By Sanna Camara
President Jammeh has told Gambian religious leaders that he will never forgive Njogu Bah and Lamin Jobarteh, former secretary general, office of the president, and minister of justice respectively, as these are people bent on dubious activities tarnishing his image and that of his government.
Jammeh said this in response to plea from Banjul Muslim elders, who were at the State House to pay the traditional and occasional courtesy call on him. He told the elders he once arrested and jailed Lamin Jobarteh and Foday Barry during the transition period (1994 to 1996), and later pardoned them. He said he has also dismissed and reinstated Njogu Bah on several occasions.
None of these he explained, have been able to produce the desired results.
It is a tradition that religious leaders visit the State House on feast occasions and hold discussions with the president on diverse issues.
‘Prerogative of Mercy’
“I have warned Njogu on several occasions…. I even put it in writing as a minute to him,” the President said of the man who m he appointed minister of presidential affairs in less than a year ago.
He added that he further warned Njogu Bah that no matter how strong a belief he has in his marabout, that will not save him when he (Jammeh) is ready to deal with him.
Although he did not mention any specific crimes these former public officers committed, he however maintained that he has gathered enough evidence to prosecute them in the court. “Habits are like hairs, they hardly disappear. When you cut them off, they always reappear,” he said.
Names of prisoners to pardon
Jammeh said he has the ‘prerogative of mercy’ to pardon prisoners on special occasions. However, he never sought names from the committee responsible for introducing the names. This committee, he said comprises attorney general, minister of Interior and director of prisons.
“They always compose the list for me and I assent my signature based on the list they provided. I have never called them and asked them to provide any names for my pardoning,” he added.
“So I make it clear that three categories of offender will never be pardoned: rapists, murderes, and drug dealers,” he also told the guys, adding: “If you are taking about Njogu and Jobarteh, forget it. I cannot forgive them,” he told the gathering.
‘I am not wicked’
Jammeh said he will see to it that the accused persons face the due process of the law.
“I am not wicked but I have reached my limit,” Jammeh said .
“If the law sentences them to death, I will have them executed! I will never compromise this,” the president pointed out.