A people in a sovereign republic are guaranteed fundamental rights. These fundamental rights and freedoms are not gifts from authorities. They are possessions owned by the people. In a sovereign republic, higher authorities do not own power. Power is entrusted to them. Public trustees would be guilty of usurping the power of the people if they exercise such powers to violate the right of a citizen even for a second not to talk about hours or a day.

Fundamental rights and freedoms are to be respected and protected. Leaders who treasure them would instruct all agencies of the state to do everything within their powers never to violate them. This is the dictate of section 17 of the Constitution. It reads:

“The fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in this Chapter shall be respected and upheld by all organs of the Executive and its agencies, the Legislature  and, where applicable to them, by all natural and legal persons in The Gambia, and shall be enforceable by the Courts in accordance with this Constitution.”

If the 1997 Constitution which we aim to change can go this far, those who aim to come up with a better constitution should not be found to be flouting the dictates of our Constitution that is even deemed to be inadequate. It is not a sign of commitment to good governance by advocating for high ideals in words only to fall back to your point of departure by violating those rights and ideals in deed.

Join The Conversation