“Halifa Sallah Is the Only Man Who Wears Trousers”

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Tantamounts to Insulting President Yahya Jammeh



Bai Mass Kah’s right to speech is abused by the very people paid by taxpayers to protect him!

Gambian police have in their custody an employee of Foroyaa newspaper. Bai Mass Kah was arrested at his home in Serekunda after he was accused of “denigrating and insulting” President Yahya Jammeh.

Police Public Relations Officer confirmed Mr. Kah’s arrest on November 14th. Assistant Superintendent David Kujabi said the messenger of the privately-owned newspaper was initially detained at Serekunda police station before being transferred to Kotu police.

Mr. Kujabi warned Gambians to be “mindful of their utterances because of the laws in place. “No one is an exception as far as these laws are in place,” Gambian journalist, Saikou Ceesay, quoted Kujabi as saying.

Kah was yet to be charged with any offence. He was subjected to marathon of interrogations during which police officers reportedly hauled insults at him. Kah was given access to his family until Saturday when he was moved to an unknown destination.

Informed sources attributed Mr. Kah’s arrest to a statement he had uttered during a discussion at his home, saying “Halifa Sallah, an opposition politician and sociologist, is the only man that wears trousers in the Gambia.” Gambian officials said Kah referred “Halifa as the only man in the country.”

Foroyaa newspaper management has been struggling to secure Mr. Kah’s release. They threatened to seek redress in court if their attempts to secure Mr. Kah’s release have failed.

Prior to his arrest, Foroyaa Managing Editor said Mr. Kah “was sitting at his normal chatting place with a friend. He is not held for any matter connected with his work.” Sam Sarr said his “arrest appears to emanate from allegations made against him by a stranger who had an encounter with him. The content of the allegations are still unknown to us and whether they should provoke such drastic reaction is still a subject of enquiry.”

Foroyaa officials doubted whether Kah, whose wife was in a desperate state, has become a victim of “disappearance without trace.” Since he was last seen by many people at Kotu Police, Mr. Sarr said “all of them would be able to testify that he has been under police custody up to Saturday. The police should be able to explain what happened to him in any court of law.”

Mr. Kah is the second Gambian to be arrested for “denigrating President Jammeh” in less than two months. His case followed that of a student who is fighting for his freedom in court on charges of seditious intent. Jamanty Mboge was accused of describing President Jammeh as a “useless President who disturbs people during a Skype chat.”

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