The issue of policing has been and continues to be – even if mostly contentious, a matter of national dialogue and concern in every country where there exists even a small semblance of rule of law. Since Gambia doesn’t fall into that category for obvious reasons – there is a total breakdown in rule of law and even a semblance of justice is nonexistent, it will be foolhardy of us to expect such.
So when sources on the ground alerted Fatu Radio to current methods being used by the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), it didn’t surprise us that they sound similar to those used by the NAZI police called Gestapo in Germany in the 1940s. What is so troubling about one particular style is how it is being utilized – all in the name of “national security”. The idea of presumption of innocence is enshrined in all constitutions in every decent country in the world. As part of that concept, the fact that you therefore have to have probable cause to launch an investigation in anyone’s actions, is also codified into all those laws to be sure abuse of the citizenry doesn’t become common place. The system in The Gambia is totally devoid of these two concepts, hence the reason why even private citizens using state machinery to settle personal scores have become common place. The point here is; why should security forces be recording even casual conversations of people who are not under any investigation or suspected of committing any crime? Terrorizing the citizens is the only thing that comes to mind. This is nothing short of a “fishing expedition”.
Members of Gambia’s security forces especially the NIA have now been given flash drives that have inbuilt recording devices in them. This equipment was just recently supplied to them and a lot more are being ordered. So what looks like a casual wearing of a key chain with different gadgets on it could turn out to be a dangerous ploy to implicate innocent citizens for crimes they didn’t even intend to commit, let alone execute. Election season is upon us and Dictator Yahya Jammeh figured the good old intimidation tac-tic cannot wait any longer.
When Faturadio contacted Gambia observers to comment on this, one of them raised the issue of courts continuing to remain oblivious to these evidence fabrication schemes. “In light of these revelations, why are these mercenary judges continuing to make any evidence from the NIA admissible in those courts”, he rhetorically said with indignation. Another questions why private citizens and political parties are not taking issue with these tac-tics and playing into Jammeh’s hands by respecting any decisions from the courts, especially when no due process is followed from the beginning of an investigation to the time of being taken to court and finally being sentenced. “The process is so tainted, no citizens in any country in the world who take their rights seriously will allow any decision from it to stand” she concluded.
Faturadio will continue to monitor this new development. We are hoping the citizens will not be intimidated no matter the Gestapo style tac-tic employed by the regime.