Last updateLun, 26 Jan 2015 8pm

Gambia: Opposition leader criticises lawyers

Banjul, Gambia - The leader of Gambia's opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP), Hamat Bah, has lashed out at the Gambia Bar Association for its failure to defend the citizenry by not challenging bad laws that are passed by parliament.

The Voice newspaper reported on Monday that Mr Bah said in 2013 the National Assembly passed a number of bills which should had been challenged by the Bar or individual lawyers as they had sworn to defend the Gambian people and promote democracy and rule of law.

The bills included the Information, Communication and Technology Amendment Bill, Domestic Violence Bill and Sexual Offence Bill.

Mr Bah said whereas the opposition could do very little to prevent these laws from being approved by parliament, lawyers and civil society had a role to challenge them, even in the courts.

He said: “We commend the few who stand to defend the country and its people but we also blame those who failed or refused to stand to defend the constitutional laws of the country.'

Mr Bah added: “We see situations where their (lawyers) own colleagues and friends have been arrested and jailed but nothing comes out of it, not even single statement from the Bar. Now the Bar doesn’t want to challenge government but people always point fingers at the opposition to challenge the government.”

He said Gambia had become a country where even some members of the Bar were not ready or were reluctant to handle cases of the opposition or matters that were sensitive to government.

The opposition leader said his party was resolute in its decision to work for freedom and respect for the rule of law, adding that its doors were still open for partnership with other opposition parties. 

Pana 07/01/2014