Juwara hits at Buba Baldeh
Thursday, September 06, 2012
The minister for Regional Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers, Lamin Waa Juwara, has exposed the past activities of one Buba Baldeh, a Gambian dissident currently residing in Senegal, recalling that the latter once stole money when he (Juwara) was serving as commissioner in URR during the First Republic.
Juwara was speaking during a meeting with women from across the country on
Tuesday, at the office of the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs,
Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy at State House in Banjul. The women,
headed by the APRC women mobiliser, Aja Ndey Jatta, came to State House to
renew their support for the Gambian leader particularly regarding the issue of
the recent execution of nine death row prisoners.
if he continues exposing what he knew about Buba Baldeh, the dissident would be
expelled from Senegal. He further recalled that it was a lie Buba Baldeh told
against him during the early days of the Second Republic that led to his
(Juwara’s) first arrest. Buba Baldeh
served as a Youth and Sports minister
from 1992 -1994 and a member of parliament for Jimara Constituency in the First
Republic. He laterjoined the APRC
in late 1999 , serving as the ruling party’s deputy national mobiliser (youth),
before being expelled from the party in 2004. Baldeh left the country for
Europein 2006 and latersettledin Senegal ona
self- imposed exile..
In the aftermath of the recent execution
ofnine death row prisoners,
Baldeh, a one- time managing director of the Observer Company (2000-2002), has
been appearing onprivate TV
channels in Senegalbeating the
drums of war andmaking
inflamatory speeches meant to ignite a conflict between The Gambian and
Senegal. Juwara also
lambasted the opposition over the issue of the death penalty, saying it has
been in the constitution for years and no one previously spoke against it.“If people don’t want this section of
the constitution, let them go for referendum and amend it,” he added.
While citing Saudi Arabia as a clear example of a country that has the death penalty, he further stated: “If you appeal to His Excellency as good citizens, he would halt it, but it has to be clear that he did not kill anyone but the law that kills. ”If something happens, good citizens come out for the truth, but if you accuse somebody, you have offended him and this is not about the president but about the constitution and the president has no power over that section of the constitution.” He added: “If you don’t want to be killed, then don’t kill,” he stated, while maintaining that the president has no power over that section of the constitution.
part, the vice president used the occasion to thank Gambian women for taking
their rightful position as women. She described The Gambia as a very peaceful
country, and said any attempt to destabilise it would not work as it is guided
by the prayers of the good elders, both past and present. She
informed the gathering that she would not elaborate on the issue of the
execution as it has previously been dealt with clearly by both the Justice
minister and other speakers, while calling on Gambians to unite and rally
behind the president. “You should consider yourselves lucky because God has
given you a president that excels on a daily basis,” she stated.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lamin Jobarteh, also commended Gambian women for taking their rightful position in nation development, echoing the popular adage that behind every great man is a great woman. He explained that Sections 1 to 18 of the constitution are subject to amendment of the majority in the National Assembly, but not Sections 19 to 32, which can only be amended through a referendum. He added that the issue of the execution falls into the latter category.
Attorney General reminded the gathering that the president has taken an oath to
uphold and defend the constitution of the country and that it is clearly
embedded in our constitution that, “if you are accused of killing, you would be
tried with the provision of the service of a lawyer by the state if you cannot
afford it, so if you are found guilty you have all right to appeal.” He cited
the case of Tabara Samba , a Senegalese national who was residing in The
Gambia, saying she killed and the law found her guilty. He pointed out that
Gambians who killed were also executed.
Jobarteh rubbished rumours that all those executed were political prisoners, while stressing that they would not respond to those who are calling for sanctions against The Gambia. “If we respond to them, it would be credit to them because they are those dissidents who are playing tricks so that they can gain asylum and live in the West,” he said, adding that the said Buba Baldeh cannot tell anybody that he had a problem with someone in this country.
Njogu Bah, the minister for Presidential Affairs and secretary general and head of Civil Servant, also commended the women for coming. “If we all keep silent, no one would know who is who,” he told them, while recalling the discussions between The Gambia and Senegal over the Cassamance issue, noting that everything was clear at the end. “So if Senegal press today writes everything that is not true about The Gambia, we all know what is happening here,” Minister Bah said, while dilating on the president’s unwavering commitment to the African continent, describing him as the only leader who speaks the truth in the midst of his fellow leaders, for Africa’s development.
He reminded Gambians that they are of one big family and therefore prayed for God’s continuous guidance for peace and stability. He lamented that it is only Gambians who sit outside and write anything on their websites, something he said one would never see in countries like Senegal and Nigeria, who, according to him, have more problems than The Gambia. On their part, the women affirmed that the execution was dictated by the Constitution of The Gambia and not the president, while reassuring their unwavering support for him on the matter.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Aja Ndey Jatta, the national women mobiliser, recalled that Gambians went to the referendum and voted for the inclusion of the death penalty in the constitution. “President Jamme has not killed anybody, it is the law that kills and we will stand by the president for everything and we will not joke with that,” she stated. She also lambasted Gambian dissidents in Senegal for what she described as the ’’unacceptable comments” they are making against their own country.
Others who spoke on behalf of the women included Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, the ex-speaker of the National Assembly, Ajaratou Fatou Njie-Fofana, Aji Demba-Daffeh and Ida Faye-Hydara among others.
Meeting with NBR elders
In a similar vein, VP Njie-Saidy received elders from the North Bank Region (NBR), at her office in State House. The NBR elders, who were led to State House by the governor of the region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, came to appeal to the Gambian leader to halt further execution of death row prisoners.
Explaining the purpose of the visit to State House, Governor Jammeh said that they came to send a clear message to the rest of the world that they would stand by the president of the Republic for whatever he does, and that they have never doubted him on any issue as president. “No constitution is better than ours and it is democratic and that they are made by us. But we appeal to him to halt the execution for the meantime,” he said, while calling on all Gambians abroad to come and join the rest of the country for the sake of national development.
president used the occasion to thank the NBR elders for coming up with the bold
step of appealing to the president. She said that all what has been said
clearly vindicated the president in the execution issue, stressing that he did
not kill, but that executions were dictated by the Constitution of The Gambia. She finally
prayed for the president’s wishes of taking this country to higher height to
materialise, while reminding the gathering that this country is being secured
by the prayers of the elders, both past and present.
minister for Justice, Lamin Jobarteh, used the occasion to explain how the
constitution operates regarding the death penalty.
For his part, Dr Njogu L Bah, the minister responsible for Presidential Affairs and secretary general and head of Civil Servant, also applauded the NBR elders for coming. Bah defended the president’s stand on the execution issue, saying his decision was meant to make the country a crime-free nation. He assured the elders that the president would hear their appeal. “If there is no peace in the country, the president would find it very difficult to move the country forward,” he pointed out.
Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers, Lamin Waa Juwara, informed elders
that the president is not the owner of the law and he is not the maker of it.
“The law is made by Gambians and it is the dictates of our constitution that if
you kill, you should be killed as well,” he said.
Alhaji Saihu Jallow, the regional chairman of NBR, said they came to State House to appeal to the president to halt the executions, while assuring that they will always stand by him. “Even God said, if you kill, you should be killed, but do have mercy and that is why we have come here to appeal,” he added.
Modou Faye, a speaker from the Council of Elders of NBR, acknowledged the transformation that has taken place in the region in recent years. He stated that the issue of death penalty is in the constitution, which was approved by Gambians. “But we only came to appeal to the president to halt further executions of the those inmates on death row,” he added.
Other speakers at the meeting included Alhaji Basiru Jallow; and Jim Fatma Jobe, the chief of Jokadu, among others.
Author: Bekai Njie