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NHRC boss warns Gambia at ‘dangerous crossroads’

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By Omar Bah

Without singling out any specific concern he might be addressing, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Emmanuel Joof, has warned that if people are allowed to prioritise their own values over the rule of law, the country risks plunging into chaos and anarchy.

“In our diverse world, where individuals and groups hold various cultural, ideological, and religious beliefs, it’s crucial to strike a balance between respecting these differences and upholding national laws. Nature abhors a vacuum, and this principle applies to governance as well,” Joof wrote on his Facebook page.

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He went on to further argue that when individuals or groups arrogate the power to disrespect and flout national laws using ideology, culture, religion, or tradition with impunity, the seeds of chaos and lawlessness are sown.

 He added:”Choosing to be governed solely by one’s cultural, ideological, or religious dictates while defying national laws sets the stage for anarchy. If individuals or factions are emboldened to defy national laws and those in power remain silent, cowed, intimidated, or appear indifferent, it creates a power vacuum”.

Mr Joof warned that opportunistic forces with their own divisive agendas can detect this weakness and capitalise on it to sow seeds of disunity and chaos.

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He also warned that allowing hate speech, divisive statements, and hypocrisy to thrive on all sides of society weakens the social fabric.

“If leaders who should foster unity speak from both sides of their mouths it contribute to the erosion of societal cohesion. The consequences of neglecting national laws in favor of cultural, ideological, or religious preferences are dire. Chaos, anarchy, and division looms large when respect for the rule of law erodes. To preserve a harmonious society, we must strike a balance between celebrating diversity and upholding national unity through the consistent application of laws. The choice is ours to make, and it will shape the future of our communities and nation. Gambia and Gambians need to be serious,” he concluded.

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