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CCG sought to incite violent protest in Gambia, investigator tells court

Nov 3, 2011, 3:12 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Sulayman Gaye, a police investigator, yesterday told the Special Criminal that the “Coalition for Change” The Gambia, of which Dr Amadou Janneh is a member, aimed to incite a violent protest in The Gambia in order to overthrow the democratically-elected government of the country.

Officer Gaye was continuing his testimony in the treason and sedition trial involving Dr Amadou Scattered Janneh and others.

“The investigation revealed that printing, distribution and communication between members of the Coalition for Change The Gambia was done by Dr Janneh, and this was geared towards overthrowing the President and democratically-elected government of The Gambia by unlawful means,” investigator Gaye told the court.

He said members of the “Coalition for Change” The Gambia (CCG) proposed a violent protest within The Gambia to demand change, adding that the date of the proposed protest was set at 25th May 2011, which he said coincided with Africa Liberation Day and the birthday of the President of The Gambia, Yayha Jammeh.

He said the car that was impounded and used by Dr. Janneh in distributing the T-shirts was brought to court, adding that it was labeled.

The Director of Public Prosecution asked the witness whether he could recognize the car, and he replied in the affirmative.

He then applied to tender the car as an exhibit.

Defence counsel L.S Camara did not raise any objection, and the court marked the car as an exhibit. The judge then ordered that the car be placed in the custody of the court, until the case was decided.

The witness said the car belongs to Dr. Janneh, adding that after the car was impounded, it was taken to the police licensing unit to ascertain the owner through the number plate.

“It was confirmed that it belongs to the 1st accused,” Gaye further stated.

Testifying further, the witness told the court that after the discovery of the computer hard drive, they were able to access the contents, and found communication and interviews conducted among members of the CCG, including the organisation’s Secretary General, Ndey Tapha Sosseh.

“The communication was between Ndey and Kemo Conteh, both members, as well as the press release from CCG. The interview was transcribed by one Ousman Tom, and the interview duration was about 45 minutes,” he added.

Gaye disclosed that the information on the T-shirts aimed to bring into contempt, hatred, and disaffection to the person of the President of the Republic, and that was why he took the T-shirts to the authorities.

Under-cross examination by defence counsel L.S. Camara, the witness said he has been a police officer for almost 11 years, and that he is an inspector in the Gambia police force.

“You are reasonably educated to know what is on the T-shirts,” counsel asked, and the witness said, “Yes”.

“Look at the exhibit. Can you show me where it was written that CCG wants to stage a violent protest to overthrow the Gambia government,” counsel posed.

“It is not written on the T-shirts,” replied the witness.

Gaye said he found six T-shirts all together, in answer to counsel’s question as to how many T-shirts were printed, but could not tell the number of T-shirts investigators found during the course of their investigations.

“Did you find out what CCG is?” counsel asked, and the witness said he found that CCG was not a registered entity in The Gambia.

He said the members include Dr. Janneh, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Famara Demba, Mathew K. Jallow, Babucarr Baldeh, among others, in response to counsel query as to who are the members of CCG.

“Do you find any membership list during your investigations,” counsel challenged, and the witness said, “Yes, we obtained a copy from the CCG website.”

“CCG have a website and press release, meaning they are not hiding anything,” counsel asked.

“Not to my knowledge,” Gaye replied.

Asked by counsel what is the meaning of “freedom”, the witness said he does not know the exact dictionary meaning, but he believes, “freedom means to be free”.

“Are you free?” counsel asked,” Yes,” said Gaye.

He said “freedom” does not suggest anything to him, and that the “Government of The Gambia” was not on the T-shirt likewise “the President”, in answer to questions from the defence counsel.

“Is CCG offensive to you as a police officer?” counsel continued, and Gaye, the police officer, said it is because it was not registered, adding that they are calling for regime change in The Gambia.

Change can be both peaceful and violent, the witness added.