Friday, March 24

Gambia’s constitution has no provision for monarchy

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The Paramount Chief of The Gambia, Momodou Bojang, who doubles as the head chief of Kombo North District has reiterated his stance that the government will never accept the practice of monarch system in the country by the Yoruba community, arguing that it’s not a constitutional provision.

Speaking to The Point, Chief Bojang stated that The Gambia should retire from being a state where anyone could do whatever they like especially when it doesn’t correspond with our constitution. “There is no portion in our constitution where a monarch system is allowed in The Gambia,” he reiterated.

Meanwhile, Sherif Kumba Jobe, a highly respected young lawyer, founder and head of Sunu Law Chambers said: “It is not to my knowledge if the Gambia’s constitution has any provision for monarchy. As far as I know, our constitution has no provision for such.”

Additionally, Chief Bojang said: “As a friendly country, we have no problem if they want to do their traditional dancing and cultural activities, but they cannot practise something that is not recognised by the laws of the country.”

“I don’t have anything against the Yoruba community, but I am worried that if they are allowed to practise monarchy in the country, there will be dire consequences. I know their culture; we cannot handle it,” he noted.

“I remember King HRH Appolus Chu’s visit to The Gambia but he never requested to see the self-proclaimed king [Abolade]. That king is a Yoruba, so if they were legitimate, he would have visited them.”

Speaking further, he said: “the Amir of Northern Nigeria also came to The Gambia in 2002 but never visited them, while noting that even the Nigerian High Commission doesn’t attend their programmes. “I will not accept any monarchy practicse in the country and I will go to any level of court to condemn it.”

According to the Paramount Chief, the man who is claiming to be monarch is not a Gambian but someone who came to the country to hustle and was “opportune to be employed by the department of education as a teacher.”

“I have made inquiries about him to some kings in Nigeria and I was made to understand that he is not from a monarch system. Therefore, what he cannot claim in his motherland, he cannot claim it in a foreign land,” he affirmed.

The Head of Chiefs explained that when the Europeans came to The Gambia, there were monarchies in the country but when they conquered the country, they dethroned and abolished all monarchies and established their own monarchies that were answerable to their monarchy in England.

Placing more emphasis, he added that after the British abolished monarchy in The Gambia, they brought chieftaincy to replace the monarchy and among the chieftaincy, they picked the head chief who today is known as the Paramount Chief.

He further revealed that in 1855, Mansa Toumani Bojang Tamba, who was king of Kombo, sold Kombo Saint Mary to the British for 125,000 pounds. “Mansa Toumani was initially not convinced by money because at first they offered him money, arms and ammunition, alcohol, and tobacco but he turned them down, and later got attracted by a mirror.”