Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Islamic Republic of The Gambia is a farce

Gambia Christian Council 
The Republic of The Gambia's Constitution of 1997 is very clear and emphatic on the secularity of the Gambian State.  The preamble states in plain and unambiguous language that "The Gambia is a Secular State".  Because the concepts of sovereignty, republicanism and secularity of the State are so central to our national identity, the clause language is "entrenched" which means it cannot be changed or modified without the consent of the People through a referendum.

Consistent with the contemptuous behavior of the Gambian dictator, he sprang a surprise on the Gambian people by issuing an "Executive Order" declaring The Republic of The Gambia an Islamic Republic in absolute contravention of the Constitution he swore to uphold.  Even for an absolute dictator, such a brazenly cavalier stroke of the pen is breathtakingly callous further demonstrating absolute and total contempt for the Gambian people, not only the Christian community.

Father David Jimoh Jarju of the Catholic Church is on record pleading with the Jammeh regime to clarify its intention, following a meeting when the Christian community expressed concern about the status of their religion within the State especially as the government representative at the meeting stated that Jammeh declared the country an Islamic State in order to promote Islam.  In response to Attorney General and Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh, in her clumsy defense of the decision, the Methodist Bishop pointedly asked "how can you have two children and support one and leave the other?  Are we all children of the State?"

The regime has since been haphazardly implementing some features of the new status without being clear about what the Islamic State is supposed to look like in the absence of a clear policy and a structural design of the Islamic State.  The banning of drumming and signing during the holy month of Ramadan is a perfect example of how unintentionally disruptive the change has become by the conflicting instructions coming from the regime whether the ban extends to traditional church services and private residences.  The incompetence of the regime is much in display here as its lack of clarity and seriousness in such serious a matter as transforming the State from a Secular to an Islamic Republic.

The idea of transforming the Gambia into an Islamic Republic is being driven more by expediency in the face of the dwindling of financial assistance from donors because of Jammeh deplorable human rights record.  As the financial assistance pool dries up, Jammeh is hoping that the Arab and Muslim worlds will fill the void.  The gimmick has failed thus far.  The Muslim Ummah has not stepped up to the plate because they are not convinced that the project is a serious one.  Unfortunately, it is having some undesirable and far-reaching effects on the Christian communities across the country.  It is time to scrap the project which is unconstitutional and, thus, illegal.