By Sainey M.K. Marenah, Shout Africa Bureau Chief in Gambian Capital Banjul reporting – The President of the Gambia Bar Association, Sheriff Tambedou, has opined that the rule of law may be an instrument of stability, an atmosphere which is a condition precedent for any development.
“The law and its rule is an instrument fashioned by society for the purpose of achieving harmonious adjustment of human relations by eliminating social tensions and conflicts. It must thus assume a dynamic role in the process of transformation of our community,” Tambedou said recently while presenting a paper at a day-long forum on civil-military relations held at TANGO.
Presenting on the topic: “The significance of rule of law and respect for human rights in the promotion of peace, stability and national development”, Tambedou said whatever plans of change or development contemplated, such plans have to be introduced through either legislation or administration will.
Noting that the importance of the rule of law alone as an instrument of change cannot be over emphasized, the GBA President said we should also avoid the temptation of placing too high hopes on what the rule of law alone can achieve, when unsupported by social or economic resurrecting or political will.
According to him, in The Gambia like anywhere else in the world, there is violation of civil and political rights.
“Violations of these kinds by public officers are daily occurrences,” he said, adding that appointment of people with law degrees or legal backgrounds in the security services is a step in the right direction.
In his view, whether human rights violations are done with the encouragement or support of the state is subject to debate.
“Whether there are effective and functioning mechanisms and procedures for providing aggrieved persons with remedies against such violation is also subject to debate,” Tambedou noted.
He stated that whatever difficulties there may be in the observance of human rights and the rule of law, and whatever the reasons for non-observance of human rights, it is one factor that contributes to our under development.
“The rule of law and its constitution are not exempted from such a scrutiny. It is extremely important that this powerful symbol of power and authority of the state is put to the service of the community and to the attainment of these goals which the community has chosen,” he further added.
This, he noted, is why fundamental rights are entrenched in our constitution, and this is what they seek to achieve.