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Sidi Sanneh: What is behind Darboe’s bail appeal adjournment


This is a re-publication of an issue first published
on 30th May, 2016.
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Ousainou Darboe 

It has not been a good year for Yaya Jammeh so far.  The borders between The Gambia and Senegal have been closed from mid-February to last week, bringing to a close what ended up being a three-month stand-off.

To add to Jammeh’s woes, the month-long protest demonstrations by the opposition United Democratic Party of Ousainou Darboe that threatened Jammeh’s faltering regime.

The death in custody of Solo Sandeng which the regime denied but later admitted by Jammeh in a Jeune Afrique interview, led Ousinadou Darboe to lead his own protest against the deaths, tortures and the arrests of dozens of members f the opposition and its supporters.  The recently passed electoral laws designed to render many political parties ineffective to compete agisnt the ruling APRC have been the main reason for the demonstrations which were quelled by excessive use of force which led to a world-wide condemnation from the United States, the United Nations and European Union.

The violence against unarmed and peaceful demonstrators led the European Parliament to pass a strong resolution not only condemning the regime of Yaya Jammeh for excessive use of force but also proposed to its members state to consider targeted sanctions against key personnel of Jammeh’s administration.  Other non-humanitarian sanctions were also recommended.

Jammeh also suffered defeat at the hands of ECOWAS when it decided to throw out Jammeh’s complaint against Senegal over the birder closure when it was cited for non-observance of the regional body’s protocol.  Jammeh failed to complete the process that would have rendered effective the transit protocol between Senegal and The Gambia.

The Jammeh regime has come under tremendous pressure and had opened itself to further international ridicule and outright scorn as a result of the unforced errors his incompetent regime has committed in the first half of the year.  Therefore, Jammeh needs some positive news to counter-balance all the negative and humiliating publicity that threatens his grip on power.  Enters the Ousianou Darbor case.

Jammeh has been heavily criticized, albeit privately, from his own judiciary that the case involving Ousianou Darboe and co is a one of heavy-handedness.   His Solicitor General advised that the state doesn’t have a case against them, he ended up being fired.  The Chief Justice expressed similar sentiments, he was also fired only for his Attorney General and Minister of Justice to convince his to rescind the letter of dismissal – at least temporarily.   The last we heard, the Chief Justice has gone to his native Nigeria leaving the entire judiciary is more disarray.

Jammeh news some good news and he finds it in Ousainou Darboe case whose bail appeal was adjourned until 26th June to buy the dictator time.  What he plans on doing is to drag it up until the end of the Month of Ramadan when he will convene a big meeting of the Banjul Mullahs and the Supreme Islamic Council hypocrites when he will announce the “pardoning” of Ousainou and his supporters as a gesture of reconciliation.

This grandiose plan will sit well with his supporters but not with Ousainou or his supporters because the bigger problem – electoral reform – would not have been addressed by “pardoning” someone who should not have been arrested in the first place. 



Sidi Sanneh