Furthermore, section 132 of the Constitution empowers the high court with original jurisdiction “to hear and determine all criminal proceedings” with the exception of proceedings for which the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction. On 2 October 2012, the high court entered judgment in favour of Bernd Georg Diedrich in his seven year civil suit. In his judgment, the high court judge declared that Mr. Diedrich is the rightful owner of the suitland and that all transfers and allocations of land to the defendants are null and void. The court ordered that the defendants be evicted from the suitland and granted “a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from entering in, interfering with or building on, developing or in any way interfering with the suitland.” However, according to Mr. Diedrich, on 23 December 2014, some officials of physical planning department accompanied with about a dozen fully armed PIU personnel ordered him to vacate the land declared by the court to be his own. The permanent secretary, ministry of lands indicated that this was the consequence of an executive order and declined to make any further comment. Needless to say, the position of the Constitution on such matters is quite explicit. According to section 120 subsection (3) of the Constitution: “The Government and all departments and agencies of the Government shall accord such assistance to the courts as the courts may reasonably require to protect their independence, dignity and effectiveness.” In short, what the president, ministers, permanent secretaries, department heads and police ought to do is to assist the courts in executing their orders not undermining the authority of the courts. In a democracy, it is the rule of law which prevails while in a tyranny the rule of might takes sway. What Gambians cherish is to live in liberty, dignity and prosperity and which calls for democracy. It goes without saying that a leader has no moral authority to protest against oppression and exploitation by outside powers while injustice continues to prevail in his/her country.]]>
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