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11 March 2014

Sacked Ghanaian born Gambia’s Chief Justice has gone into hiding.

A former Gambian Chief Justice who was sacked by President Yahya Jammeh for allegedly taking orders from an embassy of a ‘hostile’ country has gone into hiding.

Mrs Mable Ayemang, fled her government allocated abode in Fajara hours after her services with the Government of President Yahya were terminated on 4th February 2014.
The Ghanaian born judge who was appointed to the top job in July 2013 has not been seen in public and is unable to hand over matters of the judiciary to her successor.

News of her disappearance was reveal to the public by President Yahya Jammeh on Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed Chief Justice of the Gambia.
Mr Jammeh accused foreign embassies in the country of interfering with judicial matters and trying to influence the outcome of ‘political cases’ that are before the courts.

He added: “That is why the former CJ [Chief Justice] is nowhere to be seen, because despite the fact that she was being appointed by us; interestingly enough, she was taking orders from an embassy whose country is hostile to our country despite the fact that we are the one paying her salary. And that is why she had not handed over to Justice Fagbenle [her successor]; because she disappeared. Nobody has seen her up to today”.

 Mr Jammeh said Mrs Ayemang’s life is not in any danger and his government has got no intentions of prosecuting her.
“Her life was not endangered,” he said. “We are not even taking her to court. We relieved her of her appointment and the moment she was told that she has been fired, that’s the time she disappeared. She went to some church, and that’s the end of it. But we know that she is being hidden by a particular embassy. We are not in a hurry. Whatever happens, we will see the person where she is and we will deal with the embassy concerned because this is unacceptable.”

The Gambian leader accused western countries of hypocrisy. He said: “There are countries that talk about interference in the judiciary, yet it is the same people who tell the judges in their countries what they want in a particular case. Their prosecutor or government will say we will demand for the death penalty and that is normal. But if I say we will demand the death penalty for a particular case in the Gambia, they will say that is interference in the judicial system. At the same time, you see their embassies interfering in Mr Jammeh said his government will not interfere in the verdict of court cases. While assuring the judges of his government’s continuous support, he added: “I want to make sure that any judgment that you want to implement can be implemented so that I can go and sleep knowing that justice is done. Do what is right and fear nobody; do what is wrong and be ready to face the consequence. As a believer, I am very careful of what I do as a head of state, knowing that tomorrow God and the people of Gambia will judge me. That is why I don’t interfere in the judicial system.

“We want to make sure that justice is done and people are rewarded or punished for their deeds. I don’t care what they say. What I care about is what my people go through and the way my people see me. I want to make sure that Gambians live peacefully and that is why I will not compromise with security and justice of this country”
The Gambian leader said he is never going to take lectures from any country in the world on how “I should run my country; or how I should behave, because I’m not in their country.”

He added: “I think some people cannot accept the fact that we have been thoroughly independent since July 22nd 1994 and we will never be colonised again. So, I just want you [judges] to understand that you have our support, I mean all of you, the judiciary; that you are working according to the laws of the Gambia. So nobody should tell you about the laws of the Gambia; what is right and what is not right. In fact, it is even an insult for a lay person to come and tell you, that this is what you should do. Look at their countries, what they do and what they preach are two different stories.

“Yes, if you stand up and be independent, especially for a Muslim, you are a dictator. I’m proud of that title. I’m proud to be a dictator of development and liberation of my people, than a democrat that robs my people and plunge them into abject poverty.
“Democracy is not a coin that is minted by a particular country, and exported to others. Good governance is the ability to serve your people according to your religion and cultural values.
“My government has been called so many names, and given so many titles that I’m proud of. I’m a dictator; violation of human rights; bad governance. But, you know, and facts and fiction; the beauty of fiction is that it’s so intriguing, but you never lay hands on it. The beauty of facts, it’s so blatant, that you can never deny it.”cases, talking to judges and trying to influence them. They are not judges, not legal practitioners, and they sit down and tell you that this case is politically-motivated.”

Reacting to criticisms about the lack of independence in the country’s judiciary, President Jammeh said the Gambian judiciary like all judiciaries in the world are part of a government and cannot be described as independent.
He added: “The judiciary is part of the government and cannot be independent of government. What government cannot do is dictate to you [judges] your judgment and what your judgment should do. This is where your independence is; apart from that, there is nowhere in the world where the judiciary is independent of government. The judiciary is only independent in the judgment of cases and in treating cases. But we pay your salaries, we appoint you, and you are part of the government – how can you be independent? This is what I want to buttress.’’


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