By MADI JOBARTEH
Where does the Anti Crime Unit derive the power to make the order to close down any place? This notice by the Unit is arbitrary because it is not backed by law. The Anti-Crime Unit cannot just pick the statement of the President to run with it as they like!
While Section 76 of the Constitution gives executive power to the President to make the kind of declaration he did in regard to containing the Coronavirus but the President has not given command to any State agency to enforce that order. Secondly the President did not declare a state of emergency which would have to be approved at the National Assembly.
The President said specific public gatherings are suspended and listed specific institutions to be closed. But these do not extend to restaurants, bars, night clubs and brothels! Since the President has not ordered any agency to enforce his declaration how come therefore could the Anti Crime Unit assume such function when the President did not refer to them in his statement.
Yes we must combat Coronavirus virus but it must be done in line with the rule of law. Therefore if such notice by the Anti-Crime Crime must be issued it should rather come from the IGP and not a unit of the police.
Therefore let the President come out to clarify his declaration or let the IGP come out to state how they would enforce the declaration so that there is adherence to the rule of law. Meantime the Anti-Crime Unit must withdraw its illegal notice.
Restaurants, bars and night clubs are business places where a lot of people gather. But so also are supermarkets and regular markets as well mosques and churches where lot of people also gather. While it may be necessary to close any place indeed in the fight against Coronavirus however such actions must not be arbitrary and discriminatory but based on legal and legitimate power!
For The Gambia Our Homeland