- President Yahya Jammeh has left Gambians dumbfounded as he appointed a principal magistrate in the country's lower court to fill the portfolio of Justice Minister, which has remained vacant since he dissolved the cabinet on 19 October this year.
Principal Magistrate Kebba Sanyang, who has been presiding over the case of journalist Lamin Fatty of the 'Independent Newspaper', was appointed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on Monday.
Critics sounded that Mr Sanyang was expecting the appointment that was why he had shifted his previous decision to strike out Mr Fatty's case, despite receiving pressures from the defence counsel to honour his promise.
His appointment came after so many legal luminaries - including the former Sheikh Tijan Hydara who served the post until the last cabinet reshuffle - reportedly turned down the offer.
Mr Sanyang, who has served at various Magistrates' Courts in the country, hitherto held appointment at the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.
Mr Sanyang's appointment sealed President Jammeh's cabinet, but analysts predicted that the chances of future cabinet shake-ups are evident, as hiring and firing has become the order of Gambian government.
The Justice Ministry has always been seen as Mr Jammeh's hopes to cling to power, which is why he is said to keep a close eye on the sector's minister. So far, President Jammeh has hired and fired close to ten justice ministers since he came to power in a coup in 1994.
Whether Mr Sanyang's stint will be long is another question that time will prove. But the former magistrate saw his appointment as recognition of his dedication to services he has been rendering to the judiciary. He therefore praised President Jammeh for granting him the opportunity to serve Gambians while wearing a different cap.
Aged 36, Minister Sanyang obtained law degrees in Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian universities. He became a first class magistrate in 1999. Three years later he was promoted to a senior magistrate before becoming a principal magistrate in 2005.
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