Things Fall Apart; the Center Cannot Hold

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The center of governance in any country is its cabinet. The cabinet in the Gambia is falling apart and the center can no longer hold. The minister of Information Sheriff Bojang has resigned and since left the country and residing in Senegal. The country’s diplomatic corps has already fallen apart and many of our diplomatic offices abroad are vacant as the outgoing government has no representations there.

The schools are deserted many of our children are not going to school because things are falling apart the center cannot hold.

The Courts are not functional; the Bar is boycotting all the sittings. The Banjul High Court is like a ghost place with little human movements.

The Supreme Court of the Gambia cannot sit as it cannot have the required number of judges from Nigeria and elsewhere to preside over cases, particularly the election petition of outgoing president Jammeh.

A leaked letter from The Attorney General Chambers has confirmed that the five Nigerian judges who were recently appointed and are expected to sit over The APRC and outgoing President, Yahya Jammeh’s election petition are no longer traveling to Banjul as expected.

‘You will recall that our justices are usually scheduled to sit in your supreme court in the months of May and November. Based on this long established understanding, our court sitting schedule is usually drawn up with the consideration of this assignment’ a letter from the acting Nigerian Chief Justice Onnoghen says.

The acting chief justice further informed Gambia’s Chief Justice Fangbele that the dates of the court sittings in the Gambia are unfavorable to them and will greatly affect their case management. He therefore urged Fangbele to stick to the sittings for May and November as scheduled.

The government is finding it difficult to have a full cabinet sitting as many are either reluctant to go to work or contemplating resigning just like the Information minister.

The Gambia under the current political impasse has turn everyone confused and this includes the outgoing president Jammeh. The president have lost most if not all his ambassadors and his cabinet is also falling apart

Appointment of Ministers should be done with compliance to the constitution of the land; this is not happening particularly with the recent ministerial appointment of Seedy Njie.

The Executive comprises the president, vice president and ministers. The authority to appointment ministers lies with the president. Section 71(1) states that the president determines the number of ministers. Section 71(2) states who can be appointed minister. Here is what the constitution says in that sub-section 2:

“A person shall not be qualified to be appointed or hold the office of a Minister if, he or she is a member of the National Assembly or if he or she holds the citizenship or nationality of any country other than The Gambia. In addition, a person shall not be qualified to be appointed Attorney General unless he or she is a legal practitioner of at least five years standing at the Gambian bar.”

In light of the above, it is therefore crystal clear that Seedy Njie is a Nominated Member of the National Assembly hence he is not qualified to be appointed as a cabinet minister. This appointment is unconstitutional and violates the separation of powers principle and the very nature and foundation of a constitutional democratic republic.

Outgoing president Jammeh should know that things are falling apart and the center cannot anymore hold.

President Elect Barrow will be inaugurated January 19th 2017; I have no doubt that it will be one of the most attended ceremony in our life time.


Author: Madi M.K.Ceesay
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