A last minute “Malangaring” or should I call it Joker has given a constitutional lifeline to the embattled President of Gambia , Yayah Jammeh , the self acclaimed trado medical healer recently lost his countries presidential elections to a former real estate agent in the west African state .
Few days ago the Gambian ruler declared a state of Emergency which was approved by the countries National Assembly, and few hour ago the BBC reported that the Gambia’s National Assembly has extended the tenure of the President by 90 days.
Curiously I went in search of the Gambian constitution to unearth where the Parliament derived its powers to extended the tenure of a President.
After about 30 minutes of going through what looked like a duplicate if the Nigerian constitution I realised that Buhari who himself have never conceded an election to his opponent no matter how transparent the elections were, Senegal who have been showing off its obsolete Military hardware in display of Force to its tiny neighbor and the ECOWAS have all blindly fallen into a legal trap set by Jammeh.
They missed an opportunity to despatch judges to the Gambian supreme court to speedily adjudicate on the election matter as required by section 49 of the Gambian constitution which would have cleared any obstacle to the inauguration of President -elect Adama Barraw .
Section 34 subsections 1- 5 provides that the President can declare a state of emergency and such declaration will subsist for 90 days provided it was approved two third by the National Assembly of the Gambia .
The joker in declaring the state of emergency at this time is in section 99 subsection 2 of the Gambian constitution which deals with the circumstances under which the tenure of the National Assembly can be extended.
It States that ; Any time the Gambia is at War or a state of emergency is declared , the National Assembly supported by a vote of not less than 2 /3 of its members can extend the life of the Assembly by 3 months at a time.
But not more than a total of 1 year under this subsection.
This subsection appeared innocuous to the Gambian President elect until I read section 63 subsection 6 which deals with the office of the President and realised ECOWAS needs to recheck their strategy if the Gambian stalemate will end without Bloodshed and a violation of the Gambian constitution.
Section 63(6) states that
When the tenure of the National Assembly is extended for any period in accordance with section 99(2) the tenure of office of the President shall be extended for the same period.
What this simply means is that except the ECOWAS quickly provides judges for the Gambian supreme court to quickly adjudicate on Jammeh’s petition and quickly dispose or uphold it he may be in office for another one year without violating any provision of his countries constitution.
Africa and the impoverished people of west Africa do not deserve another war, Nigerian soldiers have already seen enough in the last 8 years, we already have too many military widows I don’t think we should make more widows in Gambia.
Jammeh and his gang in the Gambia also need to understand that leadership is not by force, democratic irresponsibility has its consequences they must be willing to put the interest of their own people above their ego and carnal desires, for decades Africa have been defined by despots and the wars they foolishly invite , we don’t need a war at a time our economy is in coma, every bomb exploded can build a school somewhere in Africa , A Russian made AK47 can fully stock a local school library with all the book it needs , the cost of sending military ships and maintaining them can be of great help to our dilapidated infrastructure.
For Ages we have traded our meagre earnings for weapons from the west which we have consistently used to kill ourselves and destroy the continent this must stop.
May God in his infinite Grace & Mercy grant our leaders the wisdom to avoid Bloodshed in Gambia
“The tenure of human positions, no matter how highly exalted will eventually come to an end. Only Gods tenure is eternal” Oche Otorkpa