By Madi Jobarteh
Finally Fabakary Tombong Jatta has broken silence with the intention to change the narrative by seeking to distort facts and reality in order to cleanse himself. Unfortunately it was on this solemn day, April 11 that he decided to challenge anyone to tell him what he had done wrong? I hereby put it to Fabakary Tombong Jatta that he committed treason by aiding and abetting a brutal ruler to take the lives of Gambian children. On April 10 and 11 in the Year 2000, Fabakary Tombong Jatta was an APRC parliamentarian when security forces shot dead 16 Gambian children including a Red Cross volunteer. Then in April 2001, the National Assembly passed an Indemnity Act to exonerate the killers of our children. Fabakary Tombong Jatta did not condemn the massacre only to go ahead to vote for the indemnity Act. Therefore here is what Fabakary did wrong which is treason.
Unless if Fabakary wishes to tell us that the lives of those children were nothing and the killers were right it is clear that he had flatly failed to defend the Gambia contrary to his mandate. Fabakary had the legal, political and moral obligation to defend the rights and lives of Gambians under Section 17 of our Constitution, yet he committed a crime of both commission and omission for failing to uphold Section 17. During the period in which Fabakary Tombong Jatta was a member of parliament, Yaya Jammeh consistently flouted every rule of our constitution and committed every kind of crime with impunity yet Fabakary Tombong Jatta never stood up in the parliament to condemn the excesses of the Executive. Rather he supported it wholeheartedly.
When Yaya Jammeh sacked chief justices as he wished, Fabakary Tombong Jatta kept quiet. When Yaya Jammeh rounded hundreds of our old mothers and fathers in Foni accusing them of being witches and subjecting them to untold humiliation and death, Fabakary Tombong Jatta decided to ignore? When Yaya Jammeh used the NIA and NDEA to arbitrarily arrest, detain and torture Gambians, Fabakary Tombong Jatta kept quiet. When Yaya Jammeh forcefully made Chief Manneh and Kanyiba Kanyi to disappear forever, Fabakary Tombong Jatta kept quiet. When Yaya Jammeh created the Junglers and Operation Bulldozer to wreak havoc on the lives of Gambians, Fabakary remained silent. When Yaya Jammeh assassinated Gambians such as Deyda Hydara, Daba Marenah, Enor Kolley, Jasarja Kujabi and many more, Fabakary kept quiet. When Yaya Jammeh summarily executed nine inmates from Mile 2 as well as the December 30 Freedom Fighters and dumped their bodies in undignified locations, Fabakary remained silent.
During his tenure as a member of parliament and as Majority Leader, the constitution enjoins clear obligations on Fabakary Tombong Jatta to check the Executive to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the Gambia. Yet Yaya Jammeh had personalized public resources and institutions, blatantly violated rights and summarily executed Gambians but Fabakary never ever called for a parliamentary enquiry to ascertain any incident.
Rather what we have seen was how Fabakary Tombong Jatta led the APRC in various activities around the country strongly showing solidarity with each and every unconstitutional action and atrocities of Yaya Jammeh. Yet today, Fabakary could have the courage to face Gambians to put it to our face that he did not commit any wrongdoing. How could Fabakary have the temerity to face Gambians to tell us that what Yaya Jammeh did was not done on behalf of the APRC? Could there be a greater insult to the dignity and intelligence of Gambians?
Let me put it to Fabakary Tombong Jatta that Yaya Jammeh did not commit any crime on behalf of the APRC. Rather Yaya Jammeh used the APRC as a tool to commit heinous crimes against Gambians. If he, as a human being and citizen cannot realize his own complicity by merely being a member of APRC, then we have to question where is the direction of the moral compass of Fabakary? It is even more insulting and criminal to realize that this Fabakary was in fact a leading member of the APRC regime, yet after 22 years of brutality, Fabakary says APRC is different from Yaya Jammeh?
Fabakary must thank God Almighty that he is in the Gambia to make such a criminal statement, because no German citizen dare claim that Hitler was different from the NAZI party. No Iraqi citizen dare declare that Saddam Hussein was different from the Baath party. No Cambodian citizen dare declare that Pol Pot was different from the Khmer Rouge. These are all tyrants with parties that wreaked havoc on their peoples that today they remained banned and buried for good. Yet in the Gambia, we have a party and a leader who killed, tortured, raped and bastardized Gambians in any imaginable way, yet a leading member of that party claims that the APRC is different from Yaya Jammeh. Indeed Gambians are such a beautiful and tolerant people!
Does Fabakary understand governance? Does Fabakary even understand the role and function of a parliament? Does Fabakary know where lies the sovereignty of the Gambia and where the state derives its legitimacy? For if Fabakary understood these issues, then by now he would have committed suicide for the high treason he committed for failing his duties to his own people. If Fabakary understood his role as a NAM, he would have been so ashamed of himself that he would not ever come out in public much more to make such treasonable statements.
Do we need to tell Fabakary that he has indeed betrayed his own motherland? When we entrusted our rights and lives to Fabakary to protect, he decided to throw his fellow Gambians to the wolves. Yet today he claims he did not do anything wrong. When Sidia Jatta and Hamat Bah walked out of the parliament in protest against the indemnity bill in 2001, why didn’t’ Fabakary walk out with them? When Halifa Sallah went to follow up on the mass arrest of old men and women in Foni, why didn’t Fabakary join him as the Majority Leader? When Solo Sandeng was arrested and tortured to death, why didn’t Fabakary follow Ousainou Darboe and the rest to demand justice? Yet Fabakary said he did not do anything wrong. How could he?
Do we need to remind Fabakary that when he was in the parliament and as a Majority Leader he had several meetings with ECOWAS, AU, Commonwealth and UN officials at various times who raised serious concerns about the Gambia? Has Fabakary Tombong Jatta not received reports from national and international official sources about the gross abuses of human rights in the Gambia? What did he do in all those cases?
Have I, Madi Jobarteh not conducted several workshops on human rights and corruption for National Assembly Members in which Fabakary Tombong Jatta was a participant? In those training sessions, we lamented the terrible bad governance in the Gambia, yet today Fabakary Tombong Jatta speaks as if he was never aware of the state of affairs in the Gambia under the APRC?
Was it not Fabakary Tombong Jatta who led the parliament to impose an illegal state of emergency on the Gambia just to enable Yaya Jammeh to flout the will of the people after the elections? Without fear or shame, Fabakary and his APRC colleagues deliberately committed treason there and then when they illegally extended their own term of office. To add salt to injury, Fabakary led APRC NAMs to further extend the term of Yaya Jammeh when they knew that APRC lost the election. Is there a greater crime against the Gambia than that? Yet Fabakary faces Gambians to challenge us to tell him what wrong he committed.
I put it to Fabakary Tombong Jatta that he committed a high treason never seen before in the history of the Gambia and second only to Yaya Jammeh. I therefore demand that Fabakary Tombong Jatta withdraw that statement of his and immediately apologize to Gambians for such insulting and treasonable statements he uttered in his press conference on the very day when Gambian children where massacred 16 years ago. Yet on that day, Fabakary happily went to his own children when his fellow fathers were weeping and moaning for their dead sons and daughters.
Today Fabakary can complain about the conduct of elections as if he forgot that the Gambian opposition faced all sorts of intimation and violence from the APRC as a party and a regime at the same time. Gambian opposition had sought all avenues to seek the attention of APRC and Yaya Jammeh and the IEC to ensure fair play, yet Fabakary never supported those efforts. Rather he continued to benefit from the gross electoral malpractices of his government to the detriment of democracy in our country.
Let us ask Fabakary to tell us what he did to defend the rights and dignity of Gambians from a murderous ruler and his regime. If he has forgotten, let him be informed that the ruling party of the Gambia from 1997 to 2016 was APRC in which Fabakary Tombong Jatta was a key member. Yaya Jammeh ruled the Gambia through the APRC just as Jawara governed the Gambia through the PPP. Today Barrow is governing the Gambia through the Coalition. Therefore to attempt to separate Jawara from PPP, or Yaya Jammeh from the APRC, or Barrow from the Coalition is nothing but a calculated and dishonest attempt to distort and mislead.
This is what Fabakary Tombong Jatta is seeking to do in order to cleanse his record. But his record cannot be cleansed until he sincerely apologizes to Gambians and faces justice for his complicity in the atrocities and carnage of the APRC and Yaya Jammeh.
The Blood of Gambians is on the Hands of Fabakary Tombong Jatta.