Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gambia presidential affairs minister describes EU as “crazy guys”

Dr Njogu Bah
Dr Njogu Bah, minister of presidential affairs, and secretary general and head of civil services has referred to the European Union as crazy guys for imposing their 17-point demand on The Gambia government which he said they (the EU) don’t have the moral authority to do.

“Looking at the EU’s submission, we find it very insulting, to say the least; lack of respect to our independence and sovereignty,” Dr Bah said on Monday, during an extra-ordinary session of the National Assembly, convened for parliamentarians to discuss the demands of the EU to The Gambia government.

The EU has presented a 17-point demand to The Gambia government in which it is requesting the government to revise the portion of the Criminal Code that allows for prosecution on the charges of sedition, libel, false publication to a public servant within 6 months; revise laws on freedom of expression and media regulations within 24 months; review the death penalty by the National Assembly within 12 months, and review the provision of the death penalty in the element of the Criminal Code and other laws for most serious crimes within six months.

Dr Njogu Bah said the EU does not have the moral authority to demand that the Gambia government implement these changes in the laws.   

“The laws of The Gambia are adequate as they are,” he says. 

According to him, whatever action taken here (in The Gambia by the government), are taken within the dictates of the laws. 

“They [the EU] have their own laws, but we can pinpoint many flaws in their system, they are not perfect and that is clear to all of us; in fact there is no perfect system in the world,” Dr Bah said.

By telling the government to implement these changes, the presidential affairs minister said the EU is trying to bring chaos and anarchy into the country.

Bully par excellence

The Gambia’s parliamentary representative to the EU Parliament, Hon. Netty Baldeh, for him, the EU issue is considered a bully par excellence. 

“We all know the EU was a bully, it is still a bully and continue to be a bully,” he said, adding that the EU has to respect and treat The Gambia government as partners. 

The National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladu, Amadou Malick Njie, in his comment, said The Gambia needs an apology from the EU for insulting the integrity of the country 17 times.

For him, each of the 17 points of the EU demands is tantamount to insulting the country.

Contrary to the view of the APRC National Assembly members, Hon. Samba Jallow, an opposition National Assembly representative of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the concerns expressed by the EU, in their demand, are all facts happening in the country. 

As part of the demand, the EU expressed concern by the significant deterioration in the human rights situation in The Gambia in recent months, notably the execution of nine death row inmates, the forced closure of independent radio stations and newspapers, the trial against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists and human rights defenders.

“The fact is the fact - and the fact in this case is that all the things the EU has raised concern about are happening in this country,” said Hon. Jallow, who is member for Niamina Dankunku and the minority leader at the National Assembly.  

According to him, these concerns are what prompted the EU to raise their demands, “so we cannot say they are imposing these on us”.


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