Gambia’s Human rights lawyer speaks on the 3-year mandate saga, urges Barrow to do the right thing


Time to understand Darboe’s statement on the 3 years mandate, pledge or gentleman agreement of President Adama Barrow and his coalition partners. Unfortunately, many have misunderstood Darboe and continue to misquote him.
So let me assist by clarifying the same for the reasonable minds to discern the nuances between what Darboe said and the misquotations!
Lawyer Darboe warned that no one can force Adama Barrow to resign from his Presidency based on the 3 years mandate, pledge, or gentlemen agreement he had with his coalition opposition partners.
That is not simply Darboe’s statement or position, but that is in consonance with the Constitution of The Gambia 1997. This is because, as per the constitution of The Gambia- 1997, Barrow is mandated to serve 5 years Presidential term. As a result, Darboe predicated that position by declaring that anyone who wants to force Barrow to resign from his presidency, he will resist it, by defending it at the Supreme Court. Not exactly the verbatim of his quote but along those lines.
There is nothing wrong with that proclamation if anything it accords with the constitution.
However, what Darboe did not say and that which is completely different, is where Barrow, himself, wishes to resign, out of his volition in honour of his pledges, then Darboe is not saying he, Barrow, cannot do that or that he Darboe can stop that or the Supreme Court.
This is because Section 65(1)(a) of the constitution of The Gambia has contemplated and accommodated that right for the President to resign, if and whenever he wants to do such, either in honour of his own pledges or anything else.
So Barrow has that option and do so if he wishes to honour his words or pledges and proclamation he made to world through the international media. If he wants to honour that pledge then Darboe cannot do anything about that, except to plead with him to rethink the decision.
However, what the constitution does not allow or accept, and that which Darboe is against, is the use of force to secure Barrow’s resignation in honour of the 3 years mandate or pledge!
Force in this sense could mean initiating a court action against Barrow, or physically assaulting him to resign!
Therefore, we cannot force Barrow to resign, but we can ask him to do the honourable thing and honour his words!
Let’s just stop misquoting Darboe and urge Barrow to do the right thing, but it has to be his decision and no one else. He cannot rely on Darboe’s statements which were based on the constitutional dictum.

by Human rights Lawyer Yankuba Dabo

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