Dear Mr. Sallah,
I chose to address this letter to you through Freedom Newspaper because it is like a daily bread to any Gambian home and abroad. I do not like to emulate you in taking us through what happened after the declaration of the December 1 elections results and the two important statements of Jammeh.
Former autocratic leader Yahya Jammeh on the 17 January 2017 a day before his term expires, exercising his discretion as Commander in Chief of the Armed and Security Forces, acting under section 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia 1997, suggested that in wake of the developments and possible threats to the sovereignty and security of the Gambia by neighbouring Senegalese organised army disguising as ECOMOG, declared a state of emergency.
From all indications, whether the discretion was exercised reasonably and justifiably, minority Gambians whose voices are louder than the majority backed with regional Nderry international groups rejected same as a basis for Jammeh wanting to hold on to power against the will of Gambians. This declaration was gazetted and the National Assembly Members acting on the constitution, section 63 (2) and 99 (2) passed a resolution extending their term for three months hence the extension of President JAMMEH’S soon to expire term to another three months.
Now, the following day, UN West Africa rep, ECOWAS, Senegal and a senior lawyer of the Bar Aspeciation converged at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar to swear Adama Barrow as president of the third Republic of the Gambia under the provisions of the constitution of the Republic of the Gambia. Note, this is the very Constitution, Jammeh relied on to declare a state of emergency and the NA extending his term.
Now, this I know is not the making of PDOIS. You will agree with me that there was a constitutional crisis. Jammeh in office as president empowered by our laws whether the exerise of the discretion to declare a state of emergency was ill calculated and illegal or not but it was done under our laws and supported by our National Assembly. On the other hand, Barrow swearing before the whole world, even though there is sitting president whether it was legal or not.
What is fundamental here is majority rubbishes Jammeh declaration of state of emergency as useless and unconstitutional. Interestingly, when Jammeh wanted to ensure that Barrow is not sworn in, filed a petition and and injunction which injunction was not granted based on his lawyers incompetence. This is the man regarded as a dictator and violators of the constitution. Barrow, backed by lawyers and intellectuals (like he use to say it) ignored the courts of the Gambia and decided to swear Barrow by force without seeking to cancel the “unlawful” state of emergency declared by Jammeh and his extension of term in office.
In short, Barrow and his so called lawyers took the law into their own hands and proceeded to swear in Barrow irregardless of the exercise of constitutional provisions whether correctly exercised or not. Congratulations Barrow, Lawyers, regional and international organisations who supported a suppression òf Gambia laws history shall judge you.
To prove that your actions were illegal in law, your new Government directed the National Assembly to lift the Declaration of state of emergency on the 24 January 2017, five days after President Barrow saw illegally sworn into office in Senegal. The job was done and the declaration was reversed. Did you tell Gambians again like you did that the state of emergency declared by Jammeh was in fact effective but you just wanted Barrow sworn and legitimise the invasion of Senegalese Forces in the Gambia.
If the directive given to the speaker for the reversal of the declaration of state of emergency is anything to go by, President Adama Barrow’s swearing done in Senegal was unconstitutional and he has to take another Oath of office again. Right now, we have a power vacuum as far as the recent action by the NA is concern. As a Gambia who suffered in the hands of JAMMEH’S unconstitutional governance for 22 years, I will refuse to go back to 1 January 2015. If the swearing in was done unconstitutional the occupation of Senegalese troops inside state house first time in history through out the whole world is also unconstitutional and not supported y domestic, regional and international law. Our constitutional is the foundation for any given treaty be it regional or international.
Remember 18 February 2017 is our Nationall day independence and yet we have Senegalese, Nigerians October upping our state house and rendering our more competent military useless. Who will match for you on independence day? If I were the military CDS and or any other, we will insist the Senegalese lead invasion term match pass on the national day.
Finally I know you reason and apply law to all actions, prevail on Barrow to do the right thing before it is too late.
From A Concerned Gambian