Now that six members of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF), three senior staff have been a former secretary general have been arraigned before a court today, we have now come to learn that Malang Jassy, a senior official of the Ministry of Youth and Sports has also been arrested, bringing the total of arrest to eleven. They have all been charged with "negligence of duty" in fielding over aged players in a CAF-sponsored tournament.
The regime arrested the eleven and tried forcing them to resign. When they all refused to resign, they were charged with "negligence".
We have now learned from reliable sources that Executives of the Gambia National Olympic Committee are the next targets of the Jammeh regime for arrest.
The regime is still nursing a grudge when the Minister of Youth and Sports retreated from a decision that saw the Executives of the GNOC fired and replaced by an Interim Committee when threatened with sanctions if the decision was not reversed. The Youth and Sports Minister had ordered paramilitary forces to occupy the premises of the GNOC and barred staff from entering their offices, effectively shutting down operations.
However, it took a scathing letter from IOC in response to the unilateral and illegal act of the Minister, including demands that the paramilitary be withdrawn, hand over the offices to their rightful owners and to refrain from further infringement on the rights and privileges of the GNOC guaranteed under the Olympic Charter.
The IOC warned the Minister of Youth and Sports in its 14th April letter that "protective measures or sanctions" will be applied if the regime fails to accede to the demands of the Olympic Movement. The Minister advised Jammeh to dial back the rhetoric and quietly allowed things to return to normal, but not before a response was sent suggesting to the IOC that "moving forward,..the Gambia NOC puts its house in order...and to have a respectful and harmonious working relationship with Government."
The arrest of the Executive members of the GNOC, according to reliable source, appears imminent if they refuse to resign from their positions. They have tried it with the GFF Executives and when they refused to resign they were charged. The same ultimatum will be presented to the GNOIC officials, once they've been arrested. If they refuse, they will be charged. Of what, that remains to be seen.
Until then, we urge the Executives of the GNOIC to follow the footsteps of the GFF by refusing to succumb to the whims of a very corrupt, inept and vicious regime. To do otherwise, tantamount to willful abandonment of the fundamental principles, spirit and ideals of the Olympic Movement, and leaving your Gambia Football Federation comrades in the battlefield.