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City of Banjul
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Democracy goes beyond freedom of speech

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Dear editor,

Please allow me space in your noble and respectable newspaper to register my dissatisfaction on the governance of the Gambia under the stewardship of president Barrow and remind him, his cabinet, and the entire Gambian citizenry, that democracy goes beyond freedom of speech and expression, but also devising and adoption of policies, programmes and making decisions that reflect the wishes and aspirations of the sovereign people as well as equal dispensation of justice.

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The Gambia on December 1st, 2016, witnessed a democratic transfer of governmental power through the ballot box for the first time since her attainment of right to self rule in February 1965. This development was welcomed by people both nationally and internationally as it marked the end of Jammeh’s 22 years long autocratic and self-perpetuating rule and the rebirth of democracy.

 

 
The Barrow-led government is almost half a year old, and still fails to appoint a vice president, the principal assistant of the president, despite unending calls by citizens, political actors and institutions for an immediate appointment of a VP.

 

 
To make thing so strange and confusing, president Barrow called Hon. Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang as vice President in his address to the Supreme Islamic Council on June 25th, despite its unconstitutionality. This indicates nothing but an image of self-perpetuating and self-serving rule; a rule authored by Jammeh.

 

 

Furthermore, rule of law and equal dispensation of justice are among the central pillars of genuine democracy. These pillars need to be constructed.

 
Sorrow shakes my heart when Senegalese-led Ecomic forces allegedly shot and killed a sovereign citizen of the Gambia, Haruna Jatta who was among the peaceful demonstrators in Kanilai to show discontentment on the high presence of military personnel and arms in Kanilai (Foni) unlike other settlements in the Gambia ;to add salt to injury the government only expressed their thoughts to the deceased’s friends and family but failed to condemn this brutal act, investigate and held the perpetrators accountable.

 

No matter who the culprits are everyone in the Gambia must be under the laws of the Gambia.
If April 14 victims are to be served justice, why not the Kanilai victims? Both involve the death of precious soul of a sovereign Gambians and are allegedly not permitted one.

In a democratic state justice is equally served.
It is time for us Gambians to end the parochial political culture of justifying social and political ill caused by ourselves to history.
Finally, I call on the government to equally serve justice and always be in line with the wishes and aspirations of all Gambians. The Gambia belongs to all Gambians.

Sanna Badjie
Kombo Kerewan

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