EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Police occupied the Semega Janneh hall in Tallinding, Friday evening and disband members of the Operation Three Years Jotna form holding a fundraising event, saying the pressure group failed to obtain a permit.
One of the group’s executive members branded the act as a classic example of stifling decent, saying the government simply wants to provoke the Operation 3 Years Jotna concerned citizens into reactions.
The group is one of the most pressurising on President Adama Barrow, asking him to respect the three years campaign promise he and the Coalition 2016 parties made to Gambians and cede power for a fresh election.
Last month, they obtained police permit for a peaceful procession in exercise of their right to freedom of assembly and peaceful procession which they conducted from Siting corner in the outskirts of Old Jeshwang to Denton Bridge into the capital Banjul, where the government spokesperson received their petition paper on behalf of the president.
“They want the 3 years Jotna to react which they can use to justify any refusal,” an executive member of the group, Yankuba Darboe said.
He said the president and his cronies at the Statehouse are using the police in the same way the former regime used the military, NIA and other security apparatus to supress and to stifle decent. “The police cannot even tell us under what section of what laws they are acting to require us to seek a permit in order to hold this event,” Mr Darboe said.
He said their Friday activity was not a demonstration and it wasn’t a protest either, but said it was a fundraising event; an entertainment programme. “But they want a permit for that. The only excuse they came up with is that this is a public ground and we will need a permit if we want to use the place.”
The group has vowed not to rest until its demand is met but they now face a new rival countering them with the slogan Barrow for five years. They have also scheduled to conduct a solidarity match in support for President Barrow to remain in power to complete his five years constitutional mandate in office.
Mr Darboe said the police couldn’t even sight any section of the laws of The Gambia to justify that requirement, saying it doesn’t make sense. He said any reasonable Gambian would know that their action was a classic example of persecution.
“The very country that is now taking Myanmar and other countries to the international court claiming that those countries have violated the human rights of their people is the same government doing the same thing to their own citizens simply because they have a dissenting view that is not favourable to the president,” he said.
He said they are holding the president accountable of his own pledge, promise and agreement that he made to The Gambian people, saying he sought a mandate of three years and he was given that mandate and people are now demanding for him to honour that mandate but he is blatantly trying to supress their views.
“We have to cancel the event because we want to prove to them that we are law abiding but we are not going to fall to their bait. We know what their bait is, it is quite simply to provoke us and when they do that, the expectation is that we are going to react negatively, but we have proven to them once again that we are not going to do that.”