The nomination of an experienced lawyer as the Speaker of the Gambia’s 5th Legislative Assembly has given hope to many hopeless Gambians. Lawyer Mariam Jack Denton today took oath of office at the Parliament building in Banjul. She was among the five people nominated by President Adama Barrow.
Lawyer Denton, a far cry from her predecessor Abdoulie Bojang in terms of academic and professional qualifications, was among the victims of the ousted ruthless dictator Yahya Jammeh. The daughter of former Speaker Sir Alieu Sulayman Jack in the Jawara government is the first Gambian woman to be called to the Bar in the early 80s. The human rights lawyer had also served as State Counsel and Senior State Counsel before becoming Legal Adviser to the Central Bank Governor.
Both Mariam and her husband Abou Denton, former Accountant General, lost their jobs after the 1994 military coup.
Lawyer Denton was a founder member of the United Democratic Party.
She had endured the Jammeh government’s wrath in April 2006 when she was arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado for over 100 days. Denton was accused of concealment of the abortive March 21st coup masterminded by the former Army Chief of Defence Staff Col. Ndure Cham. She was freed after a legal battle at the High Court.
Despite the level of pains inflicted on her, Denton remains resolute, sober and level-headed. She didn’t jump the ship but kept rallying behind the United Democratic Party throughout.
With a solid background in law couple with the spirit of a fighter, many Gambians think Mariam Denton deserves to be a Speaker in a free and democratic Gambia. She has an arduous task of using her position to help the Coalition government to achieve its objectives.
Until now, Gambians have lost hope in their parliamentarians who had their hands twisted by dictator Jammeh. Instead of making the government accountable and serving the interest of their constituents, the Jammeh era deputies had been turned parliament into into a rubber-stamping institution. After making deputies toothless, the executive branch imposed bills and budget on them, leaving them with only a Yes Option. Hell broke loose for rebel deputies. Hon. Demba Dem has a book to write about what had befallen him when he refused to be a yes man deputy.