Allow me to first express my disappointment on the undemocratic and authoritarian act of the Inspector General of Police for not willfully refusing to issue permit to the 3 years movement. By willfully denying the three years jotna movement to hold a peaceful assembly on the pretext of security is an indication that our security apparatus are ready to compromise their constitutional powers in order to satisfy the current government. What has enforcement of rights get to do with Security Threat? I must indicate that to protest is our constitutional right guaranteed under Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution. It is trite that President got to lead the Coalition 2016 because he committed himself to an MOU agreement that required him to resign after 3 years.
We are fully aware that it is not unconstitutional for the President to resign after the MOU prescribed 3 years. Therefore, we shall exercise our right to protest at the State House and demand that the President respect this commitment he undertook and resign on the 19th January 2020. Sir, we have hope that the Gambia Police Force (GFF) will not stifle our constitutional right to protest and therein demand that you issue us with a permit to go ahead with our protest.
What is the essence of the defunct security sector reform policy when it cannot accommodate and guarantee the enabling environment for us the citizenry to exercise our rights to hold the government to account? The IGP and Interior Minister shouldn’t subject the issuance of permit base on political consideration. We cannot allow your office to continue stifling the rights of the people.
It must be clear that we shall not accept a restrictive permit unreasonably limiting in place and time. We want the police help in the maintenance of peace and security and the protection of our right to freedom of protest and movement. The Police must not allow itself to be politicized.
It is a condition precedent that the President resign before we can engage in any form of dialogue with government authorities.
The writer, Alieu Gako, is a political activist and public affairs analyst