Gambia: Abuse of Power overshadows Governance in the African continent

By Femi Peters – Speaking at the just concluded 48th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Banjul, The Gambia,  The acting Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Commissioner Mumba Malila made a remark on how some of those in power choose to misapply and abuse it.

Hosted in the Gambia were state delegates, human rights defenders, civil society organizations, journalists and other delegates invited to partake in this session. He spoke extensively on the predominance of election fraud, intimidation of opposition parties, the media by people in power and also how the judiciary is undermined

However the absence of democratic governance is unfortunately absence in most parts of the continent.

He further added that the absence of rule of law is a perfect recipe for anarchy, and the continuing threats to the enjoyment of human rights. The African Commission’s acting chairperson was of the conviction that the consolidation of democratic governance and the promotion of constitutional rule and human rights demands that “we always have a climate of legality about us”.

The regional delegates that the protection and promotion of human rights are cardinal virtues to democratic governance and sustainable development on the continent, and these are integral parts of the African Union’s core values.

He stated: “If as we sometimes see in some African countries, those with executive authority violate the law with impunity, disregard court orders and impose their rule against the will of voters, are in the front line in the open raping and plunder of state resources for personal gains, a climate of illegality prevails.”

The African continent, Hon. Malila further stated, has witnessed decades of immense human rights challenges, resulting from a diverse range of factors including civil wars, poverty, corruption and autocratic governance.

“The situation of human rights in Africa, unfortunately, continues to be of grave concern in spite of the existence of the charter and the implementing organ it creates, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Malila further noted.

Giving the closing remark of  the 48th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was Edward Gomez, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, felicitates with the delegates on the enormous task they are performing in curbing the sporadic human rights violations in the African continent, adding that the Commission has to fulfill various tasks on human rights.“You have embarked on a noble and great task, and I entreat you to continue the noble task. Africa is a great continent,” Gomez added. He finally encourage the delegates to keep up the good work and  urged the commission to eradicate evil acts in the society, which, he added, is not limited to the violation of human rights. A communiqué was however released afterwards outlining concerns and giving recommendations made during the session.