“If PDOIS or Halifa Sallah himself wants to deny that his wife is a permanent secretary, then they must also tell us what Madam Sallah’s employment status is in the ministry then, and also a statement that she has never been a permanent secretary while married to Halifa Doudou Sallah. Let them do this and let people ascertain facts from fictions and glib.”
I did write to propose to arrange a Chat between Lafia and Halifa Sallah so that he could get the clarification required but he did not respond in the positive. He did not demand for the curriculum vitae of Dr Ida Jallow Sallah to be presented. He just said that she is a Permanent Secretary which is not true. He is still maintaining that she was Permanent Secretary before being recommended by the Government to head a Research institution like ERNWACA, covering 17 West and Central African Countries which is at variance with the truth. Professional organisations like a Research Institute PROCESSES jobs on the basis of merit and are not influenced by any government in West or Central Africa.
Now that Lafia has asked for the Curriculum Vitae of Dr Ida Jallow Sallah I have requested for it to be forwarded to me for onward transmission to him ASAP. I hope we will make Gambia proud by engaging in decent exchanges which will make the international community to have high respect for the quality of opposition in the Gambia. We will continue to elevate the standard of the debate for the sake of the young minds.
This is why I am appointed Administrative Secretary to monitor and respond to any thing that deals with PDOIS or ask the relevant person in PDOIS to respond.
We know comparing apples with oranges is trivial and insinuating that this or that political figure is being favoured is all a sign of political impotency. The opposition should be strong to end injustice and not to promote that injustice must be perpetrated against someone before he or she is seen to be a strong opposition. The opposition could only be considered strong if it can prevent injustice being perpetrated against it with impunity.
PDOIS is only engaged in this debate to teach how democratically minded political leaders would behave when they manage the affairs of the state . We intend to decriminalise speech and repeal all laws of sedition and criminal libel. Hence a person like Lafia would not be afraid to put his real name.
Finally there are those who are responding to Lafia by linking him to UDP or the Mandinka Ethno-linguistic grouping. Such people should rethink their approach. UDP is not managing the affairs of the state. One could not judge how it would have handled that responsibility unless one examines the policies and programmes it proposes to implement. Hence UDP should only be mentioned by those who promote PDOIS policies if one is analysing its policies or programmes. In terms of ethno-linguistic representation no one is elected to speak for a tribe. The best person who could promote the integrity of any group is one who could display the highest level of integrity, wisdom , honesty , humanity and justice and not hate mongers. We should leave such people to represent themselves.
As we wait for the Curriculum Vitae of Halifa Sallah’s wife I hereby forward PDOIS POLICY ON PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
PDOIS MEDIA POLICY
The media is an instrument for the amplification or transmission of the expressed thoughts of the people, in different forms. The organic link between freedom of thought and freedom of speech, expression and the tools utilised to exercise them such as the Press and the other media, is recognised and enshrined in all Republican constitutions.
Section 25 of the Constitution of the Gambia states:
“Every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of press and other media “
Those who do not understand the essence of rights are quick to assert the common sense notion that they are not absolute. Hence they consider it wise, right and proper to restrict rights without using any standard as a gauge. Human rights defenders who oppose those restrictions on the basis of established standards are considered as agents and proxies who owe allegiance, obedience or adherence to foreign powers or states and are bent on subverting constituted authority.
It is therefore important for all state and non state stakeholders to have a clear perspective of the nature of the laws that should circumscribe the exercise of rights. Modern constitutions are rooted in the principle of a social contract between state and people and people and people. This contract is defined by laws which should guide the conduct of all. This in essence connotes the rule of law.
If we want to know whether there are restrictions to rights we must find out what the contract states .In the Gambia Section 25 subsection 4 states among other things that “the freedom referred to in subsection 1 …”which includes freedom of expression “…shall be exercised subjected to the law of the Gambia in so far as the law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the rights and freedoms, thereby conferred, which are necessary in a democratic society..”
Hence no law should be enacted to circumscribe the exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of the Media which is unreasonable and unjustifiable in a democratic society.
In our view, freedom of expression and freedom of the media could only be guaranteed in a society where law makers would only make laws which are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; a society where judicial authorities would only enforce laws that are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and where the people would express thoughts that are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. PDOIS is conscious of the fact that the acculturation of a people in Republican and Democratic values is indispensable to the fullest exercise of freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of the media. PDOIS undertakes to propagate such Republican and Democratic values in the Gambia as a permanent agenda.
PDOIS’ POLICY DIRECTION
COMMITMENT TO REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCTATIC VALUES
Our commitment to Republican and Democratic values, which uphold the Sovereignty of the individual citizen, obliges us to focus on building a society centred on the protection of the liberty, dignity and self worth, that is, all the fundamental rights and freedoms, of the sovereign person, by ensuring that all state institutions, agencies and natural persons are committed to such an endeavour.
ABOLITION OF UNDEMOCTATIC LAWS INSTITUTITIONS AND PROCESSES
No person is sovereign who is not free to give and receive information, and who is not free from arbitrary arrest and detention. No person is sovereign who is not free from coercion, torture and fear of injustice. We are therefore committed to the eradication of all laws which hinder freedom of expression, and the nullification of all state policy directives which hinder dissemination of divergent views and dissenting opinions by the state and non state media. We are committed to the eradication of all laws, institutions and law enforcement practices which hinder freedom of expression and undermine the security of the sovereign person or do not protect and enlarge the liberties, rights, security, safety and freedom of sovereign people. We are committed to the enactment of laws, institutions and law enforcement practices which enlarge and protect rights and freedoms. We would ensure that all conventions on fundamental rights and freedoms that are ratified by parliament shall automatically be domesticated by promulgating the relevant provision in the constitution.
Within One year of administration PDOIS plans to:
Establish a National Human Rights Commission to monitor and ensure protection against violations of Human Rights.
Institute a four-year Human Rights Protection and Enlargement programme, characterised by the enactment of a Freedom of information Act to remove secrecy from public administration and make the administrators accountable to the public they serve and responsive to enquiries of the media that are supposed to keep the people informed.
Promote the establishment of a National Council of media Practitioners to serve as a self regulatory body for media practitioners which would have no judicial powers but will exercise persuasive influence aimed at promoting professionalism and integrity in the performance of duty and resolving disputes to decongest the courts and make representation to promote the welfare of media houses and practitioners.
Ensure that Human rights defenders receive maximum media coverage and protection to ensure that all violations are reported, exposed and violators named and shamed.
Reform the Criminal Code to decriminalise all provisions that are unreasonable or unjustifiable in a Republic or Democratic society, and rationalise penalties to be equivalent to crime committed.
A sovereign person has a right to change a government, but has no right to kill and incite hatred to change a government. If he or she kills, or destroys property, he or she will be charged for killing or destroying property. Hence there will not be any need for a crime of treason under a republic and such crimes would be abrogated under a PDOIS administration.
If anyone incites hatred against another the aggrieved person could file a civil suit for damages. Hence there is no need for a crime called sedition in a sovereign Republic and such crimes would be abrogated under a PDOIS administration.
Give priority to Educate people on their fundamental rights and freedoms and creates the activist state which advocates the respect for and observance of those rights by the state institutions in particular and all natural persons in general.
Enact civil laws to address all violations of rights and freedoms, through alternative dispute resolution measures and if need be, through the courts in their civil jurisdictions.
Conduct reform of law enforcement agencies and practices.
Conduct reform of prisons and prison administration. Introduce community service as alternative to imprisonment as measures to eradicate retributive justice. Since no sovereign citizen would choose to occupy a government post of a killer of killers the death penalty would be abolished and life imprisonment maintained as the severest punishment for a crime.
Establish a National Police Service Commission to exercise direction and control over the police force.
Transform Imams of Major mosques and Priests of major churches, Union leaders and leaders of registered civil societies or associations into honorary human rights commissioners and social auditors who could visit jails, prisons and other places of detention to check conditions and make representation for compliance with the laws or propose improvement or reforms in the administration of public institutions such as prisons.
Ensure Speedy court appearance to serve as guarantee against forced confession through torture or other forms of duress.
Ensure that Courts take judicial notice of any detention beyond the 72 hours established by the constitution, for a person to be held without count the act as duress.