The emerging authoritarian state
thanks to President Barrow and NHRC
The case of Global HoMM must be one familiar to most. If not, it is one wherein the state lost two civil cases against Global HoMM over a property belonging to it but, the state (most likely the president and attorney general) proceeded to unlawfully use the police on two occasions to apprehend and keep in unlawful custody two Global HoMM’s employees (Neneh Freda Mendy and Mr Sey) for engaging in perfectly lawful conduct (lawfully entering a property which belongs to their employer, confirmed by two court rulings).
The above is a pattern of behaviour which we also saw play out in the case of Three Years Jotna folks who were “rearrested” after cases against them were withdrawn. This contempt for the judiciary and the constitution by the very state which should safeguard both, is extremely concerning. Even more concerning is the willingness of the human rights watchdog, the NHRC, to launder the state’s culpability in human rights violations at the expense of victims rather than hold them accountable, to the point that citizens are increasingly reluctant to make complaints to the NHRC for fairly understandable albeit very unfortunate reasons. The state is, no wonder, becoming increasingly emboldened to continue to push the boundaries in perpetuity in the knowledge that accountability would unlikely follow.
The weakening of oversight institutions is the precursor to repression and by all indications, this seems to be the direction of travel as we speak. This is, and should indeed be a worry.
Unless the NHRC is equally held to account with the same rigour and by equal measure to the state, matters will continue to worsen. I hope more of us will give the issue the attention it deserves for the sake of preserving our much cherished freedoms and civil liberties.
Pa Louis Sambou
The Gambia is an odd democracy
Who were the toubabs sitting in front of the presidential debating hall? They must be laughing at the so-called national economic development policy ideas of PDOIS’s Halifa Sallah and Essa Faal given that The Gambia is a member of the WTO and a coopted client state of the IMF. The budget deficit of The Gambia will continue to rise and rise. That goes with the territory of being a member state of the WTO and having the monetary policy of The Gambia under the control of the IMF.
Essa Faal is very unprepared and doesn’t have the skills set yet required for the presidency – though his heart is in the right place – compassion and investing into the people. He’s like a dear caught in headlights!
The moderator boy, Saikou Jammeh, is just going through the motions like a robot: the debate lacks any engaging exchanges between the debaters and good follow-ups from the hosts. Maybe I missed some parts of the debate! I can’t watch fiction for long periods of time!
Halifa is a good politicians but his politics is defiant and intransigent. And his presentation of the democratic political governance system is deeply flawed. Halifa’s views on politics and law within the democratic political governance framework are foggy and hazy. The Gambia cannot invent its own democratic political governance practices and principles.
Democracy is the most popular and common international political governance system. The Gambia should learn from how democratic politics is observed in other countries around the world: the interplay between politics and law to govern a democracy.
Halifa tend to put more emphasis on law over politics and the proper democratic processes and procedures to govern the country. For Halifa if the law says walk into the fire, The Gambia should. Democratic politics doesn’t work like that! Laws are byproducts of political outcomes in a democracy. And laws in a democracy must conform with democratic principles and practices to be enforced!
Halifa and Essa are both gentlemen but there’s no shortcut to the presidency. Democracy is a political governance system. Whatever happens in a democracy must be measured against the principles, practices, values and conventions of democratic politics.
The Gambian democracy is limping on and groping in the dark! The Gambian democracy is not informed and enlightened by the standards and the working conditions of the qualified democratic political standards!
Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang