Where is the diaspora’s class action lawsuit againstGambia government and the IEC?

Are our citizenship rights suspended soon as we step out of the borders of The Gambia? Are the values we add to the totality of the socio-economic dynamics of the country insignificant ? Are the social and contractual obligationsbetween the diaspora and the government of the Gambia invalid ? Are we a set of class of citizens less valued than those residing in the country ? Is taxation without representation the new foundation of The Gambiandemocracy? Is the constitution not representative of our plights? Are those in the diaspora even consideredGambians? Is it only when our tokens and expertise are needed, suddenly we are valued and considered? We yearn for an elaboration on these matters from the constitutional scholars and the legal minds of The Gambia. We just doubt it will ever happen before the Decemberelections. Because the so called Gambian lawyers seems to espouse the image of some educatedlowlevelamateurs still learning the legal procedures. I dear you guys to prove us wrong.

Warnings are circulating among Gambian diaspora,pointing out the dangers of irresponsibly casting votes for the wrong politicians. The desperations in their voices are channel through the tough words sometimes voice mailed to their families. If you vote for mediocrity, the consequence will befall you guys, some will shout theirlungs out to their loved ones back home. Families groups on social medias and chat forum on WhatsApp groups are bombarded with arguments that end up tearing close ones apart. Through these forums, they will highlight the cost of living, the increased crime rate, the uneven distribution of wealth, the dire health situation, the breakdown of civil societies, the hopelessness of the established politics of the day and the decline in the educational output of the graduating youthful population. Others will argue against the tendency to succumb to pressure of those they see as unpatriotic and self-centered. Vote the status quo out, prepare for a divided Gambia, they will lament. All because the diaspora will not vote in the coming elections.We then pose the question to the legal and constitutional scholars; do you empathize with our position at all? How do you advocate for our voting rights ? How do you litigate our plights in the constitutional courts of The Gambia?

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Under the rule of a dictatorship, we could perceive the imposition of a so-called constitutional republic by theelites of society to ensure our captivity and destitution. But in a democracy, we should presume the constitution to be a binding social contract between us and the state. The elected and selected officials are contractually bound to uphold both the spirit and the essence of the constitution. Their efforts to put guard rails against the trespasses and violations of the plights of their constituents within the framework of the constitution are their legal, professionaland moral responsibilities. The fact that these are not topics of discussion in the national assembly is an indication of the dereliction of their duties. Don’t they all deserve their days in court, we ask ?

The ultimate questions therefore are obvious. Why is the organized diaspora not suing the executive, the legislative and the Independent Electoral commission (IEC) to the constitutional courts of the Gambia? Why are the lawyersnot mobilized for a class action lawsuit of the whole system to ensure our voting rights ? Why is the attorneygeneral and the minister of justice not tabling a bill for a provisional legal authority to allow the diaspora to vote ? That department too should be sued. It is equally culpable.Hopefully a potent lawyer(s) is ready to take such a case.

To the diaspora we encourage, take a swift action today, mobilize yourselves and fund a class action lawsuitagainst the whole system in the Gambia. There is a legal path to victory here. Either we are provided with voting rights or simply block the elections this December till our concerns to vote are addressed. Our taxes, our remittance and our supports are the lifelines for the majority ofGambians. The Gambia is to a large extent dependent on our generosities. We have a tool to hold the state ransom. We should think of weaponizing it.

How do we then vote is the question ? We vote by mail to our respective embassies or consulate in our countries of residence. Every Gambian registered within the borders ofa foreign country can be accorded this possibility. Those who cannot receive mails, should be given a provisional ballot through conducive means to cast their votes. An alternative is through an online voting system exclusive for the diaspora. These can be organized in 3 months. The details on execution of such plans, we will leave to election experts.

Where are the justifications now for denying us to take part in our constitutional obligation to choose how we are governed?

By the Engineer

12th August 2021

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