Nyancho, thanks for the robust theological defense proffered in terms of women and men’s equality with reference to Islamic doctrines.

However, I must take exception to the criticism levelled against the doctrine of separation of powers. Indeed, classic Islam and Middle Eastern culture have always been skeptical about the idea of separation of powers from the outset, hence to date democracy as it is known in other parts of the world has as a rule proved illusive in that part of the world. In this culture the caliph (ruler) must both be judge and law-maker, and therein lies enormous risks in terms of abuse of power. This is tantamount to giving judicial powers to Yahya Jammeh during his tenure as president. What a scenario!

Herein lies the rationale for laws dealing with separation of powers in all democratic constitutions of the globe – including our beloved country’s. The authors of our independence constitution were needless to say very well aware of the dangers involved in concentrating judicial and legislative powers in the executive.

Hence, it is my wish that both Senegal and The Gambia shall at no time sacrifice their modern democratic constitutions in favour of the Middle-Eastern cultural norms in this respect. Should we fail to maintain our decades old tradition of separation of powers the whole Sene-gambia region would some day be the bastion of fanatical (religious) dictatorships – just like the Middle-East of today. The latter’s subjects have by the way been knocking on the door of the European Union in their millions lately in search of inter alias the benefits of that part of the world’s long-established separation of power rules, not to mention democracy.

On the matter of the unfavourable laws against women’s emancipation in Europe over the centuries, do remember that women in the Arab world at that time did not fare any better: Arab culture has always been macho since the pre-Islamic days. Accordingly, that argument in this context is not water-tight either. Besides, Europeans have since learnt from those mistakes such that the women of this part of the world can be said to be a thousand times more enlightened, progressive and liberated than their Middle-Eastern counter-parts who are comparatively very backward culturally. It was vice versa in the middle ages. In short, cultures stagnate if they refuse to adapt to changing times and circumstances, and this is worth remembering.

No, we can’t do without separation of powers if at all we are serious in preserving and developing our newly won freedom from over two decades of dictatorship.

Saikou Manneh 

Ends

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