By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist, has expressed concern in response to the recent comments made by President Adama Barrow regarding Gambian democracy and emphasized that the president does not possess the authority to silence or order the arrest of any citizen through the Inspector General of Police.
During a recent visit to his supporters in Niani, President Barrow expressed concern about the state of Gambian democracy and promised to instruct the police chief to detain individuals who make statements intended to incite violence.
However, activist Madi Jobarteh criticized the president’s plan, stating that it is concerning to see the government attempting to silence its citizens. Jobarteh argued that the president has no authority to suppress free speech.
“It is indeed highly worrying that Barrow is speaking about silencing and detaining citizens simply because in his mind people are engaged in empty talk while he is working.
“It is important for one to put it to Adama Barrow that he is neither the lord nor the owner of the Gambia; hence he has no power to silence any citizen. Similarly, he has no authority or powers to order the IGP to attest or detain any citizen,” Madi said.
Madi further described President Barrow’s comments as “a bunch of irresponsible, dangerous, and self-delusional gibberish that must be confronted”.
He called on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow to educate President Barrow about the content of the constitution because his comments violate his oath of office.
“I hereby urge the Minister of Justice as the government’s chief legal advisor to guide Adama Barrow about the contents of the Gambia Constitution and other laws, as well as the Gambia’s international obligations.
“It is pertinent that Minister Dawda Jallow advised Barrow to understand what a democratic republic is and what is the rule of law and human rights. Jallow needs to educate Barrow to realize that his comments violate his oath of office, hence contravene the constitution, which are grounds for impeachment,” Madi said.
He also called on the National Assembly to advise the president on matters under his responsibility.