Argentina is a Latin American country where under military rule citizens were detained without trial, tortured and/or slaughtered. But when it transited into civilian rule with an elected president, the former military leaders now bow their heads in shame as survivors of the brutality of the regime of yesteryears expose them and seek for justice.
Gambia has civilian rule but the power that be does not show respect for the rule of law. One unconstitutional behaviour follows another, including detention without trial and disappearances of citizens. Rather than safeguarding the right of citizens to freely express themselves we have closure of media houses such as Taranga FM, Daily News and The Standard, or the arrest, detention and jailing of journalists. What can the government gain from this except isolation and vilification of the government?
The tactic of intimidation only works for a time and not forever. Former President Abdou Diouf need not bow his head when he meets former President Abdoulaye Wade, because he embraced democracy when he was president. However, Former President Taylor could not escape justice when he took cover in Nigeria as a fugitive.
The way forward for Gambia is not to slide into another Argentina but to implement electoral reform to ensure free and fair elections where Governors and Chiefs will not campaign for any candidate or intimidate or persecute any political supporter, and state functions or public institutions will not be under the control of party political heavy weights.