21 August 2014
FONI KANSALA CHIEF SAYS SAGNAJOR CALIPH, ALKALO INFORMED NOT TO PRAY ON TUESDAY
Modou Lamin Jarjue, the chief of Foni Kansala Monday told the Brikama Magistrates Court presided over by Sierrending Sanneh that Caliph Muhideen Hydara and Buyeh Touray were informed not to pray Eid-ul-Fitr on Tuesday 29 July 2014 as ordered by President Jammeh. The caliph of Darsilami Sagnajor, Muhideen Hydara and Alkalo Buyeh Touray are arraigned on two counts of conspiracy to commit misdemeanour and disobedience of lawful order. At the resumption of the case yesterday, the prosecution dropped the second count. Chief Jarjue told the court: “I recognise the accused persons from Darsilami. The chief of Bondali Dembo Badjie called me and told me that he got information from the governor who told him that any village that did not pray on Monday should not pray on Tuesday. I went to the radio station in Bwiam to inform people that any village that did not pray on Monday should not pray on Tuesday. I also called my badge messenger Seedy Gibba from Jilamba to go to Darsilami and inform them. He told me he informed them but they said Foni was not part of it. Then I told him to go there first thing in the morning and inform the alkalo properly that the president said from Kartong to Kalagi, no village should pray on Tuesday. He told me they said they will pray despite the order and I asked him to stay there to be an eyewitness lest he gave me information based on hearsay. He called and said they prayed then I called the governor and said to her, 'I told my people not to pray but they prayed'. Then she said, 'you have done your job'.” Cross-examining, defence counsel Lamin Mboge asked Chief Lamin Jarjue whether the caliph was a descendant of the prophet to which he answered in the positive. Put to him that his badge messenger told him that he did not tell the first accused the message he (the chief) received from the governor, the witness retorted: “He said he extended the message to the alkalo and the alkalo forwarded it to another person whom I do not know”. Also weighing in on the issue, senior defence counsel Antouman Gaye made an application challenging the court's original jurisdiction over the matter saying: “I would like the court to refer the case to the Supreme court of The Gambia for the court's interpretation of the following questions under the constitution: 1. Whether or not by the laws which are the contemplation of section 7 of the 1997 constitution the offence charged in count two (not withstanding its incompetence as a charge) is inconsistent with and contrary to section 251C of the constitution and therefore null and void? If the answer to this is affirmative then whether count one is maintainable against the accused person. The application is made under section 127 of the constitution. I believe the matter lies on our side”. In his riposte, the prosecutor Chief Inspector Touray said the application of the defence lacks merit and should be thrown out because similar cases have been dealt with by the court in the past. At that point, Magistrate Sierrending Sanneh adjourned the case to September 1st by midday for judgment on the application.