Yesterday two National Assembly Members of the president’s party proposed making the president a king in recognition of “the rapid socio-economic development” registered by his regime.
Speaking at the adjournment debate, Abdoulie Saine of Banjul Central and nominated member Babou Gaye Sonko tossed the idea on the parliamentary floor.
Mr Saine proposed: “It’s in our best interest as Gambians to introduce a monarchy and crown President Jammeh a king. The will of the people is what determines democracy and we have seen monarchies like Morocco that have made significant socio-economic progress.
“This is also in the interest of opposition political parties such as the United Democratic Party and the National Reconciliation Party. It will give them the opportunity to also be part of government through a prime ministerial set-up and hence give way to an even more enhanced democracy. We have to come together and make it happen. It’s just a matter of political will.”
Expressing his concordance, Mr Gaye Sonko said. “I agree with my colleague that President Jammeh deserves to be more than a king in this country because of the quality of his leadership. So obviously, I am in agreement with your suggestion that the president should be crowned king and we will push it forward to make sure that happens.”
However, President Jammeh himself has been non-committal about the matter but said sovereignty lies with the people and that whatever Gambian people want is what will ensue. This position has been reiterated by many of the presidents cohorts including Kanifing mayor Yankuba Collley who at the time stated: “If the Gambian people want him to be a king, he will be and no one can stop that because Gambia is a democratic state. If I feel like to campaign for Jammeh to become king, I can do so and no one can stop that.”
But opposition politicians and the president’s critics like Ousainou Darboe described the idea as a non-starter.
The nuanced criticism of the observance of the rule of law in The Gambia by the outgone acting US ambassador Michael Arietti drew the ire of the ruling party members. Mr Saine stated: “America cannot teach democracy to The Gambia because that country [USA] has its own hardships. Its own democracy has flaws as the march of history would suggest. The Guantanamo detention camp, it has been argued, has caused significant human rights violations and since September 11America has done things that have caused great distress to the world.”
Adding his voice, Mr Sonko said: “I will not stop responding to the outgone acting US Ambassador just on papers but I will say it in parliament again. I believe the sovereignty and the independence of this country should be recognised. I am referring to some of the comments made by the outgone US Ambassador in The Standard newspaper about democracy, human rights, detention and rule of law in The Gambia.
“My friend, we are human beings not animals. The act [(homosexuality] that animals dare not do, why should human beings do it? If you believe in the act of animals, you are not civilised, and I believe civilisation begins in Africa. That is why no unhuman act will be accepted in The Gambia. People are detained for over a decade in America without trial.
By Sainey Marenah & Lamin Baba Njie]]>