By Momodou Justice Darboe
The United Democratic Party has said there is not much to celebrate on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Gambia’s attainment of republican status as the legal architecture that enabled former President Jammeh to repress Gambians for 22 unbroken years is still in effect.
“We are hoping that the laws that made it possible to cut lives short [killings by Jammeh] will be completely repealed and taken out of our law books starting with the Indemnity Acts that the former regime has put in place,” UDP’s Almami Taal told The Standard on Republican Day April 24.
He went on: “Also looking at the Criminal Procedure Code and Public Order Act urgently need to be reviewed so as to enlarge the democratic space of this country. There is urgent need to discard the laws that require citizens to acquire a permit to express themselves because the situation is giving rise to clashes between citizens and the security forces”.
“So, these are all important issues that I believe this country should be engaged 100% reflecting on how you enlarge the democratic space. People can say anything that they want and anywhere they want without consequences or they can go and petition or protest any issue that is of importance to them as long as they do it based on the laws and the reality of the country. But the reality in the country is that still we have the Jammeh Public Order Act and the Indemnity Act and both are laws that are inhibiting the full expression of our basic and fundamental rights,” Taal lamented.
The UDP spokesman said while some of the reforms really require financial resources and other technical resources some do not. “As you know, there is National Law Reform Committee which has been moribund for the last 25 years. It has not done any law reform and the way the National Assembly works, it does not have the resources to support any serious or vigorous legal reform agenda,” he concluded.