PRECEDENCE MUST BE BASED ON THE BEST VALUES AND PRINCIPLES SHOULD A DEAD BODY BE DENIED BURIAL IN ONE’S OWN HOME LAND?

The information we are getting on the issue of burial of Buba Baldeh is disturbing. Dead bodies cannot owe loyalties. They are neutral. Hence, those who are among the living should forget about differences during the lifetime of the departed and focus on human values and norms on how to pay respects to the dead.

Since we received reports regarding Buba’s demise Foroyaa has been busy investigating where his burial will take place. We are yet to be certain why Buba’s body failed to reach Mansajang in Basse where it is reported to have been destined. There are conflicting details as to who stopped the transport carrying the body from reaching its destination.

There is claim that the body has been taken to Medina Gounass, Senegal, for burial after experiencing obstacles in carrying it across the border to Basse Mansajang.

Whoever may have issued such an instruction is going against law, religion and custom.

A Gambian citizen cannot be deprived of his or her citizenship. Section 13 subsection (4) reads:

“Nothing in this or any other provision of this Constitution or any other law shall be construed as depriving, or authorising any person or authority to deprive, any citizen of The Gambia by birth or descent of his or her citizenship of The Gambia whether on account of such citizen holding the citizenship or nationality of some other country or for any other cause.”

Furthermore, Section 25 Subsection (3) adds:

“Every citizen of The Gambia shall have the right to return to The Gambia.”

Hence every citizen of the Gambia has a right to return to the Gambia. To deprive them of that right is unconstitutional and families have the right to go to the high court for redress if any request is rejected by the state to bring their relatives home for burial.

Suffice it to say that both religion and custom ask for respects to be paid to the dead. The dead may have children and blood ties. At least they deserve consideration in their times of grief. We hope that the Minister of the Interior would investigate. Foroyaa will approach the Ministry to get the policy of the state. Notwithstanding this, Foroyaa takes this opportunity to pay its condolence to the bereaved Family.