This analysis by Nyarikannbana at http://www.gambia.dk/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7089. It is perfector. to clarify past issues will not make us disunited, in fact, we will be careful in future.
Santanfara, Thanks for your posting. Notwithstanding all the crude defences these people will put forward on PDOIS's behalf, the truth is Halifa Sallah and his Co-Authors of the 1997 constitution cheaply sold Gambian to the APRC regime. They drafted and sold a constitution that was not only tailor- made for the junta but also lacking any sense of safeguard that could negate the possibility of a return to the status quo of quasi- monarchical rule. E.g.â€¢ The constitutional Review Commission recommended a term limit of two 5yr terms which the Junta rejected. And despite this Halifa Sallah went all his way out in a frenzy campaign telling people throughout the length and breadth of the country, that it is the best constitution anybody can imagine. And he did this despite a ban on political activities in the country then. He was selfish enough not to even ask the junta who were his friends then, to lift this ban so that the other side of the debate can be heard thereby enabling Gambians to make an informed choice at the polls which followed.â€¢ The Constitution prescribed a second- round ballot electoral system so as to avoid a minority government ever ruling the Gambia and to allow a multi-party participation that does not give an undue advantange to the incumbent. But this prescription was despicably and hopelessly weak and devoid of any protection whatsoever. That is why it was easily amended and without fuss. These kind of constitutional prescriptions suppose to be essential to the progress and wellbeing of our nationâ€™s democracy and therefore should have been an entrenched clause that could not be amended without a referendum. Halifa knows this and yet he told us it is the best constitution anybody can dream of.â€¢ The election of chiefs should also have been an entrenched clause. That way, it would not have been open to the kind of abuse that have been vitiated on it by the APRC. Halifa knows this too, and if he had used his friendship with the junta wisely and persuaded them to allow the other side of the debate to be heard, the Gambian people would have been well advised by the reasonable voices that would have filtered through the debate.I can go on and on and on but to put everything in a nutshell, the bottom line of the matter is that Halifa and PDOIS were bought and cowed into supporting and promoting a constitution that was knowingly [to them] open to abuse and manipulation and lacking any sense of safeguard or mechanism that could effectively curtail any tendency of executive abuse, monarchical leadership or self-perpetuation. It was a complete carte blanc for any incumbent to manipulate in their own favour and for all sorts of selfish interests even if at the expense of our individual rights and freedoms or indeed the viability of our democracy. This is why when I read Halifa's scribblings in the newspapers describing the powers of the president under the present constitution as monarchical; it makes me wonder whether calling him a hypocrite alone is enough a condemnation. I think it is now best to call him a deceit too. No wonder APRC likes going on a constitutional amendment spree anytime they like to make life lot easier for themselves, and in all cases, their prayers has always been;'Praise be to Ayatollah Sallah for his arrogance and decietful behaviour that earned us all the previledges we enjoy today and which we shall enjoy for many years to come. Ameen!' Thanks
Responding to kayatta:
The first one was to reject the draft constitution and force the military junta to come up with another (hopefully a better) one. This will inevitably prolonged military rule, political volatility, and the economic sanctions that the country was facing at the time. - KayJattaThis is misleading and part of the deception game Halifa has always been playing in his own defence. Unfortunately, here is someone buying it. You bought the wrong stuff, mate!Here is the truth; The National consultative Committee setup by the Junta itself recommended a 2yr transitional period [from Military to Civilian rule] which the Junta accepted wholeheartedly. That literally set their tenure of office to 2yrs only which was to expire in 1996 and not subject to any renewal whatsoever. So if the draft constitution had been rejected, that doesn't give any leverage to the Junta, under any pre-existing convenant to which they are a signatory, to renage on their words and prolong the military rule but rather it would have given rise to an interim civilian government that would have prepared the country for a return to constitutional rule as was the case in Liberia. In other words, the transition to constitutional rule would have been prolonged but not necessarily military rule.Thanks
This is what kaanibaa pointed out:
I remember posing a specific question to Halifa ; to wit , who is going to ensure that what is/ was being proposed as our draft constitution would be respected and not manipulated as it was shortly afterwards, to the advantage of the AFPRC. His argument was exactly what Kay posited above, I was one of the doubting Thomases, then and hey man they just wriggled their way out , I believe it was better with all things considered to have rejected the proposed constitution. Accepting it did not solve our problems and as a lot of water has now gone under the bridge, one can with hindsight see that we did not take the bull by its horn so we were taken for a crazy ride. Apportioning blame for the Constitutional imbroglio at this stage might seem an exercise in futility but like all things happening in our dear country post-mortem examinations expose faults or explains what went wrong and those who erred in that case should own up.Some one surely was responsible for campaigning for national acceptance of the draft, Halifa certainly campaigned in support , was his act the catalyst , who knows? but; that had he just taken a different route what might have been the result. The current situation; though leaves much to be desired. Like a journey which comes to a dichotomized junction those who decide a route to follow cannot say they did not contribute to any woes if there are any as they would have taken credit for any good so to speak. My stupid brain tells me that this is what I should expect from people who chose to convince me about such phenomenal life changing decisions. Am I mad about this , you bet I am and do not know if I can forgive the defaulters in this case.As for what I voted for , men it was a big counter to the proposals which I am crying about as it was defeated, was it fairly ; hell no!. So those who chose to thread the lines safely ended up having a tainted and grossly manipulated constitution for us ; which thereafter left out very vital clauses for our national safeguards against tyranny as I feared.It did not help that the draft was accepted because in the end the dirty group got a vote which they claim made them legitimate. You see!