The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has disclosed that 191,509 Gambians have so far registered for the 2021 Presidential Election slated for 4 December.“The Independent Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public that the general registration of voters which started on 29th may 2021 across the country, will end on 11th July 2021,” the Commission says in a press release, while calling on all qualified Gambians to go and register.
Meanwhile, Peace Ambassador-The Gambia (PAG) have recently released a voter registration reports, which indicated that malfunction of registration equipment has affected the ongoing registration at some centres, causing early closure of registration processes.
PAG in partnership with National Democratic Institute (NDI), and technical and financial support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on 29th May, 2021 deployed 59 trained observers across the seven administrative regions, and 53 constituencies of The Gambia to observe the ongoing voter registration process.
The diplomatic passport scandal case involving a former state house chief driver and a former protocol officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday continued before the High Court in Banjul.Mansa Sumareh, a former State House driver and Ebrima J. Sanneh, a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been arraigned. The two are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and forgery. They are accused of conspiring between themselves to procure Gambian diplomatic passports.
Commissioner Olimatou Jammeh, the head of the diplomatic passport unit at the Gambia Immigration Department concluded her evidence in-chief before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh on Monday.
She said the letter of approval in application of one Bakary K. Suso was not accompanied by official stamp. She added that Ebrima J. Sanneh was the protocol that escorted the application.
"Superintendent Omar Fofana, the Operations Commander at my office said that it was the liaison officer responsible for service and diplomatic passports who reported to him that the approval from the Office of the President relating to Bakary Suso was missing official stamps from the Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Jammeh replied.
On cross-examination by Lawyer Segga Gaye, Commissioner Jammeh said Ebrima J. Sanneh’s name came in the diplomatic passport record book more than 21 times.
“You will agree with me that the 2nd accused person is a regular visitor at your office,” Gaye questioned.
“Yes,” she said.
“You will agree with me that those visits were in accordance with his duties,” Gaye inquired.
“I agree,” she responded.
“You will agree with me that those visits were to escort applicants of diplomatic passports and to collect passports,” Gaye questioned.
“Yes,” she replied.
The witness admitted that she never called Ndey Awa Cham whose name was on the approval letter. Instead she called one Salimatou Touray who gave her opinion that she does not recognise the signature on the approval letter.
“You did not speak to Ndey Awa Cham throughout this process,” the lawyer said.
“I did not speak to Ndey Awa Cham,” she said.
“You will agree with me that the conclusion reached by Salimatou Touray from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was her mere opinion – nothing more,” the Lawyer said.
“Yes, that is her opinion,” she responded.
The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 9 June 2021.
NAWEC sued as plaintiff claims over D7M for negligenceJun 8, 2021, 12:48 PM | Article By: Alagie Baba
One Eduwar Daffeh has sued NAWEC claiming D7,150, 000 for special and general damages caused by the national electricity and water giant.Daffeh, who now uses clutches to walk, said on the 25th November 2019 while on a motorbike, he collided with NAWEC high tension cable and fell with his motorbike. He claims he spent three months at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.
Daffeh through his lawyer Saikou Fatty wrote to NAWEC seeking compensation of D10,000,000 (ten million dalasis). NAWEC wrote back to him on the 21st April 2020 denying liability for the accident, adding the accident could have been avoided if Daffeh had stopped when he was asked to stop by the policeman and NAWEC staff working on the site. However, NAWEC in the letter did not dispute the fact that Daffeh collided with their high tension cable. NAWEC in the letter argued that there is no evidence to establish tort of negligence arguing there were attempts by the traffic police officer on duty and NAWEC staff prior to his collision with the high tension cable but he refused to stop. NAWEC's position is that the accident could have been avoided if Mr. Daffeh had paid heed to the attempts to stop him by the traffic police officer on duty and NAWEC staff working on the site.
Daffeh sued them after receiving this letter from the national electricity and water providers.
Daffeh is claiming for D4,500,000 for special damages for fracture and bruises he sustained as a result of NAWEC's negligence which caused deformity of his right leg. He is claiming D2,000,000 for general damages for mental and emotional trauma. Also, he is claiming D650,000 for legal fees.
There was a police report dated 4th March 2020 by the office of the officer commanding Upper River Region. The police report indicated that Mr. Eduwar Daffeh was involved in an accident with his motor cycle with the registration number MRC 535 MC.
Below is the full police report from the Officer Commanding the Upper Region.
"EXTRACT OF POLICE REPORT ON ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
This is to certify that MR EDUWAR DAFFEH of BASSE MRC got involved in an accident which was reported at Basse Police Station with his motor cycle Registration no MRC 535 MC.
The accident occurred when the NAWEC displayed their electrical cable across the road at Allunhareh village URR and the said cable which was above the road suddenly dropped down, while they were pulling it across the road to Allunhareh Clinic, it hooked him on the neck and he fell on the ground and sustained fractured knee.
DAMAGES ON THE VEHICLE
There is no damage on the motor cycle. The scene of the accident was visited by Basse mobile traffic and confirmed as stated. The victim was unconscious but was rushed to Basse hospital and later taken to MRC Fajara, where he was further referred to EFSTH and admitted at the accident and emergency unit for further treatment."
The case comes up for hearing on 25th June 2021 at 10 am.
The National Assembly Joint Committee on IEC with support from International IDEA has begun a 4-day retreat programme to discuss way forward on the 2020 Election Bill that was tabled sometime ago at parliament by the Justice minister.The gathering brought together members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on IEC, rep. from IEC, stakeholders, subject matter specialists, participants and partners from different institutions.
The purpose of the four days retreat was to give the members of the Joint Committee the chance to discuss and prepare a final report on the 2020 Election Bill that will be re-tabled before legislators.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mariam Jack-Denton, the speaker at the National Assembly, who doubles as chairperson of the Joint Committee on IEC, highlighted the significance of having the retreat.
Jack-Denton described the retreat as significant and called on members to participate effectively to ensure the report that the committee would table at the National Assembly is a good one.
“We are all aware that the 2020 Election Bill was tabled during the first ordinary session of the National Assembly by the Justice minister,” Mariam Jack-Denton recalled. She said the bill was then referred to the Joint Committee for proper scrutiny.
“The committee thoroughly went through it and engaged stakeholders to prepare and present it for debate (consideration) and for it to go for adoption before it proceeds to the next legislative process,” Jack-Denton said.
She added that the Joint Committee then went on a countrywide tour to engage stakeholders and citizens on the Election Bill 2020.
“It was a very effective move for the Joint Committee to give citizens the opportunity to participate in legislative process,” Mariam Jack-Denton noted.
Madam Speaker added that it is the responsibility of the National Assembly members in the Joint Committee to ensure that the electoral laws meet the current demand and realities of the electoral process.
Madam Jack-Denton told members of the Joint Committee that it is important that all genuine opinions, views and perspectives gathered during the consultation with stakeholders and citizens to be considered to enrich the final report of the Joint Committee.
For Aja Adam Ceesay, International IDEA focal person, said they have been supporting the government of The Gambia since 2017 in the transitional processes. She said they have been working with the National Assembly on difficult areas.
“We sponsored this activity because we have been partnering with the National Assembly and we want to help and promote democracy and rule of law in The Gambia.
She assured that they will continue supporting the National Assembly in process of the 2020 election bill for it to be tabled at the parliament and also to amend the Electoral Act for it to be a law that will govern the 4 December 2021 presidential election.
African descendants residing in The Gambia over the weekend held their first ever symposium with members of the National Assembly, human right activists, historians and stakeholders at a local hotel in Senegambia.Hon. Sulayman Saho, the lawmaker for Central Badibou, who chaired the symposium, said African descendants are finally reaching the promised land – Africa.
“Slavery is not something new in Africa and for these people to be accorded automatic citizenship, support of the executive is crucial, more so the president,” Hon. Sulayman Saho said.
He added that the role of the National Assembly is crucial in implementing laws that will guarantee the process of returning home.
Saho said that the Transatlantic slave trade is known to everyone and people must understand the reasons why some of the Africans left Africa for Europe or elsewhere.
He said the home comers need to be recognised as Africans and their return should be considered as family reunion.
The Badibou Central NAM said if President Adama Barrow accords automatic citizenship to the African descendants, it will be a historic moment for the entire country.
Juliet Ryan, the founder of BlaXit and COAD, highlighted the significance of organising the symposium, adding that it will go a long way in addressing the issue of automatic citizenship and private members bill.
She said the day is a historic moment and it is the first symposium of its kind in The Gambia, which is the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “Many of us were taken from Africa and especially The Gambia where my family is from,” Juliet Ryan said.
She expressed gratitude to the National Assembly Members (NAMs) for their large turnout in the symposium. “You are we, and we are you. We don’t decide where to be born and you don’t decide where to be born,” Juliet Ryan said.
Among the challenges they faced, she said, is that many people are not aware of the economic benefits of Africans that have been taken away from Africans.
“We need to come back together so that we can unify and stop the exploitation of Africans that is rapidly taking place every day,” Juliet said. “We are your long lost cousins.”
Madam Ryan further said their next step is to look at how they are going to draft the private members bill and who will help in the process.
“I have learned a lot of things from this symposium and things that I don’t know about Gambia and I now realise that more work need to be done,” Juliet Ryan said.
She added that it is high time for Africans to eradicate some of those colonial laws that are meant to divide Africans.
She expressed that lawmakers have the powers to change some of the colonial laws. She said the symposium has served its purpose and they have learned a lot from the symposium.
“I hope Gambia will be the first country in Africa to implement the laws on automatic citizenship,” Juliet Ryan said.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Halifa Sallah, Serrekunda legislator, said the descendants from Africa were fighting two different battles. One is against slavery and the other one is against self determination.
He said, when they became the majority in the Caribbean, they began the struggle for self determination and independence.
Hon. Sallah said African descendants were enslaved in America, died due to the colour of their skin and they were not recognised as human beings.
He added that the descendants were also struggling for their rights to be recognised as human beings.
“The descendants have a right to return to their land of origin,” Hon. Halifa Sallah said. He added the African Union must look at each country’s constitution in Africa to ensure all the elements that are essential to agree on a protocol on how to ensure that those who want to return now can be given the opportunity to do so to any country of their choice.
DLEAG intercepts 2 motorbikes with 18 bags suspected cannabis worth D0.5MJun 8, 2021, 1:12 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo
Operatives of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency-The Gambia (DLEAG) over the weekend intercepted two motorbikes with 18 bags of suspected cannabis, as the fight against drug trafficking and its related issues intensifies, The Point has been reliably informed.These 18 bags are equivalent to 181 bundles of suspected cannabis and the estimated street-value for a kilo or bundle is D3500. This could be worth D633,500 in total.
The suspects at the time of gathering the report are still at large. Operatives of the DLEAG and other security units in the country are currently on a manhunt with a view to arresting the suspects.
Ousman Saidybah, the spokesperson of the country’s narcotic agency, who was contacted for comments, confirmed the development to The Point, saying: “Operatives of the DLEAG are not leaving any stone unturned with the objectives of making the country free from crimes and other clandestine activities.”
Explaining how the incident happened, Saidybah added: “On Sunday 6 June 2021, DLEAG operatives stationed within the West Coast Region (WCR) conducted an undercover operation around the outskirts of Bajiran Border village, in Foni. The operation resulted in the seizure of two motor cycles fully loaded with one hundred and eighty one (181) big bundles and some quantities of suspected cannabis.”
“Each of the motorcycles was carrying nine (9) bags filled with suspected cannabis. One of the motorbikes with black in colour is with the registration number: BJL 0356. The other motorbike being red in colour is without a registration number plate.”
“Both suspects are currently at large while investigators probing the matter are closely working with the police to identify the owners of the said motorbikes.”
By Amadou Jadama
Three Gambians accused of killing a Senegalese market vendor at Westfield have appeared before Magistrate Mam Samba Jallow of the Kanifing court.
Bubacarr Jallow, Omar Touray and Bubacarr Jallow are charged with murder.
Police prosecutor Lamin Jammeh told the court in May that the trio conspired and caused the death of one Serigne Fall, a Senegalese national by knifing him to death at Westfield.
The trio, who appeared unrepresented, denied any wrong doing.
The presiding magistrate then transferred the matter to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul as her court lacks jurisdiction to try a capital offence.
The trial magistrate also ordered that the accused persons be remanded in custody pending their re-appearance at the High Court.
The Gambia national team players currently camped in Turkey have not been paid match bonuses after they beat Niger.
According to confirmed reports, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) had to sign an undertaking that the bonuses will be paid for that match and the ones coming against Togo, today and Serbia on Friday.
Our sources further confirmed that the Ministry of Sports did not include match bonuses for these training matches in their request submitted to the Ministry of Finance, because MoYS allegedly considered the matches as just friendly encounters.
However, speaking to The Standard yesterday the Minister of Sports Bakary Badjie said his Ministry did not make any promise to the GFF to pay the match bonuses. ‘The GFF submitted a budget of D15million for the two weeks camp in Turkey and were told to cut down that budget given the many commitments the Ministry has including more training camps before the tournament proper in Cameroun. But instead of cutting it, the GFF even added it to D19million. We reviewed the budget and approved D12million for the camping’s logistics such as feeding, lodging and player camping allowances, and another D900, 000 for agents’ fees. We made it clear to the GFF that given the tight nature of the budget they would have to take care of the match bonuses or explain the nature of things to the players. But the GFF said they have no money and that is where matters stand,” the minister said. He added that based on the GFF’s own road map to the tournament proper, two more campings would be held before the tournament requiring tens of millions of dalasis and these coupled with other commitments to other sports in an Olympic Games year and the infrastructure projects undertaken by the ministry means that the budget is tight.
“Government has already invested hugely on this qualifying process, hiring special flights and moving players from sub-standard to standard accommodations as well as the planned financial incentive expected to be given to the team this month,” Hon Badjie said.
By Mariama Jallow
The victims centre with support from Amnesty International yesterday launched a 47-page report documenting some of the human rights violations that occurred under former president Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
They include violations related to arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial executions, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment among others. The cases are presented based on specific incidents.
Titled ‘No longer silenced by fear’, the report details victims’ stories of mental distress and “acute pain” under Jammeh.
The report, which also identified gaps to properly address some of the serious human rights violations under Jammeh, stated that the victims centre registered 1,272 victims of Jammeh.
Addressing the participants at the launching of the report on Monday, Marta Colomer, a representative of Amnesty International, said the human rights organisation was clear from the beginning that the victims centre has a key role to play in building the ‘New Gambia’.
“They have represented the victims that had suffered the most horrendous crimes and violations under Jammeh and his allies. I personally think our decision to support them with the capacity building project has yielded results today,” Ms Colomer said.
The report, she added, is a culmination of hard work, determination and hope for justice.
“Hope that Gambia will not forget about its past and that one day, not a very far one we hope, there will be justice and accountability for all the victims,” she said.
The chairman of the victims centre, Sheriff Kijera, said the report seeks to amplify voices of the victims of human rights violations “who do not have the opportunity to testify before the TRRC and ensure justice prevails for the heinous crimes meted on them by the authoritarian regime of Jammeh”.
He added: “The Gambia is faced with numerous pressing challenges after 22 years of dictatorship, gross abuse and violations of human rights. A traditional justice approach recognises the need to gain an acceptable level of justice for the victims and to reinforce the possibilities of peace, democracy and reconciliation in order to prevent recurrence of future violations.”
By Tabora Bojang
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said it has no plans to include prisoners in preparations for the December election, arguing serving inmates do not have a full constitutional right to vote.
Pa Makan Khan, director of communications at the IEC, told The Standard that prisoners have forfeited their civil rights and that is why there is no provision in the law books guaranteeing their participation in elections.
“At the moment, there are no plans for the prisoners to vote. They are disqualified by the law and unless the laws are revised, they cannot take part in the elections,” Mr Khan said.
According to him, the IEC is conducting the looming December polls under the Elections Act of 2009 which covers all technical aspects of the electoral process.
“So, as it stands, they are not going to vote in December as we are relying on the Elections Act of 2009 which disqualifies prisoners,” Khan argued.
The communications director added that the involvement of prisoners would require changes to electoral laws, but was quick to add that the 2020 Elections Bill under review before lawmakers did not even have a provision guaranteeing prisoner participation in future elections.
Mr Khan’s revelation clashed with the argument given by members of the National Human Rights Commission who appeared before a parliamentary committee on human rights and constitutional matters tasked to meet stakeholders on the Elections Bill.
The commission was concerned about the disentrancement of prisoners despite a constitutional provision granting them voting rights.
“The constitution has not even excluded them. In other words, by excluding them we are violating their fundamental rights,” NHRC chairman Emmanuel Joof told deputies.
Commissioner Njundu Drammeh also told lawmakers that the right to vote is an “inalienable element” of citizenship in a functioning democracy, stating that disenfranchising prisoners would tantamount to excluding them from having a say in the running of the country.