Tuesday, December 31, 2013

President Jammeh unbans Standard Newspaper and Teranga FM


Proprietor, Taranga Fm
After one year when Gambian security services arbitrarily shut down the Gambian community radio station, Taranga FM and The Standard Newspaper, president jammeh has announced the lifting of ban with immediate effects.

 Aired on the state broadcaster, GRTS, on New Year’s Eve, president Jammeh lifted the ban ‘for his good will gesture for the new year’ 2014.
Both Taranga FM and the Standard have were shut at a time when the Gambia is seeing increasing violations of the right to freedom of expression.
The arbitrary closure according to journalist is an undue interference in freedom of expression by the state and will deprive the Gambian public of their right to access information, especially in local languages.

Taranga FM was shutdown on the night of 14-15 August and The Standard, together with The Daily News received orders on Friday to immediately cease operations in September 2012.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Teachers Resolved to Join in the Fight against FGM

Dr. Isatou Touray

After concluding a day training on Monday, teachers has resolved to join, GAMCOTRAP, a women’s rights advocacy group to educated children on the effects of FGM.
The event brought together 25 from various schools in the West Coast Region. The project, from a health-based to a right-based approach fighting against Female Genital Mutilation seeks to introduced module on FGM and child’s rights for grade 4-9 basic and secondary education sector hopefully next year . It is funded by Save the Children International.
The modules on FGM are meant to contribute to efforts by the education sector to promote gender equality and development as part of overall policy to promote girls’ education.
Gamcotrap, have over the years been very active and effective in the promotion of women and children’s rights. Gamcotrap's agenda is to end discriminatory practices like FGM and early marriage and ha trained hundreds of teachers over the years.
 Prior to the training, majority of the teachers admitted that they are not aware that the Gambia is a signatory to the Maputo protocol, convention of the right of the child and the CEDAW.
Gamcotrap has signed a MOU with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE) in 2007 and renewed it in 2009.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Newspaper employee detained for 'insulting' President Jammeh

Mass Kah, a messenger at the privately-owned Foroyaa newspaper was on November 14, 2013, arrested by police over allegations of denigrating and insulting Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
The MFWA’s sources in the country reported Kah was having a discussion with a friend infront of his home in Serekunda when two supporters of President Jammeh confronted him about his comments and reported him to the police.
In the said discussion, Kah reportedly said Halifa Sallah, who is the leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, was “the only man who wears trousers in The Gambia".  According to MFWA’s sources the statement was understood as meaning Sallah was more capable of leading the country than President Jammeh. 
He was arrested and detained without any charge at Serekunda police station where he was subjected to fierce interrogations and insults by police officers before being transferred to Kotu police station, about 13 kilometers southwest of the capital, Banjul.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Life Stories Use as a Tool of Advocacy in the Right of Women in Islam

Life stories of women documented on Qiwamah and Wilayan in The Gambia has been used to advocate for the rights of Women in Islam.
The first ever in the Gambia, Qiwamah and Wilayan is Musawah’s initiative to make knowledge and advocacy strategies relating to family laws and practices and women’s rights in Islam more accessible. 
It’s a groundbreaking analysis of family law, based on fieldwork in family courts, and illuminated by insights from distinguished clerics and scholars of Islam, as well as by the experience of human rights and women’s rights activists.
Through this life stories, GAMCOTRAP, a women’s right NGO,   during the weekend gathered women from the Kanifing Municipality on the project “creating awareness and documenting issues on the, life stories of women on Qiwamah and Wilayan in the Gambia”,  implemented in collaboration with the New Field Fund of Tides Foundation that supports the advocacy to reach out to hundreds of women.
This advocacy targets 150 women leaders, women of reproductive age, religious leaders and village heads.  It was a moment filled with emotions as some of the participants reveal some of their stories.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Journalists released after 19 days in detention

After 19 days of prison detention, Managing Editor and Editor of the Independent Observer newspaper Messers, Jonathan Leigh and Bai Bai Sesay were granted bail on November 4, 2013 by a Freetown-Based High Court.
The granting of bail to the journalists followed a series of joint protests and appeals by the MFWA and Sierra Leone Journalists Association (SLAJ) that the two be granted bail and their rights respected.
The two journalists were admitted to bail bonds valued at 500 million Leone (about US$114,000) each. As part of the bail conditions, they were also required to have two sureties one of whom must own a house in the upper class suburb called the Western Area. Additionally, the house owner must also deposit the property title with the Registrar of the court. The two journalists have also been asked to surrender their travelling documents to the authorities.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Detained journalists refused bail again

The Managing Editor and Editor of the privately-owned Independent Observer newspaper Jonathan Leigh and Bai Bai Sesay were on October 29, 2013, again refused bail by a Freetown-based Magistrate Court.

The two journalists who have been charged with 26 counts of seditious and defamatory libel, have spent 13 days in detention since they were arrested on October 18, for publishing an article deemed defamatory to Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma. The case has been adjourned to November 4.
Meanwhile the Sierra Leone Journalists Association (SLAJ) on October 29, embarked on a media blackout to protest the continuous detention of Leigh and Sesay.
According to SLAJ president, Kelvin Lewis, out of the over 40 newspapers published daily, only two were published on that day. The two were the Awareness Times published by the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma, Dr. Sylvia Blyden and the Standard Times published by one Philip Neville.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wowo Was Never Appointed as ActingChief Justice’

Ex-CJ Wowo

John Belford, the Judiciary Secretary has said Wowo was never appointed at acting chief justice because he did not receive any letter to that effect.

“I have never complain to any authority about Wowo acting as Chief Justice, because I was looking to receive executive orders confirming the acting appoint,” he testifies.

Minutes of an emergency meeting which was given to him to read by the defense lawyer shows that former CJ, Agim told judicial commission that he was handing over to Wowo.

“Agim told the meeting that he was resigning as the CJ and handing it over to justice Wowo.” Belford read from the minutes of the meeting as order by the defense lawyer for 1st accused (Wowo). “He said he (Agim) informed the government that he has picked up another appointment in Nigeria.”

According to Belford, he was not present at the meeting and wouldn’t know whether any judge was absent or not.  “But I did circulate the minutes of the meeting to the judicial commission members” he said.

He said he did not received any letter from the AG chambers protesting the activities that took place at the meeting

Wowo Was a Personal Friend-Pa Harry Jammeh

Pa Harry Jammeh

Pa Harry Jammeh has refuted allegations that he conspired with Ex- justice minister and Njogu Bah against ex-chief justice, Joseph Wowo who is currently standing trial in a different matter at the High Court in Banjul.

“I did not conspire with anybody and I was not aware of any conspiracy” says ex-Solicitor General and Legal Secretary.

Jammeh made this refutation as he enters his defense in the criminal trial also involving Dr Njogu Bah, former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and also minister of Presidential affairs Bah, and Lamin Jobarteh minister for justice, on allegations of giving false information to a public servant, abuse of office and conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by unlawful means.

He said he did not conspire to remove justice Wowo by an unlawful means. “Wowo was a personal friend, I have nothing against him and still do not have,” Jammeh said.

According to him, it’s his friendship with him that why he did not say anything when he was summon by then justice minister (1st accused) to attend a meeting Wowo was part of.

UDP’s Treasurer, Others Appear at High Court

Amadou Sanneh (ThePoint)

The Special Criminal Division was packed with family members, love ones and well as well wishers as the National Treasurer of the opposition United Democratic Party, was being escorted to the courtroom by plain cloth officers.
After one week in the hands of the National Intelligent Agency, Amadou Sanneh, Sambou Fatty and Malang Fatty were arraigned before Justice Nkea at the High Court in Banjul.
Sanneh and two others were arrested and since then have been have been in custody at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul over what the NIA described as a failed attempt to help a young man seek political asylum in Finland.
The state have brought charge(s) against all the accused but they could not take their plea. Sambou Fatty whose appearance prompts the judge to ask what was wrong with him is yet secure the services of a lawyer. The same thing goes to Malang Fatty.
Sambou couldn’t stand straight while on the dock, he was twisting throughout before the court order that he should be made to see a doctor at the Edward Francis Small Teaching hospital.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

UDP’s Leader Interrogated at the NIA Headquarters

Mr Darboe from the NIA headquarters

Leader of United Democratic Party (UDP) this morning went home as free man after spending more than one hour at the NIA headquarters in Banjul.
 Lawyer Ousainou Darboe who told journalists on Tuesday that he has been called by the NIA for questioning have some of his supporters  outside the headquarter; while others were at a nearby restaurant to wait for the outcome
When he finally came out of the NIA building, some of his supporters rush to shake hands with him while others put your hands together to cheer him up.
However, a perturbing look could clearly be seen on his face as he tells his supporters to remain calm.

Darboe drove away without speaking to journalists who approach him to find out the outcome of the questioning.
On Tuesday, a press conference was held at Mr Darboe’s residence in pipeline regarding the government’s recent statement that they (UDP) are tarnishing the country’s image.
His respond came after his party was blame of dissolute activities by ‘casting a very bad and negative image of both the Government and noble people of The Gambia’ by the government.

‘‘These people and institutions specialize in lying and providing false attestations for would-be asylum seekers using the main opposition party (UDP) as a platform for such nefarious activities, thereby casting a very bad and negative image of both the Government and noble people of The Gambia,’’ the government said in statement according to local newspapers.
Author: Binta A Bah

Friday, October 4, 2013

Broadcast journalist held without charge in Gambia

Fatou Camara
Abuja, Nigeria, October 3, 2013--Gambian authorities should immediately release Fatou Camara, a journalist who has been held incommunicado since September 17, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government has not disclosed Camara's whereabouts or any charges against her, according to news reports.
Camara, a broadcast journalist and TV host of the popular "Fatou Show," a weekly current affairs show that airs on the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services, was arrested by agents from the National Intelligence Agency on September 15 and released on September 17, according to news reports. She was re-arrested hours later in front of her children and has not been heard from since, local journalists told CPJ.
Camara's detention runs counter to the Gambian constitution, which allows only a detention period of 72 hours without charge.
"Fatou Camara's continued illegal detention without charge for over two weeks now violates the constitution President Yahya Jammeh swore to uphold," said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa consultant. "The authorities must explain why they are holding her, or she must be released immediately."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dumpsites Clear up Underway

Dumpsites on the Sukuta-Latrikunda highway are being cleared following executive orders, according to the councilor for Sukuta Ward.
Ebrima J Cham during the clearing up of waste at the Sukuta main dumping site told this reporter that the process has been going since on Friday.
“I understand that there is a directive from the office of the President to combat all these unauthorized dumping yards left for long time that need to be cleared out” says Cham.
This, according to Cham, is taken up by the National Disaster Management (NDMA) in collaboration with the Brikama Area Council. He said the NDMA has provided two trucks and two excavators to take up this task.
“It’s my priority to make sure the dump sites are clear and anti-littering law is enforce so that people can live healthy, without any offensive smell”
Sukuta-Latrikunda dumpsites had been a long-term problem for residents, even though it’s the sole mandate of the area council to clear up waste.  Sukuta is directly under Brikama Area Council.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ex-Chief Justice Yet to See a Doctor, Trial Commence

ExChief Justice Wowo

Ex-chief Justice of the Gambia has told the Special Criminal Division that he is yet to see a doctor as ordered by the same court on Monday.
Wowo who is standing trial together with the former justice minister, Lamin Jobarteh said he was not taken to the hospital.
A prison officer however, told the court that he’s just received the ordered when the judge inquired.
Wowo who is yet to get a Gambian who can bail him with a landed property is standing trial on 13 counts of abuse of office, frauds and breaches of trust, conspiracy to defeat justice, offences relating to judicial proceedings, giving false information to a public officer and assumption of authority.
While Jobarteh is only charge with two counts: conspiracy to defeat justice, offences relating to judicial proceedings
The two are said to have succumb to negotiation over a pending case before the court of appeal which act was an interference with the due executions of legal proceedings before the court of appeal.
Charges they strongly denied.
Meanwhile a police officer attached to the major crime unit has testified as the state first witness. Jawo Keita who was part of the panel said he obtained the cautionary statement from first accused (Wowo) in connection of the allegation made against him.

Suspect in Custody for Two Years without Trial,Judge says it’s Unfair

justice Nkea
Two years on Musa Faal is still in custody without trial since the case  file was transferred to the High Court from the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
And when the case came up yesterday, Justice Nkea wanted to discharge the accused but the prosecution pleaded to be given one week to file proper charges.
“The counsel assign for the case is out the jurisdiction but I’m urging you to give us one week and we will file a charge” O Danso said.
“It is not fair,” Nkea said, “this man has been in mile two for more than a year and he’s not guilty yet.”

Interpol Officer Testifies As Hearing Begin in Dr. Njogu & Co. Trial

Njogu Bah

Police officer attached to the Interpol unit of the Gambia police force yesterday told the High Court in Banjul that he obtained both cautionary and voluntary statements from the first accused, Lamin Jobarteh, former justice minister.
However, Musa said he did not grant the accused request to meet his lawyer before taking the cautionary statements during cross examination with layer Lamin S Camara.
“I did not because I was not entitled to do so” Jarju told the packed courtroom. “I was not the head of the investigation panel.”
Jarju was testifying in the case of Dr Njogu Bah Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and also minister of Presidential affairs Bah, Lamin Jobarteh minister for justice while Pa Harry Jammeh, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary.

Dr Njogu Bah, ex-Justice minister Jobarteh, Ex Solicitor General Jammeh Plead Not Guilty

Dr Njogu Bah, Lamin A.M.S Jobarteh and Pa Harry on Monday 19, denied allegations of giving false information, abuse of office and conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by unlawful means
Dr Njogu Bah was the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and also minister of Presidential affairs Bah, Lamin Jobarteh was the minister for justice while Pa Harry Jammeh was the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary.
They are now on trial at the High Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea after the state file proper charges against them on Monday, 19 August 2013.
When the charges were read out to them, one by one, they all pleaded not guilty of the three counts of giving false information to a public servant, abuse of office and conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by unlawful means.
They are accused of conspiring among themselves to remove justice Wowo by an unlawful means-to-wit: orchestrating his arrest, detention and mock trial.