TAT editorial – Is it a case of judicial activism in Gambia?

Mr. Alieu Famara Sagnia, TAT Consulting Editor

Since the advent of the new dispensation in Gambia, the courts have been returning verdicts which please the public, whenever aggrieved persons take their complaint against the state to the courts.

Indeed, since the change of government in January 2017, we have seen the courts playing their role of ensuring that the rule of law prevails, and adequately responding to matters which if unchecked could lead to impunity.

Yes, the judiciary has been a different animal since the departure of Yahya Jammeh, who even though he resorted to the courts, interested in judicial processes – as shown during the TRRC public hearings – and did not allow them to dispense justice freely and fairly as expected, and as required by the constitution and other laws of The Gambia!

With the coming of our New Gambia project, the judiciary has been given an opportunity to restore its damaged prestige and credibility under Jammeh; and this is evident from the judgments now emanating from our courts.

Indeed, it is succeeding in shedding its image as a den of mercenary judges; as a Bench of mostly of dishonest and not so qualified judges that was highly-compromised underJammeh – and this came out very clearly from the TRRC’s public hearings on the role of public institutions such as the judiciary of The Gambia!

As regards the recent judgments relating to the IEC nomination process, it is a good sign that the checks and balances are at full play, and clear evidence that our democracy is working properly.

Now, if the IEC was willing to go to court to defend itself, that was proof of confidence in our courts; and thus it should be gracious enough to now accept the verdict of the courts against it.

We do not expect our public institutions, which should serve and be seen as national icons, to be behaving in a way which suggests the prevalence of impunity.

So let’s hope that reports of the IEC not respecting the court judgments awarded to Dr Ceesay of CA and Mai Ahmad Fatty of GMC are not entirely correct; and that the national electoral commission will immediately do the needful, so to speak, and been seen to be doing so quickly.

There are reports circulating and allegations swirling against IEC officials and the institution.
These have been brought to the attention of the IEC, and we need an explanation from the IEC, and we need one fast to keep the public properly informed!

Let us hope the IEC takes a cue from the Ministry of Justice and not keep mum, but comes out and responds to the accusations and bad publicity it’s getting at this crucial moment.

This is essential so as to restore public trust and confidence in the capacity of the IEC to deliver free and fair elections, especially on December 4.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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