President Adama Barrow’s threats to suspend Gambian opposition parties from politics after Dec 4th has sparked a salvo of disapproval and condemnations. Voices from the Gambian civil Society spewed some of the stark arguments to refresh President Barrow’s memory about the basics of the Democracy that took him to power in 2016.
Salieu Taal lectures President Barrow, recalls his lost memory
Taking on his personal Facebook Feed, Salieu Taal, a founding member of #GambiaHasDecided expressed shock and dismay at hearing President Barrow’s threats on his political opponents.
Salieu Taal seemed bewildered by Barrow’s radical flip from an apparent gentleman to a thick-headed would-be Yahya Jammeh. “When we voted for change, we voted for a humble, unknown man against an arrogant, pompous tyrant.”
Salieu Taal, the President of the Gambia Bar Association, called President Barrow’s threat “A dangerous path and an affront to Gambia’s fledgling democracy. We expect our leaders to imbibe a democratic culture and be the champions of democracy“.
As a legal luminary, Salieu Taal took the trouble to lecture President Adama Barrow that “The authority and discretion to grant permits for public gatherings is vested in the IGP under the Public Order Act subject to the Constitution. The right of the citizens to exercise their fundamental rights to associate and assemble cannot be displaced by the considerations such as fleeting inconveniences to the public or Presidential directives. Neither the President nor the Police has the power to restrict the fundamental rights of the citizenry granted by the constitution as envisaged in the President’s speech“.
Refreshing Adama Barrow’s seeming loss of memory, the president of The Gambia Bar Association asked, “Has the President forgotten that he came to power thanks to politics? It is through politics that we peacefully changed our destiny after twenty-two years of dictatorship. Politics is not only about elections and a build-up to it every five years. Politics ensure good governance and accountability“.
Salieu Tall finally warned that “Never again will ANY PRESIDENT be allowed to usurp the sovereignty of the Gambians.”
Sait Matty Jaw’s CRPD calls Police to distance itself from Barrow’s threat
The Center for Research and Policy Development (CRPD), led by Sait Matty Jaw, issued a press release calling on the Gambia Police Force to distance itself from Adama Barrow’s reckless remarks and unlawful directives.
“It is also time for The Gambia Police Force to conduct itself as professional unequivocally, a pro-democracy rule of law institution that respects and upholds the rule of law.”
The CRPD Release states that “President Barrow must be reminded he was elected on the basis of ending self-perpetuating rule and to return this country to a functioning democratic state.”
Sait Matty Jaw’s civil society group condemned the President’s use of the State House grounds to make inconsiderate and ill-advised remarks that are exacerbating social tensions in the country and threatening to undermine the democratic gains made so far.
“We call on President Barrow to be mindful of his seemingly populist statements and instead focus on bridging the social divide in the country. Unfortunately, his latest statement will undoubtedly further exacerbate the political polarization and divisions in the country, ahead of the December Presidential Election”.
Coach Pa-Samba Jow asks Gambians to put up resistance
A staunch foe of former Dictator Yahya Jammeh and active pro-democracy Gambia critic since Adama Barrow took over, Pa Sadaga Jow, also called Coach Pa Samba Jow, reacted to the Gambian President’s threats.
Coach warned that it behooves the Gambian people to send a clear signal to Adama Barrow that the hard-earned Democracy they fought for should not be taken for granted.
“Gambia will NOT return to dictatorship NOT because Barrow and his clique won’t try, but because We the people will resist it with all our might.”
According to Pa-Samba Jow, President Adama Barrow is not only testing the waters, but he is also revealing his true nature.
“The despicable utterances by President Barrow to instruct the IGP after December 4th to deny permits for political rallies are a true reflection of Mr. Barrow and his mindset. It was not a slip of the tongue, nor was it a mistake. Barrow is showing us his true colors and the type of leader he intends to be”, Mr. Jow explained before he concludes with this stark warning.
“The worst mistake we will make will be to simply dismiss his veiled threats as idle talk; yes, we have a constitution that should restrain him from such excesses, but lest we forget, Jammeh also had that same constitution at his disposal.”