Gambia: Shrinking From Ambiguity Into Irrelevance and Triviality

opinion

The Gambian people went to the polls on 1st December 2016 and brought about a change through the ballot box for the first time since 1965 when the right to self- determination was attained. One would have anticipated that every Gambian will now be schooled to know that Democracy is not a game of the leaders and their parties, but a rule based system that centralizes power in the hands of the people which is exercised on the basis of agreed laws and principles of justice and fair play.

The unknown author holds a different view.

UNKNOWN AUTHOR'S VIEWPOINT

Democracy is a game of football. Some teams like to take chances with long shots outside the penalty box while others want to wait till they are inside the 6 yards box before shooting. In any case we achieve little by complaining of our opponents' style of play so long they keep within the rules of the game."

HALIFA SALLAH'S ANALYSIS

It is evident that the author is now speaking in riddles. First and foremost, he created a hypothetical scene that reduced the political parties into rival football teams with different styles of play. He counselled that as long as the teams play according to the rules, none should complain about style of play.

The country is engaged in a debate on life and death issues regarding the constitutionality of the tenure of office of the president and the legality or illegality of any act and method of forcing him to leave office.

The author however chose to direct the attention of the public on the football matches of political parties and the fixtures they use to score their goals. What has 'Three Years Jotna' to do with political parties unless the author knows what is still not evident to all.

To close this chapter, allow me to reiterate what I said at the National Assembly which should have been the focus of the debate.

I emphasised that in a democracy power is circumscribed by rights which are exercised to scrutinise, criticise and restrain and prevent the abuse of power. I added that law provides guards and fences to the exercise or power and rights. This constitutes the principle of the rule of law.

Hence, I counselled that those who exercise their right to call on Barrow to respect his promise of a three-year mandate are in order and cannot be silenced since section 65 gives him a prerogative to resign to honour the three-year mandate. I added that if he refuses to exercise his prerogative to resign and chose instead to serve a five year term under section 63 of the Constitution, there is no legal provision to rely on to remove him from office before the end of his five year term on the basis of failing to abide by his promise to serve three years. This point stands irrefutable.

Hence the nation should not be divided into supporters of a three year or five-year mandate. All Gambians who would want Barrow to leave a legacy should counsel him to respect and uphold his promise. All democratic minded Gambians would respect the exercise of his prerogative to choose either to resign according to section 65 of the Constitution or continue to serve a five-year mandate under section 63 of the Constitution.

This is how matters stand on this chapter. No Gambian youth should be misled to draw any other conclusion.

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