In a democracy, we talk of the rule of law. This means that everyone should – or should be made to – respect the law and abide by it. It means that we will do away with impunity by enduring that whoever breaks the law is punished in accordance with the law. It also means that the due process will be followed to ensure that no one’s rights are violated.
In fact, for the maintenance of peace and stability, there needs to be strict adherence to the rule of law by all and sundry including government functionaries. If these [government functionaries] are found wanting in the area of abiding by the law, everything crumbles down. The government will then be seen as either corrupt or ineffective.
In the past one year, a lot of instances can be sighted where people have been found to portray a total disregard of the law. For example, there is a law against the importation and usage if plastic bags. But plastic bags have become so rampant that they can be found and seen everywhere around the country. People are using plastic bags as if it is nothing. These have a very bad effect on our environment and there usage will do a lot of harm to the country.
A few days ago, a police officer assaulted a taxi driver in front of some eyewitnesses. This type of behaviour was very common during the rule of the previous government. One would have thought that with the new dispensation, this will become a thing of the past. But it seems that some people are still holding onto the old habits, as they say, old habits die hard.
In some parts of the country, there seem to be a total breakdown of law and order. This morning, while I was listening to ‘Gambia This Morning’, a program on Gambia Radio and Television Services. I heard a reporter from the North Bank Region of the country say that two incidents of armed robbery occurred at one of the groundnut selling points. This comes to add to the occasions of armed robberies reported around the country in the last year or so.
Furthermore, a series of rape have been registered during this period. It is as if the rapists are daring the government to do something. It’s almost on a weekly basis now that we hear of rape cases. What is responsible for this state of affairs? In the streets now one can meet a person smoking cannabis as though it were legal.
Worse, the murder cases seem to have escalated. Two weeks ago, we heard of a woman being murdered and left in her salon. Police are still trying to find the culprit. Earlier, a girl was murdered and left in the streets of Manjai Kunda. These are just a few of the spate of crimes being perpetrate around the country. It is becoming scary, to say the least.
Mr President, the first duty of a government is to protect its citizens. The citizens must be made to feel safe in their homes. The breaking of the law with impunity must stop. Enough is enough!
Have a good day Mr President.