By Momodou Jarju & Ndey Sowe
A Gambian chess player, Joseph Dalliah, has accused the Gambia Chess Federation (GCF) of treating him unfairly.
In an exclusive interview with Foroyaa, Dalliah said the federation denied him the right to participate in a recently held tournament held on 29th to 30th June, 2019 at the Cathedral Hall in Banjul.
Speaking to this medium on Sunday 30th June, 2019 at the tournament venue, the President of the GCF, Mr. Amadou O.E. Jallow, denied the accusation saying Mr. Dalliah is under suspension.
On his part Mr. Dalliah provided a letter to confirm that the suspension had elapsed since 2018.
The letter stated, among other things, the following verdict: “it is also decided that you cannot represent the country until the end of 4 years (2014 to 2018);
2) you cannot take part in the finals of the 2016 Championships scheduled for 14 and 15 May, 2016.
3) Further, you may not hold office during the stipulated period, 2014 to 2018.”
Dalliah, a resident of Brusibi, said the Executive Secretary of the National Youth Council, Mr. Alieu Cham, wrote to him, asking few others to join him in forming an interim committee for The Gambia Chess Federation which he did. According to him, the veteran chess players were invited to be part of the committee that unanimously agreed that he be the auditor.
The President gave Dalliah credit for persuading the veteran players to be part of the interim committee.
Dilating further on the tournament, Jallow said: “Well I am not responsible for registration but I was made to understand that they came to register a new chess club by the name of “Tahbi” and he (Dalliah) was named as the President. They went to the treasurer (Mr. Mboob) and he accepted the fees and the submission, but told them that Dalliah is a suspended player. When he (treasurer) told me, I said he should not have accepted that because Dalliah is under suspension. It was added that he should not have allowed him to use a new club to circumvent that subvention as a result. But he (treasurer) did accept. It may be a mistake.”
Mr. Jallow further indicated that there was an ongoing registration for the 2-day tournament. The treasurer was in charge of the registration. In his view Dalliah was not allowed to register, so “Tahbi” club submitted other names for the tournament. “The treasurer’s argument was ‘we cannot dictate to the new club who its president should be’ but were told categorically that Dalliah cannot participate. I told him (treasurer) that he should have rejected that registration on the basis that Dalliah is under suspension and must not be allowed to use a new club to circumvent that suspension. So that is why he was not allowed to be registered,” he explained.
Nonetheless, he said Dalliah was allowed to enter the hall on Saturday, the first day of the game but then, “when I went into the hall, I heard him say ‘they are thieves’ agitating people” and caused commotion as a result.
He added that others have to confront him to stop him. Mr. Jallow said he was not inside when this happened.
Dalliah denied this claim saying he knew very well that the game requires silence in the hall.
The second and final day of the tournament, Sunday, Dalliah was not allowed to enter. This reporter could confirm this fact. A policeman was at the door of the hall to stop him should he try to enter.
Asked when Dalliah’s claimed suspension will end, Mr. Jallow responded:
“That, I cannot dictate. If he behaves and does the right thing.”
We are yet to receive any official letter from the Chess Federation to refute the date of expiry of the suspension mentioned by Mr Dalliah. Hence the chess federation needs to follow the principle of due process. We will approach them again to find out whether it has put its house in order.