Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Could The President Ban Political Parties?



Gambians should know where the rights of a citizen start and where they end.

According to Section 43 (1) (c) of the Constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission is responsible for the Registration of Political parties.

Section 60 Subsection (2) directs the IEC to know which party is to remain registered or deregistered. It reads:

(2)  No association shall be registered or remain registered as a political party if-

(a)  it is formed or organised on an ethnic, sectional, religious or regional basis;

(b)  its internal organisation does not conform with democratic principles; or

(c)  its purpose is to subvert this constitution or the rule of law.”

Hence all registered political parties will remain registered as long as they operate according to the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of the land.

It is therefore necessary for all Gambians to understand that it is not the role of the President and his Cabinet who came to office through the ballot box, to ban political parties. Such powers belong to the IEC and only ignorant Gambians would call on the Government to ban a party. Government cannot command the IEC to ban any party.

According to Section 43 Subsection (3) of the Constitution, the Government has no authority to dictate the IEC. This is why the Jammeh administration could not reverse the verdict of the IEC on the election results of December 2016. To protect the Independence of the IEC the Constitution states: “In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

Gambians should therefore spend their time calling on the current Government to show a better example than the APRC administration, rather than calling for the same practice of the past to prevail. Taking one step forward and two steps backwards will lead to retrogression.

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