Alagi Yorro Jallow

This man Magistrate Omar Jabang. God bless his cotton socks. Omar Jabang must be protected at all costs. Magistrate Jabang once fled the country in fear for his life after a controversial decision against the previous government.

Omar Jabang’s court yesterday, acquitted and discharged opposition Gambia Democratic Congress party National Assembly member and other party members.

We are a country living in such a deep state of collective trauma and the pain of this trauma is beginning to surface through tribalism, misogyny, internalized self-hate, corruption, acceptance for mediocrity etc. We must name things as they are- and name the impact those things have had on us.

We must refuse to glorify violence in whatever form it manifests itself. We must remember that those in political power rely on you being broken, fragmented, being traumatized and being completely disconnected from your humanity to help propagate their violent neoliberal agenda.

A man prepared to tell the political operatives who believe they own our predatory state “Put up or shut up”. Talk about telling the politicians “this is new Gambia”.

If they don’t like the doctrine of an independent judiciary, tell the real owners of the country to abolish it. Stop intimidating the judiciary. “Recount the votes”! Do they realize that the law – their shield and defendant have the last laugh?

A pertinent quote from Caroline Kennedy? “The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing. That is; unless you wish to emulate Teodoro Obiang Nuema Mbasogo the rogue of the Equatorial Guinea?

Magistrate Jabang has acquitted and discharged the opposition GDC National Assembly member Alhagie Sowe with other members of the GDC party, who were charged for election related violence.

Since the young magistrate was transferred to Basse Magistrate Court – people started stirring up hate against him questioned his impeccable honesty and integrity. He was accused of being a Mandinka and that’s why he is assigned to deal with the case. Magistrate Jabang proved all prophets of doom and shown judicial integrity not harming his judicial reputation.

During the previous government, Omar Jabang acquitted and discharged the former ombudsman, Alhagie Sowe who was falsely charged with theft, disobedience of statutory duty and neglecting official duty. And in 2016, Magistrate Jabang shocked everyone when he discharged another Gambian business man, one Yusupha Saidy, who was under the radar of former president Jammeh. He did not compromise his judicial independence under dictatorship.

What has happened yesterday following the ruling of the of the Basse magistrate court is bigger than any one man. What has happened yesterday was the biggest single decision of patriotism and justice that we have witnessed in 22 years of our existence during the second republic. It is a decision about respect for the rule of law, a decision about the intolerance of impunity, a decision about accountability of our institutions and the respect of our democracy.

Magistrate Omar Jabang must take his rightful place in the history of this country. Omar Jabang have to be recognized for his immeasurable contribution to saving this country from cannibalizing itself. His decisions and judgement has to be taught to every single Gambian child so that they learn the importance of the strict adherence to the rule of law and democratic accountability.

Magistrate Omar Jabang

The decision yesterday is the beginning of the end for impunity and the “Sembocracy” culture. Now is not the time to celebrate and make merry. Now is the time to dig in and make sure that the politicians who believe they own the predatory state do not have a chance to fight back. We have to step on their necks with extreme prejudice while they’re down. We have to make sure that we kill and bury the demons of the hegemony, impunity and corruption that have plagued this country since independence.

Those demons have stolen the hopes and dreams, the aspirations and expectations of thousands of Gambians. Those demons have exploited the fears and insecurities of Gambians as a collective. We will never get another opportunity to crush these demons and start the process of building and shaping the Gambia to what we want it to be.

Magistrate Omar Jabang have done his job. It’s now up to us to do ours. It’s often said that politics has to be the second job of every single citizen. Yesterday’s decision will have sent shock waves within the political class. We need to use this as an opportunity to make sure these politicians know that this country has changed. That we will no longer be oppressed and abused by them. That we will no longer tolerate their impunity, theft of public resources, corruption, incompetence and malfeasance.

All of us, individually and collectively must take a concerted effort to ensure that the decisions politicians make, the decisions state and public officers make, the money that we entrust to them is used properly for the public good. They must be able to understand that they work for us and are not demi-gods. They must be able to understand that they’re public servants. We all must do our part to make them accountable.

We live in a country that has completely normalized dangerous levels of violence. From the way we do politics, to religion, to education, to healthcare, to public transport and even to our daily interaction online and offline- everything is wrapped in violence. Our tolerance for violence is so high that I doubt that there is a way out for our generation.

Yesterday was a good day for justice. God bless the Gambia, God bless the magistrate Omar Jabang of Basse Magistrate Court.