Girls want to marry him, boys want to be him when they grow up and every mother wants him as an in-law. Essa Mbye Faal’s brilliance at work undoubtedly struck a chord with the viewing populace from Kartong to Koina.
Born in Ranking Street, Banjul, his mesmerizing performance at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) as lead counsel endeared him into many hearts. His questioning technique, disposition, and candour are at par with a QC Barrister. His approval rating is through the roof, higher than anybody in the country at the moment. Millennials haven’t seen anyone’s rating this high before and are all in his wagon.
Essa started his career at the Ministry of Justice as junior counsel in 1994. A year later, he went to the University of West Indies to do his Masters specializing in legislative drafting. Upon completion, he returned home and continued from where he left off.
In an interview with Fatou Touray of Kerr Fatou, he disclosed he once resisted a transfer to the Army as a prosecutor as he doesn’t see himself in a military environment. He was later appraised and his excellent work was rewarded with a promotion and posted to the Gambian Mission at the United Nations in New York. This would be a springboard for his international career.
The Banjul-born went on to work in East Timor as part of the UN team to put together the judicial services of the war-torn country. Wanting to be closer to home, he accepted a job offer from ITLO in Rome, Italy. From there he ended up working at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands. There he rose through the ranks to become a senior trial lawyer. When he reached a cul-de-sac, he couldn’t progress any further coupled with physical and mental exhaustion, he called it a day in March 2011.
Before finally returning home, he tried the other side of the bench, defence. He was part of the defence teams of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, Uhuru Kenyatta among many other high-profile cases.
At the beginning of the year, not much was known about then little-known Essa Mbye Faal. Fast forward to April, he is now the main topic of discussion at village bantabas, dinner tables, vous, marketplaces etc. The most comforting aspect is that victims of Jammeh regime have confidence in him and applauded his work.
Some journalists and Facebook armchair lawyers took offence of his robust questioning of former Army Commander Babucarr Jatta alias “Daffor” (a daft). Respect is reciprocal; you give it and get you it back. Jatta from the get-go was hostile and disrespectful towards the whole process. He even said that he was there to “hit you guys hard”. He doesn’t even know why he was there, no wonder he was referred to as a daft in the Army.
The few knuckleheads on Essa’s back have smelled the coffee and have since coiled back to their caves after realizing that Essa’s legion of fans wouldn’t let them have it their way.
Note to the so-called critics: Essa is our Essa and we will never get tired defending him as far as he is doing what is expected of him.
Written by Saul Sarr