By Mustapha Jallow
Lamin Waa Juwara, a convicted former Minister of Regional Government, Lands and Traditional Rulers under the government of President Yaya Jammeh, has been hospitalized a second time at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul, after another hypertension attack at the Mile two prison on 18 July, 2016.
A younger brother of Mr Juwara, Kebba Njie, said he visited Mile Two on the 18 of July to see his brother’s condition, after the 90 days had elapsed, but said the prison officers denied him access. “The prison authorities had earlier told us that they would not allow us access until 90 days after his imprisonment, but that the 90 days had elapsed and we went to visit him but they still told us that we could not see him. We had no option but to return home,’’ he lamented.
Njie added that he and Waa’s daughter, Dado Juwara, revisited the said prison yesterday 19 July and upon their arrival they were told by the officers that Waa Juwara had been taken to the hospital again.
He disclosed that they boarded a vehicle and went to the hospital immediately, and on arrival they engaged in a frantic search through enquiries at the hospital and later found him at the Emergency Ward. They added that they observed that he was being heavily guarded by 5 armed soldiers and 3 prison wardens. ‘‘We were not allowed to see him but we stood and refused to return home without talking to him and kept on begging until we were eventually allowed to talk to him.
According to a relative and the daughter, Waa said to them: ‘I’m getting stronger and this time the doctors treated me nicely and soon they will return me to the prison.”
They said they stood there from morning up to around 3pm and then decided to return home to inform their family members.
Foroyaa had earlier reported that the 73 year old, who is said to be hypertensive, was admitted at the EFST Hospital in Banjul on 18 June, 2016, after an attack in the prison. He was placed under the guard of armed soldiers and prison wardens. He was first taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he spent three days before he was transferred to a private ward.
Mrs. Kaddy Juwara expressed her disappointment with the prison authorities for not informing the family on time about the hospitalisation of her husband until they received the information from a source outside. “I have not yet seen my husband since his conviction as we were told by the prison authorities, when we attempted to visit him, that we would not be allowed to see him until after 90 days. We are really concerned about his state of health, he being a diabetic and hypertensive patient,” said Kaddy Juwara, wife of Waa Juwara.
He was discharged from hospital and returned to Mile Two since 5 June, 2016.
According to Waa Juwara’s two wives, Mrs. Kaddy Juwara and Soma Jallow-Juwara, they received information that their husband would be discharged and returned to prison.
“We do not really want him to go back to the prison, because of his illness with regular attacks, and we are not pleased that he is to be returned to the prison,” said one of them.
Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, who is currently serving six months jail term, has spent 18 days at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH). It was initially reported in the media that he was denied family visits which were later allowed.
The former minister and leader of the National Democratic Action Movement (NDAM) was found guilty for negligence of official duty, and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment without hard labour by Principal magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on 18th April, 2016.