By: Madi Jobarteh
The fence sitters and the cheerers of poor leadership and their anti-accountability desperados have started whining since September 5 trying to use democracy and human rights as a justification for this Evil Alliance of Betrayal. They claim the Gambia is a multiparty democracy and therefore political parties have a right to form alliances. They claim the right of freedom of association hence NPP and APRC have the right to associate. They even throw jabs at parties like UDP and others which have also shamelessly opened their arms to Enablers of the Tinpot Dictator. Pathetic.
Surely, this Evil Alliance of Betrayal has everything to do with democracy and human rights. But the honest and conscientious will not subvert or turn democracy upside down just to defend this alliance for impunity. The election of Adama Barrow as president has a definite background which cannot be changed, wiped out or ignored. That background is the fact that we had a dictatorship in this country led by Yaya Jammeh for 22 years, during which massive human rights violations were committed in all forms, while the wealth of the nation was plundered with impunity as he personalised the entire statecraft as his personal vehicle, and there has not been justice for that yet.
The machinery that served, promoted, defended and justified that autocracy was the APRC as a legally registered political party. That party was the one in charge of the Executive as the Tinpot Dictator won the presidency on their party ticket. APRC also was in charge of the Legislature as their NAMs all stood in the name of APRC and got elected. Hence APRC was the ruling government led by Yaya Jammeh, the party leader of APRC. Therefore, Yaya Jammeh and his autocracy are part and parcel of APRC and vice versa.
The Gambia is a democratic republic. In such a polity, power is accessed through elections where candidates come from political parties. When a party wins the presidential election, it is called the ruling party. When they form the majority in the National Assembly, they are called the majority side and provide the majority leader. Hence a political party is essentially a government, either in power or in opposition. Thus, the actions of a government cannot be separated from the ruling party from which the president and majority of NAMs come from.
The Gambia Constitution 1997 has provided enough checks and balances for the President to uphold the rule of law and be transparent and accountable in protecting human rights and managing public resources and delivering public services. This is why the President swears to an oath of office in which he proclaims to uphold and defend the Constitution. Failure to do so, is one of the grounds to impeach a President.
That same Constitution has given more than enough powers and tools to the National Assembly and its NAMs to check the President and his entire Executive institutions and officials to ensure that they abide by their oath of office, the rule of law and uphold and defend the Constitution. Therefore APRC NAMs, as the majority in the parliament from 1997 to January 2017 had enough powers to have stopped Yaya Jammeh and protect the Gambia if they wanted.
But they failed to do so because they loved what was going on. They were benefiting from the mayhem and misery meted out to Gambians by their party leader and his regime, and so they allowed it with all their strengthen and shameless souls. Hence for a President to have the ability to flout the Constitution, abuse rights, plunder public wealth and personalise state institutions, it must be with the acquiescence of the National Assembly. If that National Assembly is dominated by one party, in this case APRC, it is therefore obvious it was that party that allowed such abuse to prevail.
That failure to check and discipline the Executive for abuses means the NAMs have failed in their duties. But in this case, it was not only that the APRC NAMs merely failed in their duties. No. Rather they also actively strengthened, supported, defended and justified the atrocities and the pillage of that Tinpot Dictator. How many times have we seen the APRC NAMs support the creation or amendments of the Constitution or other laws just to undermine democracy and take power from the people and hand it over to Yaya Jammeh?
Didn’t the APRC NAMs pass the Indemnity Act in 2001 just to cover up the perpetrators of the April 2000 massacre of schoolchildren? Didn’t the APRC NAMs pass the unconstitutional state of emergency in January 2017 just to kill the verdict of the Gambia people in order to impose the Tinpot Dictator when they knew he had lost the December 2016 elections? Of all the cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, rape, enforced disappearances, forced exiles and summary executions perpetrated under their watch, did the APRC NAMs or their party as a whole ever call for any inquiry and accountability? Never! Rather what we had witnessed is how the APRC party would organise massive solidarity marches and rallies to celebrate the Tinpot Dictator and all that he was doing!
What can be more unpatriotic and treasonous than these actions? Therefore, if one is indeed concerned about democracy and human rights, what one should call for is to bring the Tinpot Dictator and APRC as a legal entity to justice for their gross human rights violations and plunder. Otherwise, one is merely ranting because of selfishness and dishonesty.
APRC is a legally registered entity which had both legal and political obligation as a ruling party with majority in the National Assembly to defend the Constitution. They did not only fail to do that, but they also actively encouraged their party leader, the President to abuse rights, plunder public wealth, illegally seize private property, and ridicule the name of the Gambia all over the world, with impunity. Such a party should not be celebrated and embraced. Rather decent human beings who love their country and uphold the sanctity of human life and dignity would rather hold that party accountable. They will shun that party and its members and officers until there is justice and accountability.
It is so interesting and laughable to see how NPP and APRC members and surrogates and other people who are known to be abusers and fugitives from justice and accountability pontificating about democracy and human rights. What a shameless bunch!
For The Gambia Our Homeland