By Omar Bah
Former secretary general and minister for presidential affairs has called on the president and National Assembly to immediately dissolve “the entire National Human Rights Commission” and replace the members with “highly cultured Gambians” who will not advocate for gay rights.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard, Momodou Sabally argued: “I am reinforcing my call for not only Baba Leigh to resign but for President Adama Barrow and our National Assembly to find ways of dissolving the entire NHRC. It is quite clear from their utterances that they are going to either covertly or overtly promote homosexuality.”
“I am disappointed with Imam Baba Leigh’s response because my comments regarding his untenable situation at the commission were well-crafted with words of dignity and respect – a mature contention befitting somebody who is actually well-rooted in our tradition and culture. I expected him to come up with tangible arguments in defence of his position as an imam to assure the Muslims that he would represent us according to our beliefs and traditions but instead he further disposed himself virtually telling us that he is going to support the rights of homosexuals,” Sabally contended.
He said the commission was spending too much money on too little good. “The existence of this human rights commission is nothing but a haemorrhaging of our resources with buying of very expensive cars. The amount spent at the NHRC is completely unjustifiable and our National Assembly Members should take note and take appropriate action immediately because the economic aspects of it are completely unsustainable,” he said.
Sabally said human rights cannot be confined to gay rights. “There are economic and social rights. Why should our monies go to supporting gay rights when those monies should have helped those without water in the rural areas?”
He said the establishment of an anti-corruption commission should have been given priority. “Gambians are more concerned with the setting up of an anti-corruption commission than a human rights commission that will come back trying to undermine the very foundation of our socio-cultural edifice as a nation”.
“…[A]nd speaking from the angle of economics, the anti-corruption commission will give the economy more benefits than the so-called NHRC that actually is going to be a toothless bulldog because Gambians are well-rooted in our general respect for human rights and the government we have, no matter how much one may hate them, are not showing us signs they are going to repeat some of the excesses of the past,” he added.