Gambia: Simon Reacts to Halifa's Letter to Darboe

This column is open to all political leaders to address issues directed to them. It is important for public figures to be accountable to the public. Unfortunately, when one opens up to promote more interaction, others would regard this as being over sensitive to criticism. We therefore hope that this type of exchanges would be seen as the open society that PDOIS intends to build where false information will not lead to indictments and imprisonment, but would lead to exposure of falsehood and apology to share power of debate and information sharing. The letter addressed to Mr Darboe is strategic. It aims to nip false information in the bud. What is published by newspapers in The Gambia is often broadcast by the electronic media. Hence the letter sent to Mr Darboe aimed to nullify the wrong information disseminated by the Voice unless Mr Darboe writes to confirm that what is attributed to him is his own doing. Whether he responds or not would be immaterial. It is therefore non surprise that the Voice came out with an apology stating very clearly that Darboe made a blanket statement against politicians in the country which no right minded political figure will take ownership of without deserving to be seen as petty. The Voice however invented the news by attributing the comments to PDOIS and its leadership. We had the duty to unmask this apostasy so as to prevent any recurrence of such appalling conduct. In that regard we have achieved our goal of helping the Gambian people to understand that the news can be concocted to pit political figures against each for the sake of encouraging political wrangling which entertains some people in Gambian society whilst hundreds of thousands of young people wait to hear from political leaders how their parties intend to solve their needs and aspiration. For your information, political parties have signed a code of conduct which their members should adhere to and we did not expect that any political leader who respects the following conduct would attack political parties and their leaders. Instead one would expect them to criticise policies and any political conduct that would go against the established code.

PART 2

Code of Conduct

Compliance with the Law

A party that has subscribed to this Code will adhere to the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia, especially, the electoral laws, rules and regulations.

2.The conduct of Political Activities

A party that has subscribed to this code will:

Respect the right of all other parties to campaign freely and disseminate their political ideas and principles without fear;

Respect freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and peaceful demonstration as provided for by the Constitution and other Laws of The Gambia.

iii. Refrain from disrupting or frustrating the legitimate activities of other political parties, including the holding of political rallies, meetings.

Refrain from defacing or destroying the posters, leaflets and handbills of political parties and their candidates;

Language

A party that has subscribed to this code will:

Organize and conduct its activities, at all times, in a manner that contributes to a congenial and peaceful atmosphere;

Avoid using inflammatory or defamatory language;

iii. Not in any way threaten or incite violence, in any form, against any person or groups of persons.

Will not issue, either officially or anonymously, pamphlets, newsletters or posters containing language or material that threatens or incites disorderly conduct or violence.

Violence and Intimidation

A party that has subscribed to this Code accepts that intimidation in any form is unacceptable and will:

Issue directives expressly forbidding its officials, candidates, members and supporters from intimidating any person at any time;

Campaign against violence and all acts of vandalism or public disorder committed or threatened by their officials, candidates, members or supporters;

iii. Respect other competing parties, persons and their properties.

Separation of Powers

A party that has subscribed to this Code will:

Respect the full separation of powers as detailed in the Constitution and other laws;

Not seek in any way to unduly influence or use other arms of government for political purposes;

iii. Will refrain from using Civil Servants and public funds for partisan campaign purposes.

6.Acceptance of the Outcome of Transparent and Credible Elections

A party that has subscribed to this Code will:

Accept the outcome of a transparent and credible election that has been certified by the Independent Electoral Commission or submit any grievance only to the competent dispute settlement agency provided for by law;

Accept and comply with the decisions of the competent dispute settlement agency.

Dialogue and Co-operation

A party that has subscribed to this Code will:

Make every effort to maintain communications with other political parties and the Independent Electoral Commission;

Participate constructively in the Inter-Party Committee established as a Forum for dialogue and co-operation between political parties and to promote adherence to this Code.

Compliance with the Code of Conduct

A party that has subscribed to this Code:

Is bound by the Code;

Will take steps to prohibit leaders, officials, candidates, members and supporters from infringing the Code;

iii. Will take necessary steps to promote and ensure adherence to the Code;

Will not abuse the right to complain about violation of the Code, or make false, frivolous or vexatious complaints.

The responsibilities of the members of the National Assembly shall include the following -

(a) all members shall maintain the dignity of the National Assembly both during the sittings of the National Assembly and in their acts and activities outside the National Assembly;

{b) all members shall regard themselves as servants of the people of The Gambia, desist from any conduct by which they seek improperly to enrich themselves or alienate themselves from the people, and shall discharge their duties and functions in the interest of the nation as a whole and in doing so shall be influenced by the dictates of conscience and the national interest.

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