By Mama A. Touray
The Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Justice on Monday commenced a four-day International Conference on the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice in Banjul.
The Conference was held under the theme – Anchored On The Theme Zero Tolerance For Unconstitutional Change Of Government.
Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, Bijilo, the President of ECOWAS Court of Justice, Hon Justice Edward A Asante said the conference is the most important program of the court as they gathered to discuss important thematic areas of the ECOWAS community.
He added that this theme is of regional significance and the theme is a burning issue, the violation of which he said is a great concern for the ECOWAS community.
“The intention of the court for choosing this theme is to focus on the need for participatory democracy and constitutional order in all ECOWAS member States, in particular, the Economic Community of West African States policy of zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government.” He said.
However, the Chief Justice of The Gambia, His Lordship Hassan B Jallow added: “When we look around in the Gambia, we see some positive signs; the signs of the ECOMIC presence demonstrate the potential of our collective efforts through this institution of the ECOWAS through our regional grouping in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and the restoration of constitutional review and the entrenchment of good governance.”
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia His Excellency Muhammed BS Jallow, who had declared open the conference, reiterated that the theme is not merely a topic for discussion; instead it is a proclamation of commitment, a testimony of strength, and a call to action.
The VP said the theme is a reminder of the shared vision for a West African region, defined by strong democratic resolutions upheld by the rule of law and led by a government that respects and adhered to its constitutional mandate.
“In the Gambia, our history has been marked by pillars of unconstitutional change of government; we have gone through a period of authoritarian rule that last for two decades marked by deliberate disregard for democratic principles and violation of constitutional norms. As a country, we have seen the anguish and pain that emerged when constitutional order is disrespected but we have also seen a new era, an era of change of hope and commitment to constitutional order,” he amplified to the audience.