According to The Standard Newspaper, two Gambians were recently arrested in Senegal and dragged to court. Their offence: being in possession of documents falsely claiming to be Senegalese citizens. Frankly I found the charges laughable. How many Senegalese citizens are in possession of Gambian passports, voters cards, drivers licenses, birth certificates and I.D. cards? How many Senegalese citizens are currently abroad who used our national documents to get there? These facts are well known to Senegalese authorities. Why the pretense now? It’s common knowledge that since 1994 Senegalese citizens illegally voted in our elections, influencing the outcome.
Dembo Fanta Bojang
Dembo, you’re talking about two different things. First, this is a serious crime. Securing fake documents designed to impersonate is also theft. Secondly, the fact that Senegalese hold Gambian passports without being arrested, doesn’t preclude Senegal arresting Gambians. If Gambians choose to look the other way, it’s our fault.. One more thing; without the Senegalese the Gambia economy will collapse. It’ll be in ruin which will take decades to come back from
Jallow Mathew, USA
This shows how the Senegalese authorities value their national documents. In contrast the Gambian authorities do not place value on our national documents which are sold to foreigners including Senegalese and/or gave them out for political reasons.
We are not a serious country.
Insults are simply abhorrent for the “goose” as well for the “gander”
In December 2010, a young street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the way he was treated by local officials. This action quickly catalyzed into a series of nationwide street protests with a mass movement that was called the “Jasmine Revolution”.
Social unrest mostly emanates from non-political disputes, but which mostly have some underlying economic factors and issues of the dispensation of justice. It is not a new phenomenon. In fact, history is filled with such events.
Governments in general should be very much alert to the circumstances of the people at any point in time. Its approach to the dispensation of justice has a great propensity for a negative reaction from society. That is why, it is sometimes more prudent to take low key decisions and approaches on matters that are latently flammable politically and socially rather than using the traditional modes of the more technical arm of implementing decisions by law enforcement agents or the security apparatus.
The apparatus may have a standard approach of enforcement which sometimes is disproportionate to the activities or allegations being subdued. The political decision sometimes needs to tame such an approach with more mellow rules of engagement.
The Bob Keita case gained celebrity status that gathered momentum of public sympathy and support. Justice finally prevailed even if it were delayed for two years. There was a highly visible display of public emotions by physical mass presence and in the social media comments.
Emotions can have a snowball effect the extent of which is unimaginable and can be unpredictable. The lesson to be learnt, from a social cohesion point of view, is the fact that matters of emotion can emanate from any unsuspecting source. Emotions are generally very subjective and reactive to issues. In this case, it could be attributed to a call for justice which by extension was a call for a fair treatment of an accused person and/or a mere display of sympathy (? empathy). The question goes beyond who is or why Bob Keita. His case may just be a symptom.
Currently, there seems to be an extensive crude attitude of insulting political leaders. From a religious and cultural point of view, it is one of the worse displays of character to insult someone, much more an elder, as they say colloquially – “no home training”. It is often a display of foolish pride combined with the ignorance of a grossly unenlightened mind.
Just as the upbringing of a child in a home is important to the development of the mind and character to be a grown-up person, the sum total of the attitude and character of society must be governed by civility in its social interactions. That is usually a deliberate national policy of equitable application of most of the countries that are being admired today for the disciplined character of their citizenry.
Attitudes in society are cultivated within a governance framework. A laissez-faire approach only leads to intolerance and a lack of common respect for one another that can further lead to a weakening of social cohesion.
Heaping certain levels of insult on any political leader should be dealt with severely by virtue of the position of the politician in society and for the purpose of social cohesion (emphasis – social cohesion).
The Gambia is a small society. As the saying goes – the pain from pinching a monkey’s tail is felt all over its body. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that in dealing with matters that can have a high emotional content, the dispensation of justice should be dealt with equitably. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Just an off-tangent thought – calling a person a liar is abhorrently unacceptable in traditional society. However, interestingly enough, in a most respectable institution for the dispensation of justice, its profession can call out a person as lying with no remorse. Yet within the sacred walls of the institution that develops the very laws used to dispense justice, the same terminology seems to be condescendingly despised. It is interesting how the human mind and behavior can be confusing and contradictory (may be schizophrenic) in accordance with the interest being projected.
In matters of the arms of government, which are formal institutions with their own rules of self-regulation (unlike society), shouldn’t the principle be applied, of what is good for the goose is good for the gander or simply conform to societal or cultural norms.
Just Thinking Aloud
Lamino Lang Coma