Letters to the Editor: Specific and general advice to the CRC

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Recently I have heard some worrisome word choice by CRC officials, like seeking ‘what Gambians want’. A constitution is not about what the majority ‘wants’, but what ‘should’ reasonably check powers to protect all, especially the minorities. The purpose of the judiciary aspect of government is not to dictate the personal choices of adults, but to focus on ‘sins between creatures’. So great constitutions respect ‘personal adult rights’ and allow public responsibility in public spaces. Many U.S citizens brag about how their constitution protects personal freedom, but I doubt if it goes far enough. The recitation (Quran) is a constitution, laws, events, and more; its greatness is sadly demonstrated in some western countries than many of the so-called Muslim countries. The constitutional aspect of Recitation is so secular that President Thomas Jefferson reportedly said: ‘If there is one religious book that one can use to run a country, then this may be the book.’

Today, I re-urge you to deeply meditate on what I point to you today about the recitation and how we can learn from it to make a constitution that concurs with the best of conscience. There are signs in the Recitation that humankind are not sent guardians over each other, but as advisers to each other. There are things that are forbidden and we can punish people for, mainly sins between creatures; and things that are forbidden that we cannot punish people for, but must WARN and patiently wait in the spirit of ch.103 till judgement day. This is why you will see the sign based punishments of things like stealing, super explicit adultery, murder, etc in the recitation; but not one sign based punishment for alcohol, worshiping idols, homosexuality, eating pork, etc in the recitation.

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As conscientious folks tasked with writing what will affect Gambians who may yet to be born, you must consider what you directly and indirectly cause through the constitution. By indirectly, I mean how you should try to stop loopholes that law makers may use to trample on people’s personal rights. Let your conscience dictate your suggestions, what they approve is up to them. When they make laws against marijuana or alcohol usage, as example, I should be able to use the constitution to show them such ‘laws’ are unconstitutional. They can make laws to forbid public smoking or alcohol usage because public space demands public responsibility. They can highly tax bleaching products or cigarette to warn and cure the people, but not outlaw such personal choices. They can ban FGM on children, but not adults. All these examples are just to show you how to word certain aspects of the constitution to safeguard personal freedom without harming the public. Ch. 55:10 says: “And the earth we spread for the cattle (spirited creatures).” Gambia’s constitution must also reasonably safeguard all creatures with spirit, not just majority of Gambians. Consulting Gambians should only be in the spirit of ch.103, not seeking and cowing to what majority ‘wants’.

Protecting our citizens and interest: Our constitution must stop or limit extradition treaties Gambia can have. Sometimes intentions can be great, but effects must be gauged. We all want real criminals be confronted, but we are seeing scary examples of extraditions. The extradition treaty between Canada and U.S, U.K and U.S, teaches us the dangers of such treaties. Canada have arrested a Chinese citizen for allegedly doing business with Iran and lying about it. Although I vehemently oppose lying and some of the crimes Iran is allegedly involved in , I believe it is politically motivated and absurd precedence. Let the U.S dictate where their citizens business with, but not Gambian citizens. It will be very wrong for the Gambia to arrest a Senegalese for the U.S or any country on such flimsy accusations.

Julian Assange is in semi-prison for years, for spreading truth, due to extradition treaties that gambles sovereignty. This is a age our leaders must demonstrate our sovereignty with high conscience as ch. 91 hints and try to be impressive to the universal just God. Back to the Canada case as example, Trudeau cannot intervene on the judiciary for her, but Trump claims he can consider her if u.S -China trade deal goes his way; affirming it is potentially political and reducing Canada as a dangerous toady under U.S dictation. Unless our constitution bars them, Gambian leaders will likely sign dangerous extradition treaties that can directly affect some and indirectly affect millions. Imagine if Senegal or China severs ties with us over questionable extradition? We can deal with criminals on case by case basis. Give us the evidence or use video conferencing to try them here as we may do better than Hague courts.

Demanding grounds of law to be challenged when outdated: When they make a law against a product scientists claim is dangerous, when scientists reverse position, one should be able to use the constitution to challenge such laws.

Jarga Kebba Gigo

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