Halifa Sallah Unmasked Masqueraders!
Alagi Yorro Jallow
I have painfully observed that many Facebookers have itching fingers. We type all sorts of things on our walls without reasoning. We condemn what other people do or say without life, human or professional knowledge to fully understand what is done or said. And we write with so much empty confidence and arrogant assertiveness.
From the beginning of man, there has been a raft of spiteful, irrational brutes with no social restraints. In real life and face to face conversations, a gamut of human constraints has held people back from expressing their real thoughts and display their worst instincts. With the social media and internet in general, the natural constraints on irrational and irresponsible behavior no longer apply from behind the screen of cheap phones, cheap data, and free browsing.
It is worse in the Gambia Diaspora community as well in the Gambia where we invent nothing, adopt and consume what others produce, even before we understand the product or service. Facebook and Twitter in the Gambia and for Gambians have created a vast swath of trolls and keyboard warriors who hawk their appalling lack of empathy, poor upbringing and no social restraints of any kind. With herds mentality, poor education, expired thinking capacity, rabid partisanship, ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry, the Gambian social media space is heaven to spiteful keyboard groupies. The platform of interaction built to shorten distances of modern living has given sociopathic cowards the avenue to express the worst in human nature devoid of real contact.
Historian Mark Cartwright says the plebs and parliamentarians, “swore an oath (sacrosanctitas) which gave the Constitution a sacred inviolability (sacrosanctity) and a guarantee that the plebs and lawmakers would protect them with their own lives”. Parliamentarians their experiences were not always pleasant.
When a wise man clocks 60 plus years, he starts packing and preparing for the inevitable departure. The years ahead are fewer than the ones behind him. But for an institution such as the National Assembly, every addition in years is an opportunity for rebirth and reinvention, an additional plate in its armor. Today’s true people’s representative fights very many wars at the same time. There is the digital onslaught that mutates against every countermeasure. There is the sly, evil state ever scheming to ruin the hallowed chamber and rule people’s minds unchallenged. There is the future, ever creepy, unknown, unsteady and untrustworthy.
With plagiarized parodies of hate speech and fake news seeking to mute critical voices in the land; with the legislature sinking in incestuous sleaze with money and position, and the legislature signing blank, postdated cheques for the fifth columnist, the future can only be difficult and dangerous for the people’s representatives and their followers. But for the tested, the approaching minefields of power should be conquerable familiar terrains. Wise, trained eyes do not get lost in the woods where dusk met them – no matter how treacherous the night is. The mouth that will tell the story of our ongoing (and oncoming) wars won’t be on its casualty list.
History has no record of the palace outliving the people. Impeachment is a political process; heavily defined by the prevailing political dynamics? The main thing to keep in mind is that impeachment is completely a ‘political’ process and should be judged only by political criteria. True, it ‘looks’ a little bit like a legal process; but it’s not legal at all–it’s only political.
As I watched the adjournment debate in the National Assembly on what the 1997 Constitution say about impeaching the president out of office. It is crystal clear that Halifa Sallah has pulled out the masquerade, and heightened online activity from Facebook Lawyers, Twitter Lawyers, test tube lawyers and other ignoramuses, pseudo-experts and masqueraders. In Halifa Sallah’s legal argument there is a lesson whereas the constitution is an important tool of social, economic and political engineering, it is not the only tool. There are many equally important tools including morals, religion, values, principles, etc. The problems currently bedeviling the Gambia, for which Gambia’s lawmakers and Fifth columnists bears the greatest responsibility, they will not be resolved by recourse to clever but dishonest and self-serving legalistic arguments.
Halifa Sallah informed the National Assembly members that they do not have the and legal and political powers to institute the Constitutional procedure of impeachment and removal of the President from office. He cited Section 96 (2) and of the 1997 Constitution. During the adjournment debate in the National Assembly, Halifa Sallah reminded his colleagues, lawmakers to familiar and understand the letter and spirit of the Constitution. He revealed that National Assembly members are powerless as well constrained by precedent in the course of impeachment of the President. Hon. Sallah expounded a powerful argument that National Assembly members are not guided by any sense of Constitutional responsibility to impeach the president from office. Impeachment is both political and a legal process.
Halifa Sallah interpreted Section 96 (2) of the 1997 Constitution as amended in 2006 by the National Assembly, that constitutionally empowers the President with the power to dissolve the National Assembly cited Section 96(2) that reads: “Notwithstanding the provision of subsection(1), the President may, in the public interest, declare by Order published in the Gazette, that a general election of all members of the National Assembly shall be held on such date as he or she shall determine” This provision according to Hon. Sallah renders members of the National Assembly constrained and powerless to impeach the President.
Facebook lawyers and pseudo-intellectuals with impudent obstinacy in their infallible position are being questioned by reliance on the provisions of section 96 (2), under which they are falsely being misleading social media followers that the President can be impeached by the National Assembly. Anybody? It appears many spontaneous Facebook commentators, including test-tube lawyers, have not read or understood the 1997 Constitution as amended in 2006 “The Meeting and Dissolution of the National Assembly”.
Halifa Sallah helped to elucidate this matter of impeachment that the National Assembly originally had the powers to impeached the President but was quick to explicate and analyze in principle that the National assembly in 2006, lawmakers somersaulted and amended the 1997 Constitution given the imperial President the powers to dissolve the National Assembly at any time-constrained and rendered National Assembly members impotent to institute impeachment proceeding against the president under the current 1997 Constitution. Halifa Sallah comes restrained and measured with his usual well-informed Constitutional and legal arguments. Facebook reveals a lot to me about people and it helps to expose pseudo-intellectuals masquerading as public intellectuals as well as test tube lawyers misleading vulnerable and the disadvantaged. Hon. Sallah is an accomplished and distinguished Constitutional analyst! I am scandalized that Facebook and Twitter lawyers or legal neophytes without a fraction of the logic in their brain began to disparage Mr. Sallah and question his understanding of the Constitution; you wonder if there is hope for this country. No one is beyond their insult. They assume authority in all areas of knowledge because the can cobble up incongruent sentences together on Facebook. Everything and everyone is fair game! What and who exactly do they respect when professional accomplishments and erudition means nothing? An internationally acclaimed professor will write and people who cannot compete in their field when placed in a room with their global peers will say he writes rubbish! For a simple reason that they are online using a technology whose simple protocols that can’t even understand! What drives this kind of behavior? It is sad! We have lost our way.