Nov 12, 2012, 10:00 AM
The newly-appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice officially took the oath of office on Monday with a strong promise that she will apply the laws of The Gambia in whatever she does without fear or favour.
Justice Mama Fatima Singhateh, who was appointed as the principal legal adviser of the Gambia government two weeks ago, replacing Amie Joof, took the oaths of office, allegiance and secrecy, at a ceremony presided over by the Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Isatou Njie-Saidy, at State House in Banjul.
‘‘The portfolio of Attorney General and Minister of Justice is a heavy one. As the principal legal adviser for the Government, a lot is expected of me.
‘‘I do promise however that I will in all that I do, apply the laws of The Gambia and in the execution of my duties, I promise that I will carry along all my staff, I will work with anybody who is willing to work with me, I will listen to anybody who has something to say, but I will do my job; make no mistake about that,’’ Justice Minister Singhateh stated.
While expressing hope that she will live up to expectations, Singhateh said she will execute her duties without fear or favour, affection of ill-will.
However, she confessed that her appointment came as a surprise to her, but was quick to add that she accepted it with an open mind, ‘‘because I believe in the President, in his vision for this country and any opportunity I have to help and complement his work in the realization of his vision, I am ready and willing to take it on.’’
Speaking at the ceremony, the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Momodou Sabally, who is also the Minister for Presidential Affairs, congratulated the newly-appointed Justice minister.
According to him, no ministerial job is easy, but that of Attorney General and Minister of Justice stands out for several reasons, “because whether we admit it or not, we are still evolving in terms of the legal system.
‘‘As Attorney General and Minister of Justice, it is a big honour and privilege in any country, but more so for a country that has entrenched in her national prayer a whole verse: ‘Let justice guide our actions towards the common good’ ’’, he stated.
The Secretary General went on to assure the new minister of the support of the cabinet.
The Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs also acknowledged the fact that the portfolio of Attorney General and Minister of Justice is not an easy position, but assured the new minister of their cooperation and guidance.
‘‘Your office is very demanding; all of us require services of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice because we have bills to take to cabinet; we have legal issues to address that relate to our offices; the executive as well have legal issues to address relating to the executive versus whoever else. So we are not experts, we depend on you as the expert, as the representative of Government when it comes to legal matters,’’ she stated.
The Vice President noted that Singhateh’s acceptance of the appointment shows the confidence she has in the President, the Government and her willingness to serve the nation as well.