The two deputies Moustapha Guirassy and Cheikh Bamba Dièye of the Senegalese Democratic Party PDS who were to sit on the ad hoc Commission in favor of Ousmane Sonko on the lifting of the the latter’s parliamentary immunity threw in the towel. They talk about the irregularities of the committee whose composition is dominated by a mechanical majority of deputies belonging to the RPA party in power. Below is the letter sent to the President of the National Assembly Moustapha Niasse.
The ad hoc Committee for the examination of the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of the Honorable Member Ousmane Sonko, which you head and of which we are vice-chairman and member, began its work on February 19, 2021. Meeting at which we have participated.
During the proceedings, we noticed, Mr. President, options which, without a doubt, will call into question one of the fundamental pillars of the rule of law: the separation of powers and the independence of the National Assembly.
Indeed, the functioning of the commission sufficiently shows that the National Assembly is in the process of strengthening and devoting its subservience to the executive power through the public prosecutor’s office which dictates the conduct to be taken.
Thus, you refused to the commission to play its role of “investigating judge of the Parliament to better inform it in the serious decision which it is brought to take.
Mr President, the decision to lift parliamentary immunity is not trivial and it is for this reason that the rules of procedure of the National Assembly have given important powers to the ad hoc committee to make all the information necessary to enable him to make his decision calmly and with full knowledge of the facts. You have decided not to use the powers available to the commission, thus fundamentally calling into question its sovereignty.
Mr. Speaker, parliamentary immunity is the Member’s ultimate bar to protect himself against conspiracies, lawsuits and slander. It has become evident that the unilateral approach and the haste with which the ad hoc Committee wishes to rule do not carry any guarantee of respect for the presumption of innocence and the rights of all citizens (would he be a Member of Parliament, especially if he is a member) to be judged in accordance with the rights of the defense. The investigation must be carried out with the charge and the defense and the National Assembly must be informed of the reality of the facts. Parliamentary immunity is the essential guarantee of freedom of expression and the responsibilities of parliamentarians as elected representatives of the people and representative of the nation.
Ousmane Sonko is an elected representative of the people and a representative of the nation; and we cannot accept being complicit in the killing of a legally and legitimately elected member; which killing is not based on any evidence.
Mr. Speaker, for all these reasons, we have decided, we undersigned members of the ad hoc committee to resign from this said committee with immediate effect.
We allow you to be the only ones to take full responsibility for the crime you are preparing to commit. In the name of the rule of law and ethics, we cannot participate.