Reactionaries

Halifa Sallah has been arrested and imprison by the thuggish regime of Yahya Jammeh for coming to the defense of innocent victims of Yahya’s witch hunt. As usual and as if on clue diasporan Gambians took to the usual spots online to denounce the actions of Yahya. We have become victims of circumstance…always reacting to the whims of Yahya.

Whatever you may think of the politics of Halifa Sallah, you have to admit that he is walking the walk. He is putting his life and livelihood on the line to defend what is right. I am not going to start asking about the whereabout of the other political leaders on the ground like some of my countrymen are doing from the comfort of Europe and good old US of A. We are asking of others sacrifices that we refuse to make. So while we admire the courage of Mr. Sallah and call for his immediate release, we should be mindful of castigating others.

Here is Foroyaa’s reporting on this outrage:

Halifa Sallah, former NADD presidential candidate and Foroyaa Editorial Board member, told supporters and sympathisers at the Brikama Magistrates Court, that he is willing to become a sacrificial lamb to ensure the liberty and dignity of the people. He made this remark at the close of his first appearance in court since he was arrested on Sunday 8 March, 2009.

“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.

These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.

Shortly after the adjournment of the case he was whisked to the Remand Wing of Mile Two Prison.

Many people in court were dumbfounded when the Magistrate imposed the following bail conditions:
(1) A bail bond in the sum of 1 million dalasis to be signed by three sureties;
(2) Two of the sureties must be Ex-Inspector General of Police or Ex-Brigadier of the army who have been retired for at least eight years;
(3) One of the sureties must be an Alkalo (village head) from Western Region

When he appeared in court, three charges were read to him:
(i) Spying, in that while at Makumbaya, he had obtained confidential information which he knew is useful to the enemy
(ii) Control of processions in that he held a procession while in Makumbaya
(iii) Seditious intention in that he unlawfully assembled the people of Makumbaya in order to collect information that would bring hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the Government of The Gambia.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The police prosecutor then stood up at this point to oppose the granting of bail. He argued that they took a lap top from Halifa Sallah’s home which is in their possession and if Halifa is granted bail he may tamper with the ‘website of the lap top’.

Halifa Sallah, who was unrepresented, submitted that the offences alleged are bailable. He further submitted that every accused person is presumed innocent until he/she has pleaded or proven guilty. He also submitted that the hearing of the case should be free and fair. He concluded that the court should not restrain his ability to defend himself.

He opined that what is significant is for the court to ensure his appearance whenever it deems it fit. He pointed out that he had sought the highest office of this land as a presidential candidate in 2006. He assured the court that he would comply with whatever condition the court imposes to ensure his appearance at an adjourned date as long as the conditions are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. The magistrate did not like the last bit of the statement and after a brief exchange Halifa amended it to: “I will comply with whatever the court deems just.” He therefore asked the court to grant him bail.

He pointed out that the submission of the prosecution regarding the lap top is neither here or there in that in the first place the lap top does not belong to him but his wife.

Fishing Expedition
He asserted that the prosecution were simply engaged in a fishing expedition. He emphasised throughout his detention that he had never been confronted with any witness.

The jackasses decided to set insourmountable obstacles to his bail. They are trying to make his life miserable. His courage under the circumstances is exemplary. Take this portion of the story for instance:

“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.
These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.


I hope he realize that he need a movement to get rid of this dictatorship. Telling your supporters to go home while you endure injustice is no way to broke the yoke of a tyrant. He can’t suffer for the people and ask them not to join him in the struggle. This is a fight for the soul of a nation and he need all the help he can get.

Free Halifa Sallah……

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