SPEECH SHOULD BE DECRIMINALISED

118

When presidents assume power they sometimes find it difficult to bear the heat of insults, degrading words, caricature and so on. They get angry and are tempted to flex their muscles to teach the author a lesson by facilitating prosecution and imprisonment.

A president should be tolerant with a thick skin. He or she focus on facts and policies. Those who insult do so because they have nothing to say. A president should be ready at all times to clarify policies and bring out the facts when they are being distorted. In time the loud and insulting mouths will become the ridiculous in the society. There is no need to jail them and make them fighters of justice.

President Barrow in his manifesto in 2016 promised to decriminalise speech within six months but they are still in our law books. When a particular clause of the penal code was being discussed in the National Assembly, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice defended its retention even though it makes speech criminal.

In short, Gambia should take the lead in cleaning our law books that make speech criminal.