The Unconstitutionality Of The Constitution

Image result for fatoumata tambajang
By Lamin Darboe (Leicester U.K)
Numerous articles emerged since the appointment of Fatoumata Tambajang as Vice president and I observe majority of them missed a key ingredient of the constitution, that if natural justice and fairness, non-discriminatory function of a constitution. Some exposition dishonest and other seem to bother on spite not only for sobriety and fitness of the candidate for the purpose and the huge human capital she could bring on deck to aid the success of the coalition. Others even challenge the resourcefulness of a coalition all together, however these instigations were not unexpected.
The defeated APRC will try a lot of tricks, insinuations and some charlatan derisions to disparage and throw aspersion on the effort of the coalition to present a coherent and progressive government.
As the mandinka saying goes “a dethroned alkalo never love the success of the village”.
Folks, if Mrs Tambanjang is disqualified to take up the positional vice president because of her age then the present Gambian constitution is not only incongruous with international human right laws and regulations but it is inherently unconstitutional.
Before I dilate on the above insinuation, let me fervently state that the constitutional section most people quote refers to the age of president of the state not the vice president.
Even though it was apparent that the 1997 constitution which was JUNTA constitution, was subtly yet advertently knitted to disqualify Laywer Darboe. No doubt it was also discriminatory and disharmonious with international human rights regulations.
The constitution should not discriminate people on the basis of AGE, TRIBE. LANGUAGE, GENDER ETC. if it does then it is does, then that section should be challenged in court. I cannot find any constitution in the world where there is an age ceiling. Such a constitution will be reactionary and retrogressive because it will fail to tap a great resource of people with so much experience and wisdom who have actually accomplish so much in life and are only looking for self actualisation-leaving a legacy.
I for one is satisfied there is no constitutional infringement in her appointment and if need be this discriminatory constitution must be put in the dock as it does not serve a democratic purpose which we all yearned for in the last 22 years. A constitutional should not be designed to serve an individual’s political whims but in must be guiding framework to support justice for all, a reference point for a proper democratic institutions , foster an equal opportunity for all irrespective of age, tribe and gender to participate in our democratic process.
since any law that discriminate on the basis of age, gender, tribe will unconstitutional, then it is logical that any constitution that diminish the democratic participation of citizenry base on age is itself unconstitutional and disharmonious.


  1. What is going on just now seems to be a drama to me.

    This law came into being to support Yahya Jammeh’s drive to exclude certain people from Gambian politics. However, the law in it self is discriminatory against old age and for that matter not right and potentially illegal. I expect Halifa to know this. The constitutions has almost been suspended with the state of emergency and now change has happened they suspended the state of emergency as the constitution supports the previous status quo; the regime and its machinery.

    The apartheid regime in South Africa was base on law but that did not make it right and legal as such. There are similar stories around the world where there are dictatorships. So let us not use those dictatorship laws to apply them on ourselves. Then is better for Yahya’s regime to continue. Let us simply grow up (sorry for my words) but we do not have to tell each other these simple things. We should stop supporting and justifying Yahya’s actions and laws and the way I see things that’s what Halifa is doing if he is the one behind the initiative. He just openly denied the misappropriation of resources by Yahya… but time will tell. Mrs. Tambajang’s appointment must not be reviewed let alone to be rescinded.


    • @Morro, I cannot agree more with you on this. You are very right on this issue. The first thing they should in fact have done was to suspend the constitution as there are many provisions in it which were designed to legalise, legitimise and institutionalise a dictatorship. I am therefore surprised that we are working on and using the same laws to unjustly discriminate against each other. We ought to better know this… “the unconstitutionality of the constitution.”

    • I’ll buy every bit in this @Morro except for one little line that says; Then is better Yahya’s regime to continue.! No come on bro, be optimistic the democracy ideas and process will sharpen from better to much better standards and on.
      I think too the Gambia’s constiution that started being Jammeh’s draft-board since 22July 1994 to 19Jan. 2017 should be suspended and the foundamental one their reference in the light of sensitive constitutional issues.
      Thanks Mr. Darboe for shedding some light on the matter.

    • Morro , thank you for your insight. As for Mr Sallah I am not happy about his condemnation. I hope he allow others to speak their mind . This appointment is unlawful and unconstitutional. There are many qualified citizens who can be appointed. We have to follow the constitution this time around until it is changed. While Mr Sallah has openly condemned Mr fatty’s allegation of stolen state money by jammeh , he ignored the unlawful and unconstitutional appointment of Mrs Tambajang. It cannot be business as usual . Honesty and rule of law must be the guiding principles.

      • Max, I can definitely see where you are coming from and where you want to see the new Gambia. I accept your point of view. You are very right that the rule of law must prevail which we have all been yearning for, for over two decades. It is an unprecedented and unusual circumstance so reactions to actions should be received with patience and tolerance. So with your above comment I will be tolerant and patient to Halifa’s reactions to the two actions mentioned.

        I would like to take this opportunity to share the wise words of a man I have huge regards for. He is a retired academic, a South African Jew who was exiled during the ANC’s apartheid struggles. He was a prominent member of ANC and I am amazed by his knowledge of the continent and how proud he is to be an African. I visited him yesterday evening and the issue of the Gambia came up in our discussions.

        He said it is an unusual situation for the Gambia but if you look at the history of the continent it is not unusual as such. He said when we got our independence the various instruments of government had to be suspended and later replaced as the independent governments cannot rule under those instruments (constitutions). They were meant to serve colonial governments. He made reference to the Gambia… the 1970 referendum which gave way to the republican status. But before that the constitution could only allow for a Prime Minister with the Queen as ceremonial head of state. He said over 90% of ANC members were not eligible for public positions going by the apartheid constitution. So that constitution has to be suspended/replaced to ensure that ANC members could run for government.

        He said the way things are in the Gambia just now have been designed around Yahya Jammeh so the best thing would have been to suspend the constitution as there are many inconsistencies in it which are incompatible with fundamental human rights. He said not because he is a pensioner (laugh). He said otherwise the way things are the AMs or MPs can use the constitution as it is to come up with a vote of no confidence and effectively get rid of the new government.

        So I think there should have been a methodological approach to ensure that those incompatible elements in the constitution cannot be used against the interest of the new government. The only way to do that is to suspend it. Remember the AMs suspended it for the state of emergency when it was in their interest. Now because of their interest they thought it would be best to bring back the rule of the constitution. Generally I think the way things are it will be best for the constitution to be suspended or at least some elements of it which are incompatible with fundamental human rights.

        Thanks Max!

        • Now, you’re talking sense. Your South African Guru is sensible man.

          • Bax, I have always talked sense. What I said above is not different from my stance on the matter as previously stated… to simply put it instruments of a dictatorship regime must not be used now, otherwise change is meaningless. But on that I have been asked to be optimistic so I will not be pessimistic.

            So anyone who advocates for the application of instruments of a dictatorship government must think twice.

      • Max, I don’t think your reference to Halifa’s statements with regards to the vice presidency is accurate. I have heard HALIFA stated that the age limit for the vice presidency is implicit in the constitutional provision that determines the qualification for election as president. The age restriction applies to both the president and vice president.

  2. Mr A Khan Unbiased Prince

    @Lamine J Darboe my fellow

    Most likely, the appointees were far driven by emotions instead while logic dictates otherwise.

    As chief advisor of the new republic and presidential integrity, Mr Halipha Shalla is bound to know better and should now practice what they have been preaching before being in combat with the realities.

    The Madam in question is my aunty by virture. But truth must be told my dear hence she and they would be far unkind to those of most qualified by law while only wanting a chance to show and prove their individual’s ability to shine and as an asset of their beloved nation yet efficient by all layers.

    Bending the law for political favoritism and banking on people’s ignorance to get out of our social justice or criticism is a thing of the past. People of these days are well informed politically, economically and socially.

    • Ebou Saine

      @Mr A Khan Unbiased Prince, I will beg to disagree with you that the appointment might have been emotion driven. What I see are her qualifications and competence which she demonstrated in the whole process in particular in bringing about the coalition not to mention her professional experiences. Those are what I see and if you think those are what triggered the emotions then it was a right reaction to the emotions. Keep it up Mrs Tambajang!

      What @Morro said above is essential. Laws can be unlawful and we should not be caught by laws enacted by a dictatorship regime which are designed to entrench dictatorship.

  3. My word! No AGISM, No TRIBALISM, No LINGUISTISM, No SEXISM, No RELIGIOUSM in the Gambia. We have had enough of that over 22 years, and may be more! Enough has got to be enough, and enough is enough for now! Lets rip that God forsaken Section (S62) out of the constitution of the Gambia, our [everybody’s] homeland before it, tears us apart.

  4. Lamin J. Darbo,

    Please keep gladdening our heart with constitutional doses like the above. APRC should be banned for ever. The treasonous National Assembly should be dissolved and members that defrauded Gambians to prolong Jammeh’s stay brought to justice. Most importantly, Jammeh and his apparatchiks should be issued arrest warrants. You said it all, that a “a dethroned alkalo never love the success of the village”.

  5. Not convince at all counsel.

  6. Babu Soli

    After all what is a CONSTITUTION? Is there a written constitution in your country of residence, The UK? Yet The UK functions on the merits of her values and customs.
    A constitution of a country is an instrument of reference that serves the needs, priorities and aspirations of a given nation. Written, argued, ratified and promulgated by the people of the nation in question. Clauses, articles of a constitution can come and go, all on the needs of a nation. No constitution is static.
    That’s why there are no symmetrical constitutions in the world. There is always an age limit in almost all the constitutions. Have you seen anywhere in the world where children of 10,11,12,13,14,15,16 years old hold legitimate franchise rights and can exercise political power? Why the fear in the constitutions in depriving citizens at that age from VOTING much more holding official positions? Simple logic. They are considered minors and irresponsible.
    Why has our constitution stipulated a 5-yearly term for a president and not 4 or 6 or even 7? Ghana’s constitution stipulates a 4-yearly term in office and until recently it was 7 years in neighbouring Senegal. Why did Senegal reduce it to 5? I believe every country writes her constitution to satisfy the needs and priorities of her citizens just as we draw our educational curricular and syllabuses.
    If Fatoumatta Tambajang cannot hold the office of VP because of her age, so be it. Isn’t there another qualified person to do the job?
    We have started ranting on our usual favouritism bids as if one person is more EQUAL than all the others.

  7. The unconstitutionality of the constitution is known to everyone because of its discriminatory provisions to exclude certain people but we must bear in mind that it was the same constitution that Gambian people have using to address legal issues for past 22 years . currently APRC members are the majority in the National Assembly and they are the people who can amend constitutional provisions which discriminate against our fellow citizens. So the new president should abide by the constitution till when it is changed. We cannot expect the APRC members to change the constitution for the coalition because it is not inTheir interest. We cannot also expect The current leadership at Gambia police force to investigate millions of dollars which were stole by Jammeh as he left the country. Such Thinking is irrational because you cannot allow the son to investigate the father . Age limit is in the constitution and must be respected till when it is changed. Almost all constitutions around the world has age qualification to seek the position of leadership.
    Secondly Halifa Sallah rejection and condemnation of Mr Fatty’s allegation is uncalled for and it only indicate his continue failure to acknowledge misconduct of the Dictatorship . This is why I get frustrated with his leadership style sometimes . His subsequent respond in BBC interview that ” he is the only person who has credible and authentic information as the spokesman for president Barrow ” only indicate his naivety . Defending the misconduct of former president in front of the world is a serious concern. Jammeh has stolen millions of dollars and luxurious vehicles which were put in the plane in front of the world camera . Such a day light robbery do not need any police investigation. Being a spokesperson for the coalition doesn’t mean nobody can’t speak , it only means you can speak on the position of the president and coalition but any member reserved the rights to speak their mind . I appreciate the frankness of Mr fatty and Mrs Tambajang to speak their mind and what they know . Halifa Sallah’s condemnation and denial of $12 millions of dollars stolen by jammeh will come back to haunt him when the regime install proper police forces who will investigate the dictatorial regime . As at now the current leadership of both police and NIA are not the right people for any investigation. Halifa should know this better . Instead of condemning Mr fatty’s statements, he should have said the coalition leadership will notify the police force to embark on the proper investigation when the dust settles. The unconstitutionality of the appointment of Mrs jallow , condemnation of day light robbery or allegation of millions of dollars stolen and condemnation of statements made by Mrs Tambajang about prosecution of jammeh are all mistake that should be learning curve . A politician who is not brave never speak the truth . Halifa is a good humble leader who has shown diplomacy, steadiness and consistency but among the disadvantages of being humble leader is the desire to be too cautious, rigid , unwillingness to move beyond the traditional method of doing business and unclear about the goals . The era of beating about the bush to avoid speaking the truth is gone . In fact president Barrow should appoint a new press secretary who will speak on his behalf. Halifa should be appointed as secretary to the cabinet or National Assembly speaker when he is elected in the next election. He should be behind the scene to follow institutional process and procedures.

    • Well, I remember that not long ago, this same constitution you are promoting here, was described by yourself as toilet paper…So why the sudden enthusiasm about respecting it ?

      • Bax , the constitution is the law of the land . It is the same constitution which the coalition and international community used to ensure that Dictator Jammeh was gone . We must respect it despite its flaws. I was against Yaya jammeh because of his lack of respect for fundamental human rights and the constitution of The Gambia. This appointment is unlawful and unconstitutional, so it should be rescinded as soon as possible.

      • Bax, with this new political dispensation our friend Max still cannot give Halifa a break.

        Max, the gentleman is a national icon whether you like it or not. He is treasure.

  8. This is an interim( “3 years”) transitional government; based on negotiated flexibilities which led to the third republic; we all know the current so-called constitution ISN’T worth the paper written on; it’s so flawed & curtailed to the whims, caprice & dictates of our LATE kanilai DEVIL of Equatorial Guinea…

    The current constitution states & mandates a government to serve for 5 years, for example, BUT Coalition Parties negotiations curtailed current government to “3 years”…..

    We all know the current constitution, (IF we actually & NOT FACTUALLY have one) NEEDS purification & new lease of life; Madam Jallow’s age would never be a limitation in that & in any sane community world over; why the fuse about…???

    I can understand the Press rights & our constitutional rights to pointing out the implications inline with the current IMMORAL one which was a vast contrast to the submitted copy of original draft from Dr Peters of blessed memory & co which included term limit of 2, which yaya KILLER DEVIL expunged…

    Gambia as a country got long way to go; the journey must begin right away; we got much demanding areas to exert our energies on for debates, I believe; not on such issues which are of logicality…

    Blessings for Gambia; as we welcome the new dawn with glimmer of hope, tranquillity & prosperity; Ameen

  9. Modou Lamin

    I’m with you Mr Darbo and Moro.

  10. No hate mongering please…Let’s be honest in our thoughts, in our words, in our deeds and put Gambia before everything else.

  11. Mr A Khan AKA Unbiased Prince GB

    @Mr Ebou Saine my Mbocca

    We are all fallable in one way or the other hence mortals indeed and I would not put any exception to this big mistake made by the new Gambian administration as they are merely surfacing on the expectance of people to drive Gambians out of the political carnage that Yaya Jammeh left them in.

    I am poised by your drive on the fact that, Madam Jallow in her entirety is beyond precious hence her experience and professionalism in doing an excellent job earlier on is your motor. But please remember that we are all bonded and bound, yet force by the same Constitution of the State and the laws that guards us by its meaning to do the right thing without discrimination.

    They knew the pronouncement of the same Constitution of the State and were loyal to its undertaking or endeavouring powers during the election progression and even used it to not only oust Yaya Jammeh out of power, but out of the country as well.

    So why become so small in making the same Constitution counts for matters of good governance and difference by not letting the laws command the affairs and the way forward instead of being hasty without consideration?


  12. Personally, I don’t see what all the noise is about, especially when many who are making these noises have, at one point or the other, raised concerns about the undemocratic nature of certain provisions in our constitution; the age restriction being a very common one.

    The new Gambia should be about protecting Fundamental Rights; Not promoting discrimination and discriminatory laws, and since the appointment of Madame Tambajang did not infringe upon the rights of anyone (I hope), I would say that it seems a massive cloud is being raised in a tiny tea cup.

    Indeed, we want the new government to respect the laws of the land, and they have given assurances that they will do more than that, but we also want a sensible application of the current flawed constitution to address the day to day challenges they face, as they settle down and get to work.

    So please, let’s be vigilant but let’s be sensible too. The appointment of Madame Jallow Tambajang is a positive move that should be applauded.

  13. Max…

    Much is being said about the seeming contradictions from the alliance team and true to form, you have no hesitation in pinning the blame for that situation on Hon. Sallah. Well, like I always say, you are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is not the only truthful representation of the facts. I hope you are mindful of that.

    Everyone knows that Hon.Halifa Sallah is the official spokesperson of the alliance team from day one. The alliance we all know, is made up of an independent and several parties which have different degrees of political influence in the country; the most influential being the UDP.

    The UDP Party Leader, Hon. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, as well as, the other party leaders and independent, are all on the ground, but have unanimously respected the office and authority of Hon. Halifa Sallah, as the spokesperson, and have never uttered a single word or held a press conference.

    Why can’t Hon.Mai Fatty do the same thing ? Is he more deserving of having a voice in this team than Hon. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, whose party member became the alliance winning candidate and president of the country ?

    Hon. Halifa Sallah did not say no one can speak their minds but his authority as the source of official information from the Office of the President (President Barrow) is unquestionable, as he is the spokesperson of the president and alliance coalition. Any other self appointed source or sources, should be viewed as unofficial and not reliable.

    About the missing millions :

    Hon.Mai Fatty claimed that sources within the Central Bank informed him that Jammeh withdrew 500 Million Dalasis within two weeks. It is that source (whether credible or not) which is relied on, without any verification, to release this information into the public domain. Is this how we want our new government to operate ? I hope not.

    Hon. Halifa Sallah, contrary to your claims, did not condemn Hon. Mai Fatty but simply communicated the position of the office of the President: that teams were assigned to visit all departments with specific instructions and that the team that visited the Central Bank, which included the IGP, have not reported any such theft. Is that difficult to understand ? Why do you want the man to give you information that he hasn’t got ?

    Whilst it can be seen that Hon.Halifa Sallah’s information is from a credible source because we can trace the chain (of his sources) to the Central Bank, the same cannot be said about Hon. Fatty’s sources. So really, you are backing the wrong tree here.

    Hon. Halifa Sallah is doing a fantastic job. He is holding daily press briefings to update the nation on developments in the country and information emanating from the Office of the President. Many are happy with the progress being made and the entire alliance team should be commended.

    Mai Fatty is undermining the cohesion of the team by acting as a self appointed spokesperson (of God knows who, as he hardly mentions the president) and this should have been the area of concern; Not the mature, measured, official and calm approach of Hon.Halifa Sallah.

  14. To those that wish to throw away the dictator’s unconstitutional constitution in order to justify this appointment. Remember it was the same constitution that have been referred to by all parties including international organizations to justify and ensure the decision of the Gambian people was enforced. Until the constitution is amended by a properly constituted national assembly, it should serve as guide to everything done including the appointment of government officials irrespective of the competence.

    • @Angel, they did so in mind the Gambia have always had a maturing foundamental constitution before being exposed to the demoralising and saddening harassment of the Yaya Jammeh killer regime and state of impunity. In a nutshell, I would say the international community in some part have always had an idea of a poor tiny struggling Gambia, but with rule of law and a people who have not known living in fear until the rise of the beast there in july 1994.
      Participant like me don’t know if there are genuine controversial points being withheld by opinionists to the apppointment of Mrs. Fatoumata Tambajang other than the age-limit been wedged into the Gambia’s constitution by the WANTED Jammeh.
      The truth has prevailed, Jawara; has never been wanted. When I was very young, I never thought he is very rich because, damn! I am sweating with his blood newphews and grandchildren in the public transports. I think his failure to be harsh on corruption was actual failure of his government.The constitution of the Gambia has not suffered abuse of illegal ammendments by Jawara. There were due processes when journalists etc., were arrested and charged with sedition. Journalists, activists and opposition members never get tortured, maimed, incarcerated, killed or force-disappeared.

  15. I pray and hope that GOD the almighty will guide us in the right way and bless our beloved country to refrain from all kind of discrimination. May GOD the almighty protect us and protect our beloved country and move our country to greater heights. May GOD continue to bring an everlasting peace in The Gambia and the whole world. May GOD the almighty bring our hearts together to love each other as brothers and sisters, and as Gambians and Africans: “AMEEN”

  16. With due respect to our great intellectual lawyer Lamin Daroe, I cannot fanthom why he took this risk of playing politics instead of competently advising that existing relevant provisions of The Gambia 1997 Constitution must prevail or is the foundation to vet and appoint any Vice President fora ruling government until revised by a new constitution.

    It is the existing The Gambia 1997 Constitution enforced to democratically elect President Barrow and relied to install him as The 3rd President of 3rd Republic. Similarly why Jammeh lost seat of The Presidency, so unbelievable to see invalid arguments against constitutionality of The Constitution to validate an appointment to post of VP; without complying with relevant provisions of The Gambia Constitution or existing Law supporting Gambian democracy.

    Madam Tambajang must accept in good faith that she is debarred of occupying post of VP and save The Coalition of a major scandal that can destroy The Coalition government or Adama Baarow’s Presidency.

    I am not a Lawyer but firmly believe tha Lawyer Lamin Darboe err in this article and arguments are very weak

  17. Lamin J Darbo

    Dawda I am with you 100 percent.

    My thoughts on this issue of Aja Fatoumata Tambajang’s Vice-Presidential appointment was published by KAIRO NEWS under the heading “Appointments to the government must conform to law”. Please check it out.

    Please also note that if an article is not signed LAMIN J. DARBO, I am not the author.

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