The Unconstitutionality of Extending Jammeh’s Mandate

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By M B O Gaye

We are facing difficult times in our nation’s history. Our country is under siege by a President who is doing everything possible to overstay his mandate and our parliamentarians are ready to pass into law the so-called General Amnesty Bill designed to give blanket immunity to all those who have committed offenses (political) during the pre- and post-electoral period from November 1 to January 31, 2017. What more is in that bill is anybody’s guess.

     Subverting the will of the people is a treasonable offense.

Giving the questionable nature surrounding the introduction of such a bill to be passed at a time when the House had already adjourned its sessions for the year’s proceedings in preparation for the coming legislative elections and less than four days before the end of the incumbent president’s term, makes it look like another desperate attempt by a desperate president to prolong his illegal stay in power having lost his bid to have his petition heard in an impromptu Supreme Court.

Members of the National Assembly should not be oblivious to the fact that they are being called to commit an illegal act which all of them would have to pay dearly when Jammeh is finally removed from power. Asking legislators to extend his stay in power when his mandate is ending this Wednesday is an offence and could have serious consequences for our freedom.

                                                        Do not surrender our rights

Legislators must assume their constitutional responsibilities and never surrender our rights and freedoms to a president who doesn’t care whether our children are not going to school, hospitals are not functioning, the streets are empty, hotels are operating below capacity, markets are devoid of essential goods, offices and other work places have been deserted as a result of the mass exodus of Gambians fleeing the country because of the looming political crisis caused by a hardened dictator who wants to rule by hook or by crook.

What the elected representatives in the House should do is to listen to the voices of the people in their constituencies who voted for change and rally behind them to save their political careers. With a history of betrayal, it is Jammeh’s evil wish to go down with all those people who are serving his government including cabinet ministers, heads of the security forces, National Assembly members and heads of public enterprises when his term as president ends.

The will of the people is the basis of authority in a democracy and subverting that will is an offence. Our constitution empowers the National Assembly to undertake impeachment proceedings of the president if he willfully violates the oath of allegiance and office or abuse of any of the provisions of the constitution. By refusing to step down and hand over power to the president elect, Jammeh is violating Section 67 of the Constitution and subverting the will of the people is a treasonable offence.

                                              No need for general amnesty

 Voting to extend Jammeh’s mandate could have serious consequences not to the parliamentarians alone but to all Gambians. It will be sad to see elected representatives in the House (not those praise singers nominated by Jammeh and positioned as speaker and deputy speaker) to end their illustrious political careers in such a way. It will be illegal to ask you to pass any bill that will go beyond his mandated period.  There is no need for a general amnesty. With a looming military intervention from UN, AU and ECOWAS our peace and tranquility are at stake and the only legal option now is to vote Yahya Jammeh out of office to save our country. It would be the right thing to do to put the interest of this nation above anything else.

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