Separation of Religion from Political Opinion

The citizen is the building block of the Republic. This citizen has rights and freedoms to hold on to any religious belief and practice. He or she has a right to belong to any political party or disseminate the programmes of that political party.

Hence, when a religious leader undertakes to meet a head of state after leading congregational prayers of believers of a faith who may share different political opinions or are members of different political parties, they should simply concentrate on issues that are not partisan in nature. They should strive to articulate those issues that are of concern to all the members of their congregation. This is the way they may free themselves from being accused of misrepresentation by a part of their congregation. When they pray they should do so for all leaders in the political divide. They should not publicly utilise their status to show that they could be influenced to speak against the interest of any member of their congregation.

We therefore hope that when people visit the president in the name of being elders or religious leaders of a community, they would utter statements that could be owned by all honest members of their community who are reasonable and are bound by the virtue of good faith.

The Gambia went through a crisis which gave rise to the arrest, detention and trial of a major political leader who is still in detention. Maximum effort should have been done to promote a spirit of reconciliation through requesting for the discharge and release of such leaders and their members. Those who fail to address the plight of members of their community will never be seen to be magnanimous in their conduct.

Nobody can defend self-interest by failing to do what is reasonable and justifiable before the eyes of the common people. The future will tell what impact the failure to take the right steps at the right time would yield.