|Pakistan-born Chief Justice of Gambia - Ali Nawaz Chawhan|
It was only a little over a year ago, precisely March 2014, when the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, appointed Ali Nawaz Chawhan, a Pakistani legal expert, as Gambia's Chief Justice to replace another foreign-born (Ghanaian) Chief Justice, Mabel Agyemang, who was also summarily dismissed by Jammeh. Reports then had it that she fled and sought refuge in an unnamed Embassy. She subsequently found her way to her native Ghana,
Ali Nawaz Chawhan is the third Chief Justice to have been fired in the last two years by the temperamental and idiosyncratic dictator of Africa's smallest country. It was only last December that the Chief Justice heaped uncharacteristic praise on dictator of the caliber of Yaya Jammeh for having quelled an externally planned attempt at seizing power by Gambians living abroad.
After the failed attempt which the regime labeled as a 'terror attack' to curry American favor, the distinguished legal expert wrote a congratulatory letter to the dictator in which he said "...the terror attack (it was a coup attempt) failed woefully because The Almighty will never, never allow peaceful Gambia to be led by bandits." Our reaction then was Gambia's new CJ dabbling into politics was not only inappropriate and thus unbecoming of a man of the bench, he was in Banjul to help the dictator further entrench himself.
Most Gambians were pleasantly surprised when Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana was freed on four treason related charges by the Supreme Court who was falsely charged, together with other members of the armed forces, of treason - a favorite ammunition of the dictatorship employed against those he consider a threat to his regime.
Yaya Jammeh expected Chief Justice to carry out his wishes of confirming the verdict of the lower court, and when he went against his wishes and decided on the side of the rule of law, he was dismissed and ask to leave the Gambia in 72 hours.
And as we pen this blog post, the former Chief Justice might have already left the shores of The Gambia, and the time for yet another search for yet another Chief Justice of The Gambia. When will all this nonsense end is anybody's guess.