By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress has called on the government to immediately withdraw prosecutorial charges against eight Three Years Jotna leaders.
“I call on the government to withdraw the case against Gambians currently standing trial for the alleged disturbances of last Sunday in the interest of uniting the country or else the next two years will be very uncertain,” Mai Fatty told journalists at a press conference yesterday.
The lawyer and former Minister for the Interior said the government “must not be in the business of manipulation, a pretext to deploy national security reasons to achieve partisan political advantage. Equally, citizens must abide by the law.”
About 135 people were arrested during and after the Three Years Jotna movement activists took to the streets last Sunday to call on President Adama Barrow to step down.
Abdou Njie, Yankuba Darboe, Ebrima Kitim Jarju, Sheriffo Sonko, Fanta Mballow, Kassim Touray, Haji Suwaneh and Matarr Ceesay appeared at Kanifing Magistrates’ Court and charged with rioting, a capital offence that carries a life imprisonment.
Presiding Magistrate PM Sarr transferred the case to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul.
Speaking further at his party-political bureau, Mr Fatty condemned violence in its entirety, he urged “government should do better than responding violence with violence”.
“Alleged breach of the law must not provoke executive excesses. Just like what is expected of citizens, every action of the state must be predicated on the law,” Mr Fatty said.
He continued: “Without prejudice to the law of sub judice, I do not agree with the tenor of the political jurisdiction that provided the legal pretext presented thus. There are two movements: Three Years Jotna and Five Years Jotangul, which is response to the Three Years. They should be treated equally under law.”
The GMC leader also urged the government to review the decision regarding the closure of the two radio stations without delay.
“The nation is in need of healing, and the government should be in the forefront of actions that would expedite national healing. Therefore, I call on President Barrow to engage all stakeholders, particularly former coalition leaders and for genuine national dialogue without delay,” he added.
He also called on Ecowas, AU and UNOWAS to assist facilitate the conduct of a national dialogue without delay.
Fatty said all the coalition parties should take responsibility for the recent happenings in the country. “We must accept the responsibility that we have failed the Gambian people,” he said.
Mr Fatty has also offered to engage Ousainu Darboe, Halifa Sallah and other political parties to facilitate national dialogue if the the president continues to ignore calls for dialogue.