My Gambian brother Madi Jobarteh who has “consulted and exchanged ideas privately” with Madam Jallow-Tambajang for a long time, and whose very determination to oust Yahya Jammeh has been inspired by Madam Bojang, has felt compelled to write to her and ask her not to accept the position of Vice-President.
I am compelled to respond to brother Madi Jobarteh out of respect for the obvious honesty and sincerity with which he writes his letter.
Brother Madi’s main point is that Madam Jobarteh, who is 67 years old should not accept the position of Vice-President because the constitution stipulates that the Vice-President should not be aged above 65. Brother Madi refers to “our” Constitution.
With respect to brother Madi, I have to say that the 65-age stipulation is a null and void insertion into “our” Constitution by a BANDIT intent on robbing Gambians of their constitutional rights. The Constitution that Gambians voted for never set an age-limit for an office holder – quite rightly too because there is no reasonable justification for barring any adult Gambian citizen from any office in the land on the grounds of age.
Let us be clear about this. Many of the amendments in the present Constitution of The Gambia are BASTARDISATIONS of The Gambian Constitution to serve one individual: the Dictator Yahya Jammeh. Specifically, the 65-age limit for the Vice-President and President were inserted into the Gambian Constitution to PREVENT LAWYER OUSANOU DARBOE from contesting the Presidency against Yahya Jammeh.
In my humble view, an amendment to The Constitution that is intended to deprive a Gambian of a right conferred by The Constitution is null and void – unless that amendment is approved by a referendum of The Gambian people. It is for that same reason that the National Assembly’s extension of Yahya Jammeh’s term – strictly based on the terms of The Constitution – became null and void: because the National Assembly’s actions intended to deprive a Gambian, Adama Barrow, of a right conferred by Constitution. Again, in my humble view, Adama Barrow’s right to ascend to the Presidency, as guaranteed by The Constitution, overrode the National Assembly’s right to extend Yahya Jammeh’s term, again guaranteed by The Constitution – because Adama Barrow’s right had been approved by a referendum of The Gambian people.
I would there argue, respectfully brother Madi, that Madam Jallow-Tambajang’s right to the Vice-Presidency has been approved by a referendum of The Gambian people (through a vote for the Coalition she leads). Yahya Jammeh’s insertion of the 65-age limit for nefarious purposes, is on the contrary unconstitutional because it aims to nullify a right conferred on Gambians’ by the Gambian Constitution – without the assent of The Gambian people. The National Assembly’s actions are also unconstitutional – and that is what a Supreme Court would have decided if we had a functioning Supreme Court.
I therefore advise Mommy Jallow-Tambajang, (with much respect to my brother Madam Bojang) to ignore my brother Madi Bojang.
Mr. Madi Jobarteh Should Be Applauded, Not Villified By The Fairweather Constitutionalist:
Halake, Mr. Jobarteh is not a female. He is as Jobarteh not a Bojang as you obviously seen to be raffled or a bit confused about the person you were trying to “attack” or attempt to “put under the bus” for purely selfish and Opportunistic Manuevering. Mr. Madi Jobarteh unlike the “Fairweather Constitutionalist” earned the respect and appreciation of all GAMBIANS with a sense of decency and integrity for Taking as well as Standings up for Constitutionalism and Rejecting Authoritarian and Callous Discarding of the Same Constitution Under which President Adama Barrow was Elected, Sworn to “Preserve and Protect at all Times”, not “Unless The Constitution is in my Way or Prevents me from doing whatever I Want, no not even Need.” Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang’s appointment is “Want” not a Need” because there are many other Qualified Candidates who age would not present a Constitution Crisis down the road. Mr. Madi Jobarteh should be applauded for his Courage and dedication to the Rule of Law and his pursuit of a Peaceful, Judicious and a Constitutional Democratic Gambia. May The Gambia be blessed with as many Sons and Daughters of his and Halifa Sallah’s adherence to Republican Constitutionalism in the Gambia moving forward. May the Gambia be Conversely be Protected from the likes of Fairweather Constitutionalist like you and others who view a Constitution as a “Document of Convenience” to be Set Aside, Suspended like is done by Military Interventionists during a Coup. If you want Pursue such Unelected and Undemocratic Modality of Governance, then SAY SO AND DECLARE A DICTATORSHIP OR MARSHALL LAW AND RULE BY DECREE. If you can’t do that, due to the same Constitution of 1997 which is Still in Effect, then We, the Gambian Citizens Declare and Summit that Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang’s appointment as Unconstitutional, ILLEGAL and Null and Void.
A succinct, short, coherent, eloquent and easy to understand piece!!!!!!!!!!
Democratic debates are welcomed but noises around Tambajang’s appointment are difficult to comprehend or make sense of. We have been struggling for over two decades to free ourselves from the clutches of instruments of repression. And after succeeding we are coming back to say those instruments of repression must continue and be adhered to. Mind boggling indeed.
But it all demonstrates that we (Africa and Africans) have a long way to go. No wonder we continue to be brainwashed, manipulated, controlled and not believing in ourselves; we are the richest but also the poorest.
We have very highly educated professionals but yet lacking behind in all respects. For our uneducated forefathers, their foresight and analyses of situations were phenomenal. They resisted invasions, colonisation and fought for our independence. But when our so called educated elites took over from them, then that’s when doors of relative backwardness began.
But Dida, you have said it all. I hope this now concludes the noises.
@Morro, what you said speaks volumes. I do follow your comments even before these changes in Gambia. They are educating. I would like to add that Africa and Africans will still have a long way to go. I even doubt if we will come out from the backwardness.
Whatever we do we model it on others; the West in particular. Just look at the comments in here and in various fora… America is doing this, doing that; UK or other Western countries doing this and doing that…. We take examples from them. The socio-economic, socio-cultural and environmental circumstances between us and those countries are completely different. Unless we critically look at our circumstances and base our social and economic development strategies to address those, we will simply be going no where.
You mentioned our forefathers. They are different from us in many respects. For us we see, hear and feel things through the West. We listen to their radios, look at issues through their TVs and media, go to their schools and are educated using their curriculum; they told us that we sold our fathers, mothers and brothers to them through slavery we believed in them; they told us that they are the best and whatever is good is “white” and whatever is bad is “black” we went along it…. We have comfortably taken a back seat. Our forefathers did not go through these things and were never happy to take the back seats. They laid down their lives to break the bondage.
So we still have a long way to go……. Otherwise the issue being discussed here is simple. We either apply the so-called constitution to letter as forged by Yahya hence tell the world that Yahya had justifications in doing what he did – the atrocities, human rights violations and ethnic and age discrimination or dump it and do things based on our fundamental rights as human beings and the rule of law; and come up with a constitution which respects us as Gambians and as human beings with dignity and rights.
The very day (December 1) we voted Jammeh out of office was the same day we amended the Constitution. It’s called “the voice of the PEOPLE” Madi!!!
Balang: It is Not too late to get some Sense of Understanding of Constitutional Democracy within a Nation State of which the Gambia is. An Election does not by itself Amend, Nullify or Repeal an Existing Constitution by a Government in a Pre-Puberty Stage. It is not unusual for the Human being to revert back to his old Animalistic instincts of Protecting “Its own” even when the act of Protection in this case does not have any long term benefit, but a Whole lot of Downside. The Animal Specie’s need to Self-Segregate based on the breed is not a Sign or Evidence of an Advanced degree of Intelligent Thought, Logic, Reason or observation. It is based on Instinct. As human beings, we are Supposed to be or have Developed Brains endowed with the above listed qualities which rejects and relegates the animal Instincts in us into the Dust Bin of History. Next time you and your Colleagues and Friends get together at the ” Bantaba”, at the Street Corner, or at a new found Political figure’s Compound or house to drink “Ataya” and pick up the leftovers from them, remember that it is the State Coffers that is funding your Escapes, Leeching, and Parasitic behavior. The Leaders in Africa and Gambia Specifically are Corrupt and Corrupting because they are from the same Society and Cultures the People who add to the Corruption by “Going along” with a “See no evil, Hear no evil and Speak no evil” as long as the fellow Tribes Species are in charge of the State, The Gambia. The illegal and Unconstitutional Backdoor Manuevering and Ethnic Politics Should not now turn you into an Unprincipled, Unethical and Unpatriotic GAMBIAN. In the Affairs of men and women, the tide of Fortune flows up and down, back and forth, but the Sense of Morality, Principles, and Code of Ethics Remain and embedded within us. Endeavor to awaken it, hard as it may be due to the Animalistic instincts Supressing it because of Ethnic Politics. The Gambia is more than the Sum Total of any Individual, Ethnic group or Region. The measure of a man is not in time’s of Conforth, but in times of Hardship, so says Martin Luther King, Jr. If GAMBIANS who Subscribed to the Unconstitutional, illegal, Political Backdoor Manuevering should Demonstrate having a “Backbone” and Sense of Decency and Integrity, and Speak for the Gambia, not for the Narrow Ethnic group interest at the Expense of the Nation, the Gambia.The apparent Revival of the Hegemony and Oppression of the Gambia by an Old Organization, the “NTerri Kaffo” Will be the Seed of the Gambia and GAMBIANS Rubicon.
Truly i have began to understand how african leaders are so easily transformed into dictators. I can say with much certainty that it is the people that make leaders what they become. Everyone has an ego tendency that can easily be nurtured if it is watered by support from others.
It will be of great honour if Mrs. Fatoumatta Tambajang herself could understand how much respect she has received from the President by making this appointment and humbly decline from accepting it simply because as at now, the constitution which the president vowed to protect when he was sworn into office doesn’t qualify her for the appointment. It will also be of honour if the President can see the error he and his team have made, accept it and reconsider their position in making this appointment so it doesn’t feel like they are acting exactly the same way heir predecessor was acting. What then is the change that Gambians have been hoping for?
In order to demonstrate their desire to democratise the country, the new government must do all it can to follow due process in making the necessary changes the country needs. An oversight like this can have a tremendous effect on how things might look like in the future. Gambians should now understand how to stand against their leaders at exactly the moment when they realise that they are violating their constitution and finding the best excuses to justify such violations. Do no turn the new Presider into another dictator just because you hated everything that was done by his predecessor.
I have began to understand as well how legal delicacy enables and entrenches dictatorships by its art of constitutionalising unconstitutionality. Whilst Mrs. Tambajang’s appointment could be in contrast to all norms of an entrenched dictated constitution, the urgency to re-ammend its uncostitutionality in my opinion should be a priority of an already expected-to-be-existing national assembly/parliament..
The best way one can help the laymanship in these forums is to engage them and explain to them to see light and so must be excused for their lack of awareness in civic matters. Democracy is nothing legal but logic to bring about the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Democracy can be understood, felt and embraced by the ordinary citizenry for the prevailing values in it’s practises and not by breaking the codes of legal sophistcations in a constitution that guides it.
Under which laws were the illegally imprisoned Udp executives freed?
No. it was a question of law about their freedom at all but the values of democracy that just took off to watch over citizens’ constitutional rights, their lives, properties and healths from Dec. 2nd 2016 on.
The lively debate surrounding the appointment of Madame Tambajang as VP is a wonderful thing to see. This is one of the ways in which we can jealously guard our democracy and protect our new freedom.
My humble view is that we must be vigilant, but not over enthusiastic about provisions of the Constitution that were designed to facilitate and entrench the Jammeh dictatorship. We have often cried against these very laws because they are not justified, or reasonable in a just society, nor are they even required at all, to create a democratic system of governance.
On the contrary, they either contradict the constitution itself (because it prohibits discrimination of any sort) or go against logic, reason and universal concensus for democratic governance. Moreover, we should never allow the “ghost” of Yaya Jammeh’s dictatorship to continue dictating to us how we govern our country, and rescinding Madame Tambajang’s appointment would do just that.
Furthermore, it is a common practice, even in advanced democracies, for authorities to suspend provisions contained in national constitutions, through the use of moratorium, because new developments or realities have rendered them inadequate or completely absolete.
For example in 2000, Illinois (USA) declared a moratorium on executions after 13 death-row inmates were exonerated…(Newsweek 19th November, 2007). It doesn’t suddenly then Illinois into a state that disregards the constitution and rule of law.
The Gambia had the Death penalty since the first republic, and at least one person was executed for the 1981 rebellion, but a moratorium was placed on its application for a long time. Equally, the second republic placed a moratorium on executions until Jammeh woke up one morning and broke it.
My argument is that the Gambia is emerging from a political dispensation where national laws and institutions were used to create and entrench a dictatorship, and should we fail to allow the Executive to place a moratorium on some of these laws, until they can be amended, we would have unwittingly been complicit in carrying on the dictatorship.
The appointment of Madame Tambajang as VP is a positive development and must not be rescinded.
I disagree. It should be rescinded if she is over 65 as stipulated in existing Constitution of The Gambia; relied upon for election of Adama Barrow The President of third Republic.
If Madam Tambajang’s appointment was in order she would have been the first to take oath of office,
Dawda, are you implying that whatever Yahya did in the name of the constitution was right? Are you saying that it is right for that so-called constitution to discriminate against certain sections of the population?
The apartheid regime in South Africa had a similar constitution in place. Are you saying that that constitution should have been adhered to and for that matter Nelson Mandela and co should not have assumed public offices because they were barred by law according to the apartheid constitution?
If Tambajang has not taken oath that is purely an operational and logistical matter but nothing to do with adhering to an instrument of repression. We need to be very careful about some of the pronouncements we make as we may end up justifying actions we fought against for decades.
Gambia relied upon the enlightened conscience of the majority to win over ruthless dictatorship but not the constitution of sections, chapters, verses and lines. It is very dumb as some would prove to be for instance, to think that the Britons have fallen short of the democratic values they claim constituted their daily lives because, they don’t have a writen constitution… In fact, the lack of a writen constitution in the U.K should only tell trying and maturing democracies how a democracy can be nurtured to be sophisticated and well postured enough, you wouldn’t need it writen in a book as guidelines. When people work, talk, walk, eat, laugh, smile and care democracy, they probably don’t need it writen on paper for it to be functional for them provided they have the qualified lawmakers with the self-integrities. In other words the lack of a constitution in hardback in the U.K, indicates how advance a democracy of a human-resources structure they have. It is not bad to take examples even if from one’s adversaries, if those examples are good and viable for one’s livelihood.