The Gambia Bar Association, a body of professional Gambian lawyers, have told journalists that the group that calls itself African Bar Association and visited the country two days ago to mediate in its ongoing political crisis “does not represent all or any associations or bodies of African lawyers as its name suggests”.
In a statement read on behalf of the Bar on Thursday, Sheriff Tambadou, the acting President of the association, said the only continental body they are affiliated with is the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU).
The African Bar Association had a meeting with President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday to get his opinion on the current crisis in the country but the group was later heavily criticised online for what many thought was endorsing Jammeh’s position
Below is the full press release:
The Gambia Bar Association is not connected or associated with Mr Hannibal Uwaifo and his organisation, the African Bar Association.
The general public is hereby notified that this organisation does not represent all or any associations or bodies of African lawyers as its name suggests.
The said African Bar Association is not connected or associated with the Nigerian Bar Association although its members are predominantly Nigerian. It also is not connected or associated with the Pan African Lawyers Union, the International Bar Association, the African Development Bank or related entities.
The original African Bar Association that was formed in 1971 in Nigeria was dissolved and merged with associations all over Africa resulting in the creation of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU). PALU that is the credible and most widely recognised legitimate representative of African lawyers and Associations.
The organisation promoted by Mr Uwaifo since 2015 has previously attempted to inaugurate itself in The Gambia through a proposed ‘Rebirth’ conference.
The GBA could not in good conscience participate in such an event taking into account the lack of capacity, competence and resources from Mr Uwaifo’s team.
We therefore confirm that the Gambia Bar Association and its international partners have no connection or affiliation to Mr Uwaifo or his organisation.