Lawyer Darboe Exposing the Dangerous links between Corruption and Pervasive Human Rights Abuse to the Growing Influence of Insecurity on Politics in West Africa
The leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer Ousainou Darboe has warned West African leaders to curb corruption and pervasive human rights abuse if they are to be successful in combating the growing insecurity in West Africa.
The UDP leader was speaking at a well-attended international confab of the Socialist International in the Malian capital Bamako on April 10th 2015 where he presented a paper on: The growing influence of insecurity on politics in West Africa: Unlocking the dangerous links between insecurity and transnational crime, corruption, lack of respect for human rights and democratic governance in the region.
The UDP leader’s speech covered in detail, the underlining factors that promote insecurity in the region.
Insecurity fuelled by State sanctioned repression and rights abuses
Lawyer Darboe said in order to understand why there has been a rise in insecurity in West Africa, people have to look at the interconnectedness of other opportunistic factors that breed insecurity leading to their pervasive impact on politics generally.
He said “in many West African countries, there is hardly a distinction between the State and the ruling party. Quite often, ruling parties in their quest to remain in power, put in place deliberate policies in guise of protecting national security to systematically suppress dissent; muzzle freedom of expression and of the media; and deny citizens their basic and fundamental rights
“In some countries, a mere attempt by the opposition to organize political rallies at the very least, receive puzzle response from the authorities. In more severe cases, heavy handed security tactics are used to clamp down on the opposition as a deliberate ploy to distance the opposition from its constituent supporters” the UDP leader said.
He added that rule of law is also hardly respected characterized by a persistent disregard for the due process. “Electoral reforms that could bring about credible, transparent, free and fair elections are always frowned upon. Where they are put under pressure, ruling parties accept reforms that are only but cosmetic” Mr Darboe said attracting loud applause from the audience.
“In such situations distinguish ladies and gentlemen, resentments against the established order are strong that normally translates into violent conflict and confrontation” Mr Darboe said.
The Gambian opposition extol other African politicians the need to be proactive in speaking out against undemocratic tendencies of peers in government. Due to the lack of constructive peer criticism and flagging red warning alert, democracy is not firmly taking roots in the continent.
In the season of discussion where the topic is African problem needs African solution, Mr Darboe said it is a step in right direction. However, he added that small African countries and those without any natural resources are ignored and the plight of their suffering are left to themselves. In the Gambia, the opposition parties, the media and civil society are seen as enemies of the state rather than stakeholders in enhancing and entrenching democracy in the country Mr Darboe said..
The twin evils of poverty and corruption
The UDP leader also dwelled on what he called “the twin evils of poverty and corruption” that contribute greatly to insecurity in West Africa, thereby affecting peaceful political conduct. Lawyer Darboe said: “Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, behind the competition for political dominance in the countries of West Africa, reveals some deep seated cowardly facades by the political class particularly those in charge of the nations’ coffers to perpetually keep the messes in poverty.
“Deliberately, some governments will even deny development programmes to their own citizens because they are deemed to be opposition supporters. In most of these communities, unemployment is unbearably high and they also lack the basic of opportunities. In addition, national resources are plundered and State coffers looted.”
He added that in a situation where people lack hope and opportunities, and are deliberately downtrodden, they resort to measures that could have profound consequence on peace and security talk less of peaceful politicking.
Thus, Lawyer said, “the twin evils of poverty and corruption that our governments continue to perpetuate, are important factors that we should not ignore when we discuss politics and insecurity in West Africa.”
Mr Darboe concluded by calling on the governments in the region and across Africa to effectively tackle the problem of insecurity while at the same time guaranteeing political freedoms of their citizens.