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City of Banjul
Friday, October 30, 2020

Pushing the limits of democracy

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Calls have been made for the Government of the Gambia to ban the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) as a political party in the country. This seems to be pushing the limits of democracy to the extreme.

Many of those who make such calls have alluded to the numerous human rights violations for which the former president, Yahya Jammeh, and his APRC party have been blamed. They seem to bundle up the former president and the party in one neat bundle and call for their ban.

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Perhaps these people are taking a cue from the actions of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) who banned all political activities when they overthrew the government of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara in 1994.

The marked difference perhaps that they have failed to consider is that the AFPRC was a military junta that had suspended the constitution and introduced decrees with which they ruled. Besides, the fear of the people rising up against them and restoring the PPP government must have been a factor in that decision.

However, the current situation is totally different as the country is now in a democracy. Of course, there are ways in which a party can be banned in a democracy but it has to be based on the rule of law and must be seen to be fair and just.

It will be difficult to make a case for the banning of a party that performed as well as the APRC did in the previous elections in this country.

Democracy entails compromising and the accepting of divergent views.

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