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By Lamin Cham

Siaka Jatta, an adviser to the president, has accused the United Democratic Party of playing politics with the lives of Gambians.

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On Saturday, the UDP National Assembly members led a vote against the extension of the state of emergency, arguing that the state has failed to enforce the regulations under the emergency and has not also captured the concern of the assembly select committee on the matter.

However, in his reaction, Mr Jatta said the decision of parliament to reject the renewal of the state of emergency as requested by the government is highly disappointing.
In a write-up shared with The Standard, Mr Jatta added: “It is wrong and defies logic. The number of COVID-19 cases in the country is increasing rapidly. Therefore, one would have thought that we should be more responsible, increase our vigilance and observe all the guidelines stipulated by WHO.”

Mr Jatta further said the only explanation one can deduce from this action is that the UDP NAMs were playing politics with the lives of Gambians. “And that is very sad. I am therefore calling on them to immediately rescind their decision and act in the best interest of the public as this is no time for politics,” Jatta said.

Also commenting on the draft constitution, Mr Jatta maintained his position that the 2020 Draft Constitution cannot be applied retrospectively. “In line with best practice everywhere around the globe, the draft should come into effect after the referendum in 2021. The constitution is a sacred legal document that will be around long after we are all gone. Therefore, it is not fair to use it to target individuals, in this case, the President of the Republic. If every single provision in the draft constitution will come into effect after the referendum, why is the tenure of the presidency of Adama Barrow an exception? The law is clear and we have to be fair and just.

Just as the penalties and provisions of the draft constitution cannot be applied to convicted prisoners, it also cannot apply to the person of the president,” Jatta said.

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