(JollofNews) – The Gambian regime of President Yahya Jammeh has unveiled controversial plans to broaden the death penalty in the West African country.
The plans which are contained in a Gazette published on 10th June 2015 and is expected to be approved by members of the ruling party dominated National Assembly, seeks to make it easy for judges to sentence people to death for any offence the government ‘deems fit’ including corruption, economic crime and sedition.
Courts in the Gambia at the moment can only impose the death penalty in serious cases where there is actual violence or administration of toxic substances resulting in death.
But unsatisfied with the law, the Jammeh regime, which has already executed nine prisoners in 2012, wants to amend the constitution to permit the sentencing to death of any person for offences other than using violence or toxic substances to kill another person.
Opposition leaders in the Gambia have criticised the bill and accused the government of planning to kill innocent Gambians who have not committed any serious offence including murder.
“How can you amend the constitution to kill people who have not killed anybody?” asked Hamat Bah, leader of the opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP).
“Anyone can be a victim if the amendment is allowed to pass. You can be framed and be sent before a judge who knows fully well you are not supposed to have a death penalty, but will sentence you to death and you will be killed.”
Also criticising the bill, Halifa Sallah of the Peoples’ Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), questioned why Mr Jammeh and his government is seeking to kill people who have not committed murder.
“Which mind or conscience could justify such logic?” he asked.
Mr Sallah warned the regime that life is very precious and constitutional provision it is seeking to amend is an entrenched clause that must be subjected to a referendum before it becomes law.
“Since life is very precious the constitution decided to give the final say to the people to decide on such an amendment through a referendum,” he added.
“Before an amendment could take effect 50 per cent of the persons who are entitled to vote in the referendum must vote and at least 75 per cent of those who voted must support the bill.”
Mr Sallah said his party campaign vigorously against the bill.
He added: “PDOIS will leave no stone unturned in doing its duty to raise the awareness of the people and organise them so that they would be conscious of their transformative powers. The type of people we have will determine the type of society we are going to live in. We are all in it together.
“Together we will make history in rejecting any attempt to use death as a punishment for crimes which entitle a person rehabilitation and in refusing for “Money – cracy” to prevail over democracy. The people will prevail since they possess superior power. This is the verdict of history and it is irrevocable.