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City of Banjul
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Letters: Power to the people or power to the parties!

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Dear editor

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You don’t have to be a lawyer to see through the on going debate in the NA on elected councillors and their parties in the Local Government Act. It’s all about the law and so must be understood from the ideas of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and from the concepts of modern day theories of possetivism and the social contract.

From lexnatura to lexhumana, and even as it relates to natural rights, in any concept of jurisprudence, it is held that there is a connection which exists between law and morals, and the law to be the law, must be both just and fair.

And according to St Thomas Aquinas, man-made law must conform to a higher principle of right conduct, discoverable through reason. The question in my mind therefore is; what is the line of reasoning in the NA in this debate? Where do members get the ideas with which they argue their positions on the matter in the House?

Public law is public policy and those who make laws and policies must seek the ideas they argue with from depths much deeper than what they can scan from newspaper columns and mundane street chatter, the daily rumblings of the media and the ideas we pick from the “bantaba” are not enough.

In any jurisprudence or concept of legal theory, an unjust law deserves not to be obeyed. That’s why the early scholars believe that man made law on its own can be quite unjust. It could further only the interest of the law giver, it could be biased to the person who created it, and moreover, exceeding of power could occur as well as burdensome on the people it governed!

How’s all this connected to the topic of the law on the floor in the NA now? Without going into a discussion of the principle of continuity in local government theory, which on its own is quite pertinent in this matter, it is clear from the basic legal analysis here, that law created for the convenience of a dictatorial and self perpetuating regime cannot be said of a good law to serve the convenience of a regime of democracy, human rights and good governance.

Kemo Conteh
Retired civil servant

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