By Madi Jobarteh
From 1994 to 2016, Yaya Jammeh unleashed a reign of terror on Gambians for 22 years. Hundreds of our citizens shed blood and tears. Hundreds more lost property, limb and life just for one man to stay on top of our heads by force. Gambians tried all ways and means to oust this terrible dictatorship but failed on so many occasions at great cost to our people. Our opposition leaders who happened to be the governors today at both Executive and Legislative arms of the State faced all forms of harassment and incarceration. Halifa Sallah, OJ, Hamat Bah, Isatou Touray and Ousainou Darboe are among many leaders who were dumped in prison at various times for merely standing up for democracy in our country. Yaya Jammeh was able to terrorize us because his APRC party used the parliament to legalize and legitimize his misrule. Secondly he used a set of public and security officers within the state machinery to intimidate the population just to entrench himself in power.Click here to Read More
One of those who served in the state security apparatus is Bubacarr Badgie. He is a direct beneficiary of Yaya Jammeh’s agenda, which was intended to train certain citizens so that they can become tools to strengthen his dictatorship. Yet when the tide turned and Gambians gained freedom, Badgie did not run away or hide and he was not sacked from the NIA, rather he continued there as the Legal Adviser. Whether he is genuine or not, time will tell, but Badgie has shown that he is committed to creating a new chapter for the NIA. For that matter, he demonstrated utmost professionalism and honesty by providing genuine legal advice to his Director General Ousman Sowe. Shockingly DG Sowe decided to not only ignore Badgie’s legal and professional advice but also went further to torment Mr. Badgie for that.
Undeterred, Badgie decided to inform and advise the Head of State about the state of affairs in the NIA. In informing the President, he also copied his Director General as well as the Inspector General of Police. Therefore by all accounts, we must give Badgie the benefit of doubt that indeed here is a man who wishes to bring about change in the Gambia. On 1 December 2016, we when decided, our verdict was for the Gambia to have a system change. Badgie’s petition is about system change.
Yet the President did not only ignore Badgie’s petition, but the Director General of NIA went further to write to the PMO to suspend Badgie because they claim he leaked so-called official secrets to the media. This means the President, the Director General and the PMO have all decided to ignore the extremely vital and serious issues of national interest that Badgie had raised in his letter. They have all rejected the fact that Badgie has alleged severe corruption and threats to national security. In fact Badgie has indicated that the agents who killed Solo Sandeng are still inside the NIA. Yet the very people responsible for our national security, i.e. the President and the Director General NIA just ignored these very important issues only to now find ways of harming this genuine citizen, Bubacarr Badgie.
This is indeed a huge travesty of justice and a gross negligence of duty that is unfolding right in front of our eyes. Why should the President receive such a petition from none other than the very Legal Adviser of the topmost national security agency and decide to ignore such a letter.
We see a similar scenario currently unfolding in the United States. There is a man called James Comey who was the former Director of FBI, which is the equivalent of the NIA. Comey had a meeting with Pres. Donald Trump few weeks ago and soon after that meeting he leaked their conversation to his friend so that his friend could send the information to the media. This is because the president told Comey some very inappropriate things that concern the FBI’s investigation of the link between the Trump Campaign and Russia. Since then Trump fired Comey because of that investigation. But because of that leak, the current FBI Deputy Director appointed a special prosecutor to continue that investigation. Comey testified this whistle blowing before the US Congress few days ago because he did not want Trump to interfere with the FBI or the investigation. Comey was not rebuked or arrested or charged for anything. Rather many people commend him for that action which led to the appointment of a special prosecutor. Yet in the Gambia another intelligence agent blew the whistle about wrong things in the NIA and instead of Pres. Barrow appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the NIA, he decided to let this man be arrested and charged with lies.
Gambians must not sit by and watch Badgie persecuted on a matter that concerns our individual and collective security. If there are killers inside the NIA, those killers must be exposed and held to account. Why are Pres. Barrow and the NIA Director General Ousman Sowe and PMO hiding killers from justice?
Has Pres. Barrow forgotten that it was those agents who killed his party member Solo Sandeng, Solo Koroma, Lang Marong and Ebrima Ceesay? Has Pres. Barrow forgotten that it was those agents who tortured and raped UDP militants and manhandled Ousainou Darboe and colleagues? Has Pres. Barrow forgotten that it was those NIA agents who tortured Amadou Sanneh on national television until he was drunk? Has Pres. Adama Barrow forgotten that he is president today simply because Ousainou Darboe and the entire UDP leaders were in jail because of those NIA agents? How dare Pres. Barrow ignore the facts and the reality only to cover up killers and rapists and torturers and then punish the man who is exposing them?
I hereby condemn Pres. Adama Barrow for this gross irresponsibility and total disregard of the national interest. Why is the Cabinet in which are OJ, Hamat Bah, Ousainou Darboe, Isatou Touray, Fatoumatta Tambajang, Baa Tambadou and Mai Ahmad Fatty keeping silent over this matter? Why are they not advising the president to follow this petition? Why are you people silent and allowing such a travesty of justice to slap us in our face with impunity? Why are you people protecting the NIA? Indeed Solo Sandeng, Deyda Hydara and our schoolchildren will never ever forgive any of you for this gross irresponsibility. This is national betrayal of the highest order!
Why is Speaker Mariam Denton who has encountered these notorious NIA agents keeping quiet? Why are Halifa Sallah and Sidia Jatta keeping quiet over this matter? Why are our National Assembly members keeping quiet over this petition?
Bubacarr Badgie has provided the key into the very heart of the APRC Dictatorship. This petition is the key to inform us how, why, when, where and what atrocities were committed in the past 22 years and who committed them and on whose orders. Yet Pres. Barrow and his Cabinet and Speaker Mariam Denton and the National Assembly decide to ignore this petition. I am disappointed beyond words.
I want to tell Gambians to rise up and demand that Pres. Barrow provides total protection to Badgie and ensure that the NIA is put under serious enquiry right now.
If we allow Badgie to be subjected to a fake trial on trumped up charges, he will go to jail. This means the winners are those NIA rapists, torturers and killers. They will continue to walk our streets freely at our own risk. Their victims are crying from their graves for justice. We cannot and must not abandon and further injure those victims.
Free Bubacarr Badgie and Investigate the NIA! NOW.
God Bless The Gambia.