Below is what I wrote on January 17th, but did not have it published. Because of the ridiculous “debate” at the National Assembly yesterday, I decided to have this article published. What follows after “The End” is my observation on what is unfolding within the new administration.
Electio Semel facta Non Patitur Regressum: An Election once made cannot be recalled!
No Gambian citizen both home and abroad will find a single Gambian who has done as much harm to Gambians as the soon to be ex-president of The Gambia. But, of all the things the dictator has done to Gambia and Gambians, it pale in comparison to what the majority at the National Assembly has done over the years.
I will get to the soon-to-be- ex- president later. Over the past twenty-two years, who in The Gambia has the power to stop the dictator through constitutional means? The National Assembly is the only institution that the constitution of The Gambia has given the power to kick the dictator out of office for incapacity, malfeasance or misfeasance. See section 66 and 67 respectively of the Gambia Constitution. Unless the National Assembly has been living in La La land, grounds to impeach the dictator are a legion. The oath the majority at the national assembly took to defend the constitution absolutely meant nothing. These members have failed Gambians as much as the dictator if not more. The power to keep the dictator in check has been at their disposal as provided by the constitution and what have they done with it? Absolutely nothing. Whenever they needed to act, they crawled, lay down and rolled from left to right and right to left singing the dictator’s praises. Now the whole world knows what Gambians have known for a very long time. The members in the majority at the national assembly are not representing those who voted for them.
Dear majority leader of the National Assembly, are you familiar with Section 68(1) of The Constitution of The Gambia? If you are, then you should have known how much money the dictator was paid every month. Are you to say that the dictator was able to amassed that much wealth based on how much he was being paid? According to the constitution it is your job to pass legislation that says how much a president is to be paid per month or yearly. You are in a very good position to know whether the dictator was living within his means or above his means? So the question is this, was the dictator able to have what he had from the salary he was being paid? If he could not, then have you people ever tried to find out where his money was coming from? May be the dictator did have a farm that grow monies of all kinds. What a shame!
The reasons given by the Chief Justice not to hear the case are a farce. An injunction is an equitable remedy and the moving party seeking a preliminary injunction must establish:
(i) He is likely to succeed on the merits;
(ii) He is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief;
(iii) The balance of equities is in his favor; and
(iv) The injunction is in the best interest of the public.
What do you think? Can the dictator satisfy these four elements?
The majority at the national assembly has been so gutless that the dictator has the underwear to file an injunction to prevent its member from attending the inauguration of the president-elect. The concept of separation of power means absolutely nothing to these people. There is no constitutional provision that gives the executive branch any authority to prevent any member of the national assembly from exercising a constitutional right. Yet, here we have an executive branch of a government that is about to be history, filed an injunction requesting that no member of the national assembly attend the inauguration. And might I add, the Chief Justice too. There is a constitutional doctrine that recognizes this distinction but let me not digress. The inference here is that the dictator is the government and has been so since he illegally seized power in 1994. I do not mean to give the impression that the inauguration swearing in is a constitutional right. What I have in mind is the right to assemble under section 25(1)(d).
What the majority in the national assembly has been doing is not representative of the Will of The Gambian people. The majority in the national assembly failed to realize that the dictator did not elect anyone of them to the legislative body, but instead, they have been individually elected by Gambians whom they have never cared to serve. Politically, the national assembly should have been the very defense of executive excesses directed at the Gambian people, but instead, it became a parrot of the dictator. When has the national assembly ever passed legislation that was contrary to what the dictator wanted? If a single member of the majority in the national assembly can give one incident where it has passed a piece of legislation that was against the wishes of the dictator, I will take back everything I have ever said about them. The truth is that this cannot be done. For twenty-two years the majority in the national assembly has been serving their king and lord, and not Gambians. They have been plucking away provision after provision from the constitution to suit the desires of their king and lord. The fact that the dictator has been voted out was not good enough to unchain the majority members at the national assembly from the bonds of slavery into which they have voluntary taken upon themselves. No Gambian will ever see a more pathetic situation than this. Here we have a group of people who have constitutional power to free their countrymen and countrywomen yet not only did they not relinquished that power to the dictator, but they did far worse. They sold their souls to the devil. As the Lord Jesus Christ teaches in Matthew 16:26: For what will it profit them to gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Here life refers to eternal life.
The job in The Gambia has just begun. Next, the majority at the National Assembly must and should be voted out. They have miserably failed the Gambian people. It is time for Gambians to start forming Political Action Committees (PACs) and start targeting members of the National Assembly.
State of Emergency!
Ex Dolo Malo Non Oritur Actio: A right of Action Cannot Arise Out of Fraud!
A few weeks ago, I was in a discussion about section 34 of The Gambia constitution. One person in that discussion said the dictator could invoke section 34, which was true and I never denied that. My answer to that person was that even though the dictator could declare a state of emergency, he must have legitimate grounds to do so or else it would be an illegal act. I will here repeat the reason I set forth then. But before I get into that, the link that is being made between sections 34 and 63 out there on social media is a little confusing for the laity. One can analyze the situation without trying to link section 34 and 63. What the constitution says need to happen in order to invoke section 34 has to be legitimate; like clear and present danger to life or property and the like. In other words, certain genuine facts have to exist in order to trigger section 34. Now those facts cannot be caused or created by the very person who invokes section 34. One cannot be the author of the situation that gives rise to invoke section 34. As you can see, I do not need to bring in section 63 into play. Look it at it this way, if I have fire insure for my house, I cannot intentionally burn my house and then asked my insurance company to pay me for the lost of my house; that would be fraud. The dictator was in a position to have this matter settled once and for all, but instead of doing that, he exacerbated the situation with the intent to invoke section 34. This makes the declaration of section 34 illegal. This was the point I tried to make in that radio discussion. There is a maxim of equity to that effect called the doctrine of unclean hands: “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” Now who in his right mind will say that the dictator has clean hands? Well, the majority at the national assembly believed the dictator did. It is important to always keep in mind that the dictator could not have been a dictator but for the majority at the national assembly not doing their jobs.
There is no way Yahya Jammeh would have been a dictator if the majority at the National Assembly were the doing the jobs they were elected to do.
On The Dictator!
One thing that has baffled me over the years is that most Gambians have no real understanding of the dictator. Not almost, but all who write on the online papers or talk on the radios appealing with the dictator to use reason do not know the guy at all. Gambians are not likely to see a more crude person than the dictator. Have you people ever wondered why the dictator became cruder the longer he was in power. How could a person who occupied the highest office in The Gambia got less and lesser refined the longer he was in power? The answer is both philosophical and Theological.
Philosophically, what distinguishes human beings from the other animals is reason. In philosophical language, we are similar to the other animals because we have in common with them animality or what is called Genus. Genus is a substance. Reason, being what separates human beings from the other animals, you will notice that it is not an accident when a person acts without reason we address that person as acting like some type of an animal depending on the nature of his or her conduct; like, a dog, a wolf, a snake, etc. When we describe a person’s conduct in such terms, what we mean is that, that person acted without reason. Reason is a specific difference in philosophical language. If a genus and a specific difference are combined you have a species; hence the genus animal combined with the specific difference, reason, you have rational animal and rational animal is the philosophical equivalence of man.
Theologically, reason is a gift of the Creator. We do not give ourselves reason. Reason presupposes Free Will, hence we are able to choose this or that. To choose what is good, I do not mean pleasure or what is desirable. I mean the higher goods, which alone make us truly human we need to rely on God’s grace. Grace too is a gift from God like reason yet grace comes and goes depending on our obedience to God’s commandments. Take Grace, to be that which enlightens reason or the mind to see God’s truths. What food is to the body is what truth is to the soul. You will notice that when a person completely relies on reason alone, he or she is more than likely to become an atheist because grace does not make sense to him or her. As Saint Alphonsu Liguori puts it, “We lose God’s grace because of sin or by sinning we lose the grace of God. God shows mercy to those who fear Him, but God does not show mercy to those who despise or disdain him. God has patience with a sinner for a while but not forever. There is a measure of sinfulness, and once that measure is reached, God’s mercy stops. God then punishes impenitent sinners either by death or by abandoning them, so that they go from sin to sin without any sense of remorse, and finally end up in hell.” Measure in the quotation means limit. Now look back to what has been happening to Gambians under the dictator’s rule for the last twenty-two years. Think about all the crimes that have been committed on Gambians, all the idol worshipping and what not? Or the hypocrisy of being a wolf in sheep clothing when one is a ravenous wolf as Matthew 7:15 teaches. What is the sheep clothing? The sheep clothing stands for using prayer, alms giving, fasting, magnanimity, generosity, benevolence and the like to show that one is kind, good, holy or pure person when in reality he or she is far from that. Or then again, to those people who do such like things: Matthew 15:8 or Isaiah 29:13, teaches: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart’s are far from me.”
Now, you see why trying to reason with the dictator was a futile exercise. It was a futile endeavor indeed to appeal to his reason. When a person is where the dictator is, he or she only understands two things, pain or fear for one’s life. Unless either one of these two is imminent, the dictator will never flinch one bit. In other words, if he ever steps down, it will never be because he reached that decision because of appeals to his reason. So please do yourselves a favor and face the reality of the situation instead of wasting your times talking about peaceful means. All of you who have been talking about peace are constantly contradict by what the dictator says or does everyday. This is the reality. Sugarcoating it will not change it from what it is.
The New Administration!
Just admit it, you dropped the ball on the first policy decision you have to make. We are not going to keep quiet if you guys keep making million dollars blunders, ok. What bargaining leverage did the dictator had during the negotiation for him to leave? None. He had only his life to save. No condition of his should have been accepted at all. He forfeited any leverage he had when he refused to step down on January 19th. He committed treason on that day. He did not have anything to offer whatsoever. He was cornered. He was trying to save his butt. Yet because of your blunder, he got away with almost everything. Just accept this fact ok. Don’t try to insult our intelligence. President Barrow said that peace is more important than Royce Royce and whatever the dictator got away with does not matter. That is missing the point by a long shot. I beg to defer Mr. President. In that negotiation, the negotiators failed the Gambian people. At least you have two lawyers in The Coalition: Mr. Darbo and Mr. Fatty. What could happen to Mr. Darbo or Mr. Fatty if either one of them was representing a client and there was an opportunity to settle the case and the opposing party who has absolutely nothing to offer other than save his butt got almost everything and Mr Darbo’s or Mr. Fatty’s client got nothing? You would like to know that Mr. Darbo’s or Mr. Fatty’s client could sue for malpractice. Gambia is not at peace because of what the dictator did or did not do. Gambia is at peace because the dictator begged for his life and it was handed to him on a golden platter. The two things that the dictator should have been allowed to leave with are his Magic Stick and his Quran. How can someone who has no leverage in a negotiation get away with so much? If the new administration is going to start making blunders like that, the honeymoon will surely be short-lived.
A dislike of the dictator united most Gambians to oppose him. This was a great advantage to your success, but the dictator is gone and will be forgotten over time. As the memories of the dictator fade, Gambians will be zeroing in on what is going on. Make no mistake about it. We expect you to make mistakes along the way, but not millions of dollars mistakes. Gambia cannot sustain costly mistakes like that. The campaign is over, so let’s move away from the slogans and get into the policies. Mr. President, you have to step up to the plate. Members of The Coalition cannot forever be talking for you. Being in the campaign trail and governing are two very different things.
Why is Mr. Samsudeen Sarr not fired from his position? Mr. Sarr wrote what was supposed to be an apology to Gambians and in that writing, he snuck it in that he expects to serve the remainder of his contract, which ends in either March or May. I am puzzled by what he meant by that. Is he saying that because he has a contract, he cannot be fired? I doubt if Mr. Sarr entered into a contract to work for The Gambia government. Mr. Sarr is at most an employee of the Executive and can be fired by the Executive at any time. For example, is Mr. Sarr saying that if the dictator was still in power and fired him he won’t leave because he has a contract? LOL! I do not think Mr. Sarr knows what a contract is. Mr. Sarr is not an independent contractor but an employee and can be fired at will. So, Mr. President, I asked again, why is Mr. Sarr not fired if he has not already been fired?
Mr. Halifah Sallah has been doing a great job so far in my view. Halifahism appears to be dead or is on vacation somewhere and I hope it stays wherever it is at. What is Halifahism? The idea that people should lead. I like to think that if Mr. Sallah had stick to that ideology, he will not be where he is today. Leaders lead and people follow. This is a reflection of a Republican form of government. People elect leaders and the leaders lead and not the other way around. I read somewhere that Mr. Sallah thinks the three years transition is too short. I beg to differ. First, The Coalition had two months to prepare. During the two months leading to the expiration of the term of the dictator, there should have been two plans at work. One for if the handing over of power went smoothly, and the other, if it did not. May be these two plans do exist. If there is only one plan, then what were all those long meetings about?
Mr. Fatty was one year ahead of in high school, but that is beside the point here. Tone is down Mai! The approach in the courtroom is different from the one in the court of public opinion. The one does not fit in the other and neither does the other fits in the one. You can be combative and be in control of the courtroom if you are defending a client’s interest and that is good to a certain extent. Well, in the court of public opinion, you cannot be combative because you come away as being arrogant. In the court of public opinion, you cannot control your audience because it is impossible. How you handle this will have a lot to do with your successes and failures in your political career.
My Two Bututs!
I believe the number one priority for the administration should be establishing the “Rule of Law.” If they mistakenly go for the economy it is going to be a rough road and they may not harvest the fruits of their labor within the three years transition period. Why? If you look at the most prosperous countries in the world you will notice that they all have one thing in common; rule of law. For example, there is more oil in the Middle East than in America or Europe, and what does the Middle East lacks; Rule of Law. It does not matter how much natural resources a country has, if it does not have rule of law, its people cannot advance and foreign investment will not be forthcoming. With the rule of law in place, Gambians will come to the realization that if they put in the efforts, nothing is impossible economically. Gambians have survived for 22 years with a bad economy and they sure can continue to do so, if they are secure in their persons, properties, papers and effects.
The “Great Debate” in The Gambia should and must be, WHAT IS THE RULE OF LAW? Now this question is waaaay above my pay grade. In fact, after this article, I intend to write may be two more articles and pull the curtain down. What initiated me to start writing was not because of a dislike of the dictator like most Gambians, and belief me, I do not like the guy either, but I just wanted Gambians to experience the freedoms that I enjoy. I like to think Gambians will enjoy more freedom than they ever have before.
And yes, The Coalition should be held to the three years agreement they signed. An agreement has to mean something; right. Call it the contract with The Gambia if you may!
An Exhortation to Active Involvement In Politics!
It is time for Gambians both home and in the diaspora to start thinking about forming new political parties. You are smart. You are highly educated. You know organization. You know how to communicate and educate. And resources will not be wanting. Get ready to take back your country. It will be a great disappointment if at least two or three new political parties are not formed within the next three years. The time has come and the time is now. This is your generation. This is your time. This is the most educated generation in Gambian history. Do not be a disappointing generation.
On a side note!
Great news! My former Constitutional Law professor is one of three finalists who may be nominated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. He will be a great Supreme Justice if confirmed!