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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Ecowas court conference opens

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By Lamin Cham

The conference of the Ecowas Court opened in Banjul yesterday with delegates from across the region and the court’s officials deliberating on the theme zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government.

Gambia’s vice president Mahammad Jallow represented President Barrow in performing the official opening. He told delegates that the theme of the conference is not merely a topic for discourse but also a proclamation of the region’s commitment, testimony of its strength and a call to action. ”This theme is a reminder of our shared vision for a West African region defined by strong democratic institutions, upheld by the rule of law, and led by governments that respect and adhere to their constitutional mandates,” VP Jallow said.

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“In The Gambia, our history has been marked by periods of unconstitutional change of government and we have gone through a period of authoritarian rule that lasted two decades, marked by deliberate disregard for democratic principles and violation of constitutional norms leading anguish, pain, and despair. But we have also seen the dawn of a new era, an era of change, of hope, and of commitment to constitutional order,” he said.

VP Jallow added that through her struggles, The Gambia has learned the importance of democracy, not merely as a system of government, but as a philosophy, and a way of life. “Democracy is about listening, even when we disagree. It’s about respecting the rule of law, even when we don’t understand it. And it’s about adhering to the constitution, even when it seems inconvenient,” he said.

The vice president said zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government in West Africa sends a clear message to every corner of “our region that democracy is not just an option but an absolute requirement and this commitment underscores our resolve to build nations that respect the will of the people, where every citizen has a voice, and where that voice is valued.”

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The president of the court, the speaker of the Ecowas Assembly and host of other Gambian and the regional bloc’s officials delivered succinct remarks on the topic of the four- day meeting. 

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