We watched with great concern the recent political violence between rival political factions in Busumbala. Violence between political rivals is unacceptable, undemocratic and a threat to the fragile security in our new found dispensation.
We hope the Barrow Government will take all measures to secure the area and the country as a whole and that all perpetrators of political violence be dealt with according to the law. In addition, we call on our leaders and authorities to publicly condemn this violence, and perform a comprehensive security and intelligence review that will mitigate such incidents from reoccurring; at the same time preserve the democratic rights of Gambians. The concerns of the citizens especially the vulnerable youth population must be heard and addressed.
The incidents in the past few days highlight the urgent need for government, civil society and citizens to engage in dialogue, civic and political education to protect our transition from dictatorship to democracy. At this juncture, a national agenda should be promoted over political agenda. However, we caution that closing the political space and rescinding permits for political activity is only a superficial fix to underlying issues. It is a government’s duty to ensure the security of its citizens when they are engaged in constitutionally guaranteed and lawful actions.
The APRC, must also be sensitive to the concerns of Gambians after 22 years of a brutal regime in which many are still recovering from. Gambians must exercise restraint to allow for divergent views and for the democratic process to take course.
The Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA)