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Former VP Darboe deserts Sir Dawda in Senegal, say Commission witness


Bakary Bunja Darboe would later take a job as finance minister with the Junta, a post he would hold for 70 days

Bakary Bunja Darboe is currently eying for the leadership of the Peoples Progressive Party

A former bodyguard to Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission that the country’s first president was abandoned by his one-time former vice president Bakary Bunja Darboe after the July 1994 military takeover.

Jawara was deposed by the military led by Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh before he was shipped to Senegal on an American naval ship.

Tijan Touray, the ninth Commission witness said the former Gambian leader Jawara was isolated in Dakar and former president Diouf has declined to see him despite repeated attempts.

He said during those trying times, while Bakary Darboe had an unfettered access to the former Senegalese leader Diouf, they only saw him at their residence once.

Touray and Jawara were leaving together before he left with the former president’s wife to United Kingdom.

“Bakary Darboe was in Dakar. We only saw him few times. Sir Dawda always wanted to talk to Abdou Diouf about certain things… They made it very difficult for Sir Dawda to even meet Abdou Diouf. When he was put in there (Senegal), he was like someone in a cage— he does not have access to international calls…,” said Touray.

“I just want the people to know he hasn’t left them… He did not just get the chance. Sir Dawda did not have access to Abdou Diouf. Bakary Darboe could have negotiated (their differences)—if there was any differences between Abdou Diouf and Sir Dawda Bakary Darboe was in a position to do that which he hasn’t. I only saw him once. Saikou Sabally was always there.

Unlike a lot of former ministers under Jawara, Bakary Darboe has returned to the country to serve as the finance minister for the Junta, a position he could only held for 70 days.

Even though several of his colleagues questioned his decision to work for the junta that had several of his former cabinet colleagues and senior government officials arrested and detained, Darboe said he thought he could influence some good decision by the junta.

Meanwhile, Touray said the Senegalese former president Diouf had declined on several occasions to see or receive calls from Jawara.

He also revealed that the former leader Jawara was lied to by the Americans who promised him that they will make attempts to stop the rebels at the Denton Bridge.

“The Americans told him that they will stop the rebels if they want to cross the bridge… When he was onboard the ship that was not done. He noticed that the ship has sailed for quite a long time, according to him, he asked them where are we going and why aren’t we stopping. Then Sir Dawda said he was told by the captain… that they have been told to leave the Gambian waters… Sir Dawda did not have a choice and he was told that the nearest port is Dakar…,” said Touray.

“While onboard the ship, President Jawara heard on a Senegalese radio that he was granted asylum in Senegal which he never sought for… “

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