Gambia: 'Unlawful Termination of Magistrate, Judges Were Rampant'

22 April 2021

Veteran Lawyer Fafa Edrissa Mbai in his third day of testimony before the TRRC, reiterated that during the 22 years of former President Yahya Jammeh's rule, unlawful dismissals of magistrate and judges were the order of the day.

The former attorney general stated that the worst civilian government is far better than a good military government, saying Yahya Jammeh was brutal during his time as president. He confirmed to the commission that 95 decrees were enacted by the AFPRC government and 13 out of the 95 were enacted during his time as attorney general.

He further testified that his frustration started when the Junta stopped taking his advice on human rights basis, saying that was the reason he didn't last long with the military rule.

"I believe in Allah for whatever happened to me, despite my great services to the nation. I was evacuated from my property in Kairaba Avenue and as well arrested unlawfully on several occasions."

The witness recollected that the reason he had to establish law and order for the country was more than the idea of the Junta. Mbai added that he was part of the steering committee that was tasked to establish the law school at the University of The Gambia.

"I was the first person to be employed as a lecturer of custom law." He continued that he wrote many books used by the school.

The veteran lawyer stood firm on the decision that he was never part of the drafters of the draconic decrees, insisting he had served as an adviser to the ruling council led by Chairman Yahya Jammeh.

On his concluding remarks, he said the decrees were to address the serious and corrupt practices in the country. He added that a law that violated fundamental human rights is a bad law.

"My intention was to serve the nation to the best of my ability and I believed that was the initial mindset of the AFPRC. It was not my intention as well to enable a dictatorship; it was far from that. I was not the drafter of the decrees but I accepted them during my tenure as AG and I took the responsibility that I have advised them."

"Unfortunately the table turned and the members of the council were driven by self-interest. With that, I parted company with them and they have seen it as I didn't like their rule. I had suffered during my tenure and I seek forgiveness to anyone I have ever wronged."

He thanked the TRRC, the media and other parties for providing historical records of dark moments that occurred in our country.

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