiant conduct forwards authority, or even unpatriotic, so long as there is no law making it an offence his conduct cannot constitute to an offence. His conduct can only become an offence if there is a law passed by the National Assembly with the blessing of the president expressly saying so.

The presiding judge however stated that he had not been referred to any law of this land passed by the National Assembly that gives district tribunals or any court such powers as to impose a fine or in default to serve terms of imprisonment to any person who has failed or refused to take part in a cleaning exercise. District tribunals like any court, do not create laws, they interpret laws that have already been passed by parliament.

The second issue is whether based on the record of proceedings the trial was conducted fairly. On the face of the record of proceedings the plaintiff is the Alkalo and Kabilo heads of Saaba Village. The plaintiff’s witnesses are listed as: Alhaji Tabora Danso, Alhaji Kasamanding Singhateh, Bakary Makalo, Nfamara Balajo and Baba Janteh Singhateh. The defendant (the appellant) called two witnesses; namely Fafanding Danso and Kebba Janteh Singhateh.

It is crucially important that the record of proceedings reflect what actually transpired during the trial particularly the testimonies of all the witnesses that have testified. The record failed to show the individual testimonies of each of those witnesses and whether there was any cross-examination followed there after or not.

On the top paragraph of page 3 of the record of proceedings it states, “in this case all the witnesses said the same thing about Njoku’s refusal to attend meetings, set-settal and they also stressed his refusal to pay a fine of D50 imposed by the VDC for those who were defaulters to participate in the village work.”

The duty of the court to record the testimonies of all the witnesses that have testified have been breached. The presiding Judge said he cannot for instance look at the record of proceedings and refer to the testimonies of the witnesses of either side and whether there was an opportunity given to have such witnesses cross-examined. The whole record consists of summary of the evidence of the plaintiff and two of the defendant’s.

The record of proceedings showed that all the 5 witnesses of the plaintiff and two of the defendant’s testified the same day that judgment was delivered, on the 29th September 2011. “The whole trial lasted one day. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied, but equally justice rushed is also justice infringed.

The impression amply demonstrated by the district tribunal in hearing seven witnesses and delivering their judgment on that very day suggested that the testimonies of the witnesses could not have been properly evaluated and analyzed,” stated the presiding judge. He added that it also showed the tribunal had already concluded in their thinking that the appellant was guilty of an offence which is not known to law.

He went on: “The judgment was delivered on the 29th September 2011. The notice of appeal, dated 21st October 2011 was filed on the 25th October 2011. Therefore this appeal was filed within time and not the contrary, as counsel for the respondent state in his brief”.

The judge stated that he could not see how the issue of forced labour can be applied in this case. Since there are no issues of such, he shall disregard it as irrelevant and of no moment. The cleaning exercise is not covered by S.20(3)(e) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997. Even if it does it never gave district tribunals or any court the power to impose any form of punishment for failure or refusal to participate in such exercise.

The issue of whether the appellant’s failure to state if his ground of appeal was based on error of law or fact, or misdirection of law or fact leading to the appellant not having a fair hearing, could be noticed in the record of proceedings. As stated by counsel for the appellant, the main issue in this appeal is whether or not the district tribunal has any jurisdiction to act as they did in imposing a fine against the appellant for what is described as the appellant’s defiance to honor the call of the Alkalo and the Kabilo heads and the VDC.

Having considered the issues raised, the judge found as fact, that there is no law which makes it an offence for failure or refusal to participate in a cleaning exercise; that the district tribunal acted without any jurisdiction when they fined the appellant D7000 in default to serve 6 months imprisonment with hard labour; that the individual testimonies of witnesses were not recorded thus violating the rules of natural justice for the appellant’s right to a fair hearing; that the record of proceedings show the trial lasted one day suggesting that the entire evidence could not have been properly and carefully considered before the judgment was delivered; and that since the district tribunal lacked any jurisdiction to try the appellant for an offence not known to law their decision is null and void.

In light of the foregoing, the judgment of the Lower Baddibu District Tribunal, delivered on the 29th of September 2011 is thereby set aside.
At that juncture, counsel for the appellant, E.M Sissoho applied for cost but counsel for the first and second respondent, Borry Touray, submitted that this was a criminal trial in the Lower Court and that it is not the practice in this jurisdiction that cost is awarded in criminal cases. He therefore applied that parties bear their own cost. Sissoho in his response disagreed with Touray’s submission and remarked that what transpired cannot be described as a criminal trial but an abuse of authority.

Justice Mbai disclosed that cost is in the discretion of the court and he therefore awarded cost of D20, 000 against the 1st and 2nd respondents. He noted that the said court is on record on having struck out the appellant’s case and awarding cost of D5, 000 to the respondents, which was settled.
Author: Sidiq Asemota"

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Judgement in Dr.Janneh's Case

'                                                           

Forty pages of hogwash from mercenary judges. It belies the mind, how intelligent people, trained in the noble profession of law, could suppress their conscience, to deliver injustice. 

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Senegal in turmoil


Senegalese are still demonstrating against Abdoulaye Wade's power grab. The senile octogenerian is trying to run for a third term. He contracted with a US law firm to provide legal support to justify his attempt at a third term. He is an excerpt of the correspondence:


           Dear President Wade:

It is indeed an honor to consult with you and to provide representation for The Office
ofthe President with respect to your efforts to seek a third tenia as President of The Republic of
Senegal. 1 will lead a team of lawyers and professionals at McKenna Long & Aldridge
(hereinafter "MLA") who have been assembled lo research and analyze your authority to seek a third term under the Senegalese Constitution and other relevant laws, create a white paper that discusses our conclusions, and develop and implement an agreed upon protocol for sharing these findings with appropriate officials and interested parties in the United States and in The Republic of Senegal. We would like to present our white paper findings to you in Senegal in early November and in accordance with your schedule.We can perforin this work under the following terms:
(T); A retainer in the Amount of $100,000 to be paid upon, execution of this
engagement letter;
(2): A JSOJOOO tee for researching and draftingthe white paper; and
(3): A $50,0(|0: per month flat fee for developing and implementing an agreed upon
protocol whereby IVltA will share the results of our findings with appropriate officials and
interested parties in the United States and Senegal.
You can read the whole correspondence here.

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Life in prison for what?

Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, the erstwhile secretary of state for information, who left the United States to contribute to what he termed then "his quota" to national development, has been sentenced to life behind bars for excercising his free speech rights. A lot of pixels were wasted when he penned a controversial email on Gambian online list serves rationalizing his change of positions, vis-a-vis the Yahya autocracy. A lot of people felt betrayed and offended by his actions then.

Fast forward to the developments of late. Many of these people (online activist) ...been the democrats they are, felt that he fell prey to the evil machinations they've warned him against. They've coalesce without reservations to voice their indignation at his incarceration, notwithstanding, because deep down they adhere to the time worn dictum that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". It is a sad day in the history of the Gambia, that citizens can be locked up for life for what is trivial pursuits. What harm is done to the state when some one print slogans on a t-shirt? The slippery slope is getting sloppy by the day.

The joke is on the Gambian citizenry. It is time for activist in the diaspora to start agitating differently...no  I am not talking abut demonstrating in front of embassies ( God bless the demonstrators), it is time to get creative. Bring to the fore front Yahya's connection to drug traffickers and money launderers with affiliations to terror groups like Hezbollah to the attention of western governments.Unless western interest is at stake, we won't make any headways in our pursuit for justice. We've gotta make him think twice before he board planes for the west.

It was students, Deyda, Koro and countless Gambians yesterday. Today it is Dr. Janneh... tomorrow, it could be your family member. Wake up Gambia and get rid of the mad man devouring your kids for his greed.

Free Dr. Janneh NOW !!!

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