My Gambian brother Madi Jobarteh who has “consulted and exchanged ideas privately” with Madam Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang for a long time, and whose very determination to oust Yahya Jammeh has been inspired by Madam Tambajang, has felt compelled to write to her and ask her not to accept the position of Vice-President.
I am compelled to respond to brother Madi Jobarteh out of respect for the obvious honesty and sincerity with which he writes his letter.
Brother Madi’s main point is that Madam Tambajang, who is 67 years-old should not accept the position of Vice-President because the constitution stipulates that the Vice-President should not be aged above 65. Brother Madi refers to “our” Constitution.
With respect to brother Madi, I have to say that the 65-age stipulation is a null and void insertion into “our” Constitution by a bandit intent on robbing Gambians of their constitutional rights. The Constitution that Gambians voted for never set an age-limit for an office holder – quite rightly too because there is no reasonable justification for barring any adult Gambian citizen from any office in the land on the grounds of age.
Let us be clear about this. Many of the amendments in the present Constitution of The Gambia are bastardisation of The Gambian Constitution to serve one individual: the Dictator Yahya Jammeh. Specifically, the 65-age limit for the Vice-President and President were inserted into the Gambian Constitution to prevent Lawyer Ousainou Darboe from contesting the Presidency against Yahya Jammeh.
In my humble view, an amendment to The Constitution that is intended to deprive a Gambian of a right conferred by The Constitution is null and void – unless that amendment is approved by a referendum of The Gambian people. It is for that same reason that the National Assembly’s extension of Yahya Jammeh’s term – strictly based on the terms of The Constitution – became null and void: because the National Assembly’s actions intended to deprive a Gambian, Adama Barrow, of a right conferred by Constitution. Again, in my humble view, Adama Barrow’s right to ascend to the Presidency, as guaranteed by The Constitution, overrode the National Assembly’s right to extend Yahya Jammeh’s term, again guaranteed by The Constitution – because Adama Barrow’s right had been approved by a referendum of The Gambian people.
I would there argue, respectfully brother Madi, that Madam Jallow-Tambajang’s right to the Vice-Presidency has been approved by a referendum of The Gambian people (through a vote for the Coalition she leads). Yahya Jammeh’s insertion of the 65-age limit for nefarious purposes, is on the contrary unconstitutional because it aims to nullify a right conferred on Gambians’ by the Gambian Constitution – without the assent of The Gambian people. The National Assembly’s actions are also unconstitutional – and that is what a Supreme Court would have decided if we had a functioning Supreme Court.
I therefore advise Mommy Jallow-Tambajang (with much respect to my brother Madi Jobarteh) to ignore my brother Madi Jobarteh.
Written By Dida Halake