Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Gambia: Again, Government bans vehicles with tinted glasses, no reasons given

A few private citizens who own tinted vehicles told The North Bank Evening Standard the deadline “is too short” (Photo credit: Agency).

The Gambia’s Ministry of Interior on April 27, 2013 banned vehicles with tinted glasses from plying the roads across the country.

However, the Ministry fall-short of giving full details as to what motivated such an immediate decision scheduled for enforcement within 72 hours (April 29).

In this new directive, the President, his cabinet, top state security officers, diplomatic corps, speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, local chiefs among others are exempted, Police Spokesperson ASP David Kujabi told State TV, GRTS, on Friday.

Too short

Kujabi explained that the private sector can get clearance from the Inspector General of Police for their official cars only. A similar ban has not been fully implemented over the years. However, Kujabi said this latest directive will be fully enforced.

A few private citizens who own tinted vehicles told The North Bank Evening Standard the deadline “is too short”.

“The government knows very well that changing vehicles’ glasses comes with a financial cost, and I cannot understand why they have given only two days for us to comply with the order,” said a 33 year old who did not want to be named.

In May last year, fellow West African State Nigeria, again, banned vehicles with tinted glasses, citing criminal activities as reason.  

The Gambia's Minister of Interior, Osman Sonko
Skype, Viper restriction

On April 19, The Gambia’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, PURA, banned companies and individual Internet Cafe operators from offering dating and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a “commercially available service” to Gambians.

But, the Dakar-based ARTICLE 19 West Africa said the PURA order failed to meet the three part test (ordered by a court, have a legitimate aim, and not restrict free expression) set by international standards for restriction on freedom of expression.

“The fact that the use of VoIP services is being prohibited in order to benefit phone companies is a concern,” ARTICLE 19 said, while calling on PURA “to immediately repeal the order in its entirety”. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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