By Alagie Manneh
The Coalition of Progressive Gambians (CoPG) has described as ‘misleading’ statements by President Barrow that its activities and planned November 11 protest are being masterminded by the opposition United Democratic Party.
The CoPG has maintained that they are a pressure group intending to stage a protest to bring attention to the issues of corruption and other malice in The Gambia attributed to the government. They vowed to protest whether the police grant permission or not.
But speaking to waiting journalists on arrival from the UN General Assembly in New York, President Barrow accused the UDP of using proxy groups like the Coalition of Progressives to demonstrate against his government.
Debunking the president’s statement in a write-up shared with The Standard, the pressure group wrote: “We want to make it categorically clear to all Gambians that the Coalition of Progressive Gambians is neither UDP nor 3 Years Jotna, as our agendas are completely different. The UDP is a registered political party that can initiate and push [for] any agenda of their own without hiding behind any group or association. Again, we the coalition of progressive Gambians is totally different from the 3 Years Jotna because our agendas are far different. We all know the 3 Years Jotna was calling for the president to respect and to honour the Coalition 2016 MoU as agreed in the convention, whilst our agenda as the coalition of Progressive Gambians is to fight corruption which is rampant in the government.”
Signed by its chairman Seedy Cham, the missive said President Barrow’s ‘misleading’ comments are indicative of how much ‘worried’ he is regarding the planned protest.
“But the protest will happen if you fail to address our demands… You must fight corruption such as the audit report on the 669 million dalalsis of the illegal special security account; publish the joint commission’s report on the burning of the fisheries ministry; the malpractices in the Banjul rehabilitation [road] project as well as address the high cost of living in addition to promoting transparency and better services for our country. If you address these issues or show tangible moves towards addressing them, there would be no protest. All we want is [a] better Gambia for all,” the letter stated.
The correspondence said the planned protest has ‘already distressed’ President Barrow ‘because he lacks the “political will and commitment to address these legitimate concerns of citizens”.
The group said no one should believe the president who is trying to paint a genuine nonpolitical group as a political opposition.