NAMs Ratify OAU/AU Cultural Charters

Muhammad Bah

The Gambia National Assembly Thursday, 21st August ratified the cultural charters of the Organisation of African Union and the African Union 1976 and 2006 respectively. The two charters are formulated by the African Heads of states at the thirteen Ordinary Sessions in Maurituis 1976 and Khartoum 2006.

The Minister of Works, Construction and National Assembly Matters, Bala Garba Jahumpa, overseeing the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, laid the reports for the two charters separately. Minister Jahumpa said the two charters were inspired by the 1966 Algiers Pan African cultural manifesto and the inter-governmental conference held by UNESCO at Accra in 1975.

According to the Minister, the charters noted that human society should be necessarily governed by rules and principles based on traditions, languages, ways of life and thoughts on a set of cultural values to reflect the distinctive character and personalities of people.

Minister Jahumpa pointed out that all cultures emanate from people, and the African cultural policy should enable the people to increase their responsibility in the development of their cultural heritage and give the people the inalienable right to organize its cultural life in full harmony with political, economic, social, philosophical and spiritual ideas.

In a different motion, the Hon. Minster of Works and Construction, Bala Garba Jahumpa, presented the Charter for African cultural renaissance by the African Heads of states and government of the African union in a session held in Khartoum in 2006.

The Hon. Member for Basse, Muhammed Magasseh, recalls the historical and cultural developments between the many ethnic groups within the Senegambia Region and how their joking cultural relationship is able to maintain peace within the people of the region.

Hon. Magasseh argues language is a key to promoting culture and urged the National Assembly to take action on how to use indigenous languages in parliament and added that until national languages are used, the Gambia is not fully independent.

The Member for Niamina West, Hon. Lamin Jadama said all cultures should be respected as it is highlighted in the provision.

The Minority leader and member for Niamina Dankunku argues implementation is always a problem when charters are ratified and said the Gambia is good in ratifying documents and later pack them under the cupboard. The Minority Leader noted that the charter highlights the freedom of expression and opinion to be respected and will remedy many situations in the country.