By Yankuba Jallow
Chief Yaya Jarjusey of Jarra under cross-examination at the Mansa Konko Magistrate’s Court, said Chiefs are bound to support incumbent presidents, even though they are public figures.
Jarjusey said this whilst under cross-examination by Lawyer Bory S. Touray at the Mansa Konko Magistrates Court, in the ongoing trial between him and Kassim Fadera.
When the case was called before Magistrate Peter Ado Che, Corporal 3999 Secka and Corporal 4422 Saho, appeared for the Inspector General of Police, whilst Lawyers Bory S. Touray and Abdoulie Fatty appeared for the accused person, Kassim Fadera.
Lawyer Touray continued to ask Chief Jarjusey whether he agreed that as a Chief, he was a public officer and the witness replied in the affirmative.
“Do you accept that there is a legal prohibition for public officers’ participation in politics?” Lawyer Touray inquired.
“I do not know this at the time, but this has been a practice since the First Republic, for Chiefs to campaign for incumbent presidents,” he reacted
The witness however denied a statement put to him by Lawyer Touray that he visited and knelt before Vice President Ousainou Darboe, to beg him to be maintained at his position as a Chief.
“You knelt down and beg the vice president Ousainou Darboe for him not to file an action at the Supreme Court for your removal,” Lawyer Touray told the witness. The witness in his response stated that he has never done so and referred to it as a piece of fabricated evidence.
On the Chiefs’ meeting with President Barrow, Chief Jarjusey said he is the Head Chief of the Region (LRR) and was the one who mobilized the rest of the Chiefs to meet with President Barrow at the State House.
“Is it correct that the Chiefs requested to meet President Barrow?” Lawyer Touray posed.
“Yes. It was the first meeting with President Barrow and I was involved in the mobilization of the Chiefs,” he said.
“Who made you the Head Chief? Is it President Barrow or ex-president Yahya Jammeh?” Touray asked.
The witness replied that he is the Head Chief because of his length of service; that he has served longer than all the Chiefs in LRR and was neither appointed by presidents’ Barrow or Jammeh as Head Chief.
The witness stated that all six Chiefs of LRR attended the meeting with President Barrow at the State House where he made a statement; that he could not remember what he told President Barrow because it is now a long time since the meeting was convened. He said at that meeting, he spoke in his capacity as Chief and also on behalf of his co-Chiefs.
“Do you not think what you told President Barrow was mentioned in the audio,” Lawyer Touray told the witness.
“I am not saying that what had been narrated in the audio, is not true, but the reason why we took him (the accused person) to Court is he added insults,” Chief Jarjusey replied.
“Do you remember telling President Barrow that you will give him the support required?” Lawyer Touray asked.
“I cannot remember, but we told President Barrow that we support him,” the witness replied.
Chief Jarjusey in his response to the question about who the Chiefs in LRR campaigned for in the year 2016, said it was ex-president Yahya Jammeh because he was the incumbent president. He however denied that he was among the Chiefs and Governors who wrote to President Jammeh, asking him to stay and assuring him of their support which resulted to the declaration of the State of Emergency in the country.
“In LRR, you were a galvanizing force and you sent a petition to the National Assembly to extend his term of office for President,” Lawyer Touray told the witness.
“That is not true,” the witness replied.
Lawyer Touray stated that the voice in the audio was speaking the truth, “because it is stated that you were the galvanizing force behind ex-president Yahya Jammeh and assured him of your support and ask him to stay,” but the witness refuted it. Lawyer Touray told the witness that one of his wives named Fatou Njie, insulted the whole country in the year 2016, during an APRC rally in Soma, where she referred to all young Gambians who embark on the ‘backway’ journey to Europe as illegitimate children. “That is not true,” the witness replied. Lawyer Touray promised the Court that he will provide the audio where the wife of Chief Jarjusey insulted the whole country.
Lawyer Touray stated before the Court that the Chief is corrupt, economical with the truth and dishonest; that he was responsible for several arrests of the accused person, by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He explained that on the 26thof April 2008, 27th September 2010, and April 2014, were some of the dates the accused person was arrested by the NIA. Lawyer Touray said the witness has taken the shop belonging to the accused person at the Soma Market and sold it to one businessman.
The witness denied all allegations; that he has never reported the accused person to the NIA and all his arrests were as a result of his bad deeds. He said the accused person’s shop was taken from him by the Area Council, but not by him.
“I am putting it to you that the Government of the Gambia does not own an inch of land in the whole the Lower River Region except in Mansakonko,” Lawyer Touray stated.
“As far as I know, any ruling Government owns all lands,” the witness replied.
Lawyer Touray told the Court that it was the witness who was responsible for ex-president Yahya Jammeh’s sacking of two ex-Governors of the LRR in the persons of Momodou Soma Jobe and Lamin Darboe. The witness in his response said he has no hand in their sackings.
Lawyer Touray told the Court that the witness is not credible because he has been involved in many ill-acts in the Region, including reporting GDC militants including their National Assembly candidate in the aftermath of the National Assembly elections. Lawyer Touray put forward that it was Chief Jarjusey and the late Baba Jobe who were responsible for the arrest of eleven compound heads in Jarra Sey Kunda village; that the two imposed an Alkalo on the community but the community rejected this and subsequently, those compound heads were arrested and detained for forty days. Touray told the Court that the Chief sold land belonging to one Kendo Ceesay, to Boido Sallah for D65,000.
The Chief denied having a hand in the arrest of compound heads but confirmed that only one compound head was arrested; that he did not report any GDC member which resulted in their arrest. He said the allegations about the land sold to Boido Sallah for D65,000 was fabricated.
The case was adjourned to 8th February 2019, at 10 am for the continuation of hearing.
Jarjusey said he was appointed as a Chief in 1997 and succeeded Malou Yarboe who also succeeded Buwa Kinteh; that he began supporting ex-president Yahya Jammeh the day he took over power.