By Madi Jobarteh
The greatest betrayal of trust and confidence inflicted on Gambians since independence came from APRC National Assembly Members. The National Assembly represents our collective will and power and the primary defender of the people. It is the only institution vested with the power to monitor and restrain any other power or authority or person in a democracy in defense of the supreme interests of the country and the rights of citizens. Hence when the National Assembly fails to perform that function, then there will be carnage and impunity in that society.
When we elect a parliament we hand over our lives and rights to them to protect. We hand over our national wealth and destiny to them to manage and defend. This is why in our constitution for any act or decision the Executive should take, they have to get the approval of the National Assembly first. Whether the National Assembly agrees or not, it means we the people have so decided. Yet in the Gambia, since 1997 the APRC NAMs deliberately, consciously and irresponsibly decided to surrender our will, our voice and our power to one single man to abuse and misuse anyhow. This is indeed betrayal of the highest level.
Here is how the APRC NAMs betrayed and endangered our lives by allowing one armed robber, Yaya Jammeh to rape, loot, plunder, torture and kill Gambians for nothing.
First. These APRC NAMs approved each and every bill tabled by APRC Ministers to either amend the constitution or create new laws that disempower and take away the rights of Gambians. As they take away our rights and power, they handed it over to Yaya Jammeh as a single person to use it to harm fellow citizens.
Second. APRC NAMs failed to protect our public wealth. They consistently approved the budget without any question and anytime the government needs more money Isatou Njie Saidy would go to the parliament for them to give more money. The APRC NAMs failed to exercise their oversight functions to ensure that our money is not wasted with impunity. They allowed and watched as Yaya Jammeh lavishly dished out our money as he wished.
Third. The APRC NAMs failed to protect our human rights and sovereignty as they allowed Yaya Jammeh to use henchmen from the NIA and other security agencies to arrest, detain, torture, rape and kill Gambians with impunity. The National Assembly has a constitutional role to check and hold to account the Executive. Yet the APRC NAMs instead closed their eyes and ears to the abuses of Yaya Jammeh against innocent Gambians when they had the responsibility to defend our rights.
Fourth. The APRC NAMs did not just watch and allow Yaya Jammeh to damage our rights and plunder our national wealth, but they went further to defend Yaya Jammeh for committing those crimes against Gambians. Hence the APRC NAMs once again failed their duty to our country and people as they allowed and defended one single citizen to sit on top of our heads only to break our necks with impunity.
Fifth. Yaya Jammeh was not only destroying the rights of Gambians or killing innocent citizens, but he also went further to ridicule the very name and reputation of the Gambian nation thus making the Gambian a laughing stock of the world. By claiming to cure HIV/AIDS and pulling the Gambia out of the Commonwealth among numerous stupid dramas, Yaya Jammeh soiled the good name and stature of the Gambia. The leading institution that had the power and authority to put a stop to such ridicule and disgrace was the National Assembly. Rather, what we saw was how the APRC NAMs stood with Yaya Jammeh to defend him in his blatant and rude manners in disrespecting the good name of the Gambia.
How therefore would any Gambian in the first place consider standing for APRC in this election? Of course there are always human beings who lack conscience and sense of honesty and patriotism hence such people will continue to support and stand on the APRC ticket. But should you as a citizen go to vote for such a person?
Yes, every citizen has a right to freedom of association and to take part in politics. Hence any Gambian has a right to stand for or vote for APRC. Even though APRC as a ruling party committed heinous crimes in this country, they have a right to exist until banned through due process. But they cannot and must not escape accountability. Hence there is a need to set up a commission of enquiry to hold individuals within the APRC to render account for their individual actions in damaging the rights and lives of Gambians and endanger national interests.
But until the Barrow Administration set up an enquiry on the APRC, for the meantime the greatest court to which we must subject APRC is the court of public opinion. Every Gambian must ask himself or herself whether one would vote for or join a party that killed one’s father or brother? Who would vote for or join a party that raped one’s mother or sister? Who would vote for or join a party that tortured one’s friend or uncle? Would you vote for or join a party that ridiculed and disgraced the name of your country? Would you vote for or join a party that decided to just damage every human rights and every rule in our constitution for their own selfish interests? These are moral, legal and political questions that each and every Gambian must ask himself or herself.
Our answers will show that there are two categories of Gambians:
1. Gambians who are honest and patriotic, and
2. Gambians who are dishonest and unpatriotic.
To which category do you belong?
God Bless The Gambia.