(JollofNews) – An opposition party in the Gambia has accused the APRC regime of President Yahya Jammeh of violating the country’s constitution and
impeding on the rights and liberties of the Gambian people.
The People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) said since the coming into force of the 1997 constitution, which was approved in a referendum in 1996, the Jammeh regime has failed to show any commitment to propagating the values of the republicanism of the Gambia and the sovereignty of her people.
It said in total disregard to the wishes of the Gambian people, President Jammeh and his government have rejected and omitted the proposition for a term limit opted by many Gambians.
The party added that instead of submitting proposals to remove the constitutional provision on term limit for consideration to a referendum, the Jammeh regime used its dominance in the National Assembly to amend the constitution thereby enhancing the culture of self perpetuating rule in the country.
“No wonder they are commemorating 20 years in power and are still yearning for more,” the opposition party said.
It added: “The APRC [government] utilised its parliamentary majority to aid the executive to amend section 48 subsection 3 of the 1997 constitution, which was approved in a referendum to ensure that a presidential candidate would be elected by the absolute majority of voters.
“The APRC utilised its parliamentary majority to aid the executive to amend section 72 of the constitution which tried to prevent conflict of interest by banning ministers from engaging in business, and requiring them to put any business owned before their appointment under trusteeship.”
“The APRC utilised its parliamentary majority to amend sections 58 and 59 of the 1997 constitution which aimed to dismantle the colonial local government structures which made district and village heads puns of the executive through executive appointments by introducing the elective principle to fill such posts. The elective principle has been nullified.
“The amended provision now mandates the president to appoint and remove district heads while the minister responsible of regional administration could appoint and remove village heads. The chairpersons of councils are no longer elected through universal suffrage and their autonomy have been completely nullified by strengthening the grip which the executive have over them.”
PDOIS further accused President Jammeh and his government of ignoring the constitutional provision which provides for the Secretary General of the Public Service to be appointed from those occupying the public service and not to hold other positions of emolument like a ministerial post or hold a position in a political party.
It added that although President Yahya Jammeh has swore to uphold and defend the Gambian constitution, he has nullified the security of tenure of members of parliament, judges, members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) by dismissing them at will without any impeachment proceedings or judicial review.
The party said the Jammeh regime is also disregarding section 19 of the constitution which protects the right to liberty by making it instructive for detainees to be informed of the reasons for their arrest and detention, and their right to contact a legal counsel within three hours of detention.
“They should also be charged and taken before a court or be released within 72 hour. This is violated with impunity. At this very moment the former head of the civil service, 10 Agric senior officials and others are under detention for more than 72 hours,” the party said.