(JollofNews) – Dear President of the Gambia Bar Association (GBA), I have been instructed by the President and the Executive Committee (Board) of Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) to write to you to continue to express our solidarity with you at this sensitive time in your country, and also to dissociate ourselves from and condemn the Statements and actions apparently undertaken by the African Bar Association (AfBA).
We stand by our own Statement on the situation in The Gambia, which we issued on 12th December 2016. We also support the positions taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) with regard to the Gambia.
We look forward to full implementation of the Decisions of the ECOWAS Summit held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria this past Saturday, 17th December 2016.
The AfBA position flies in the face of, and contradicts, the unanimous position of ECOWAS, AU and UN, and indeed of PALU. It flies in the face of, and contradicts, international law. It is, simply put, unlawful.
We highlight that we, as PALU, have nothing to do with AfBA. We consider AfBA to be a fraudulent organisation that does not represent anyone other than its few individual promoters.
It has no known membership on the African continent. It does not speak for African lawyers or lawyers’ associations (Bar Associations and Law Societies).
It has no known constituency. If it considered the Gambian Bar Association (GBA) to be its member association, there is no way it would have ‘parachuted’ directly into the State House of The Gambia, to meet the outgoing President of The Gambia, without consulting its member!
We advise that the GBA treat that action with the contempt it deserves, but that you go ahead and inform the Gambian citizenry and the international community that you neither recognise AfBA nor does it represent the African legal profession. The PALU Board has directed me to do the same, and we will shortly put out a Statement in this regard.
Chief Executive Officer, P an African Lawyers’ Union (PALU)