The fundamental premise of The New Gambia is not only the comprehensive reversal of the propensities of the Old Order, but the enthronement of human dignity, including economic justice, political justice and social justice. Freedom of expression is the foundation of all other rights and its inhibition will constitute, unacceptably, a marauding constriction of the democratic space. This must not be permitted. The rule of law will be severely imperiled if citizens are incapacitated from responsibly speaking their minds on governance in accordance with the law.

However, in constitutional law, there are no absolute rights. The legitimate exercise of rights must be contextualized in relation to a given law and relevant circumstances. Yet, procedural propriety must always be respected. Both the State and the citizen are subject to the law. Neither the citizen nor the State is above the law. Where a controversy emerges as to the application of rights, we must all utilise legal and legitimate avenues to resolve the controversy, and if required defer to the judiciary. No one should take the law unto your own hands. This is the dictates of a democratic society.

I condemn all efforts under any guise to silence the public. One incident is too many, and we should all rise up against any such creeping tendency. Reciprocally, no nation should permit circumstances to germinate that will threaten its national unity, stability, peace and prosperity. The rights of a subject in a democratic State must be weighed against the overriding public interest, for an individual must not overwhelm collective interests and should be subordinate to general public wellbeing. This is the challenge of governance. I call for restraint on all sides, and strongly urge all sides to advert our minds to the rule of the law, follow due process and ensure fairness in the democratic process. The law should protect, not oppress, and the State has the duty to assure this. The citizens also have the obligation to act responsibly within the confines of the law in invoking their rights. I strongly urge the authorities to fully respect the due process rights of all persons arrested, under custody or pursuing judicial remedies.

Source: Mai Fatty’s Facebook page

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