Thursday, February 6, 2014
Justice Emmanuel Nkea resigns
The Cameroonian born judge of the Special Criminal Court who was on a two-week vacation, resumed duties a few days ago only to spring a surprise on a regime that it losing popular support because of high level corruption, general incompetence, and the use, or more appropriately, the abuse of the judiciary to put away its real and perceived political enemies. Justice Nkea has been an important part of that judicial team that Gambians have grown to despise.
During his two-week absence, speculation was rife that he was being whisked away by a regime that was increasingly under pressure because of its use of the judiciary to put away its opponents, and also because because of Nkea's intimate involvement in this judicial scheme to deny Gambians their due process.
The Special Criminal Court judge was personally recruited by the former Solicitor General and close ally of the Gambian dictator, Ben Jammeh who has since fallen afoul of the regime, and currently in exile in Senegal.
The resignation of Justice Nkea is coming at the heels of the dismissals of the Ghanaian born Chief Justice, Justice Mabel Agyemang who was under contract with the Commonwealth Secretariat up to the time the dictator unilaterally pulled Gambia's membership from the organization. It is unclear how her salary was being met after the pull-out. Her replacement as Chief Justice is reportedly a Nigerian Appeals Court Judge Emmanuel Fagbenle who originally came to The Gambia via Nigerian bilateral assistance program.
Emmanuel Nkea was described by this blog back in October as "the new eye of the storm" as he was tapped to replace Justice Wowo after his elevation to Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from which he was abruptly dismissed, arrested, charged and subsequently imprisoned for two years on numerous charges including abuse of office.
Justice Nkea was as proactive on the bench as he was off it. He was seen more as a political wheeler-dealer than a legal luminary, and was more interested in firmly locking up Jammeh's political enemies at the notorious Mile II prisons than dispensing justice. Justice Emmanuel Nkea served Jammeh, not justice.
His resignation will leave the Gambian judiciary in further shambles. It will also cause the regime to consider whether it is advisable to provide safe passage for the Cameroonian judge. The chances are Nkea will not be allowed to leave Gambia without being accused of something by a displeased dictator. We will see how this saga ends.