By Yankuba Jallow
Ansumana Jammeh, a relative to former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh said the concoction the former Gambian leader gave to HIV/AIDS patients was effective in the fight against the disease.
The Mayork born was responsible for pounding leaves which were turned into concoction by the ex-head of state in his alternative treatment programme. Former Gambian leader claimed he cures HIV/AIDS, asthma, hypertension and infertility.
“The patients were cured. They were many and I cannot remember all of them,” Ansumana said.
Jammeh was residing at the residence of former President Yahya Jammeh’s mother, late Aja Asombi Bojang. The witness said ex-President Jammeh’s mother was his grandmother because his father and Jammeh’s mother were both Bojang and they hailed from the same place.
He said he has a good relationship with ex-President Jammeh and he used to treat him as a relative. He said he used to do whatever assignment Jammeh gave him, adding he was very loyal to Jammeh.
“I was very close to the family. I was very close to [Yahya] Jammeh,” the witness said.
He said he worked for Jammeh’s mother for about ten years and also served for ten years in the President’s Alternative Treatment Programme. He said he used to do farming throughout his stay at Bojang’s residence until she left the country for Equatorial Guinea.
The Alternative HIV/AIDS Treatment
Ansumana said one day in the first half of 2007, the late Musa Jammeh alias ‘Maliamongo’ came to him at the residence of former Aja Asombi Bojang and informed him to go with him to the State House. After reaching the State House,Maliamongo asked him to join Dr Tamsir Mbow and Dr Malick Njie in the treatment programme.
He said he was responsible for pounding the leaves that were used to prepare the concoction Jammeh used to give his patients.
“They will bring leaves for me and ask me to pound them under the instruction of Dr Tamsir Mbowe,” the witness said.
He said after the leaves were pounded, the powder was kept in a store in Banjul.
“The day we prepare the concoction is the same day it will be issued to the patients,” the witness said.
The witness testified that he was among those who were serving the patients the concoctions. Jammeh was with the President Alternative Treatment Programme (PATP).
“Every day I used to drink the concoction. It was my tea,” he said.
He said the concoction cures general body pain and stomach pain.
On the effect of the medicine on the patients when they drank it, he said Dr Tamsir Mbowe could shed light on it. The witness said he has never witnessed any person vomitting after taking the medicine (concoction) in his ten years with the PATP. He added that he did not see any patient who suffered from diarrhoea after taking the concoction.
“I drank it and I never vomitted or suffered from ‘running stomach’,” the witness said.
He said: “the patients were cured. They were many and I cannot remember all of them.” He provided the Commission with a list of three names who were cured by the President.
The witness said the first batch of PATP was accommodated at the Serrekunda General Hospital and some paramilitary were providing security to the place.
Contrary to the testimonies of some of the patients, the witness said the patients were allowed to go out of their place of treatment freely.
“The witnesses who said they were denied the chance to go out lied before the Commission,” the witness said.
He said the patients were allowed to move about without any restriction.
The Commission’s lead counsel presented an investigation by a group of people including Gambians on the PATP and the impact it had on the patients and the national HIV/AIDS response.
“The investigation is false,” the witness said.
The witness said witnesses were allowed family visitations and there was a visitors’ book where their names were recorded.
“There was a place at the treatment center where patients and their family members used to sit and discuss. Some of the patients were living with their family members,” the witness said.
He said TRRC witness Fatou Jatta was with her sister, adding the patients were allowed to go to the Serrekunda Market and return.
“We were the ones who used to massage the patients. I have never seen Yahya Jammeh massaging the patients,” the witness said.
The Commission played a video televised by GRTS showing former President Yahya Jammeh massaging women and the witness admitted that the ex-head of state was engaged in massaging women.
“It was a mistake. I now remember. The video made me to recall. The President used to massage female patients,” the witness said.
The witness said he is not aware of anyone dying during the course of the PATP.
Lead Counsel Essa Faal mentioned the names of ten people who died during the course of the PATP.
“I am not aware of any dead,” the witness said.
The witness said all the witnesses who said they were not cured lied to the Commission because the concoction cured HIV/AIDS.