By Amadou Jadama
The spokesman of One Gambia Association, Sulayman Dampha, has called on President Adama Barrow to take stiffer action “against demonstrators and other people intent on bringing anarchy in the country in the name of democracy”.
Dampha said he “totally and unreservedly condemns” the recent demonstration by Social Security & Housing Finance Corporation staff.
Talking to The Standard yesterday, he fumed, “We are not happy with the unfolding incidents taking place in the country. I am calling on President Adama Barrow to take serious action against actions that would lead to lawlessness and vandalism in our country in the name of democracy. We condemn the demonstration made by the staff of Social Security in the strongest terms and all the genuine citizens of The Gambia should do the same.
“Their demonstration was not based on any [genuine] reasons. We have not seen anything that would warrant them to do that other than for their selfish interest. They have no right to seal the gates of the Social Security building. It is unconstitutional, illegal and immoral. Democracy does not mean saying or doing anything that is not in line with the rule of law.
“This issue has been brewing since the appointment of Muhammed Manjang as managing director. As an association, we are displeased with their unpatriotic action. We are cautioning them to bury the hatchet with their MD. We have trust in Mr Manjang’s ability and demonstrated credibility to run the institution, the same trust President Barrow has in him to appoint him MD in the first place.”
Mr Dampha said government’s handling of the SSHFC saga has set a bad precedent. “They have now opened the door for others. Demonstrations must be based on national interest but not on individual interest,” he said.
He added: “If you are not willing to work, resign, and somebody will replace you. How many youths are sitting without job. No one has the right to close the gate of a public institution wilfully. We condemn it and we want to send this message to them that if any group wants to do a similar thing, we are not going to accept it in this country,” he warned.
Dampha said members of his association planned to march to SSHFC this Friday to demand for Manjang’s return to work forthwith but received information that President Barrow has set up a panel to investigate the matter and therefore they cancelled the planned protest.
“All these petty demonstrations must stop. If the president fails to stop them, we will intervene to put an end to them. We have over 4,000 people in our association across the country, and we are not a partisan political party. We are here to defend this country and to promote the development agenda of the president. President Barrow is a peace-loving, calm, honest and respectful leader who believes in the rule of law and has the country at heart. So let us respect him and pray for the peace and stability of the country. We are not going to tolerate anything that will jeapordise that,” Dampha concluded.