By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow’s deputy political adviser has lambasted civil society organisations for their “insensitive comments” against the Gambian leader.
Speaking in an audio shared with The Standard, Dodou Sanno said the civil society, instead of engaging on issues that do not have any impact on Gambians, should rather use their expertise and sensitise people across the country on Covid-19.
“If the CSOs have done their work well by educating the masses on Covid-19, the denial syndrome we are facing would have been averted,” he said.
Sanno said the government has made all efforts to ensure that measures are taken to protect Gambians from the deadly coronavirus but all their efforts were blocked by the UDP lawmakers.
He said it is baffling that the CSOs never condemned these parliamentarians who refused to vote for the state of emergency.
“I want to advise civil society to stop abusing the democratic space. They should also be fair and stop being one-sided in their criticisms. It is disappointing that they only direct their criticism to the president,” Sanno added.
He said CSOs are key players in every democratic space but they should play their roles responsibly without bias or ill will.
“The CSOs must understand that they cannot continue the Yahya Jammeh era style of activism under a full-fledged democracy in today’s Gambia. We now have a president and government that respect the rule of law,” he argued.
He added: “There is no justification for provocations in the middle of a global pandemic. The government of President Barrow has done all it can to ensure that they contain the spread of the virus. The president has empowered the Ministry of Health to take all the necessary measures in combating the coronavirus.
“The security forces and all other relevant government institutions are playing different roles to contain the spread of the virus. President Barrow is a democrat and will continue to empower his cabinet. The CSOs and politicians should stop playing politics.”
He said the president will speak to the nation when it is necessary.
“Let us not forget that we used to say Jammeh was a dictator and controlled almost everything,” he noted.
“We must not take Barrow for granted.”