The unnecessary arrest of NAMs must stop. First it was Hon. Alhagie Sowe, then came the turn of Hon. Touma Njai and now it is Hon. Ya Kumba Jaiteh. The IGP must respect the dignity and integrity of the National Assembly & it’s Members. A mere exchange does not warrant an arrest and charge of a NAM.
Unless a NAM commits a capital offense or some other significant crime it makes no sense to arrest a NAM just because he or she had a push and pull with police officers. Police officers must in fact give respect to a NAM when they encounter and not to treat a NAM like a common criminal.
The police must realise that just because a citizen exchanged harsh words with an officer does not necessarily tantamount to obstruction of their work. It should not automatically follow that just because a challenging exchange with the police and involving a commotion which was eventually put under control therefore anyone involved need to be arrested and charged, more so a NAM.
Police officers must recognise our national institutions and the category of public officials they deal with. Yes, no one is above the law and anyone who violates the law must be held accountable. However the police must be able to hold a sitting National Assembly Member accountable without having to treat them like common criminals, in recognition of the status and dignity of the National Assembly.
The Office of the Clerk must send a strong reaction to the IGP to raise concern over the frequent and increasing arrest of NAMs. No easy issue should lead to the arrest of a NAM hence the Clerk must work out a protocol as to how the police could handle issues involving NAMs.
NAMs, Magistrates and Judges are no ordinary citizens in any civilized democratic society. While they are not above the law yet they must not be treated anyhow in every issue anyhow!
The Legislature and the Judiciary and their officials are independent organs of the State just like the Executive hence NAMs deserve recognition and to be treated with decorum.
Since the police will not easily arrest the President or the Vice President or a Cabinet Minister especially over flimsy issues so also must they not subject NAMs, Judges and Magistrates to such flimsy arrests which tantamount to harassment!
For The Gambia Our Homeland
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