By Madi Jobarteh
The Constitution of the Gambia states that the sovereignty of the Gambia resides in the people of the Gambia and from whom all organs of the Government derive their legitimacy and authority. This constitutional provision clear shows that each and every organ and official of the State is legitimate and empowered based on the will of Gambians and not based on the will of Allah.
The Constitution went further to state that there will be elections every five years for President and it is citizens who vote in those elections. Allah does not vote in the Gambia! Therefore, it is only the electorates of the Gambia who make or remove the President and not Allah. This means it is utterly false, dishonest and totally undemocratic for any person to claim that Allah makes or removes the President of the Republic of the Gambia. It is equally dishonest and false to claim that opposing that President is ungodly.
Hence the election, removal or the legitimacy and authority of the President and all other elected and appointed public officials in the Gambia are derived from the people of the Gambia and not from God in anyway.
Pres. Adama Barrow and Vice President Isatou Touray must realize that they are not servants of Allah when they occupy their political positions, rather they are servants of the People of the Gambia who elected them into office. Their election and appointment and consequently their removal lie with the People of the Gambia and not with Allah or any other person or devil that is not a Gambian!
In fact, it is blasphemous for any Muslim to claim that Allah makes or removes a president. Given the corrupt and dishonesty of many presidents it is therefore sacrilegious to accuse Allah of making those bad choices by creating bad presidents. Allah cannot be held responsible for the bad decisions of believers.
The Gambia is a sovereign secular republic. This means government or public policy, lawmaking or the delivery of public goods and services are not based on any religion or dictated by God. Hence to claim that God creates or removes the president is once again false and against the grain of our Constitution and the norms of democracy and good governance.
By claiming the divinity of the President, it means we are therefore raising the President beyond and above the scrutiny of citizens. By our Constitution, citizens have a right and a duty to hold the President accountable and transparent. The fact that we even have elections means citizens have a right and duty to question, disagree with or criticize or oppose a president. The Constitution went further to guarantee the right of citizens to freedom of expression, free media, peaceful demonstration, political participation and right to petition as well as mandate the national media to carry divergent and dissenting opinions all geared towards empowering Gambians to oppose and criticize their President and the Government as they like.
Is it that Adama Barrow and Isatou Touray now want to shut down the voices and opinions of citizens? Yet these are part of the people who stood up against Yaya Jammeh and his Regime for attempting to close down the voices and opinion of citizens not to oppose and criticize him!
When we therefore claim that Allah makes or removes a president then it means we are creating a president who must not be criticized or questioned or opposed. When we are unable to criticize or oppose a president or a government then it means we cannot hold accountable that president or government. An unchecked president or a government that citizens cannot hold accountable is what is called dictatorship. Hence these statements by Pres. Barrow and his Vice President and other politicians before them making similar claims are intended to bring back dictatorship in the Gambia for which we must not only be very concerned but also stand up to defend the Republic and its Constitution!
President Barrow and indeed all politicians and citizens must understand our Constitution and be determined to defend the Constitution and the kind of political dispensation we have. The Gambia is a Republic as stipulated in the Constitution under Section 1. This means that there is absolutely no power, material or spiritual, foreign or alien beyond and above the Gambia.
The only Almighty Power in the Gambia are the People of the Gambia. It is Gambians who elect and remove elected public servants such as President, National Assembly Members, Mayors and Councilors. Allah has no hand in their election or removal because Allah is neither a citizen nor an electorate in the Gambia hence Allah does not vote or participate in our political system in anyway!