Jun 13, 2008, 7:34 AM
When journalists are abducted or murdered with impunity, the rule of law is broken. When people are taken from their homes straight to the prisons or to unknown places, the rule of law is violated. Respect for the law is a prerequisite for social justice and peaceful coexistence in society. No society can make meaningful progress without adherence to the rule of law.
It is for this reason that we note with concern that The Gambia has, in the Gambia-EC Development Cooperation Review, dropped in the areas of the rule of law, transparency and corruption and participation and human rights. The gain the country has recorded in sustainable economic development and human development could be enhanced if there were a corresponding improvement in the fields of the rule of law and transparency. Real growth cannot be sustained where there is no transparency and the rule of law.
Here lies the challenge for the state. For the rule of law to be seen to prevail in the country, due process should and must be followed in all cases, even those that might appear to be awkward to deal with. Therefore, the state would be wise to decriminalize press offences, in addition to repealing the law that imposes stringent conditions for newspaper registration. Besides, the state should do all that it can to find the killers of Deyda Hydara and bring them to justice as well as helping to trace the whereabouts of Chief Ebrima Manneh. Both the late Deyda Hydara and Chief Ebrima Manneh who disappeared into thin air since 2004 and 2006 respectively are Gambians. When a citizen is killed in strange circumstances or appears to have been abducted, it is incumbent on the state to track down the perpetrators of such dastardly acts. If the state is seen to be helpless in protecting the lives of its citizens, then something is wrong somewhere. Indifference to such acts is a clear violation of human rights.
In this connection we would humbly like to state here that the government should do all it can in improving those areas that they fell short of.
"To no one will we sell ,to no one will we deny, or delay, right or justice".