Just in time!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Gambia government has gone further in passing a bill at the National Assembly which is essential changing the age limit barring most citizens of our country from serving in key areas of national development.

The age limit of 70 years placed on judges by the 1997 constitution is effectively amended and shifted to 75 years by the new government under the new dispensation.

In the same vein, the upper age limit for the Presidency has been scrapped by deleting the words in the constitution which placed an upper age limit of 65 years.

“It is envisaged that this facilitate and encourage qualified, competent and experienced Gambians to be appointed as judges of the Superior Courts or be elected to political office,” as stated in the “objects and reasons” for the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Furthermore, the Elections Amendment Act of July 2015, which under section 43 increased the deposit for Presidential aspirants from D10,000 to D500,000; National Assembly aspirants from D5,000 to D50,000; Mayors from D2,500 to D50,000; and councillors from D1,200 to D10,000, have all been reversed to the respective deposits before the July 2015 by the Elections Amendment Bill of 2017.

This reform and amendments drive of the new dispensation will allow for fair play, and opportunity for more competent and capable Gambians with good initiatives to partake in the political scene to develop this country.

Such huge deposits for aspirants for these offices did, to a large extent, contribute to barring or preventing competent, genuine and wise leaders, who could take our nation from one level to another or transform the country from grass to grace.

What such exorbitant deposits meant to do also was to deter genuine democracy and deny capable Gambians with less resources their right to seek such political offices in our homeland.

It was, therefore, a tool to deter the good progress, growth and development of our nation, as it meant only to favour the affluent who were in a position to contest for and attain such high offices.

We, therefore, commend the new administration - which has vowed to promote democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and other dignified human values - to continue to think wisely and go ahead in demolishing those barriers and walls preventing many a genuine Gambian from seeking political office, and in the process rob our nation of sound and correct leadership, which could effectively and efficiently take the country from one good stage to another.

Advanced age is not necessarily the yardstick to determine a good leader. A good or bad leader can come from any age bracket. And many a time, outright despots, dictators, or bad rulers have come from youthful leadership.

Please help us to name one!

“Do things that make you happy within the confines of the legal system.”

Ellen DeGeneres