Madi Jobarteh

Congratulations to a brother, Comrade Salieu Taal for his election as the President of the Gambia Bar Association. Indeed, the election of Salieu gives much hope and inspiration to the progressive transformation of the Gambia Bar Association in making it assumes its rightful position in the building of democracy and good governance in the Gambia.

Sal has been a huge resource and inspiration in the emergence of a proactive and strong civil society movement in the new Gambia. He has demonstrated his willingness and commitment to stand with the people even at the risk of his livelihood as a business man. Indeed, until individuals like Sal, who belong to the privileged middle class and have everything lose, are ready and committed to the cause of the people the dream of a just, equal and democratic Gambia will remain but a fleeting dream, never to be attained.

In every society, in every epoch it is always the intelligentsia and the middle class that have been the spark that brings about change by awakening, inspiring, mobilising and organizing the ordinary man and woman to stand up for justice, freedom and democracy. Sal has demonstrated that he is indeed the people’s intellectual, a middle-class business person with a conscience and ready to stand up by his convictions! Not only has he given his time and resources for the defence of democracy and human rights in the Gambia, but he has much more demonstrated his readiness to face the consequences as they may come!

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With his election I have no doubts that Sal will lead the transformation of the Gambia Bar Association from being an isolated group of well-fed and highly privileged class of citizens who live off on the trials and tribulations of the ordinary citizens of this country to becoming a true champion for justice and freedom for the poor man and woman. I am certain that Sal will lead the Gambia Bar Association to become a true stakeholder in the governance of the country by standing up to ensure that the Executive, in particular respects the separation of powers principle and adhere to the rule of law and uphold constitutionalism at all times. I am damn sure that Sal will not allow once again a Government or public officials or justices and magistrates to abuse the court system as a means to further their political objectives and self-interests and thereby undermine the independence and professionalism of the Judiciary and corrupt the justice delivery system in the Gambia.

We need a Gambia Bar Association whose members are in tune with the issues and concerns of the ordinary citizens. We need a bar association with members whose hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the people of the Gambia. We need a bar association whose members have discovered that they have a mission of service to their people and are prepared to fulfil and not betray that mission. This is the bar association we expect Sal to generate out of the Gambia Bar Association.

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We trust that Sal will become that president who will bring the Gambia Bar Association to the homes and work places of Gambians to fight for the protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms as stipulated in the Gambia Constitution and international human rights laws. We need a bar association that is concerned with the lives and livelihoods of Gambians in our homes, streets, farms, markets, work places and indeed throughout our communities.

While congratulating Salieu Taal it behoves on us all to not only support this true people’s intellectual but also to hold him and the entire Gambia Bar Association to account. He and the Bar must deliver, and never again shall we entertain any excuses and concocted fears from lawyers for their refusal and failure to stand up for justice and freedom in the Gambia. The new Gambia cannot be built and strengthened and perfected in the absence of the Gambia Bar Association and its lawyers. Hence lawyers must realise that they are an integral part of society, not to fleece society but to serve society!

Congratulations Salieu Taal. Congratulations Gambia Bar Association. Let this election be the beginning of a new beginning for the Gambia Bar Association and the Republic of the Gambia.

For the Gambia Our Homeland

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