By Tabora Bojang
The opposition Gambia Democratic Congress this week issued a statement stating that among other things the appointment of Ousainu Darboe as Vice President is unconstitutional because he did not ‘successfully exhaust all legal appeals to clear his record of criminal conviction’.
“We are not aware of any presidential pardon or an amendment to section 62 clearing for the appointment to cabinet of individual with record of criminal conviction,” the party said.
The statement is an apparent reference to the imprisonment of Darboe and other activists who were sent to jail in 2016 for breaching the Public Order Act.
In his response, VP Darboe challenged the GDC and whoever holds the view that his appointment is unconstitutional to go to the Supreme Court, where he [Darboe] will be waiting for them.
“When I feel that the government has acted in a way that goes against the constitution, I go to the court and challenge it. I have challenged the Jammeh administration here for in my view violations of the provisions of the constitution whether it affects the appointment of an IEC member, Judges and other things,” he told Kerr Fatou.
”They are just expressing their own ignorance. I am disappointed that people who think they want to be president of this country do not even know the constitution; it is a shame. I think they should acquaint themselves with the constitution before they make this statement because it just expresses their ignorance and show them as people who are not fit to rule this country because for you to be president of this country you have to be au fait with the constitution,” he added.
Darboe said Section 62 of the constitution refers to a person while holding a public office, and at the time of his conviction, he was an ordinary person struggling to fight against abuse of public office.
He said Section 90 further stated that a person convicted of offence that carries a life sentence or death, or a maximum prison for more than six months is not qualified to contest for elections as a National Assembly member unless you have been granted a free pardon.
“Who is granted a free pardon by the government?” he quizzed.
“We will not respond to them and let them go to the Supreme Court, I am waiting for them there,” he said.