Observations on the ‘Body’ Politic

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Observations on the ‘Body’ Politic

A medieval concoction drenched in ancient history, the term ‘body politic’ refers to the collective people of a state or society politically organized under a single government-authority. Writing in fifteenth century England, Sir John Fortescue, puts that the difference between an ‘Absolute’ and a ‘Limited’ Monarchy is that the ‘divine character of the king is his royal power derived from angels, and separate from the frail physical powers of his body’ – lol right.

We should put in context a time that predates democracy when England and most of Europe was ruled by powerful ‘Absolute’ monarchs under religion ‘christian’ orthodoxy. Stung by the quest for knowledge & ideas, history teaches how the English people rose – led by the church (Archbishop Langton) – to overthrow an unelected King (John), thus the Magna Carta was born.  The ‘’Magna Carta (1215) also called the ‘Great Charter’ demands that the sovereign be subject to the rule of law laying the foundation for individual rights & supremacy of parliament in Anglo-American jurisprudence as we know it today.

Touching on Gambian sensibility as to the great moral decline in society, one is left to ask if the Supreme Islamic Council and Christian Council respectively could prevail any more clout on the lawless president that is Barrow??? I report to you of great debauch & lawlessness in our country contrary to what obtained in the Jawara Era.

From a diaspora standpoint – it concerns me greatly that institutions and laws of the Gambia still stand weak and adulterated; for an administration found wanting time & time again, floundering democratic procedures for selfish, personal ends.

For instance – given that this year’s rainy season barely drops – the farming season all but a big right-off, what is the administration’s strategy for a many poor, frustrated farmers? When will the millionaire president & his agriculture minister show up from hiding hold a press conference on the urgency of the matter = shed light on anxieties therein? What contingency plans if any, anticipated damage to economic growth, plus recovery plans to mitigate the severity?

Instead of an all year-round mechanised agriculture to bring about fertile land and youth to life, give meaning and purpose to  rural Gambia, we are left stuck with a half-hearted government still figuring out how to win the next election.

There is a somewhat obsession with so-called foreign investors & of unhealthy reliance on donor aid. But we are yet to see any tangible efforts on big sustainable projects that add to mechanized push for the average farmer? Where is the land reform? Promises of twenty thousand jobs within fishries? The Janneh Commission report? Weapons report impounded at the port? The D33 million first-lady foundation scandal – No man is divine or above the law!!!

Rather than distracting us with revisionist history & sideshows on what or who unseat Jammeh the ‘most’ (sic), meanwhile, poverty numbers continue to shoot up all across rural Gambia.

On security sector reform – One would expect of a countrywide transformation masterplan that caters to safe and secure borders, brand new police, immigration and military complexes strategically dotted within safe distance. That has not happened, nor any new prison cell built in the countryside to replace the outdated ‘Mile 2’. The sight of the State Intelligence boss pinpointing its locations all over the country gives not any more confidence – for the mandate call to operate below radar, far removed from prying eyes!!!

Still on efforts that advance for a safe and secure Gambia, a complete overhaul of the army is of upmost necessity. The CDS Kinteh has proven to be incompetent given all the budgetary (and bi-lateral support) wasted over the past two years, in view of the current state of the army he claims to command. Common sense dictates talented Gambian military graduates trained at Royal military establishments in the UK, Turkey and US be put to post – get rid of the current lot at army HQ tainted from the ‘Jammeh’ years. These highly trained young returnees should be readily transformable to a lean mean military force serving nation interest. The role of ECOMIG is obsolete – Gambia must regain, retain its sovereignty!!!

Needless to say the will be better served by lawmakers and leaders exposed to the world if she is to break free from ‘bellow-the-belt’ style cavalier leadership – fulfil ‘reaches’ (sic) of a middle income country as dramatized in UN sustainable development blueprint (SDGs).

On CRC #Constitution – The Gambian state must have ‘legal bite’ drawn in codified reality to administer justice – as much as legitimacy as well as sovereignty!!!

On TRRC – The thing ought to operate free of the ever-meddling Justice minister Tambedou. He seems to be ‘lawyering’ beyond limits imposed by his portfolio – The TRRC must exercise its statutory independence – rather than speculate – but give it chance to fulfil …

On media space – There need an independent regulator away from state control to police peddlers of false news, libel or slander. An independent media regulator could amicably help settle scores between belligerents over news publications found to be false, even between journalist and government. We do not want to see a situation supposedly someone at State House consume a story they do not like, order for the arrest of that journalist, or shutdown of such media house. Such moves are long-term democratisation process the Gambia must accede to.

As for GRTS, there is need to create a platform for Gambian intellectuals teaching at the university and colleagues to appear engage in critical deliverance. The broadcaster seems preoccupied with jovial entertainment shows than those with potential to advance intellectual creativity. How about a weekly roundtable slot to examine the week that was (political-Economy) – and Gambia’s place in the wider world.

Mr Director General – What about a weekly show to explore the natural environment, educate the viewing public on conservation measures on the country’s fast disappearing flora & fauna. Will the ‘Barrow’ gov’t ever mobilise shed more light on the ‘Banjul Declaration’ (1982) and its own stance on environmental protection?

It would also be wise to create an enabling environment for local script writers and actors to mobilise on local, social history bring to life the country’s vast array of cultural notes: Interestingly, quite obviously of course – there is much of an economy to rebuild as well as the characters and personalities manning the public purse portfolios.

Eid Mubarak to you and your families!!!

For the national interest, I remain.

Gibril Saine

London

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