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City of Banjul
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

‘Barrow’s silence during crises is harmful to national security’

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By Omar Bah

Lamin Keita, a Gambian PhD student at the Northwestern University in the US has said that President Adama Barrow’s failure to address the nation whenever serious things are about to happen or happening could cause serious harm to the country’s national security.

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“Barrow’s silence might also portray a sense that he is hiding something from the Gambian people.

A good leadership doesn’t conceal behind the corridor and use its security to either clamp down on innocent protesters or mediate on its behalf,” he told The Standard from his US base.

He added that Mr Barrow must understand that security forces cannot be his mediation team or emissaries in dealing with trouble.

“I want to encourage President Barrow to immediately issue a statement himself to address the protesters by telling them they cannot afford to destroy this country by taking the laws into their own hands,” Keita said.

He said the current government must learn from the past gross human rights violations of the Jammeh regime and understand a cardinal argument that people protest and any response with police brute force always implies that protestors are the problem and the use of police is the solution.

Mr Keita alleged that the government’s recent condition shows that they are implicated in creating the conditions for conflict at every step in the process through repeating the previous government-imposed inequalities that were a major source of grievances as well as repressive policies which increase anger and resistance.

“Therefore, it is equally important that our political leaders must have fundamental commitments to protecting all citizens’ rights and well-being by accepting protest.

I encourage the Barrow leadership and our security service in the contemporary world to keep these guidelines in mind when seeking to understand and to respond to popular discontents of our citizens,” he concluded.

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